Since 1954 Unificationism has evolved toward a more normative approach to worship and lifestyle, if not belief—a point that Italian scholar Massimo Introvigne emphasizes in his balanced overview of the church's history, doctrine, spirituality, missionary activities, and controversies.
Why is Soka Gakkai one of the fastest-growing religions in the world today? Founded in post-World War II Japan, this Buddhist movement claims upwards of 15 million members, including more than a half million in North and South America. It sponsors two universities in the United States.
Authentic religious experience includes both meditation and celebration, according to the twentieth-century Indian guru Osho Rajneesh (1931-90). Blending Tantra, Zen, and Western psychotherapy into his teachings, Osho produced incisive commentaries on religious mysticism and devised unique, "active meditation" that elicited emotional catharsis.
When Bhaktivedanta arrived in America, it was a bold step because historically a guru who ventured outside of India was stripped of his Brahman status. However, the effort bore fruit—not the least of which was the type of intercultural understanding promoted by the current authors through their study of ISKCON's place within the religion and culture of India.
L. Ron Hubbard—best-selling science fiction writer, former naval officer, and people's philosopher—did not initially intend to found a new religion. But neither did he object when followers organized a church based on his teachings. The resulting movement has attracted millions of adherents from around the globe.
The Children of God emerged out of the hippie movement of the 1960s, and through the 1980s they came to blend Christianity with sexual freedom, communal living, and a rejection of materialism and "the system." The Children, or "the Family" as they are now called, modified their behavior in the 1990s in the wake of several child sexual abuse charges (all dismissed) and the need for direction among the...
There are 100,000 Baha'is in the United States, about five million worldwide including a significant population in Iran, their country of origin. They are also the most persecuted minority in Iran, where they are accused of being heretics by the Shi'i establishment.