The spectre of the UFO, as popularized by shows such as The X-Files, has brought an astonishing slant to the face of modern religious practice. But what motivates the fantastical and sometimes sinister beliefs of UFO worshippers? UFO Religions critically examines some of the fascinating issues surrounding UFO worship - abduction narratives, UFO-based interpretations of other religions, the growth of pseudo-sciences purporting to explain UFOs, and the responses of the core scientific community to such claims. Focusing on contemporary global UFO groups including the Raelian Movement, Heaven's Gate, Unarius and the Ansaaru Allah Community, it gives a clear profile of modern UFO controversies and beliefs.
In this analysis of the Raelian movement, the author traces Rael's philosophy and the Raelian subculture, focusing on issues of sexuality, millenarianism, and the impact of the scientific worldview on religion and the environment. Simultaneous.
The Handbook of UFO Religions, edited by esteemed new religions scholar Benjamin E. Zeller, offers the most expansive and detailed study of the persistent, popular, and global phenomenon of religious engagements with ideas about extraterrestrial life. The present work considers not only new religions founded on ideas about extraterrestrials and UFOs, but how those within more mainstream religions have responded to the science, scientific speculation, and popular culture involving extraterrestrials, UFOs, and related concepts. Global in reach, it includes chapters considering South and East Asia, Europe, and North and South America, and draws on several interdisciplinary methods. In addition, the handbook traces connections between UFO religiosity and cultural patterns such as science and scientism, esoterism and occultism, millennialism, and popular culture.
New Age, Neopagan, and New Religious Movements is the most extensive study to date of modern American alternative spiritual currents. Hugh B. Urban covers a range of emerging religions from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, including the Nation of Islam, Mormonism, Scientology, ISKCON, Wicca, the Church of Satan, Peoples Temple, and the Branch Davidians. This essential text engages students by addressing major theoretical and methodological issues in the study of new religions and is organized to guide students in their learning. Each chapter focuses on one important issue involving a particular faith group, providing readers with examples that illustrate larger issues in the study of religion and American culture. Urban addresses such questions as, Why has there been such a tremendous proliferation of new spiritual forms in the past 150 years, even as our society has become increasingly rational, scientific, technological, and secular? Why has the United States become the heartland for the explosion of new religious movements? How do we deal with complex legal debates, such as the use of peyote by the Native American Church or the practice of plural marriage by some Mormon communities? And how do we navigate issues of religious freedom and privacy in an age of religious violence, terrorism, and government surveillance?
This encyclopedia gives readers a comprehensive map of the significant religious and spiritual groups functioning in today's world, especially in the West. The new religions, sects and alternative spiritualities are categorized according to the religious traditions from which they spring.
An overview of the development of new religions and the controversies surrounding them in late modern society. A stimulating, course-friendly overview of the history and development of new religious movements (NRMs) in the late twentieth century Explores eight cults and NRMs, including the Church of Scientology, Transcendental Meditation, Unificationism, The Family International, the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, the Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, and Wicca Each chapter reviews the origins, leaders, beliefs, rituals and practices of a NRM, highlighting the specific controversies surrounding this group Covers debates including what constitutes an authentic religion, the validity of claims of brainwashing techniques, the implications of experimentation with unconventional sexual practices, and the deeply rooted cultural fears that cults engender.
Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them
Conspiracy theories are inevitable in complex human societies. And while they have always been with us, their ubiquity in our political discourse is nearly unprecedented. Their salience has increased for a variety of reasons including the increasing access to information among ordinary people, a pervasive sense of powerlessness among those same people, and a widespread distrust of elites. Working in combination, these factors and many other factors are now propelling conspiracy theories into our public sphere on a vast scale. In recent years, scholars have begun to study this genuinely important phenomenon in a concerted way. In Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them, Joseph E. Uscinski has gathered forty top researchers on the topic to provide both the foundational tools and the evidence to better understand conspiracy theories in the United States and around the world. Each chapter is informed by three core questions: Why do so many people believe in conspiracy theories? What are the effects of such theories when they take hold in the public? What can or should be done about the phenomenon? Combining systematic analysis and cutting-edge empirical research, this volume will help us better understand an extremely important, yet relatively neglected, phenomenon.
The Unarius Academy of Science is one of the oldest of the numerous UFO-based US religious movements. Unarius is devoted to teaching the all-encompassing Uranian Science. This book offers an inside look at this movement.