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Religion as a whole is always changing, coming and going, evolving to fit the modern world. Some religions stay the same forever, others change, create new sects, and some even form entirely on their own. New religious movements come about in many different ways. The circumstances in which they form are unpredictable. There are many reasons in which it would be likely for new religious movements to appear. Some form from an older religion that is losing its foothold in society, picking up the pieces that were successful and running into a new and improved version of itself. Others form to meet a new need that isn’t being met by the pre-existing religions. These are just a few of the common circumstances in which new religious movements are often formed.
An example of a new religion formed from a pre-existing religion is the Accommodationist Movements. Accommodationist Movements arise when an already well established religion is introduced into a new cultural context. When an older religion does not fit or account for everything within a new cultural context the older religion is manipulated to fit into the new culture. New Revelation Sects also form off of already established religions. New Revelation sects, similar to any sect, follow very strictly to a normative religion. The difference is that, apart from following the pre-existing beliefs of the religion, they also teach new revelations that have arised.
Some examples of New Religious Movements that are separate from any former religion are Spirit Movements and Reactive Movements. Spirit Movements claim to have an otherworldly connection to spiritual beings such as nature and ancestral spirits, ghost, and angels, among a variety of others. These movements tend to be very emotion based. They have this in common with Reactive Movements. Reactive movements are formed in response to social or political stress. When a problem arises in society some people turn to religious movements to possibly resolve the issue. Thus, a new religion is formed to address the stimulus.
Another circumstance in which a new religious movement would form would be when practices and ideas from a common monotheistic religion is combined with a less traditional spirit or shaman based religion. These religious movements are known as Hybrid Religions. They mix the spiritual aspects of indigenous religions with the traditional practices of more modern religions.
These are just a few of the many circumstances in which New Religious Movements form. Like stated previously religions are unpredictable and there are many reasons and ways that new ideas and practices can form into a new religious movement. They can come from anywhere and anyone at anytime.