New Age

Authored by: Olav Hammer

The Occult World

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415695961
eBook ISBN: 9781315745916
Adobe ISBN: 9781317596769


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In a West where the Christian churches no longer have any ideological hegemony, various forms of ‘alternative’ religion have become widespread indeed. Whereas organized new religious movements (NRMs) tend to attract few people, looser forms of religiosity have entered the cultural mainstream. These include such miscellaneous interests as astrology, Reiki healing, channeling, past life regression, aura photography, swimming with dolphins, and positive thinking. In much of the scholarly literature that has appeared on these topics, the term New Age is used to sum up these interests (e.g., Heelas 1996; Hanegraaff 1996). Other authors insist, on the contrary, that the epithet ‘New Age’ is meaningless, derogatory, or a term made up by the mass media (e.g., Wood 2007; Bochinger 1994; see Chryssides 2007 for a discussion of the issues involved).

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