Modern Religious Cults and Movements

By Gaius Glenn Atkins | Go to book overview

Introduction

THE last thirty years, though as dates go this is only an approximation, have witnessed a marked development of religious cults and movements largely outside the lines of historic Catholicism and Protestantism. One of these cults is strongly organized and has for twenty years grown more rapidly in proportion than most of the Christian communions. The influence of others, more loosely organized, is far reaching. Some of them attempt to give a religious content to the present trend of science and philosophy, and, generally, they represent the free movement of what one may call the creative religious con3sciousness of our time.

There is, of course, a great and constantly growing literature dealing with particular cults, but there has been as yet apparently no attempt to inquire whether there may not be a few unexpectedly simple centers around which, in spite of their superficial differences, they really organize themselves.

What follows is an endeavour in these directions. It is really a very great task and can at the best be only tentatively done. Whoever undertakes it may well begin by confessing his own limitations. Contemporaneous appraisals of movements upon whose tides we ourselves are borne are subject to constant revision. One's own prejudices, no matter how

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