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Violence, Conspiracies, and New Religions

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Stimulated by the vast scholarly output of James Lewis, experts opine on violence, conspiracies, and new religious movements. On violence, Mark Juergensmeyer explains his “epistemic worldview analysis” in interviewing religious terrorists; Michael Barkun describes transnational conspiracy theories such as the Sovereign Citizens Movement and QAnon; David Bromley highlights the “lost cause movement” which built up confederate identity for Southerners long after the Civil War; Mattias Gardell explores the link between bibliocaust and holocaust from 1499 Granada through the National Socialists of WWII to the Qur’an burnings of Rasmus Paladan in contemporary Sweden. On new religious movements, Rebecca Moore critiques the reputed pathology of the leader in “suicide cults,” the problem with “monolithic inferences” in examining members’ willingness to die, and the elusiveness of comparative new religions to rigid stereotyping; Catherine Wessinger investigates the extraordinary charisma of David Koresh of the Branch Davidians at Waco, 76 of whom died in the 1993 conflagration with U.S. agents. On media and the law, Carole Cusack traces arguments about religious dress codes in liberal versus illiberal societies; Stefano Bigliardi and his students point out the misleading portrayal of religious sects in films; Zang Xinzhang clarifies the Chinese concept of Xie Jiao in application to Falun Gong. Margo Kitts summarizes the stellar contributions in the introduction.

Published: Oct 1, 2024

Section Chapter Authors
Violence, Conspiracies, and New Religions Margo Kitts
Part I: Religion and Violence
1. Researching Religious Terrorism Mark Juergensmeyer
2. Conspiracy Theories Across Borders Michael Barkun
3. Lost Cause: The Rise and Fall of a Symbolic Crusade Movement David Bromley
4. By the Cleansing Flames of Fire: Koran burnings, Racialized Religion and Politized Nostalgia in Sweden Mattias Gardell
Part II: New Religious Movements
5. James R. Lewis and Jonestown Studies Rebecca Moore
6. The Charisma of David Koresh Catherine Wessinger
Part III: Media and the Law
7. Invented Religions and the Law: The Significance of Colanders, Hoods, and Pirate Costumes for Members of Jediism and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Carole Cusack
8. Director’s Cu(l)ts, Reel Researchers: Exploring Sects in the Movies Stefano Bigliardi, Abdelmojib Chouhbi, Mohamed Amine Ghafil, Amine Nakari, Danya Tazi Mokha, Salma Zahidi
9. The Complicated Relationship between Xie Jiao and Cult in the PRC Zhang Xinzhang, Xu Weiwei