Interactive Comparative Analysis Assignments
Students must submit three short assignments throughout the course that describe and analyze the web content in each unit. At the end of the course notes for each unit, there is a
Take a look at each of the websites listed above (Scientology & Raelianism). Compare and contrast the two sites highlighting the various similarities and differences. For example, consider the following questions: What kind of information is presented on each site? Is there an attempt to simply inform or perhaps encourage conversion? How are the ‘founding figures’ of each movement represented?
New Religious Movements
Religion remains an instrumental part of the society today with its influence proving too critical as it is essential in the development of the practices, norms, and behavior of the people ascribed to that religion. Despite religion being part of the society for several centuries to date, new religious movements have appeared on the scene, which has created severe complexity in understanding concepts of religion and the possible differences between the new religions, sects, and cults. Among the uprising new religions include Scientology and Raelian Movement, which form part of the new Western religions. According to sociologists of religion like Max Weber, sects often referred to splinter groups that broke away from mainstream religions to practice what they perceived as purer and modest, which in some cases led them to adopt rules that are more stringent and different dress codes. That is, new religions tended to originate from the existing ones but with some differences in terms of practice and values. This analysis thus focuses on two of the new religions, Scientology and real movement, through an examination of the information provided on their websites.
Through an in-depth study of the textbook and the websites, there appear impressive revelations about these religious movements that express significant levels of similarities and differences concerning their rise and practices over the period. Primarily, the websites aim at providing necessary information about the religions by offering a background that includes profiling their founders and the circumstances that inspired their decisions. Although seeking to inform, there is an attempt of conversion, especially where the websites provide reasons why they are legit compared to other movements and religious movements. For instance, through the Scientology website, there is a description of what entails Scientology, which according to them, refers to religion at its highest meaning; that is, through Scientology, man gains total freedom and truth. This is possible since man is an immortal spiritual being with unlimited capabilities that extends beyond a single life.
The Raelian Movement’s website, on the other hand, provides incredible fundamental beliefs through a description of the message, which supposedly describes the encounter of Claude Vorilhon, a then French journalist, with Elohim, a term they use to describe the people of the sky. Even though Elohim is a term also used in the Bible to denote how the Hebrews called God in the Old Testament, it refers to the aliens in the context of Raelians as it seeks to explain the origin of life and the future of the world. The website also goes beyond creating information to conversion, which arises because of the depth of how they present their philosophy. Furthermore, the website does impressively well to discredit other religions on several platforms, including the concepts of evolution, creation, deity, and faith, among others. Nevertheless, under the message section of the website, they make provisions for further research, thereby providing the believers an opportunity to explore and have an experience of the religion.
Moreover, the Scientology website represents its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, as an icon with great inspiration, which led to his readers beginning to congregate and have a church that has since experienced tremendous growth. Through his experience and removal of the deep-seated blocks in his mind after surviving the severe wounds from the Second World War, Hubbard made impressive revelations concerning the link between the soul and the body, which gave rise to the concept of the immortality of the soul. One of his books, The Modern Science of Mental Health, which became one of the best sellers, played a significant role, especially toward the institutionalization of the religion in the United States in1954. Therefore, through the website, you get to acquire a glimpse of the meaning of Scientology, which originates from Latin sci (“knowing”) and the Greek word logos (“study”) – as knowing about knowing. Under the premise of goodwill, religion supposes that humans are driven by the desire to survive and therefore have the right to survive as well as protect others.
The spread of these new religions is commendable, especially considering that they are coming up at a time when religion and faith-based movements are dominating the world scene. These expansionary works have a precise articulation in the websites with significant updates to help any prospective member have an idea of how deep the religions have grown. Necessarily, people tend to believe when other people within their geographical locality have identified with the new religions, which makes it sensible to make updates on the developments and progress that the organizations are experiencing. Furthermore, Scientologist tends to have a broader scope compared to the Raelians even though they also have significant differences in terms of their formation dates.
In conclusion, the websites provide important messages concerning these two upcoming religions, which, in connection with the ideas from the book, offer a remarkable knowledge base. The websites will in the gaps left by the book, especially of the developments that the religions have made after the publishing of the e-book. Besides, there is a lot about the Raelian movement on their website that provides an opportunity for questions and answers to help in cementing their belief with the people and expanding their territory. Irrespective of the challenges possessed by other major religious groups such as Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism, among others, they are gaining substantial membership that is inspiring and will be critical in their development. Therefore, the difference in the mode of presenting the information on the website is by design as it substantially achieves the intended objectives of informing and persuading into conversion.