new religious movements

by *Nom & Malc, via Flickr

Single Sister

I wondered if she wanted to leave. If she asks me to drive her away, would I take her?

Harold Camping.

The Man Behind Judgment Day

An interview with Harold Camping, predictor of the end of the world.

Tom Evans. Photo by author.

Dead-End Job

Meet the publicist for the May 21st apocalypse.

Killing the Buddha

Means of Demolishing Thetans

JonJ in Philadelphia writes, responding to J. C. Hallman’s recent essay, “Killing the Thetan,” a critique of Lawrence Wright’s widely-discussed story on Scientology: Yes, Wright’s piece in the New Yorker is straight journalism, but just because it follows the canons of that branch of literature, I think it is all the more convincing a demolition…

"2008-03-15 Anonymous Hollywood Scientology protest" by Jason Scragz, via Flickr.

Killing the Thetan

On what The New Yorker’s coverage of Scientology lacks.

The Atlantic

A Conflict of Interest?

I’ve had a subscription to The Atlantic for about a year now and find it increasingly unreadable. They’ve entrusted advice on dealing with Iran to Jeffrey Goldberg (an attack is inevitable!) and Henry Kissinger (an arms race and “limited” wars!). To write a puff-piece on Google’s news apparatus, they dispatched James Fallows, who in the middle…

Still from the movie "Ghost," with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze (1990).

The Sexologist’s Secret

What a radical Victorian feminist really knew about love.

Killing the Buddha

New Revelation from a “Son Of My Mother”

Leland Mellott has been kind enough to share with us some more details about his discoveries, of which he told us a bit earlier: By way of a powerful, transformative River Of Lightin my mind across the month of October 1981 (some eight weeks later I began speaking in tongues), I see that: We have entered…

Buy the book.

Long Live the Occult

Over at BigThink, Mitch Horowitz gives a whirlwind tour of American occultism, from its Renaissance origins to New Age spirituality, from Lincoln’s White House séances to quantum physics, from the Ouija board all the way to Jay-Z. Horowitz, the author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation, strikes a fine…


Studying Religion Is Revolutionary in China

Like pretty much everything else over there right now, religion is a growth industry in China. After decades of official repression a whole bunch of new religious movements—and, even more, new forms of old religions—are gathering steam. Trying to get a handle on this from back here in New York, I did an interview with…

"JM 7-2" by Katie Chao, via Flickr.

Kind of Like Jews

Noahidism is a religion for everyone and no one.

Killing the Buddha

Hipster Xians in Brooklyn

If you didn’t get enough Jay Bakker from Joseph Huff-Hannon’s “Happy Hour Gospel” last week, be sure to check out our friend Nicole Greenfield’s new essay at Religion Dispatches: “Cooler than Thou: Will Hipsters Wreck Christianity?” Bakker constantly reminds people in his sermons that his life and experience, his relationship with Jesus is no better…

Killing the Buddha

Maybe Religion Has a Future After All

Travel back in time to, say, the early seventies and—obviously, first things first—get thee to the closest sociology department. What you’ll probably find when you start asking about religion is lots of talk about how, and how soon, the whole mess will disappear into an invisible, private emptiness, having been vanquished by the onslaught of…


The Politics of Big Questions

As I’ve worked on questions of religion and reason, both in the academy and as a journalist, the John Templeton Foundation has been around every turn. As I called, corresponded, and visited with many of the leading thinkers in the science-and-religion discussion, caution was the prevailing tone—some even joked that I should get them on…

Moshe Rosen

In Jews-for-Jesus Heaven

Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz, the founder of Jews for Judaism, sounds forth on Moishe Rosen, the founder of Jews for Jesus, who died last week. Rabbi Kravitz, as my mother used to say, gives Rosen gut gesucht. He believed … that unless you believe in Jesus, you will burn in hell. This included the 6 million…


Terence, the Messiah

It has been a while since we’ve been contacted by a Chosen One. It used to happen fairly often, but the stream has tapered off some in recent months. That’s why we’re thrilled to hear from Terence today, who not only has the ONE TRUE FAITH, he IS it. Lucky. This is just one small…

Killing the Buddha

Please Don’t Tell Me What Hell Is

Rusty trailers barbed wire fences polygamy/molesting (natch) child labor nutjob leader “heaven on earth?” @

Killing the Buddha

42 Hours, $500, 65 Breakdowns

Finally, from Mother Jones, a new piece on the Landmark Forum by Laura McClure. It’s yet another in a line of first-person, female, and only partially-skeptical takes on the Forum’s brand of white-collar, secular prosperity gospel. This is certainly one of the major supposedly not-religious new religious movements on the scene today. If you don’t…