Category: Cult Apologists

Ex-prosecutor: ‘Aum made preparations to topple the government’

Aum Shrinikyo The Aum Supreme Truth cult could have toppled the government and taken power, even only for a short period, by committing mass murder in Tokyo with 70 tons of deadly sarin gas and 1,000 automatic rifles, a former Supreme Court justice said in an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Meanwhile, New Religious Movements scholars — paid for by Aum Shinrikyo itself — defended the cult.

He Wrote the Book on American Religions

Among scholars, research specialist J. Gordon Melton is known for his encyclopedias of spiritual beliefs. He’s also been known to sink his teeth into the study of vampires. SANTA BARBARA — It’s often said of academics, but for J. Gordon Melton it’s true: He really does have an encyclopedic mind. After all, Melton is the author of the Encyclopedia of American Religions, the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology and the Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena. Then, for fun, there’s “The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead.” “It’s my little niche,” Melton said. Actually, it’s a big niche. Erudite and eternally

UCSB research of ‘new religions’ returns surprises

Six weeks ago, 11 UCSB students set out to map the “new religious movements” in Santa Barbara and Ojai. To be truthful, they were a little afraid of what they might find. “I would have thought that they all had shaved heads and chanted, but it wasn’t like that at all,” said Sara Penrod, who will be a senior in the fall. “And now I know these groups can look like you and me, that they are all around and that they aren’t scary at all.” During five weeks of research, the students visited Theosophy lodges and Buddhist temples, storefronts

Cult experts snubbed by archbishop

An ecumenical group that provides information and advice for families of people involved with religious and other cults has been dismayed by a decision by the Archbishop of Canterbury not to follow his predecessors by becoming its patron. INFORM INFORM is a controversial cult information agency financed in part by an annual consultancy fee from British government. It claims to provides objective information from a pluralistic, middle-of-the-road perspective, but has a tendency toward defending cults. Founded and chaired by Eileen Barker (an agnostic). Ms. Barker is a board member of cult defenders organization CESNUR. Cult apologist Jeffrey K. Hadden‘s controversial

NPR’s New Religions Survey, Part I: Introduction

Listen NPR report on New Religious Movements (RealPlayer 9:43) Buyer Beware: This report includes the opinions of J. Gordon Melton and James R. Lewis – sociologists whose work has been referred to as a “travesty of research.” Both Melton and Lewis are cult apologists. Research resources on cult apologists As religions adapt and arise to reflect the changing times, NPR begins a four part series on new religious movements. NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty introduces the series with a look at the trends, and why new religions may be influential, even if short lived. New Religions Survey, Part I: Introduction New

Odd Gods: New Religions & the Cult Controversy

Sociology of Religion, Spring 2003 http://infobrix.yellowbrix.com/ Odd Gods: New Religions & the Cult Controversy, JAMES R. LEWIS (ED.), Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2001, 435 pp., $33.00 (cloth). This book is an encyclopedic review, not unlike Lewis’s earlier The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions, published in 1999 by the same press. One major difference with this volume is that it contains two narrative chapters and categorizes the groups according to religious tradition rather than simply putting them in alphabetical order. Lewis’s purpose, stated clearly at the outset, is to counter the general public’s negative perception of cults and new

Researcher Finds His Place Among The Cults

Daily Nexus UC Santa Barbara’s Student Newspaper http://www.ucsbdailynexus.com/news/2003/4523.html By Christine Bai – Staff Writer Tuesday, February 18, 2003 A UC Santa Barbara researcher has found a lot of different people who have found a lot of different gods, be it God, Allah, Buddha or Ramtha, a 35,000-year-old spirit warrior from Atlantis that J.Z. Knight of Tacoma, Washington claims to be inhabited by. Published last December, J. Gordon Melton’s seventh edition of the Encyclopedia of American Religion documents the existence of over 2,000 religious groups throughout the world. Melton is the director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion,

Author’s Lifetime of Collecting Information on Religious Sects Produces Invaluable Guide

The Associated Press, Jan. 31, 2003 http://abcnews.go.com/ Americans are proud of their freedom of religion, and the work of J. Gordon Melton shows they have a whole lot of religions to choose from. The Roman Catholic Church may be huge but it’s only one among 116 Catholic denominations. Orthodox Christians have an even higher total, and Protestantism is notoriously splintered; its Pentecostal segment alone counts groups by the hundreds. There’s a denomination for practically everyone. If the Episcopal Church won’t do, worshippers can move leftward into the Metaphysical Episcopal Church or Free Episcopal Church, or rightward into dozens of breakaways

U.Va. religious studies professor dies at age 66

Associated Press, Jan. 27, 2003 http://www.dailypress.com/ CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — University of Virginia professor Jeffrey K. Hadden, a nationally known authority on religious trends and the Christian Right, died at his home in Charlottesville on Sunday from pancreatic cancer. He was 66. Hadden, a professor of sociology and religious studies, published about 25 books and researched such topics as the family, civil rights, race relations, urban studies and religion. His acclaimed 1969 book “The Gathering Storm in Churches” was a study of Protestant clergy in the Civil Rights movement. During the 1980s, Hadden studied religious broadcasters and the emergence of the