Organizing religious movements which share a preoccupation with a material and spiritual salvation realizable in this world; charismatic leadership; and simple, popular forms of worship and participation. Direct access from the individual to the sacred is emphasized. Membership is drawn from across former hereditary and geographical boundaries.
While membership is drawn from across former hereditary and geographical boundaries, most participants are lower middle class. Considerable psychological and social support is provided by small groups for individual members. The new religions of Japan have had a phenomenal growth in the post-World War II period. They include Soka-gakkai, Reiji-kai and many others. The new religions have roots in Shinto, Buddhist, Confucian and Christian traditions.
It is clear that such movements mobilize massive numbers of people, providing the community networks which urban crowding and impersonality tend to destroy.
Unlike geographical communities of past centuries, these communities based on new religions focus around a group of ideas, a basis far more transient and potentially explosive.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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