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New Religion in America

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New Religion in America

New Religion in America

Alternative Movements Gain Ground with Flexibility, Modernity

New Religion in America

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1895496/1895781" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The dominant faiths in America today include the Roman Catholic Church, Protestant Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. But an incredibly diverse range of smaller, less-known religions are flourishing, too. Sociologists say about 20 new religions pop up each year in the United States. Some survive; some live only for a season. In a four-part series, NPR explores some of the new religious trends.

Part 1: The Trends

Religions adapt and arise to reflect changing times. NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty starts the series with a look at why new religions can be influential — even if they're short-lived.

Part 2: The Toronto Blessing

Bradley Hagerty reports on The Toronto Blessing, the fastest growing Christian church. Pentecostal worshippers display a personal, physical connection with God through manifestations such as speaking in tongues and barking like dogs.

Part 3: Soka Gakkai

NPR's Mandalit del Barco explores a modern version of Buddhism known as Soka Gakkai. It was brought to the United States by Japanese war brides, and in the 1960s, it caught on with hippies. Now it has more than 300,000 adherents in the United States, most of them middle class, from all ethnic groups.

Part 4: Teens and Wicca

In the last installment, Bradley Hagerty looks at the popularity of Wicca, or witchcraft, among young people. Teens seem to be drawn to Wicca, among other reasons, because it can be tailored to the individual's needs. Some of the teens' parents are Wiccans themselves. But other parents are alarmed.

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