World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Center for Studies on New Religions

 

Center for Studies on New Religions

CESNUR (English: Center for Studies on New Religions, Italian: Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni), is an organization based in Turin, Italy. It was established in 1988 by a group of religious scholars from universities in Europe and the Americas, working in the field of new religious movements. Its director is the Italian sociologist and attorney Massimo Introvigne. CESNUR defines itself as being independent of any religious group, church, denomination or association. It has evolved into a network of scholars and organizations who study the field.

Aims

According to their website, CESNUR is devoted to promote scholarly research in the field of new religious consciousness, and are dedicated to exposing the problems associated with some movements, while defending the principles of religious liberty.

While established by a group of scholars who were mostly Roman Catholics, CESNUR is not affiliated with any religious group or denomination and has from the outset included scholars of various religious persuasions.[1] The Italian authorities recognized CESNUR as a public non-profit organization in 1996 and are currently the main contributors to CESNUR projects.[1] Other sources of income include book royalties and member contributions.[1]

CESNUR gives a greater weight to religious freedom than anti-cult activists and is critical about concepts like mind control, thought reform, and brainwashing asserting that they lack scientific and scholarly support and are mainly based on anecdotal evidence. They do not believe that all religious movements are benign but oppose special laws against religious movements.

CESNUR sponsor yearly conferences in the field of new religions. Conferences have been held inter alia at the London School of Economics (1993 and 2001), the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil (1994), the Sapienza University of Rome (1995), the Université de Montréal (1996), the Free university of Amsterdam (1997), the Industrial Union in Turin (1998), the Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania (1999), the University of Latvia in Riga (2000), the University of Utah and Brigham Young University (2002), and the University of Vilnius (2003).

CESNUR-affiliated scholars include:

Criticism and response

CESNUR has been criticized by the Christian countercult movement and cult-watching organizations, and some former members of movements they consider to be cults. CESNUR rebuts these criticisms by saying that most of the information supplied by anti-cult activists is theoretical and anecdoctal, based on second-hand accounts by families of members, press-clippings, and accounts of ex-members who rationalize their past. One CESNUR-affiliated scholar responds to Hein's criticisms by stating that "Some of us – myself (Douglas Cowan), Eileen (Barker), Massimo (Introvigne), Jeff (Hadden), Irving Hexham, Anson Shupe, David Bromley, Gordon Melton – are listed on Hein's site as dedicated 'cult apologists' of varying degrees of prominence.

Scholars Stephen A. Kent and Raffaella Di Marzio consider CESNUR's representation of the brainwashing controversy one-sided, polemical and sometimes without scholarly value.[2][3] Di Marzio, however, later somewhat changed her views, left the Catholic counter-cult organization Gruppo di Ricerca e di Informazione sulle Sette (GRIS) and worked quite regularly with CESNUR. She is listed among the contributors of the CESNUR online encyclopedia "Religions in Italy".[4]

In an official OSCE report, Dick Marty, Swiss senator and member of the OECD Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, answered criticism by Introvigne, who was himself an official Rapporteur at the OCSE conference held in Vienna on March 22, 1999: "The CESNUR report misrepresents the contents of the "Regards sur" newsletter: taking everything into account, there is insufficient credible evidence for the allegations to be made out. As to the CESNUR document and in the absence of corroborative material, the Rapporteur views its credibility in the light of his conclusions on the partial and misleading report of the Beijing Conference."[5]

Introvigne responded by claiming that the anti-cult movement have accused CESNUR of being a front for "Freemasonry, a "Methodist cult", the Roman Catholic Church and a number of Catholic organizations, including Opus Dei and Alleanza Cattolica." He noted that one of the directors, J. Gordon Melton, was an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, and that Introvigne himself was a member of Alleanza Cattolica, which he described as "a lay Catholic organization, enjoying a good relationship with a number of Italian Catholic dioceses where it is established, about which much nonsense has been written in Germany". Introvigne stated that CESNUR's only institutional funding came from the government of the Region of Piedmont, and that it did not receive funds from any religious organization or institution.[6]

References

External links

  • Homepage of CESNUR

Template:New Religious Movements, Cults, and Sects

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.