Questioning the Taken-for-granted
Studying minority religions can broaden the mind and challenge taken-for-granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’. This can include looking at how religions differ on issues such as health, proselytising, abortion, dress, diet, education, the role of women, prophecy and other sources of revelation. By doing this, the study of little-known religions can foster a comparative approach, facilitating students’ ability to discern not only the differences between new and more traditional religions, but also the similarities. At the same time, students can be encouraged to challenge concepts including religion itself, to explore less familiar concepts such as charisma, and to examine various processes, such as proselytism, disaffiliation and schism.
4. There are, for example, around 400 schismatic Mormon groups, Shields, S.L. 1990. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Independence, MO: HeraldHouse