|Going One God Further|
|Articles to not believe in|
Secular religion is a term referring to ideologies or philosophies that have no spiritual, supernatural, or religious components, but which the speaker claims mimic the forms of religious institutions.
Various elements of religion can be replaced or mimicked. This includes the philosophical basis of religion as an attempt to provide meaning and metaphysical underpinning, including providing impetus for moral behavior and good deeds. But it can also involve mimicking the ceremonial and social aspect of religion, replacing gatherings for worship with other regular gatherings and communal experiences, and replacing religious rituals for life events such as marking births, marriages, and deaths.
Nevertheless, the very concept of "secular religion" may be of doubtful validity, as it may be a simple oxymoron.
Atheism as a religion
This is one of the most commonly encountered examples of this trend. Critics of atheism, usually conservative/fundamentalist Christians, assert that atheism itself is a religious belief. It is somewhat bizarre that people who cherish so strongly the sanctity of their own beliefs should characterize something so alien to them as being a religion. One possibility is that they are so entrenched in their own religious mindset that they are unable to comprehend the idea of a non-religious belief. More likely, though, is that they believe they are pointing out some deep hypocrisy, in that atheists claim to reject religion while actually practicing it. (Then again, that could just loop back around to religious people finding non-religious worldviews inconceivable.)
For atheism to be considered a religion involves stretching the definition of religion to its loosest possible meaning — something like "a belief based on faith", in this case faith that there is no God. Even this is tenuous, for while some atheists have a strong conviction (arguably equivalent to religious faith) that God does not exist, an atheistic (or at least agnostic) viewpoint can also be achieved from taking the scientific (and therefore irreligious) attitude of only accepting as real things that are observable based on evidence.[note 1] The argument can be further refuted by analogy. If disbelief in God is a religion, then so is disbelief in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, unicorns, and leprechauns. The comparisons "Atheism is a religion like baldness is a hair color" and "Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby" are also commonly used.
In fact, of the secular philosophies which are inaccurately described as religions, atheism is the least like a religion of all, since it does not dictate a specific worldview. Contrary to the assumptions of many creationists, atheism does not necessarily require an acceptance of the big bang theory or the evolution of the species; it predated both of these. All atheism requires is the lack of belief that any God does exist. Unlike religions, atheism does not require any specific activities or observances. Assessed against the criteria which make up most definitions of religion (belief in supernatural beings, worship, ritual, etc.), viewing atheism as a religion just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
Do any atheists believe themselves to be practicing a religion? It seems unlikely. The only times they tend to take this position are in very rare cases over civil rights issues or to exploit a legal loophole. For example, in 2005, a federal court of appeals ruled in favor of a prison inmate's right to start a 'religious' study group for atheists. Ironically but unsurprisingly, when atheism is labeled as a religion, the loudest objections come from conservative Christians, in this case the American Family Association.
This criticism may not be totally off in every case, as in Alain de Botton's call to build "atheist temples", though in many ways, that example represents a form of architectural one-upmanship with religion, which heretofore had a near-monopoly on impressive and awe-inspiring buildings.
While atheism is not a religion per se, one characteristic of the so-called "new atheism" is the fact that its proponents sometimes evangelize or proselytize in a manner reminiscent of some religious believers. For these "new atheists", it's not enough for them to not believe in God; they actively work to encourage religious believers to
abandon their faith engage in critical thinking and skepticism in regard to their religious beliefs.
Christian-originated secular religions
Unitarian Universalism is probably the closest thing to an organized religion that deliberately makes room for secularism. Unitarian Universalists are free to (and in fact they must) create their own approach to religious belief and practice; for many of them, that means a religion with no concept of God/gods or the supernatural.
The Quakers have a non-negligible proportion of atheists. A 2018 survey of British Quakers found that 14% were atheists and 43% felt unable to express a belief in God, attending meetings for a sense of fellowship rather than divine guidance.
Many consider the Church of England to be asymptotically approaching being a secular religion, providing rituals like marriages and funerals and a place for the elderly to meet their friends, and with 2% of clergy reportedly atheist, though it still looks like fire-breathing fundamentalism compared to those two.
Those who decry "secular religions" often mean attributes often found in religions that secular ideologies, especially those aimed at improving the condition of humanity, sometimes acquire. Nationalism can serve this purpose. For example, there is little controversy about the messianic (in the larger sense) qualities of Marxism. The United States' foundation as a bastion of liberty and individual rights is also driven by a strong belief that these are good and essential to human happiness.
Both Marxist states and Western democracies have civil religions. The former Soviet Union staged public parades that featured images of Marxist culture heroes, and even shrines for pilgrimage such as Lenin's tomb. In East Germany, religious coming of age rituals like Roman Catholic confirmation (first communion) or Jewish Bar Mitzvahs were replaced by a state coming of age ritual, the Jugendfeier, which still persists in the reunified capitalist German state. The United States' civil religion involves many rituals around quasi-sacred objects like the flag, and is heavily inflected with Christian tropes: the nation is The New Jerusalem, The Shining City on a Hill. America also has mythology about its Founders[note 2] and esteemed presidents, with memorials and landmarks visited by the patriotic/pious. Some Americans, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, refuse to recite The Pledge of Allegiance, claiming that it is idolatrous. Other nations also have secular rituals such as citizenship ceremonies.
Evolution as a religion
This is a favourite argument of creationists, who like to claim that the issue of evolution (or, as they call it, "evolutionism" or "Darwinism") versus creationism "is not science versus religion, but religion versus religion (the science of one religion versus the science of another religion)". An example comes from The Lie: Evolution by Ken Ham, but betrays a profound misunderstanding of both religion, which it defines only as a "cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith" (quote-mined from the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary), and evolution. Ham's ridiculous argument seems to be that nothing can be scientifically concluded from fossils/evidence since we can study them only in the present and have no direct access to their role in the past, unlike "the irrefutable evidence of the Scriptures", which were clearly written in the time of Ken Ham.
From a more rational perspective, it is clear that the evolution of species is a scientific theory, predicated on scientific foundations and with scientific applications. Even if its acceptance is considered to be a matter of personal faith, it does not meet any of the defining criteria to be considered a religion.
In May 2015, Kenneth Smith filed a lawsuit against the Jefferson County, West Virginia Board of Education, the National Institute of Health, and Department of Education, claiming that evolution was a religion, and that it was therefore unconstitutional for his daughter's public school to teach it as fact. The suit did not mention any case law (e.g., McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education (1982), "it is clearly established in the case law, and perhaps also in common sense, that evolution is not a religion and that teaching evolution does not violate the Establishment Clause."), and is high in errors and low in facts. Kenneth Smith is apparently the author of the pungent, racist Christian screed The True Origin of Man (2013).
Philosophies drawn from "evolutionism" vary from social Darwinism to modern humanism. Some have more of a resemblance to religion, even if not meeting the full definition, but these are not part of the theory itself. Types of "evolutionism" that mimic religion often include notions that are decidedly anti-evolutionary or non-Darwinian. The notion of evolution as "progress", for example, heavily influenced thinkers such as Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Herbert Spencer. Eugenics has often been characterized as a quasi-religious movement based on pseudo-evolutionary ideas. In fact, Charles Davenport, the grandaddy of eugenics in the US, produced a pamphlet titled "Eugenics as a Religion" that laid out a eugenic "creed". The movement became religious in the more literal sense as some Christian churches supported eugenics and held sermon contests for its promotion. In modern times, biologist E.O. Wilson (1929–2021) had advocated using evolution as the basis of a quasi-religious mythos he called the "epic of evolution".
Environmentalism and 'nature worship'
Among the more persuasive variants of the 'secular religion' theory is an anthropological explanation proposed, for example, by Michael Crichton in his criticism of environmentalism:
I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social structures always reappear. They can't be eliminated from society. One of those structures is religion. Today it is said we live in a secular society in which many people — the best people, the most enlightened people — do not believe in any religion. But I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.
Crichton controversially suggested that environmentalists look back to a fabled paradise state of Eden in which humans lived in unity with nature, before deconstructing this idyllic view of nature which, in fact, few if any environmentalists have ever professed. Crichton points to a few similarities with religion, such as environmentalists' fear of 'apocalyptic' doom if humankind doesn't redress its 'sins' of pollution and destruction, before telling us that DDT and second-hand smoke are harmless. His argument that sustainability is put forward as a form of religious salvation makes little sense, since sustainability is a system for managing resources, having more in common with economics than with religion.
To its most devoted adherents, environmentalism may present a coherent, almost religious, worldview that is espoused with zealotry, but its core beliefs rest on scientific observations and theories (such as global warming, espoused by the "warmist cult") rather than the supernatural deities that characterise a religion. Conservatives often counter this by attempting to associate mainstream environmentalism with pagan worship of the goddess Gaia or Mother Earth. This conservative argument attempts to conflate the groups of hard greens and neopagans that subscribe to a sort of religious version of environmentalism with all environmentalism. These types often engage in magical thinking about the environment, such as subscribing to hard forms of the Gaia hypothesis. It may also include a form of "back to the land" romanticism or anarcho-primitivism such as that found in the works of John Zerzan. These brands of hard green environmentalism are more commonly found among hard-line Malthusians.
Marxism as a religion
“”Primitive communism is Eden; the invention of private property is the Fall; the stages of society thereafter are the different dispensations of sacred history; Marx is Jesus, the First International his apostles and disciples, the international Communist movement the Church, proletarian revolution the Second Coming, socialism the Millennium, and communism the New Jerusalem which descends from heaven…
|—John Michael Greer|
“”In one important sense, Marxism is a religion. To the believer it presents, first, a system of ultimate ends that embody the meaning of life and are absolute standards by which to judge events and actions; and, secondly, a guide to those ends which implies a plan of salvation and the indication of the evil from which mankind, or a chosen section of mankind, is to be saved.
Karl Marx's, along with his collaborator Friedrich Engels', writings have had a dramatic influence on world politics. Marxism as an outgrowth of their work has had a storied and turbulent development. Marxists come in all shades, from rational, to pseudoscientific, to the utterly fanatical, the latter of which being what this section describes. Despite seminal Marxist texts encouraging the use of the scientific method and attempting to formulate socialism as a scientific venture, many followers came to revere Marx as an almost prophetic figure and, when put in power, enforced this reverence with cruelty.
In former communist countries, Marx was given a personality cult and was viewed as immune to criticism. Various later developments in Marxism (Stalinism, Maoism, Ho Chih Min Thought, etc.) grew to have their own fervently zealous circles surrounding them; Lenin's contributions to Marxist philosophy (Marxism-Leninism) are perhaps the most famous. Critics of communism were labeled as "counter-revolutionary criminals" and were jailed or even executed, which can be compared to the execution of critics of state religion on charges of blasphemy or apostasy. This took the form of the gulag system and Great Purge in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin and the Cultural Revolution in China under Mao Zedong. Richard Kapuściński, in his book Imperium about his travels in the Soviet Union, wrote that the idea of creating a religion without a god was considered. However, during Stalin's rule, his cult of personality effectively led to a religion in which Stalin played the role of a god. In God is not Great, Christopher Hitchens speaks of his loss of belief in Marxism as closely analogous to loss of religious belief.
While it displays similarities in such practices, Marxism lacks the supernatural beliefs (although the "force of history" is close), rituals, and other common aspects of religions. However, in the North Korean schism of Marxism, according to official ideology, there are miraculous beliefs related to the ruling family. For example, the birth of Kim Jong-il was accompanied by winter changing into spring, a star illuminating the sky, and a double rainbow spontaneously appearing. Marxism as a memeplex is analogous to the model of a religion, even including something of the transcendent (in its eventual goal of "class consciousness") and a mantra by which to dismiss or insult any doubter or unbeliever ("false consciousness"). The prediction of an eventual worldwide revolution that would result in an essentially utopian existence has also struck many as having religious overtones, bearing resemblance to a prophecy.
Yahweh: Dialectical Materialism
The Messiah: Marx
The Elect: The Proletariat
The Church: The Communist Party
The Second Coming: The Revolution
Hell: Punishment of the Capitalists
The Millennium: The Communist Commonwealth:363-364
According to economist John Maynard Keynes, not only was Marx a prophet, but Das Kapital is basically worshipped as a religious text. As he summarizes: "How can I accept a doctrine which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete economic textbook which I know to be not only scientifically erroneous but without interest or application for the modern world?"
Liberalism as a religion
The most famous example of equating liberalism with religion is Ann Coulter's book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, in which she argued that liberalism has become America's "official state religion",:2 complete with its own creation stories, gods, martyrs, clergy, doctrines, and sacraments. The argument basically boils down to a familiar attack on the curricula and values taught in public schools, whose teachers Coulter regards as "clergy" baptising children into the cult of liberalism, and the alleged liberal bias of the media. It also involves lumping together many beliefs and stances, such as evolutionary theory and the pro-choice movement, which, although held by many liberals, are not part of a strict set of political or religious tenets. Furthermore, it takes a really warped stretch of the imagination to see abortions as religiously-motivated "virgin sacrifices", as Coulter apparently does.
The market as a religion
Extreme forms of "neoliberalism" have been characterized pejoratively as "market-worship" or "market fundamentalism" (the term 'market fundamentalism' was coined by Jonathan Benthall in 1991 and popularized by George Soros:xx). Ernest Partridge identifies the sacred text as Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, which explicates the all-powerful force of "The Invisible Hand" (even though Smith himself would disagree with this interpretation). He further identifies conservative and libertarian think-tanks as "seminaries", pundits as the "priesthood", and the government as "the devil". Mark Wexler has also used the concept of the invisible hand in connection with intelligent-design creationism.
The Market-God can have various co-gods or sub-gods,[note 3] such as capitalism, Business,:15-16:17-18 and The Economy. (Our economy — not someone else's.) Politicians of the populist sect may conceptually subdivide the Market-God and concentrate on its divine offspring, the Job-Market-God.
Reason as a religion
During the bleakest days of the French Revolution, the Cult of Reason was established by the newly-created French Republic. The atheistic state religion was created as an attempt to substitute for the Roman Catholic Church, and would soon resort to the same methods used by its predecessor. The Cult of Reason transformed the Catholic altars into "Temples of Reason" and even had its own liturgy, the "Festival of Reason". The persecution of the Catholic Church by the adherents of the new cult unsurprisingly strengthened the opposition to the Revolution:739 and, as a result, the Cult of Reason was replaced in 1794 by the Cult of the Supreme Being, which made the same blunders nonetheless. Both religions were finally abolished less than a decade later by Napoleon Bonaparte, who made Catholicism once more the de facto official religion in France.
Transhumanism as a religion
Transhumanism has been characterized as a techno-utopian political ideology and a secular religion. The Singularity in particular has been derided as a "rapture of the nerds". Other quasi-religious concepts infest the philosophy, such as the Cartesian dualism implied by mind uploading and the quest for immortality in cryonics.
Personality cults that lack supernatural elements are often characterized as secular religions. The Juche movement in North Korea, also referred to as Kimilsungism, is regarded by some as a religion, with worshiping former dictator Kim Il Sung as a major component.
Synanon, a drug treatment center with an authoritarian leader, even recognized its de facto status as a religion despite being a secular movement, and attempted in the mid-1970s to legally reorganize as the Church of Synanon.
Although atheism alone is not a religion, it is possible for an atheist to hold religious beliefs, and some religious sects or groups are largely nontheistic.
- Nontheist Friends are Quakers who do not believe in the personal God of the Bible.
- Many Theravada Buddhists lack belief in any deities in the traditional Western sense (the Buddha was not a god, although stories of his life often have supernatural aspects).
- Some sects of Hinduism accept atheism as a stance one can take, while the Charvaka, Mīmāṃsā, and Samkhya schools of Hinduism are explicitly atheistic.
- LaVeyan Satanists almost exclusively deny the existence of God, but it's a very tongue-in-cheek "religion".
- Unitarian Universalists have diverse views of theology, but atheists and other non-Christians outnumber Christians within the church.
- There are various types of nontheistic Judaism. Beliefs usually range from strict adherence to the laws of the Torah without a belief in the Jewish god to those who simply were born into or participate in elements of Jewish culture, making it more of an ethnic than religious identity. This usually goes by the name of "secular Judaism", "cultural Judaism", or "Jewish atheism".
- Dudeism is a non-theistic religion based on Taoism, using the film The Big Lebowski to spread its message of chilling out with White Russians, weed, and going bowling.
- Raëlism is a non-theistic religion that doesn't believe in [any Earth] Gods; however, it does feature aliens that adherents view as essentially divine (though believers claim that these aliens are not supernatural beings).
- Humanism is not a religion, but organisations such as Humanists UK provide officiants for weddings and funerals, taking roles traditionally filled by religious figures.
- Researchers of New Religious Movements note that some "therapy cults" (e.g., Erhard Seminars Training and derivatives) have religious elements.:166
- Atheopaganism upholds the values associated with neopaganism (respect for nature and others, equality of sexes, celebration of festivities such as those of the Wheel of the Year), while at the same time having a secular worldview: rejecting the supernatural elements, considering deities as personifications of different concepts, regarding magic to be just psychological, and supporting science.
- Climate change as a religion, and the more general use of “religion” as a term of insult, Andrew Gelman
- Economist Bob Nelson Examines Secular Religions, University of Maryland
- Ultimately, there is no firm evidence for or against the existence of any god(s), with all things that could be claimed as evidence in either direction having alternative explanations and counterarguments of at least moderate validity. While there is no "smoking gun" (or even an argument that lacks any severe flaws) that actually proves the existence of god(s) without requiring faith to be convinced in the first place, one who disbelieves in all gods is equally unable to prove their point because of the inherent difficulty of proving a negative, and can only go so far as to argue that god(s) is/are unlikely to exist. Ultimately, though, it is infeasible for debating to convince anyone to abandon their religion, accept a religious belief, or otherwise move from one religion or non-religious stance to another, because a person's worldview, including their religious belief or lack thereof, tends to be a deeply-entrenched part of their identity as a human being, akin to ethnicity or nationality. Thus, a person cannot change their mind about religion without accepting that everything they thought they knew about the world was
a liefaulty information, and thus enduring intense cognitive dissonance in the process.
- For example, only a few months after his death, Washington was the subject of his first hagiography.
- Persons of the Trinity, demigods, saints — take your pick of the available theological terminology…
- Religion of Atheism by Adrian Barnett (archived from February 27, 2010).
- Atheism & Religion: Atheism Myths by Austin Cline,About.com (archived from March 29, 2013).
- Is Atheism a Religion? Defining Atheism and Religion by Austin Cline,About.com (archived from March 29, 2013).
- Court rules atheism a religion (August 20, 2005) World Net Daily (archived from July 9, 2006).
- Oh, Please. by PZ Myers (26 January 2012) Freethought Blogs.
- Alain de Botton wants 'temples for atheists' by Duncan Geere (25 January 12) Wired UK (archived from March 9, 2012).
- Welcome! nontheistfriends.org.
- See the Wikipedia article on Nontheist Quakers.
- The Quakers are right. We don’t need God by Simon Jenkins (Fri 4 May 2018 02.00 EDT) The Guardian.
- Two per cent of Anglican priests don't believe in God, survey finds by Jonathan Wynne-Jones (27 October 2014 19:17) The Independent.
- An Interesting Coming of Age Ritual in Germany by Michael Schmitz (Updated February 28, 2017) Thought.co, (archived from October 14, 2017).
- A History, of the Life and Death, virtues, and Exploits of General George Washington by Mason Locke Weems (1800) John Bioren.
- The Lie: Evolution. Chapter 2: Evolution Is Religion by Ken Ham (July 1, 1987) Answers in Genesis (archived from March 19, 2015).
- religion: noun Merriam-Webster's Dictionary.
- Antievolution lawsuit filed in West Virginia National Center for Science Education (May 22nd, 2015)
- The True Origin of Man by Kenneth Smith (2013) iUniverse. ISBN 1475989660.
- Is Evolution a Secular Religion? by Michael Ruse (7 Mar 200) Science 299(5612):1523-1524. doi:10.1126/science.1082968.
- Evolution as a Religion by Mary Midgley (2002) Routledge. 2nd edition. ISBN 0415278333.
- Eugenics as a Religion by Charles Davenport, via American Philosophical Society Library.
- Topic: Religion Eugenics Archive
- See the Wikipedia article on Epic of Evolution.
- Environmentalism as Religion by Michael Crichton (September 15, 2003) Speech at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco (archived from December 23, 2007).
- See, for example, Conservapedia's "Environmentalist" article, "Environmentalism as Religion" by John M. Ostrowski, and "Environmentalism is a Religion (Photographic Proof)" (which featured as a main page "news" item at Conservapedia during September 2008).
- The Religion of Progress by John Michael Greer (April 10, 2013) The Archdruid Report (archived from June 4, 2013).
- Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy by Joseph A. Schumpeter (2008) Harper Perennial Modern Classics. 3rd edition. ISBN 0061561614.
- Imperium by Richard Kapuściński (1993) Czytelnik. ISBN 9029525134.
- Understanding Karl Marx: Hoisted from the Archives from Four Years Ago May Day Weblogging by Brad DeLong (May 01, 2013 at 03:45) Typepad.
- A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell (1945) Simon & Schuster.
- Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes by Richard Davenport-Hines (2015) Basic Books. ISBN 0465060676.
- China's Xi Jinping Tells Party Members Marxism, Socialism Should Be 'Life's Purposes'
- Godless: The Church of Liberalism by Ann Coulter (2006) Crown Forum. ISBN 1400054206.
- Is There a Godless Church of Liberalism or Atheism? Responding to Ann Coulter by Austin Cline (2007) About.com (archived from September 12, 2007).
- Is Godless Liberalism a Religion? by Austin Cline (2007) About.com (archived from September 17, 2007).
- "Inside information on 'the market'" by Jonathan Benthall (1991) Anthropology Today 7(4):1–2.
- The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered by George Soros (1998) PublicAffairs. ISBN 1891620274.
- The State Religion by Ernest Partridge (January 10, 2002) Democratic Underground.
- "The other invisible hand emanates out of the notion of intelligent design (Carey, 1998; Dembski, 2002; Ruse 2004)." by Mark Wexler, Journal of Ideology.
- Capitalism as Religion? A Study of Paul Tillich's Interpretation of Modernity by Francis Ching-Wah (2010) Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674021479.
- [https://books.google.com/books?id=ACxuy_kCWY0C The Religion of Business and the Business of Religion by Alfred Bowen EVANS (1856) Edward Lumley. "That a life of business and a life of devotion to God must go together, with the Apostle's admonition before our minds, there can be no question … business and religion, the duties of this life and the preparation for the life to come, with a man of fervent spirit, are not two things, so much as two phases of the same thing."
- God Goes to Work: New Thought Paths to Prosperity and Profits by Tom Zender (2010) John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0470563656. "It has even been stated that people today do indeed worship at work instead of at church. … Business-as-religion never took hold of the United States and the other major world states in the way conspiracy theorists once feared it would; but those brief years are just one example of how spirituality and business have attempted, and failed at, amalgamation. Spirituality and business have a natural attraction. Like opposite sides of a magnet, they are eternally drawn to each other through their similar roots. They are flipsides of the most basic of all concepts: the transaction."
- Religion as Economy and Economy as Religion by Jonathan Friedman (1998) Rowman Altamira. 2nd edition. ISBN 0761989331.
- See the Wikipedia article on Job market.
- The History of the World by J. M. Roberts & Odd Arne Westad (2013) Oxford University Press. 6th edition. ISBN 0199936765.
- Documents upon Napoleon and the Reorganization of Religion. The Napoleon Series.
- Transhumanism – The Final Religion? by Dirk Bruere (July 16, 2015) Insitute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies (archived from July 21, 2015).
- Is Transhumanism a Religion? by Franklin Veaux, Think Beyond Us.
- The Rapture of the Nerds by Jessica Roy & Melbourne Beach (April 17, 2014 2:02 PM EDT) Time.
- The Big Religion Chart Religion Facts *(archived from February 16, 2011).
- What is a Nontheist? by James Riemermann (September 20, 2006) nontheistfriends.org.
- Researching New Religious Movements: Responses and Redefinitions by Elisabeth Arweck (2006) Taylor & Francis. ISBN 041527754X. "Schneider (1995: 189-190) lists organizations, such as Landmark Education, Verein zur Foerderung der Psychologischen Menschenkenntnis (VPM), Scientology/Dianetics, Ontologische Einweihungsschule (Hannes Scholl), EAP, and Die Bewegung (Silo) as examples of 'therapy cults'. These groups do not immediately suggest religion or Weltanschauung, but reveal ideological and religious elements on closer inspection.