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The world-affirming movements (or self- or psycho-religions) aim to transform the individual by providing the means for complete self-realization, in the sense of becoming fully aware that the real or inner self is divine and that the ultimate goal of the religious quest is not to know but to become God.
Durkheim studied the phenomenon of religion in some detail, especially within small-scale societies.
Religion provides an ordering system for societies, centred on a fundamental distinction between the sacred and the profane.
A generic term referring to the literally thousands of religious movements (and occasionally secular alternatives to religion) that have emerged world-wide, but especially in Africa, Japan, and the West during this cent. While for the most part highly syncretistic, the ritual and content of many of these new religions have been influenced, to a greater or lesser degree, by Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu spiritual techniques and perspectives.
There is also a sizeable number of Islamic-and Jewish-oriented new religions, and numerous esoteric, metaphysical, and neo-pagan movements.
Rather than assuming that there is a real phenomenon called religion and then exploring the varied ways in which it is manifest in society, ‘religion in use’ definitions are constructionist and investigate all those situations in which people themselves make reference to ‘religion’ or ‘religious meaning’ and engage in self-defined ‘religious’ practices.