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Having now taken the time to study in more detail Massimo Introvigne's 2001 paper [], which is the source (or at least a source) for the contention that NRM is a 'polite synonym' for the derogatory terms 'cult' or 'sect', it is completely clear that he was talking about the use of those terms specifically in connection with explicitly religious groups in the normally-understood sense of that word; not secular groups - for example such as personal development systems or multi-level marketing outfits - that had been described by someone or other as a "cult", possibly in a rhetorical sense. There is no indication there that the term NRM is defined to include "philosophical groups", and nor could I find such a definition anywhere else in my exploration of the writings on the subject. I am therefore removing this phrase from the lead, although of course it could be re-instated if anyone finds a satisfactory citation. DaveApter (talk) 10:11, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
Good. I also took out "ethical," leaving "religous" and "spiritual." If a group is ethical and not also religious and/or spiritual I don't think that would be within the reasonable range a "NRM." There are groups that are considered cults (by some), including the followers of Ayn Rand and Lyndon LaRarouche, who are non-religious or even anti-religious. But they belong in Cult not in this article. Borock (talk) 22:18, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
The very core of the idea of NRM as an academic subject is that people replace traditional religion with alternatives that fulfill the role of religion (personal revelation, an ethical basis, methods of resolving life problems, a structure for living, etc.). The term, from its earliest usage by Turner, was not restricted to mainstream conceptions of "religion" (a term which itself is broadly construed in academic literature), but broadly inclusive of a wide variety of non-traditional ways of addressing religious purposes. In sociology and psychiatry, NRM, by definition, also encompasses cults and sects which occupy religious roles, whether or not they are overtly religions. Introvigne's paper is predicting that the NRM term itself may be superceded, as has the term cult, and it is a huge, synthetic stretch to conclude from his paper that he is arguing for restricting the definition. Far from it, he is looking toward a alternative categorization scheme (and other scholars have made their own, differing proposals) that would replace the term NRM. That has not happened, or even begun to happen, however. Do we need to post quotes again from scholars that say that the term is broadly inclusive rather than narrow? I object to whittling away at the broadly inclusive definition that scholarship uses for NRM classification, which eventually begins to smack of WP:OR. • Astynaxtalk 19:27, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
The third sentence ("Scholars studying the sociology of religion have almost unanimously adopted this term as a neutral alternative to the word cult, which is often considered derogatory.") has citations supporting the latter claim (that "cult" is derogatory) but not the former (that scholars "have almost unanimously adopted" the terminology NRM rather than "cult"). Does this claim need a citation? DrSocPsych (talk) 21:39, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Not all NRMs are categorized as cults. However most scholars place cults and sects under the NRM classification, which was created to replace "cult" and "sect" and the perceived negative overtones of those terms. On the other hand, at least some scholars have never adopted the NRM designation, and still work with typologies which use the cult, sect, denomination, national religion terms to describe the degree of organization and socialization. • Astynaxtalk 08:24, 13 December 2013 (UTC)