Forty years after first publication, Needleman's book still provides wise insights on the attraction of new religions and religious movements for seekers in the West. I just read this new Tarcher Cornerstone edition (the first time I have ever read the entire book) and it confirmed my own experience with religions and spirituality over the same period.
Beginning in the 60s, many teens and adults (myself included) intuitively responded to the potentials for personal and cosmic transformation within the new religions, potentials either ignored or even demonized in our own conventional religious communities. For me, this response is ongoing, with the deepening understanding that each tradition may assist in that transformation, but it "takes a village," a global village of religions and spiritualities to support the continuing experience.
Needleman's book was an early recognition of transformative religious potentials for the West in the exotic traditions of the East; reading this new edition now allows me to recognize and honor that potential in my own experience. Read it for yourself, again, or for the first time.
on December 30, 2010
While this book was written some time ago, it is still as relevant as when it was written. The New Religions are still a prominent force today, perhaps more of force. The book gives us a good idea of why and also gives those of us concerned with religion and spirituality a way forward.