CESNUR International Conference
An International Conference organized by CESNUR, Italian Association of Sociology (AIS) – Sociology of Religions Section, and the School of Political Science – University of Torino
Torino, Italy, 9-11 September 2010
Università di Torino – Facoltà di Scienze Politiche – Via G. Plana 10
Following is the abstract I submitted:
“The renewal of American metaphysical religion: an analysis of Christ Church Unity, Orlando, Florida, USA »
Changing gods or believing in multiple gods: spirituality has become the hallmark of new religious movements for the past twenty years. The so-called American metaphysical religion is undergoing a renewal in terms of social, theological and philosophical contents.
This paper intends to show how tangible this renewal is through the example of Christ Church Unity, Orlando, which is a Unity church member of the International New Thought Alliance.
I will first focus on the importance of the metaphysical movement within the historical scope of American new religions, and the influence of Unity churches as co-founders of the movement called International New Thought Alliance. It also touches on the religion by region aspect which reveals the relevance of denominational and non-denominational religious and spiritual groups’ influence within a specific geographical area.
Christ Church Unity, Orlando has been experiencing a significant and unexpected growth quite recently, more than doubling its membership. Our purpose will be to demonstrate why and how this phenomenon has taken place, and the way ministers and church organization respond to it. The sociological, cultural and spiritual aspects will be considered in order to synthesize our field research and survey. We will show that most of the newcomers have come for a specific purpose and originate from various social and religious backgrounds. In addition, our data disclose significant transformations within the metaphysical message of Christ Church Unity, moving from a ‘substance’ philosophy to a ‘process’ one.