World Religions & Spirituality Projects

Academic Journals Dedicated to Research on Contemporary Religions

Nova Religio is a multidisciplinary, international journal that publishes original research on emergent and alternative religious movements with the objective of contributing to an understanding of both the distinctive features of these movements and the social contexts in which they appear.

Journal of Contemporary Religion is an international journal that examines contemporary expressions of religion and spirituality, in new movements or more established forms, from anthropological, sociological, psychological, and philosophical perspectives.

International Journal for the Study of New Religions (IJSNR) is sponsored by the International Society for the Study of New Religions (ISSNR), which has its headquarters in Goteborg, Sweden. The journal promotes interdisciplinary research on new types of religiosity, both in the form of new religious movements and new expressions of established religions.

Academic Associations Concerned with the Study of Contemporary Religions

American Academy of Religion (AAR) is the largest professional group representing Religious Studies. AAR's stated mission is to fill the need for understanding “religious traditions, issues, questions and values." AAR holds annual meetings in cities around the United States and publishes the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. AAR sponsors the New Religious Movements Group, which "seeks to enhance understanding of alternative, emergent, or new religious movements (NRMs) past and present."

Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) is an independent, international organization that promotes scholarly research on religious minorities, new religious movements, contemporary esoteric, and spiritual and Gnostic schools. Annual meetings are held at sites around the world. CESNUR's website contains an extensive list of books on new religious movements, papers presented at CESNUR meetings, and legal documents/reports on issues related to new religious movements.

Information Network Focus on Religious Movements (INFORM) was founded in 1988 as an independent charitable organization and is based at the London School of Economics. The organization has been supported by British Home Office and the mainstream churches. INFORM's objective is collecting and disseminating objective, current information on contemporary religious groups.

Websites Providing Information on Contemporary Religious Groups

Pluralism Project was established at Harvard University in 1991. The missions of the Pluralism Project are to understand the changing contours of the American religious landscape, to study the diverse new religious communities, to assess the implications of this new diversity, and to understand the emerging meanings of religious pluralism in America. Special attention is paid to new immigrant religious communities.

Religious Tolerance Project is sponsored by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. The website focuses primarily on contemporary religious movements and features profiles of a number of contemporary movements as well as essays on issues related to these movements. Profiles contain information on the history, beliefs, practices and organization of each group.

WorldWide Religious News "is a non-profit service providing the international academic and legal community with up-to-date religious news from around the world.... WWRN news articles and information are researched and compiled daily, encompassing a wide array of religious topics currently highlighted in the international news media, with a particular focus on religious freedom, church and state issues, governmental legislation as it relates to religious organizations, as well as new religious movements (NRMs)."

Websites Providing Information on Major World Relgious Traditions

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has compiled information on the beliefs and practices of a number of religious traditions.

Online World Religions Project compiled by Cumbria University in England contains a genealogy of major world traditions as well a brief history of each of the traditions.

Association of Religion Data (THEARDA) archive contains information on the genealogies of many Christian denominational groups. provides membership estimates for world religions as well as a listing of over 4,000 religious groups around the world. There is also information on the largest religious groups in the U.S.

Religion Facts is supported by an independent individual and contains short summaries of both a number of major religious traditions and contemporary religious groups.

World Religions and Sprituality Projects