The notion or idea of science, quite aside from actual scientific enterprises, has achieved tremendous cultural power and prestige in modern society. The four studies in this special issue of Nova Religio on science and new religious movements indicate not only this newfound power, but also the contentious nature of its definition as well as its limits. The four articles reveal how founders, leaders and practitioners of new religious movements seek the authoritative mantle of science, and with it a perceived legitimacy, as well as challenge normative (Western) approaches to science assumed in much of modern society. In fact, these new religions generally seek to supplant normative Western science with the alternative religious-scientific systems they champion.
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