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New Thought describes a set of religious ideas that developed in the United States during the late 19th century, originating with Phineas Parkhurst Quimby. Followers of New Thought also find inspiration in the Transcendentalist philosophy, as it was developed by Ralph Waldo Emerson and other 19th-century American thinkers. See also New Thought Movement.

From this movement emerged several religious denominations that are actively spreading today, including Divine Science, Religious Science, the Unity Church and the Understanding Principles for Better Living Church, with the largest of these being the Unity Church, comprised of over two million members worldwide. Although Emma Curtis Hopkins, formerly associated with Christian Science, was considered the "teacher of teachers" of several key New Thought leaders, Christian Science developed in a different direction and is not considered a New Thought denomination. There are generally recognized six modern religious traditions in New Thought today: those already mentioned plus the pagan Churches of Huna popularized by Max Freedom Long[1] and the Japanese Seicho-No-Ie religion.

New Thought religions generally share a core belief in monism, the universal presence of a creative energy, or God, within the world and within all people. Some take literally the Christian teaching that "the kingdom of heaven is within."

The central teaching of New Thought is that thought evolves and unfolds, and thinking creates one's experience of the world. The movement places great emphasis in positive thinking, affirmations, meditation, and prayer. New Thought churches often avoid dogmatic pronouncements about the afterlife or other theological questions, and vary in the degree to which they associate themselves with Christianity or other major world religions. However, they generally have been influenced by a wide range of ideas.

Although New Thought churches are often misidentified with the New Age movement, New Thought beliefs predate contemporary New Age thinking by nearly a century, and New Thought churches typically do not share major tenets of New Age thinking. New Thought is distinctive from traditional religious movements in that it is expected to evolve and not remain static. Adherents believe that as humankind gains greater understanding of the world, New Thought churches will evolve to assimilate new knowledge.

HistoryEdit

The following individuals figured prominently in the history of the New Thought Movement:

There have also been significant individuals through the years who have left their mark on the New Thought Movement as respected authors & leaders:

Contemporary LeadersEdit

In recent times, Dr. Wayne Dyer has been described as being in the vanguard of the New Thought movement, along with other popular self-help teachers, such as Deepak Chopra, Neal Donald Walsch, Terry Cole-Whittaker and Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith. Also, the Australian movie The Secret, touches several core philosophies found in New Thought. Some inspirational speakers interviewed in the film include Bob Proctor, Joe Vitale, Michael Beckwith and Bob Doyle.

Footnotes Edit

  1. Martin A. Larson, New Thought Religion: A Philosophy for Health, Happiness, and prosperity.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

General New Thought Links:

New Thought Denominations:

Church of Truth

Divine Science

Home of Truth

Religious Science

Seicho-No-Ie

Universal Foundation for Better Living

Unity

Other Major New Thought Organizations

Global New Thought Groups

New Thought Churches and Ministries

Other Links

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