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A further aspect of the religious context of religious founders is that the societies in which they find themselves are always characterised by religious pluralism . This means that two or more groups of believers of different religious persuasions will be living together in one society. This situation can sometimes lead to a feeling of religious exclusivism where one group of believers close themselves off from other groups of believers because they see and experience their own religion as the absolute truth and the only way to salvation. On the other hand it is possible that religious syncretism may prevail. In such a case a religious founder selects and join positive elements of the religions present in that particular society in order to form a new religion with its own set of beliefs, doctrines and practices.

If the general context and the religious context are taken together, one could then summarise by saying that a religious founder operates in a society that is pluralistic both culturally and religiously and finds itself in a crisis situation. This crisis may be felt so intensely, that many may believe that the end of the world is near and that a new world and a new era have dawned.

Personal background

When it comes to personal backgrounds there is no particular pattern that can be identified. Some religious leaders come from a royal background while others were part of the merchant class or earned their living through manual labour. What appears to be a common trend is that religious founders have had no theological training and no or very little formal school education . Followers often lay great stress on the fact that their founder was either illiterate or semi–literate. This fact becomes important in verifying the divine origin of the message that their particular founder came to reveal. The fact of illiteracy on the side of the founder, increases for the adherents the divine nature and origin of the revelation concerned.


It would appear that religious founders often respond to a calling . This calling usually takes place either during puberty or early middle age. In the process of receiving and responding to the call, the recipient usually lives under harsh and lonely circumstances . A first reaction to turn the calling down because of unworthiness or inability appears to be common. Having received the calling, the founder–to–be goes through periods of intense doubt and subsequently withdraws from society to live in poverty and loneliness.

Living on the edge of society is of great significance and normally enables the founders–to–be to gain new insights into the religious and social circumstances of their own societies and to the need that their societies may have for the revelation that they as founders have received and are called to share. Especially during this formative period, founders often do not stay on one place. They either move around by own choice or are forced by their opponents to leave a particular area.


A decisive factor in the career of the founder is the challenge to persuade others of the divine origin of their calling and message. Founders whose calling and revelation are to find acceptance, therefore need to possess much charisma and carry with them a message of much significance. The understanding would be that the founder and his or her contemporaries are struggling with the same problems without being able to find satisfactory solutions. The claim by a founder to have been sent, therefore needs to be acknowledged by others.

The message of founders often reveal several common components. One such component is genuine empathy with and understanding of the spiritual and social circumstances of their constituencies. Explanations for the suffering that people are enduring and an indication of how people could escape their misery and experience life with new harmony, would constitute another component. A third component would be that the message contains a clear demonstration of human solidarity both from the side of the founder and of fellow adherents.

Two types of founder

Finally, we need to note that two types of founders can be distinguished.

On the one hand, there would be the mystic type of founders. The careers of such founders are characterised by the fact that they, as teachers of wisdom, point the way for their followers towards enlightenment.

On the other hand there is the so–called prophetic type of founder. These founders see their activities as the result of a personal, divine assignment to proclaim the divine revelation. This revelation is presented as universal and of eternal truth. Normally these founders are strong critics of society and their messages inevitably lead to the establishment of a new religious tradition.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Learning about religion. OpenStax CNX. Apr 18, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11780/1.1
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