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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

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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.
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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