The Situation of New Religious Studies in Vietnam
There is a prominent phenomenon in the religious life of Vietnam, which is the emergence of “new religions”. These phenomena have not only made the religious space of the nation more complex and multi-dimensional but also challenged stability and sustainable development within the religious communities in this key economic region. Having studied the new religious phenomenon in recent years, we have noted its progress and widespread characteristics within the ethnic communities. While it may appear that "new religion" is a simple and gentle concept and practice, it is in fact, intrinsically related to and has significant implications on the social life of the community members. However, there is a growing concern, considerable suspicion and anxiety with regards to its impacts on individuals, families, social and cultural traditions, beliefs and religions; many have opined that it is radically changing the peaceful cohabitation of diverse religious traditions, revealing a potential for conflicts across groups. Based on the religious reality of the Southern region of Vietnam, the Center for Religion Studies has implemented a project regarding new religions in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and the problems faced by the religious policy in Vietnam. This article is an overview of the results of this project.
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