Analysing both fraud and religion as social constructs with different functions and meanings attributed to them, this book raises issues that are central to debates about the limits of religious toleration in diverse societies, and the possible harm (as well as benefits) that religious organisations can visit upon society and individuals. There has already been a lively debate concerning the structural context in which abuse, especially sexual abuse, can be perpetrated within religion. Contributors to the volume proceed from the premise that similar arguments about ways in which structure and power may be conducive to abuse can be made about fraud and deception. Both can contribute to abuse, yet they are often less easily demonstrated and proven, hence less easily prosecuted. With a focus on minority religions, the book offers a comparative overview of the concept of religious fraud by bringing together analyses of different types of fraud or deception (financial, bio-medical, emotional, breach of trust and consent). Contributors examine whether fraud is necessarily intentional (or whether that is in the eye of the beholder); certain structures may be more conducive to fraud; followers willingly participate in it. The volume includes some chapters focused on non-Western beliefs (Juju, Occult Economies, Dharma Lineage), which have travelled to the West and can be found in North American and European metropolitan areas.

chapter |16 pages


ByAmanda van Eck Duymaer van Twist

chapter 1|18 pages

New Religions and Fraud

A Double Constructionist Approach
ByDavid G. Bromley

chapter 2|18 pages

Minority Religions and Fraud

Preliminary Theories on Ritual Deception
ByHolly Folk

chapter 3|20 pages

Bona Fide?

ByAmanda van Eck Duymaer van Twist

chapter 5|22 pages

Folk Healing, Authenticity and Fraud

ByStuart McClean, Ronnie Moore

chapter 6|22 pages

Sex-Work and Ceremonies

The Trafficking of Young Nigerian Women into Britain
ByHermione Harris

chapter 7|18 pages

Food, Faith and Fraud in Two New Religious Movements

ByMarion S. Goldman

chapter 8|18 pages

Miracle Makers and Money Takers

Healers, Prosperity Preachers and Fraud in Contemporary Tanzania
ByMartin Lindhardt

chapter 9|16 pages

When Fraud is Part of a Spiritual Path

A Tibetan Lama’s Plays on Reality and Illusion
ByMarion Dapsance

chapter 11|26 pages

The Zen Master and Dharma Transmission

A Seductive Mythology
ByStuart Lachs