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Conspirituality Reconsidered: How Surprising and How New is the Confluence of Spirituality and Conspiracy Theory

Asprem, Egil; Dyrendal, Asbjørn
Journal of Contemporary Religion 30

Those who have followed the development of online new religiosity over the past decade will not have failed to notice that conspiracy theories and ‘New Age’ ideas are thriving together. But how new and how surprising is the phenomenon of ‘conspirituality’? In the present article, we challenge the thesis put forward by Charlotte Ward and David Voas in their article of 2011, published in the Journal of Contemporary Religion, that a confluence of spirituality and conspiracism has emerged in the past two decades as a form of New Age theodicy. Instead, we argue, on theoretical grounds, that conspirituality can be viewed as a predictable result of structural elements in the cultic milieu and, on historical grounds, that its roots stretch deep into the history of Western esotericism. Together, these two considerations allow us not only to suggest that conspirituality is old and predictable, but also to identify a large potential for further research which will contribute to the study of conspiracy culture and enable a new line of comparative research in religious studies.