Religion on a global scale. Responding to Change . Time was…. Religion was an extension of the community. Deities, saints, and religious figures were local patrons. Rituals and traditions were those of the community.
Responding to Change
If religious conversion took place, was often at an official level—the state itself embraced the religion and the people were expected to follow.
Many such movements criticize modern society with its secularism, consumerism, obsession with pleasure, indifference to poverty and oppression, and celebration of the individual above the needs of the community.
Yet, many movements use the features of this society to get the message across:
Selling individual spirituality and salvation (it’s about YOU and YOUR relationship with God or the divine)
Using the latest media and popular culture forms to convey and express this spirituality
Phrased in the language of going back to tradition or preserving “old time religion” while involves selecting certain features of the older ways while rejecting others.
- A personal conversion experience in which a person chooses Christ and receives a changed view of life in the process.
- An obligation to share this message with others and help them make a similar commitment.
- Often functions in a worship setting that includes praise hymns about this relationship with Christ
- Preaching that centers on the conversion experience, and usually involves an altar call at the end of the service
- A sense of being part of a Christian community that is in some way different from the surrounding society.
A religious movement within Christianity that emphasizes a person being filled with the Holy Spirit as a distinct presence rather than a general sense of “spirituality.” The infilling results in a person receiving certain spiritual gifts including speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy.
A religious approach that seeks to preserve what it considers the basic beliefs of the religious tradition, usually including a literal interpretation of Scripture, against perceived attacks on beliefs and practices from those within the faith community and from the outside culture.
Includes emerging leadership in global movements such as the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church. Challenges western leaders over issues of theology and practice. Non-Europeans now far outnumber Europeans in many of these traditions.
African religious leaders emerged out of the missionary activities of the 1800s and early 1900s but have become local leaders and formed their own movements.
Includes large numbers of independent religious movements as well such as the Kimbanguist Church, founded by Simon Kimbangu (c1887-1951). The Kimbanguist tradition now numbers over 5 million members.
Some Jews, Hindus, Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims (and others!) seek to re-establish the role that their traditions once had. Can be connected to strong senses of ethnic pride, independence movements, or nationalism.
A in world where things are changing so much, a nostalgia for an earlier time when things were stable, “people knew right from wrong,” and “people respected their elders” seems very desirable.
Islam has had similar movements, often as a reaction to staid official practice.
The most significant one of recent centuries is that promoted by Muhammad Ibn Abd Al Wahhab (1703-1792). Became the preferred version of the Saud family of Arabia.
Saw Islam’s tradition of saints and local practice as un-Islamic.
Sought to purify Islam by getting back to the core of the time of the Prophet Muhammad.
Rise of Wahhabism in Islam, connected to Saudi leadership. Emphasize this as a reforming—getting back to the roots of Islam.
Often at odds with established governments, which have often been tied to the West or the Soviet Unions, were undemocratic, had military dictatorships, and leadership largely indifferent to the problems of the people.
Muslim Brotherhood movement, with figures such as Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) argued that modern Muslim societies were really more akin to the paganism of Arabia before Muhammad. Brotherhoods and other charitable organizations are also involved in social issues, thus fusing their world view with social service programs, making them very popular with the poor and disenfranchised.