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Religious Movement - Essay Example

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It is a well-known fact among anthropologists that religions have the tendency to change and evolve, as belief structures within human beings often change and evolve. Thus, the concept of religion as a dynamic structure is nothing new. However, the concept of religion changing…
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Download file to see previous pages Within this concept is the idea of what Wallace calls a “revitalization movement” in the structure of the religions society. According to Bartleby’s definition of a revitalization movement, a revitalization movement can be defined as:
political-religious movements promising deliverance from deprivation, the elimination of foreign domination, and a new interpretation of the human condition based on traditional cultural values, common in societies undergoing severe stress associated with colonial conquest and intense class or racial exploitation.
Thus, within this concept, a religious culture undergoing this type of transition would experience the stages of a steady state, a period of increasing individual stress, a period of cultural distortion, revitalization, routinization, and then a new steady state. By taking a close look at how the religion of Christianity developed, we can see these transitions through the stages of revitalization in action, and can hence gain a better understanding of Wallace’s theory. Christianity, like every other religion, has passed through these stages and experienced these transitions.
The first stage of this process that applies to Christianity is the steady state. When the birth of Christianity first took place, it occurred during the Roman steady state period. Rome was the strongest Empire in the world at the time, and thus, was undergoing a period of prosperity. The Empire was increasingly expanding, becoming more powerful, and winning even greater conquests. The power of the Romans, at the time, was vast and limitless, and as they continued to conquer, they continued to gain. At the time, it seemed like the Roman power force would be never-ending, and Rome was perhaps the greatest Empire of all time. This would perhaps even put Rome beyond the point of the actual steady state. At the same time, another country affected ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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