Essay Example on Throughout history scholars have been Grappling









Throughout history scholars have been grappling with the need to understand why early Indians embraced Christianity As such it is a vexing issue for students of history of Religion in American Providentially past literature has helped improve the understanding of the riddle In the wave of studies on Indian history Linford Fisher found himself writing a book how Indian Americans reacted in the face of pervasive Christianity This book has given me solid information how the trend of religious conversions was The Indian Great Awakening contributes immensely to the understanding of the Indians in the southeastern New England and natives and their perception of Christianity The book provides a concise account of the engagement with Christianity in the 18th century and early 19th century This book provides a gripping of how faiths beliefs institutions interacted during a time of colonialism and the strive for cultural survival This book by Linford Fisher gives an account of how the encounter of New England Natives with Christianity rapidly and completely changed the religious affiliations of the Indian communities Notably religious conversions are usually very powerful This book is replete with cases of intercultural and interreligious interactions which resulted in religious conversions The obsession with religious conversion has fueled religions to do various initiatives with the aim of spreading a meticulous set of practices of their religion The aim of spreading religion to new cultures was to exterminate perceived falsehood deep rooted heathenry and paganism The idea of religious conversion is that it involves the rejection of a particular way of life and thinking and embracing a new system of beliefs The two main competing religions presented by Fisher in the book are Islam known as Medieval Mediterranean and Chritianity also referred to as Early Modern Americas 

The power of religious conversion is too strong that it tips off indigenous set of beliefs and practices Most religious conversions are marked by evident imbalance of power and most religious decisions are not made transparently Most of the religious decisions are multivalent subjective dynamic and mostly complex to interpret The contents of the book concur with some of the material we covered in class For example there was a video we watched in class entitled The Girls rite of passage in Apache culture This video describes how Apache girls a cultural group from Mexico are put through various tests to determine whether their strength endurance and character is good enough for life as a mother and womanhood Fisher puts a strong emphasis on the resilience of Native Christians of the time Historically these Christians were sensitive to the threat of their beliefs and used different methods to defend their sovereignty Different communities were involved in religious conversions and demonstrated different rates of awakening Remarkably Mohegans gained haughty notoriety for their interest The reasons that attracted individuals to new religions were also different for different communities One of the strategies cited was education Many people embraced Christianity to get a chance to pursue their education They were eventually assimilated along the way Another reason that attracted communities to religious conversions was egalitarian ethos which were fueled and sustained by the need for new testimonies p 101 Religious conversions do not involve elements of totalistic conversions This is contrary to what is depicted by the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation video we studied in class It is with this precept that Fisher warns us not to be misled by shallow Christian literature p 66 Fisher concludes that the religious conversions involved fewer natives and occurred quickly p 102 Most natives were glory seeking and joined new religions to be recognized and given leadership or influential positions Unfortunately they ended up feeling marginalized and hence back out Once communities were awakened they creatively engaged in Christianity Some members of the native people who were the minority learnt Indian Separatism Consequently they started innovative religious services which were managed and meant for the Indians p 108 Indigenous communities evolved more distinctively into Christian circles

This occurred through what Fisher refers to as affiliation with white Christian congregations The relationship between natives and immigrants was dynamic and cautious in nature Instead of remaining attached to the white Christian churches Indians communities started their own congregations because they trusted pastors of their own Although Indian Christian Separatism is less recognized Fisher does a good ob to unearth its importance Native communities had the freedom to indigenize their religion after conversion and advance their cultural autonomy and improve the chances for the survival of their community an identity in the face of colonialism The advent of Christianity served as a revitalizing drive for the natives After they were awakened communities pursued native centered programs and institutions For example native communities offered their own educational services to their people These were undeniably autonomous developments Fisher further notes that outsider communities the natives accounted for less than ten percent in of the school going population in Indian reserves p 183 Eventually intercultural relations thrived between the immigrants and the natives All communities were left helpless in the advent of interconnectedness and intermarriage Different communities had to come to grips with the shocking reality For example the Brothertown people were skeptical and more anxious than the Narragansetts regarding intermarriage p 197 I did not see the evolution of views on intermarriage and relations over generations The religious conversions shaped the lives of all the communities involved This book explores some key points covered in this course It explores some of the traditions practices cultural movements and evolution of American religious history in the 18 and 19th centuries Some of the trends have been passed from generation to generation to generation with slight modifications into the present I think this book is indispensable in the study of American religion

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