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+ 12 Reasons for Religious Change A Partial List.

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Presentation on theme: "+ 12 Reasons for Religious Change A Partial List."— Presentation transcript:

1 + 12 Reasons for Religious Change A Partial List

2 + 1. Syncretism In seeking to convert a group of people from their indigenous religion to a spreading religion, missionaries incorporate some elements of the indigenous religion and culture (deities, holidays, rituals, symbols, values, folk beliefs, practices, etc.) into the spreading religion, thus altering the character of the spreading religion.

3 + 2. Reform When a religion has either a) lost touch with the spiritual needs of the people it is serving, or b) has developed a clerical elite, which, according to the perceptions of lay people, government officials, or more devout clerics, is living profanely and/or profiting unfairly from its privileges; religious reformers often emerge who articulate bold and appealing new versions of their faiths. Often these reform movements spawn new religions altogether.

4 + 3. State-building A religion often spreads into a new region when a king or emperor converts to that religion. Frequently, monarchs are not won over by fine theological arguments, but are rather convinced by charismatic missionaries or influential family members that conversion will grant them divine favor and/or help them to rule more effectively. As monarchs fund and enforce the conversion of their subject peoples, often they simplify these religions while spreading them, and emphasize those elements of the religion that serve to justify their rule or which cultivate virtues of obedience and loyalty in their subjects.

5 + 4. Schism A theological difference develops between two or more camps of religious leaders. Often these rival schools become prominent in different geographic locations, and the differences between these two groups become exaggerated as the two sects evolve separately over time.

6 + 5. Popularization Missionaries may simplify the most challenging ideas of a religion in order to win converts among less educated segments of the population. 6. Localization Local martyrs, saints, and holy men may come to figure as prominently in the pantheon of a spreading religion as the original deities and/or founding figures.

7 + 7. Mysticism Devout individuals, seeking a more direct and personal connection with divinity, may discard the institutions and conventions associated with an established religion and adopt radical practices which enable them to achieve a more immediate and powerful sense of communion.

8 + 8. Translation A) As sacred texts are transmitted orally for decades or centuries before being written down, clerics may alter them in subtle yet significant ways, either accidentally or on purpose. B) B) Similarly, as religions spread into new areas, and sacred texts are translated into new languages, scribes may misinterpret – or purposefully reinterpret – the character of a religion.

9 + 9. Competition When one religion loses devotees to another religion, clerics of this religion may, in response to this challenge, alter the character of the original religion to regain devotees. Often, these clerics will be highly aware of what makes the new religion so appealing and will seek to reclaim those advantages for the original religion.

10 + 10. Evolution When an original religion contains “memes” that make it less likely for that religion to spread, retain coherence, and continue, versions of the faith may come to dominate which make it possible for the religion to survive.

11 + 11. Fundamentalism When adherents of a religion begin to feel that their faith has lost its spiritual moorings and drifted too far into modernity, they may seek to regain the “original” spirit of their religion. Under conditions of imperfect knowledge as to what their religion originally espoused, they may in the process reinvent their religion, often (ironically) according to very modern needs and values.

12 + 12. Innovation Creative and charismatic individuals may feel empowered to make significant alterations to a religion in response the needs and demands of their historical moment, or in response to uniquely personal needs or visions.

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