Monday, December 12, 2011

Changes in Religion

Changes in religious belief and practice can be associated with the gradual evolution of a society from one social form to another.Over the past few centuries the impetus to change has been contact between different societies.European expansion throughout the world was not merely a political or economic conquest it included an attempt to conquer the minds of the subjugated people also through religion.

In many settings conquest has destroyed all or part of the existing religion of a people.This led to sometimes adopting the beliefs and practices of the conquerors especially when the conqueror success is associated with the superior strength of their gods.The religion which came to forefront was a result of syncretism or the conscious adoption of an alien idea or practice in terms of some indigenous system.

Spanish conquest of Central Mexico put an end to public worship of the primary gods,destroyed the priesthood and undermined the faith on the power of the Gods and the truth of religious teachings thus shattering the focal values of Aztec religion and culture.This didnt lead the Aztec to accept Christianity and instead hovered towards hatred.Slowly things began to change once the missionaries initiated education for the children.In these schools children were punished ,rewarded for outward adherence to the new faith.Older people began to add the images of Jesus and Mary to their collection of idols for worship.Catholics began to include modified Aztec traditional songs and dances to the catholic teachings.A crucial change led to widespread acceptance of Catholicism followed by setting up of image of Mary at the site of shrine dedicated to Aztec earth goddess.The Indian Catholics began to develop their own version of Catholicism.

Traditional indigenous religions do not always collapse or suffer because of conquest.People are able to retain something of their religion. In fact it serve as source of strength to the people.In Australia in spite of destruction of aboriginal religion at most places ,in south west Aborigines were able to cling to few of their beliefs and practices into the 20th century.Occasional ceremonies were held on the outskirts of the cities.

1 comment:

namrata said...

we need to talk about the process of secularisation as well which started in Europe as a part of reniessance along with emergence of new reactionary religious movements in form of protestant movement educational institutions also saw a transition from missionaries to public schools

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