Christian Foundations of American Religions
This weeks reading touched on many important topics. For example, how most of American’s religion is some form of Protestant. Also, how the Old Testament influenced laws that were passed because the Puritans “Pilgrims” found that it was easier to write laws that matched the ten commandments Old Testament than the New Testament. The pilgrims were puritans that became Congregationalists which meant they wanted the local congregation to be the authority. In the year 1619, one year after the Mayflower, “the pilgrim’s ship” arrived to America. The first salve was on a ship to Jamestown, Virginia. In the first century, many Africans did not become Christians because the Euro-Americans saw them as second tier human and had no souls. They also feared that if the slaves had religious equalities, they would think that they had civil equalities, which would put the whole (slavery) system in jeopardy. Even though Catholicism is an old religion and was brought to America by the explorers, since the turn of the century Catholicism is a religion for the poor immigrant. The (Hispanic) word was brought on by the United States government to describe Latin American people. In this essay I will discuss how religion influenced politics, African religions and their influence on American Christianity, and why it is wrong to assume that Hispanics are from one particular religion.
Protestantism was moved here from Europe. The early settlers in America wanted the native Americans to follow the same practices. The English wanted to lead the native Americans to heaven, so they believed that making them become Christian would lead them to that path, and the English were very serious about this. The Christian’s thought that the Catholic missionaries were not doing a good job trying to lead the Native Americans to conversion. But soon after settling in Virginia, they soon forgot about the well being of the Indians, especially after the Indians rebelled against them in 1622. Soon after, Baptists started to move across the United States, moving quickly though the backcountry of Virginia and the Carolinas. After the American revolution, Methodist started moving across the south and west, but they didn’t become democratic like the Baptists. The Baptists spilt before the Civil War and never came back together. The churches had a big influence in reform movements. 1919-1933 church had the power to forbade the sell of alcohol in America, which is big in my opinion. Having the power to prevent the sell of something so popular among so many people is astounding. Religion affects people’s decisions, which is why I believe that religion influence (politics) so much. Politicians are people and when they pass laws, they usually quote (the Bible) to justify the laws they make. When a politician is sworn into office, they use the Bible as a promise to do the right thing. Also, when a witness takes the stand, they use the bible to promise to tell the truth. The bible is used in every aspect of government in the United States.
Africans did not come to this country voluntarily, which caused them to be against the religions of their owners, at first. They believed that people’s religion represented their lifestyle and that people’s lifestyle represented their religion. The rejection of Christianity did not mean that the African had no religion; it was the total opposite. They believed that religion was an important part of a humans well being. They believed that religion served the believer in a good way but “is strongly opposed to its enemies.” Despite being away from their homeland, the salves still maintained some of the “formal features of their most fundamental spiritual belief and moral values”. After awhile, the salves created ways to express their beliefs in a more Western cultural way by making up songs and telling stories. This is similar to how churches are ran today, with lots of singing and clapping. American Christianity is a religion that Africans were forced into it. By slaves not accepting the religion, and the slave owners not allowing them to be religious, caused them to improvise. I think that the (African spirituality) in some ways made church fun, with the clapping and singing.
Coming from a very religious country in Spain, it is wrong to assume that Hispanics are from one particular religion, but why? Spain was invaded by (Moors) “who were Muslims” early on and and for a period of time, the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim coexisted, which was referred to as the period of convivencia. This made for an interesting era of religious and cultural exchange. But by 1500s things changed. The moors living in Spain were forced to convert to Christianity or leave; the same thing happened to the Jews. It did not matter that these people considered themselves Spanish, and some lives in Spain for generations. With independence from Spain, for most (Latin American) countries, came the Protestants. The missionaries brought new ideas and meaning to Christianity and how the churches and society should be organized. Protestantism claimed to be a purer form of Christianity than Catholicism, and Protestantism came to the Hispanic with that notion. In theory, anything that could not be found in the bible was rejected. Anything that came from Protestants in counties where missionaries were from, was told to be Roman and unbiblical. (Pentecostalism) rapidly spread among Latino/a-Hispanics in the United Sates in the early twentieth century. Today, Roman Catholics are the largest religious group among Latino/a-Hispanics and the second largest group is Pentecostals form. Assuming the religion of a Hispanic, such as being Roman Catholics or Pentecostals, is like saying that all Americans are Christians, you just can not do it. Just like the book says, “As the Wide Variety of religious expression among Hispanics, perhaps that too is part of what it means to be an American.”
In this essay, I talked about how religion influenced politics, African religions and their influence on American Christianity, and why it is wrong to assume that Hispanics are from one particular religion. Religion helped shape our governing system, and the Politian’s to this day still use the words in the bible to make sense of the laws and rules we as Americans have to follow. I think African religions influence on American Christianity was positivity and joy. The slaves did not have much to be happy about but their African Spirituality gave them hope. The (Independent African American Churches) still gives us hope today. Hispanics are not from one particular religion and it would be wrong to assume so, because all Hispanics come from different backgrounds. Every American in the United States have different ancestors and we tend to follow the religion of those ancestors, and to assume that a race of people belongs to one religion is absurd. People always assume things about people because of their race and them assuming makes us unaware and not likely to ask the right questions. These days’ church attendance seems less important to people from religion to religion and declare themselves spiritual rather than religiously affiliated.