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Assignment2 REL 321, Joshua Manski

Assignment2 REL 321, Joshua Manski - Joshua Manski Charles...

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Joshua Manski Charles Barfoot REL 321 Assignment 2 February 11, 2008 The Colonial Era in America was a time for expansion and migration. All of those who voyaged to America also brought their religious beliefs and traditions with them. This time allowed America to establish its religious diversity as well as allow many religious sects in Europe to obtain a foothold in the new land. Before Europeans discovered America there was religion already present. Native Americans were living throughout North America in tribes and small communities. These people did not possess the technology that the Europeans did, and instead were hunters and farmers of the land. Their religious traditions were varied as the regions they lived in. Many involved Gods or beings that watched over nature or were some aspect of nature. Over centuries Natives had developed their own ways of living in the world and interpreting it. “Inhabitants of the Americas had hunted and fished, planted and reaped, loved and given birth, danced and mourned their dead… In other words, they had developed complex systems of religious ritual and belief” (page 5). Native Americans were content with the lives they led and their religious traditions before Europeans started pushing all varieties of Christianity on them. The first European to set foot on American soil was Christopher Columbus in 1492. He did so with the help of Isabella, the Queen of Spain (page 16). His landing in America opened the door for European immigration and missionary work here. The Spanish were quick to spread
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Catholicism to the Americas but the natives were not keen on converting. Mission work soon became almost fruitless. Much of western America was explored by the Spanish and many Catholic missions were erected in the new land. As Spain was colonizing Western and Southern America, France took interest in northern America and the Mississippi region. This land was of importance to them because of the hunting and fishing trade. The French brought their religions to America as well. The first to arrive were the Catholics and then the Protestants soon after. Both tried converting the Native Americans yet had the same outcome as the Spanish. Some efforts were more intense than others, “The Jesuits, since their founding in 1540 by Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), had become one of the most rigorous missionary instruments of the Catholic Counter Reformation, and they proved as bold as ever…” (page 24). These religious expeditions rarely worked out as planned. Often times the Native Americans would become tired of the missionaries and hostilities would surface resulting
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Assignment2 REL 321, Joshua Manski - Joshua Manski Charles...

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