Alyssesreligionpaper.docx - Alysse Johnson Competitive...

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Alysse Johnson Competitive Spirits Report Best Seller For over four centuries Catholicism has been the religious monopoly controlling most religious affiliations around the world and especially in Latin America. People tended to either be Catholic or they did not have any religious affiliation or bias at all. In the past few decades though, the reign of Catholicism has been confronted by the rise of Pentecostalism and the largest non-Pentecostal organization, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. R. Andrew Chesnut discusses in the Competitive Spirits the reasons for the end of the Catholic monopoly in a very economically related way. He compares religion to a product in a supply and demand economy. What makes a product successful and keeps it sustained in the market is how the product is advertised and how it performs compared to the advertisement. If the product is advertised well and performs sufficiently, then the acceptance of the product will grow and spread. This is transferred into the concept of religion and how if the religious expectation is sufficient, then that religion will grow and become more relevant in the economy. I agree with this theory because, in terms of an economic stance, it only makes sense that if people demand certain qualities and reactions from a religion as if it were a product, then the popularity of that religion or product will grow. In order to understand the significance and the reason for the change in religious preference after such a long time with the reign of one religion, you must first understand some of the history of that religion, in this case, Catholicism. During the sixteenth century, there was a religious schism separating Catholicism from a new religion called Protestantism. This was the start of the end of the Catholic Church’s sole control over the religious aspirations of the world. Competition between religions started, and while Protestantism won some areas, Catholicism
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won more. Catholicism was able to control the entire New World, so the Catholic Church was able to direct indigenous people, African slaves, Portuguese, and Spanish colonies from São Paulo to San Francisco towards Catholicism, thereby strengthening their monopoly of faith. This was the inevitable start of a Catholic monopoly in Latin America; it became part of the peoples’ identity, “religious identity was inextricably intertwined with national and even regional and local representations of community and self” (18). The Roman Catholic Church needed to ensure security in its monopoly over Latin America. Political areas were the most influential in lobbying for the Catholic Church, and with the 10% tithe that that colonial administrators skimmed for the royal treasuries, they had all the reason to keep the church up and running. Then, because most of the followers were poor “the institutional church had no reason to expend valuable political capital on its impoverished parishioners” (19). Then the first upheaval of the Catholic roots in Latin America started during the war for
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This note was uploaded on 02/03/2012 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Bob during the Spring '11 term at Canisius College.

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Alyssesreligionpaper.docx - Alysse Johnson Competitive...

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