The Challenge of Christian Hegemony
Most, if not all, Christians consider Christianity to be the one true religion. In connection with this, Christianity is a proselytizing religion. For centuries, Christians have devoted much time and money to missionary efforts directed at those who do not share their beliefs. There is a range of ways in which this proselytizing imperative is directed. In some cases, the missionary efforts are aimed at persons in other countries who hold religious beliefs other than Christianity. Alternatively, some Christian sects try to convert Americans with non-Christian beliefs. As was discussed in chapter 1, the Native American population was an early target of Christian conversion efforts. Finally, members of some Christian sects aim their missionary efforts at members of other Christian sects. Most notable here are the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses who periodically show up on the doorsteps of most Americans patiently and politely asking for a chance to convince and convert. In most cases, conversion efforts are motivated by a genuine concern for persons who are outside the “fold.” But, this genuine concern can sometimes turn to anger when the objects of the missionary effort resist the gift they are being offered.
KeywordsReligious Belief Religious Freedom Religious Conviction Native American Population Free Exercise
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