----- Original Message -----
From: Sharon Evans <[log in to unmask]>
> >What do you mean with usurption by a greater force here? We can say with
> >some certainty that the Celtic countries were not converted by foreign
> >armies invading them, at least that's what the records say.
> Christianity seems to have swept across Europe at a rate of knots, which
is what I was meaning by a 'greater force' rather than an actual army
beating everyone to death with bibles. How did Christianity so quickly
replace their own religions and beliefs?
Oh, wow, I finally get to talk about revival movements (I always knew all
that money I spent for my degree would come in handy some day)!! Anyone who
is really interested could read the works of Donald Meek (for Gaelic
communities), Anthony FC Wallace (general theory/and I believe his study
groups were Native American), George Rawlyk (communities in Nova Scotia) and
William McLoughlin (general history/American movements).
This the basic theoretical model I used, based on Wallace's Revitalization
Essentially, cultures possess various elements which allow individuals to
less/relieve stress within the society. When stress arises, we may look to
religion, group identity, familiar structures, literature--basically
whatever. However, sometimes the stresses in our society emerge so rapidly,
the cultural structures aren't able adapt or evolve quickly enough to
address the conflict. Certain individuals within the culture will be very
open to change-particularly young people. In their openness to change they
are willing to explore new ideas which appear to address those conflicts.
The rest of the community then normally responds, well, with attacks (either
violent or non-violent). In response, the new ideology must either fade
away, adapt to the changes by merging with the larger cultures expectation
or develop more complex structures (in the case of religion, doctrines). At
this stage either more individuals will be drawn to the movement or the
group espousing the new ideology will become isolated and cease to exist (an
example of this in the realm of religion is the Shaker movement in the US
and the Suceeders in the Highlands). Eventually, if enough people choose the
to lessen their unease through the "new" ideology, it ceases to be new and
becomes the norm......in which case, it may be too slow to adapt and the
process could start all over again.
Now this particular social movement isn't just in reference to Christianity.
The same patters have been noted everywhere from Cargo Cults in the Pacific
to Islam to Buddhism to Christianity.
Personally, I believe it may well be applied to the introduction of
Christianity....but I'm late to work so that's going to have to be another