One of the most prominent entities in the world happens to be the Christian faith, reigning in millions of followers and believes globally. In the United States, Christianity presents the majority religion as followers from all over the country acclaim to the faith. Many regions of the United States are deeply affected by religion and their belief comprises much of the culture surrounding the area. One of the principle aspects of Christianity is in corralling new members towards the cause and in turn, developing the size of the following that ascribes to the religious belief itself. This process is known as evangelization. (Arias, 51) Evangelization happens to be an instrumental part of the religious approach that many individuals have across the country and in turn, a large focus on the process has become deeply entrenched into the practice as a whole. As a result of many of the practices which were brought forth in the initial conception of the United States, the Christian faith became attached to a large portion of the political prominence that rose forth from the early years of the United States.
The United States has seen various stages and forms of evangelization over the years that the nation has existed. Many prominent forms can be seen in the way that the Christian faith has been propagated into the majority of the nation stemming from the introduction of the belief by Christopher Columbus in 1492. (Arias, 53) Since then, there has been a large indoctrination of the public to abide by and believe in the religious scripture and tenants that are highlighted by many of the notable denominations that exist under the blanket of the Christian faith as a whole. Evangelization changed the course of the nation’s development as the idea of religious propagation became one of the more prominent attributes of belief and practice for many settlers and a large portion of the founding population within the country during its formative years. (Arias, 51) As more and more immigrants from European countries came to the United States, the influx of religious belief grew and continued to adapt the atmosphere in the nation as a whole.
Evangelization itself has largely steered the direction that the country has undertaken and drastically influenced the nature of belief and the culture in all areas throughout the nation. The concept in turn has also delineated many forms of belief and their representations by members of the country. (Arias, 54) This stands in a stark juxtaposition to the nature of the country which has no particularly official religion or belief system that is the uniform belief held by all. In a country that is supposed to have a large presence of religious freedom and overall freedom of expression, the inclusion of various forms of evangelization into common practices and social atmospheres has developed a country which a reliance on this form of religion and a dismissal of other ideologies that differ with the one being propagated. (Arias, 52)
One of the principle ideas which was propagated by the earlier adventurers and conquistadors of the Spanish entrance into the country was that of evanglization of the native Americans. The primary concern that was associated with these individuals came in the form of introducing and integrating Christianity into the system that was implemented by the natives in the own world and area.(Arias, 51) Spain had noticeable economic and political interests in the United States so the principle concern that was associated with these investments was ensuring that they were maintained by the accordance of a system in place such as evanglization. (Arias, 60) Evangelization allowed for the individuals in power to maintain the control that they had and in turn, Christianity grew and was readily adopted by many of the practitioners that actively propagated Christianity. (Arias, 62)
Various missionaries were assigned to different regions and localities and these principalities largely helped the dissemination of Christianity into the native population. While it can be stated that there are positives to the development of Christianity in these areas, there are also many implications in regards to the presence of evangelization. In essence, Christianity is placed in a much higher regard than many other religions as a direct result of the popularity the belief has and the effects it has had on members of the American society who don’t particularly abide by the tenants of the faith itself. (Arias, 56) The integration of Christianity into the normal occurrences of native life in turn led to a full development and changing of the way in which life was lived by the members of the indigenous tribes.
As a result of the evangelization attempts of many practitioners in the early years of the practice and the different approaches that manifested by the missionaries and representatives of the faith, culture in areas across the United States adjusted dramatically in accordance with Christianity. (Arias, 58) Areas such as Texas and California were in turn subjected to the ideas presented by Christian monks and native individuals who openly stood against the evanglization attempts were often silenced or subjected to understand more of the precepts that were brought forth by the monks. (Arias, 63) In turn, Spanish culture and Christianity were disseminated accordingly throughout the native nations.
Evangelization affords many individuals who ascribe to the belief the chance to propagate the positive ideas that the religion has and in turn, helps to develop communities and groups around the common cause. Religion, when utilized correctly, does have many positives, such as in the capacity for bettering the commonwealth of others and providing for one another. (Arias, 66) Christian tenants and beliefs that are spread are often centered around a complex and present awareness of self which can also lead to a growth in many moral regards, which in itself can be viewed as a positive. As a result, the concept of evangelization can be a polarizing topic as it stands to serve both positive and negative influences, depending on the way in which it is utilized.
- Arias, David (2007) “Evangelization in the United States.” Spanish Roots of America. Loreto Publications. p. 51-66.