Religion as a phenomenon has a complex social purpose and is typically viewed as a source of spirituality and ethical development of its proponents. However, apart from the chances that religion opens for believers in terms of their personal development, it also provides extensive opportunities for societal progress by building the members of a community closer and encouraging them to develop values such as humility, compassion, supportiveness, etc.
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The specified characteristics can be applied to Christianity as one of the most widespread religions in the world. However, when considering the societal foundation of Christianity, one is likely to face the necessity to choose between two options, i.e., political resistance and cultural assimilation.
To be more accurate, the propensity toward developing a Christian worldview and the respective values may be reinforced by the willingness to oppose a political regime that infringes upon the rights of others. Similarly, Christian ideas may also be derived from the necessity to become a part of a community and, therefore, engage in the process of cultural assimilation to build stronger ties with its members.
Although Christianity can be used for both purposes, it seems that, because of the emphasis that the Bible places on compassion and nonviolence, political resistance toward bigotry and hatred in a community seems to be a more profound foundation on which the modern Christianity stands.
The concept of political resistance might seem as a rather vague notion since it implies a range of measures aimed at fighting the existing political regime. However, the general idea of political resistance can be condensed to the process of addressing changes in the society and especially in the social and political justice system by engaging actively in political actions aimed at restoring the idea of justice and preventing the concept of inequality and other destructive ideas to disrupt the relationships between the members of a particular community, be it a local or a global one (“Oration in Praise of Constantine”).
Some people may distort Christian ideas to foist their religious agenda on people (Lind). However, Christianity can also be used for restoring the balance within a community by building political resistance (“To Demetrian” 67). Therefore, a political resistance suggests contributing to a change in a political regime.
Due to the fact that Christianity allows for developing a significant level of resilience toward political regimes that oppose diversity and equality, it seems that political resistance comprises one of the pillars on which Christianity stands in the modern world.
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The specified religion performs an important social function of keeping the ethical and moral integrity of its members intact and, therefore, enabling them to oppose the political changes that disrupt the principles of equality on which communication between the community members is founded.
As a result, Christian values allow people not only to retain their integrity but also to contribute to creating the environment in which tolerance, acceptance, and equality are maintained as crucial values.
In a range of cases, the willingness to keep the structure of the society based on the idea of compassion and equal rights often results in having to make a sacrifice, such as Heathan Heyer, who “apparently loved her country too much to watch it crumble in the hands of bigots” (Glanton).
Nevertheless, the strong emphasis of the necessity to retain human values and encourage tolerance and support across the Christian community helps prevent the development of political injustice toward certain parts of the society or combat the specified incidences of injustice successfully.
The phenomenon of cultural assimilation, in turn, also requires a certain social context to be explored in depth. As a rule, the concept is traditionally applied to the situations in which people belonging to a cultural or ethnic minority face the need to accept the dominant culture as part and parcel of their identity in order to integrate into the target society successfully.
Although the subject matter is rooted deeply in the issues associated with language and traditions, religion may also be associated with the specified transition from one society to another and becoming a member of a new community.
From the specified perspective, Christianity can be deemed as the dominant religion that defines the patterns of interactions between the representatives of global communities. For instance, in The Letter of Ignatius to the Romans, the focus on the Christian religion as the only source of truth: “For I do not want you to please people, but to please God, as you in fact are doing” (Ignatius of Antioch 227).
It would be wrong to state that the letter implies that the Christian church aims at subverting the ideas that the rest of religions and philosophies view as essential. However, there is the sense of urgency and persistence that makes the idea of cultural assimilation as a possible cost to pay for the enhancement of the Christian values such as compassion very probable.
Nevertheless, it seems that the power of Christianity as the foundation for fighting oppression and promoting love and understanding seems to be more legitimate than its interpretation as the force that compels people to abandon their religious beliefs and philosophical viewpoints (“To Donatus”).
Instead, Christianity can be regarded as the source of wisdom that will provide one with the necessary ideas of acceptance and peace, thus, being a unique experience. Therefore, the nature of Christianity as the source of strength and power to fight oppression, in general, and build political resistance, in particular, can be considered a better representation of the complex nature of the religion.
Glanton, Dahleen. “Column: Heather Heyer Is a Civil Rights Martyr.” Chicago Tribune. 2017.
Ignatius of Antioch “The Letter of Ignatius to the Romans.” The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations. 3rd ed. Translated by Michael W. Holmes. Baker Academic, 2007, pp. 225-235.
Lind, Dana. “Donald Trump Proposes ‘Total and Complete Shutdown of Muslims Entering the United States.’ ” Vox, 7 Dec. 2015.
“Oration in Praise of Constantine.” NewAdvent.org, n.d.
“To Demetrian.” EWTN.com, n.d.
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“To Donatus.” EWTN.com, n.d.