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ASU Intercultural Interactions and Religion Discussion

The impacts of inter-cultural interaction on religion

Write a question to stimulate discussion about the impact/effects of intercultural contact on religion.

Read this article and view the 1-minute embedded video: Conversions gradually transforming Orthodox Christianity.

here are the discussion questions of my peers for the replies

by Matthew Rojas

How does culture affect the spread and growth of religions?

The culture surrounding a religion is important in deciding how someone views the said religion. That is why religions who have a culture that comes off as warm and welcoming will intrigue people outside it. Furthermore, it may even lead to conversions to that specific religion. This is seen in the article where Father Gregory Gilbert, a man who has nothing to do with Greeks, joined the Greek Orthodoxy Church. This can be further supported with the fact that half of the Orthodox Christians are converts themselves.

by Justin Gruber

Does the inclusion of foreign cultural elements into a religion render the religion “impure”? At what point does it become an new religion?

In the article Conversions Gradually Transforming Orthodox Christianity, we see how new converts to the Orthodox Christian tradition began changing the tradition itself. As more and more outsiders joined, the tradition began to subtly change as the years went on. Now, even converts are being allowed to lead congregations.

As most religions are thousands of years old, change is bound to happen. Empires will rise and fall, cultures will grow and decay, spreading their legacies far and wide. Religions are bound to grow and change shape right along with them.

With that being said, does the inclusion of new cultural elements make these traditions impure? At what point does a religion change so dramatically that we can call it a new religion entirely? Are we seeing this happen in our world today?

by Katherine Morgan

Are the increase in converts creating a change to the basis of religion?

The article in The Baltimore Sun claims that more than 70% of Orthodox Christians are Converts. Is this causing problems with the basis of the religion? They said change is evident, but as more people convert will there be a change in the religion entirely? Gilbert, a convert himself, is still infatuated with the tradition of the church and religion. However, he shared that in his exploration of other churches he was shocked at what he saw. Gilbert wants to bring in more Americans to his Greek Orthodox Church because he realizes that they cannot survive on a strongly immigrant-based attendance because there are simply not enough. Although this change is more inclusive, is there a way it could be damaging to the tradition of the religion?

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