Religious Studies 125W

Modern Christianity


As before, this handout is meant to provide a structure for the next couple of classes in RS 125, to help you through the readings. In this class, I'll be asking people to produce good quotes from the documents to illustrate the themes we are discussing


On October 11, we will be discussing Allit's chapter six, on the antebellum period (ie pre-civil war, 1830-1860). This was a time very much like the 1960s, a time of radicalism, experimental religion, feminism, youth movements, sexual radicalism, New Age occultism, a booming interest in Asian religion, etc. In fact, 1848 might have been one of the most radical years of the century, comparable to 1968 as the height of the counter-cultural 1960s.

How did all this affect religion?


Please note - I will also be using the account of Joseph Smith on pages 134-137, so please have a look at this, although it is technically from another chapter.


Some questions to help you through the readings.


*Why was anti-Catholicism such a huge issue in this period? What did Protestants have against Catholics?


*Why were gender and sexual issues so much to the forefront of anti-Catholic rhetoric?


*Why did Catholics pose such problems for the whole issue of religious toleration?


*Many Protestant evangelicals tried to impose strict new moral standards, for instance about keeping the Sabbath and not drinking alcohol. Why was there so much concern about this about this time? Why did drink especially become such a big issue?


*This was a great age of movements that we might call cults, often segregated from mainstream society in communes. Why do you think so many people were attracted to extremist movements like this?


*How did radicals use religious arguments against the evils of the time, for instance slavery?


*How could slave owners use religion to defend their practices?


*Were there any politics at this time that were NOT religious, or which did not use religious arguments?