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Trend In Historical Causes Of Change In Societies

536 words - 3 pages

Jerry Bentley once said, "Large scale conversion only took place when powerful political, social, or economic incentives encouraged it and even then it led universally to syncretism rather than outright adoption of a foreign cultural tradition". In other words, religion's only spread and grew as a result of a need for reform. Society will only convert when there are incentives and true reasons. The reason why Bentley says that syncretism occurred rather than outright adoption of a foreign cultural tradition was because when a reform was needed, the empire replaced the negative aspects and kept the positive to create a blend. Throughout history, after every empire began to decline or fall, constant chaos and disruption took place. Philosophers ...view middle of the document...

Bentley's quote strongly applies to religions and their spread. For example, there was a time during the Roman Empire where a social reform was needed due to the harsh and unjust ways of the Jewish culture. As a result, Christianity emerged as a solution for the Roman Empire's unfair social structure and treatment towards other ethnic groups. The positive aspects of the Jewish culture remained but the negative aspects were replaced with Christian ideas.Another example of religions spreading as a result of a need for reform is Buddhism. Asoka was the ruler of the Indian Empire whose main goal was victory in warfare. Eventually he became tired of the constant chaos and violence that a political reform was needed to end the wars. Asoka turned to Buddhism as a solution. As a result, Buddhism spread greatly throughout India and eventually into China.Reformation, due to economical incentives, has also been greatly affected by religion. The commerce and trade of an economy is affected almost entirely on the empire's relations with other world powers. Christianity, during the success of the Roman Empire, created great ties between other world powers because of its worldwide appeal and popularity. Universal religions such as Christianity created economical success for all empires. As technological and navigational advancements occurred, trade grew greatly along the with many universal religions.Bentley's quote was very accurate and applies to most empires of the past. Success within empires throughout history have only occurred due to a need for reform. Religious incorporation has affected most societies and aided in the effort to change and alter their ways. Empires continue to strive for specific incentives and, in doing so, have come a long ways.

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