Free Essay: Political, Cultural and Religious Sociological Aspects of Missionaries

Published: 2020-06-18 09:37:56
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Missionaries had a great influence on the communities they came across in their work since they changed the ways of life of society. Missionaries seemed to be in most cases religious however their influence on societies played a role in changing their political, cultural and religious perspectives. Influence of these communities by missionaries largely contributed to the current modernization of communities especially those that lived in Africa, Asia and America. Religion was used by the missionaries as a shield however at the end they ended up establishing a governmental structure for the communities and a new social order that never existed. Their works however did not impress all the communities that they came across with some of the communities engaging them in fights and others remaining firm to their cultures.

Political influences of missionaries on communities

Missionaries were greatly used by foreign empires in politically influencing native people who they work with. Most missionaries in foreign lands have been associated with the United States government which seems to be using them to spread their political ideologies (Devine, 24). Since the onset of missionaries thy largely played a large part when it comes to political imperialism. To the United States missionary works are relevant to its policy makers who use them to promote their policy in foreign lands. Since missionaries work closely with natives, they are able to understand cultural practices, establish mutual relationship and give a world view on the practices of indigenous populations. Missionaries especially in Africa played a large role in establishing governmental structure and continue to input more on the economies of countries within the continent. Foreign government thus has found it pivotal to use Christianity which is associated with missionaries to initiate political changes in foreign lands. Christianity in most western countries plays a major role in politics and thus many of the governments integrated religion and politics.

Claims at hat missionaries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America have worked for the United States though not substantiate may be relatively true. It is however worth appreciating the fact that missionaries have a direct link to foreign states and the work they play at minimum is that of an emigrant from a foreign nation. Available works on missionaries at some points often tend to give a link between imperialism and missionaries since they occurred sequentially. Most of the societies that accepted missionary works would with time be subject to a structured way of leadership.

Cultural influences of missionaries on communities

The influence of missionaries on cultures of native societies in foreign nations is evident to date. Cultural change involves the exchange of ideas and practices. The nature in which the missionaries effected cultural change was uniquely different. Missionaries only used their culture which they deemed to be superior while ruling out the existing cultures of the societies they interacted with. The acts ended up destroying majority of the cultures as they worked toward civilizing them. It is however understandable that missionaries positively impact on the cultural groups that they work for.

Westernization which the missionaries seemed to spread was aimed at civilizing the native societies .Western culture however ended up contaminating the cultures that the communities practiced making them irrelevant in current times. Efforts made to preserve the cultures by the missionaries never succeeded as not all bought the idea. Western culture has thus dominated societies globally becoming the order of the day. Transformed societies that were later colonized lost the sense of cultural progress as it became impossible to practice their own cultures.

Cultures related to missionaries seemed to have paved way for violence given that the ways which were previously used to solve conflicts by natives where completely disregarded. Colonialism which was a predecessor of missionary works saw the created governments continue to enforce westernization on their subjects.

Native culture may have greatly faded most societies and their remains a need to rejuvenate some of the societal cultures that were helpful. A society robbed off culture remains a slave of its master and thus a subject (Robin Bush, 11).Attaining of independence would have served as an avenue towards rejuvenating these cultures however this did not come to be. If not properly checked cultural death may be inevitable on the native society and contribute to complete westernization.

Religious impact of missionaries on communities

Spreading of religion was the major role that was undertaken by missionaries globally. To date missionaries continue to spread Christianity across the globe which is their main religion. Though the acceptance of the religion was initially met with opposition from native societies who had their own traditions it has emerged to be the religion with most followers across the globe. Missionaries succeeded in eliminating the tradition and setting up their new religion to the indigenous communities in their areas of operation.

Most missionaries found difficult at the initial stages of their missionary work due to lack of communication, intolerant communities, logistical difficulties and communication barriers. The challenges made the missionaries influence remained an achieved for a couple of decades (Sanneh, 33).With time they overcame the challenges and their message on Christianity spread like a bush fire. Established centers referred to as missions worked as call centers for missionaries as they spread Christianity. Colonization led to the improvement of infrastructure which enabled the movement of missionaries to places that they found difficult accessing.

Material items worked as a bait of attracting natives to the church and with time the missionaries managed to communicate in the native language of their hosts. Communication barrier thus was gradually eradicated making the missionaries able to communicate their agenda to a large number of people. Traditions where made to appear as primitive as possible by the missionaries to their target groups. Eventually most of the followers of the missionaries were converted and became Christians. The rate at which the people converted to Christianity continued to increase especially during the colonial period.

Christianity thus ended up emerging as the supreme religion surpassing any other existing religion followed by indigenous societies. Due to the changes natives abandoned some major traditions on joining Christianity and became followers of the new order that was created by the superior religion.


Missionaries played a major role in cultural, political and religious setting of native communities across the globe. Roles played by the missionaries can be attributed to the current existing social order among Christian communities and their integration across all walks of life. Missionary influence thus served to enlighten masses on Christianity however the fact that they had a few negative impacts on societal cultures by failing to preserve them cannot be disregarded.

Works Cited

Devine, Joe, Graham K. Brown, and Severine Deneulin. "Contesting the Boundaries of Religion in Social Mobilization." Journal of South Asian Development 10.1 (2015): 22-47.

Fountain, Philip, Robin Bush, and R. Michael Feener. "Religion and the Politics of Development." Religion and the Politics of Development: Critical Perspectives on Asia (2015): 11.

Sanneh, Lamin. Translating the message: The missionary impact on culture. Orbis Books, 2015.

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