How did religion affect the pattern of colonization in America and life in those colonies?

When the Europeans begun their exploration and subsequent colonization in North America, their religious beliefs and practices were a significant tool in how they conquered and approached the local natives, although majority of them already had their own religious practices. These religious influence dictated how they interacted with the natives, got rights to land and subsequently got control of the land from the natives (Wright et al. 156).

It is no doubt that the quest for religious influence and autonomy was one of the aiding factors in the colonization of America by the Europeans. The Europeans felt that the local native religions were very naive and barbaric and hence sought to change their beliefs.

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On the other hand, there were a lot of religious conflicts and discriminations that were taking place in Europe which resulted in bloodshed and loss of livelihood. Hence, most of the immigrants who were migrating into North America were doing so in the search for a land where they would practice their own religious practices without any discrimination from rival denominations which was happening at the time.

Therefore, many different religions came to North America and settled in different geographical regions which formed a base on how religion influenced the colonization of these states. Consequently, the different states adopted different types of denominations across North America, thus each denomination exercised its religious influence through colonization of its given geographical area resulting in different pattern’s of religious denominations settlements across North America.

The immigrants, who were Europeans, felt that they were superior to the natives who were mostly Red Indians and it was their responsibility to convert these locals to their respective denominations that they had observed in Europe. Despite the fact that the Europeans professed to be religious and act in accordance to Christianity and respective religious denominations, they were always in conflict with their religious ideologies.

For instance, they saw themselves as more superior to other people, natives, and considered them less of humans as compared to them. This was contrary to their religious beliefs which observed that all humans were equal before God. In addition, they used religion as a basis to propagate colonization of North America instead of using it to promote peace and understanding between the immigrants and the natives.

Also, the Europeans did not respect the rights and practices of the natives. The natives considered the environment sacred and so did the Christian religious views. But the Europeans who confessed to Christianity did not observe this as they fell down trees and hunted animals for the fun of it which was not only offensive to the Red Indians but was in conflict with the Christian ideologies on tolerance, respect and the environment.

In addition the locals were treated in a very inhumane manner, whereby the Europeans liked them to animals. In some states the natives were persecuted when they objected to be convert to Christianity which they, Europeans, termed as a salvation process.

Additionally, the Europeans engaged in massive looting and plundering of natural resources that initially belonged to the natives, for instance they looted the Indians gold mines on the pretext of converting lost souls to Christianity, which was in total conflict with the Christian teachings (Tindall & Shi 98).

In conclusion religion played a great role in the colonization of North America as the Europeans used it as a tool to spread their ideologies to the natives whom they considered uncivilized. Nevertheless, even though the Europeans considered themselves as having the “right religion” they did not adhere to its ideologies but merely used it to spread their own ideologies which contradicted with the Christian views.

Works Cited

Tindall, George & Shi, David. America A Narrative History, 8th Edition. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 2009. Print.

Wright, Ron. et al. Readings in United States History, Sixth Edition, Volume 1. New York: Springer, 1993. Print.


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