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A Study of a Black American Religion: Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement
|Title:||A Study of a Black American Religion: Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement|
|Date Issued:||26 Sep 2014|
|Publisher:||University of Hawaii at Manoa|
|Abstract:||A sociological introduction: Magic and the magical outlook on life are not concepts of man’s mental infancy. They are apparent in this age in our poetry, art, music, and our religion. Two anthropologists, Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown, tried to answer the existence of and man’s continuing dependence upon magic. In The Andaman Islanders (new edition, 1933), Malinowski concludes from his observations of a primitive people that every society has a body of empirical knowledge which is able to control and obtain certain of man’s needs. For instance, using this body of empirical knowledge, the Andaman islanders were able to catch fish and grow crops with a great degree of success. But, empirical knowledge is not able to catch a large number of fish at all times. It will never be able to satisfy all of man’s needs and desires. When the islander has planted his crops, he is dependent upon the whims of weather to nourish or destroy his crops. Lacking control over his environment in this respect, the islander resorts to magical rites to give him “good luck.“ Wherever man has control, magic and wishful thinking are superfluous and do not flourish. Malinowski and Radcliffe-Brown refer to this initial drive toward magical rites as the primary anxiety, a sentiment most common among those people who desire a result and do not possess the means to secure that end. Such a people tend to perform actions which have no practical result called rituals. These rituals are determined by the traditions of the society. Where there is little support from a society to form an appropriate ritual, the men in need will invent arbitrary rituals to relieve their anxiety. The rites give comfort, confidence to those who perform them even though the rites have no intrinsic value. The final step in the process of ritual creation is rationalization which follows the creation of the ritual. The rationalization may be as elaborate as the theology of the Catholic Church or a simple statement that "ritual must be performed to insure a large catch of fish."|
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Honors Projects for History|
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