Oye-Lagudam, “African Religious Movements and Pentecostalism”

Oye-Laguda, Oguntola.  2015. African Religious Movements and Pentecostalism: The Model of Ijo-Orunmila, Ato.  In, Contemporary Perspectives on Religions in Africa and the African Diaspora. Ibigbolade Aderibigbe and Carolyn M. Jones Medine, ed.  New York: Palgrave MacMillan.  Pp. 49-59.

Abstract: In Nigeria, Christian Pentecostals are dominating the scene, and it seems that Pentecostalism is now the strongest of religious traditions in the country. The reason for this is, primarily, that the people are still living in a religious world dominated by spiritualities, and powers that are perceived to possess capacity that can wreak havoc on humanity. The current belief is that these elements can only be challenged spiritually through prayers and, fasting, as well as vigil. The scenario posits that for any religious group to seek patronage from the people, it must pose to possess some basic characteristics that seem peculiar to Christian Pentecostals. Therefore, Pentecostalism has become the main evangelical strategy for all religious groups in Nigeria as a whole and Lagos, a cosmopolitan and commercial hub, in particular. African religious groups’ response has been to reorganize its liturgy, spirituality, and sociology to conform to the situation.

Mahadev, “Conversion and Anti-conversion in Contemporary Sri Lanka”

Mahadev, Neena.  2014.  Conversion and Anti-conversion in Contemporary Sri Lanka: Pentecostal Christian Evangelism and Theravada Buddhist Views on the Ethics of Religious Attraction.  In Proselytizing and the Limits of Religious Pluralism in Contemporary Asia (ARI Springer Asian Series, vol. 4), pp. 211-235.

Abstract: Over the last decade Buddhist nationalist activists have pursued various measures to curb proselytism by Christians who strive to “unethically convert” Sri Lankans born as Buddhists. Sri Lankan Buddhist nationalist discourses reveal suspicions that the act of becoming enculturated into Christianity is detrimental to the person and to the nation in a number of ways. What can such nationalist discourses about “unethical conversions,” and about the instruments used to engender religious attraction, tell us about the politics of perception that inflame antipathies over proselytism, conversion, and apostasy? Analysis of ethnographic material reveals that Buddhist protectionists tend to regard two forms of Christian “gift” to be operative in securing conversions. First, gifts of Christian charity are perceived to be material “allurements” that serve to induce conversions and religious patronage among vulnerable Sri Lankans. Comparatively examining Christian and Buddhist forms of giving (charity and dāna respectively), which engender radically different types of ethical sensibilities about the use of gifts and care as modalities of conversion and religious attraction, helps to illuminate why charity is a significant point of contention between these religious communities. Secondly, Pentecostal Christian charisma—or the notion that God’s Grace is a gift which can be evidenced through miracles of healing—appears to Buddhist skeptics as dubious and harmful means of manipulating Sri Lankans into committing apostasy. Using ethnography to depict how adherents and detractors alike have made spectacles out of charismatic Christian promises of miracles, this essay describes how recent controversies have played out between Buddhist nationalists and Christian evangelists within the Sri Lankan public sphere. Focusing on charity and charismatic miracles as modalities of conversion, this paper illuminates key aspects of the anxieties over new Christian forms of religious propagation, proselytism, and devotion as they have entered into a milieu marked by ethno-religious nationalism, religious protectionism, as well as established ethical sensibilities and religious conventions.



Blanes, “Double Presence”

Blanes, Ruy Llera (2011) “Double Presence: Proselytism and Belonging in an Angolan Prophetic Church’s Diaspora in Europe” Journal of Religion in Europe, 4(3):409-428

Abstract: This article discusses the issue of proselytism and belonging among Angolan Christians in Europe, namely those belonging to the Tokoist Church, a propheticbased movement originated in Angola in the 1940s and later transnationalized into other African countries and Europe. Invoking fieldwork performed with the church in Lisbon and Luanda, I suggest that religious proselytism in diasporic contexts, as an expression of transnational religiosity, cannot be analyzed without approaching the issue of identity and belonging, which in turn is processed through the production of ‘double presences,’ a reflection of the multiple agencies and territorialities in which migrants are involved.