Every society has the responsibility of socializing its members, and the dominant religion of that society is an extremely important ingredient in that socialization process. Few societies have proven more successful in this socialization process than those whose world view is distinctly Roman Catholic. Yet, even within the most culturally Catholic of European countries, Italy, a relatively small but growing number of Protestants can be found. This thesis focuses upon a single community belonging to the minority Christian denomination referred to as Evangelical or Pentecostal. It presents original research that was carried out in the summer of 2013. While some observations are specific to Italy, I believe some of the guiding principles can be found within any minority group that has broken from the dominant religion of the land. Born-again Christian belief follows conversion, an inner transformation that hinges on supernatural sensory experience, cognitive assessment and realignment, and a paradigmatic shift. Among evangelicals, rhetoric, not ritual, is the primary vehicle for conversion as attested by the case studies including in this manuscript. Witnesses "speak the gospel" while listeners "come under conviction" as they appropriate the gospel in their inner speech. While each born-again has a unique story of conversion, they all share a profound connection with the triune God, whose invisible hand operates in the universe with supreme wisdom, whose inscrutable presence guides every conscious choice of believers-from the most mundane to the most spiritual-and whose inerrant and unchanging law is forever preserved in the Holy Scriptures.
|Commitee:||Loewe, Ronald, Magliocco, Sabina, Scott, George|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 54/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Religion, Cultural anthropology, Theology, Spirituality|
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