Countercultural Christian Movements: The Beloved Community and the Benedict Option

Burgoon, Haven, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Marsh, Charles, AS-Religious Studies, University of Virginia

Intentional religious communities litter the history of America. This paper highlights and compares two different visions of said communities; Martin Luther King, Jr’s vision of the Beloved Community and contemporary writer Rod Dreher’s vision of the Benedict Option. By addressing the theological and foundational differences between the two, this project reveals the role of Christian belief in the survival of social experiments as well as the inextricably intertwined nature of religion and social life. The character and aims of the Beloved Community and the Benedict Option reveal King and Dreher’s theological differences. An additional look at two other communities, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Christian Faith-and-Life Community (CFLC) further relays the importance of religious belief regarding responses to cultural realities.

MA (Master of Arts)
countercultural movements, Beloved Community, Benedict Option, Christianity
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