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The Culture Shock of St Patrick

Keywords: Culture Shock , Conversion Experience , St Patrick , Kalervo Oberg , Religion

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Abstract:

This article will shed new light on the Confession of St Patrick by examining it through the prism of the culture shock model. It will argue that the stages of the saint's conversion broadly follow the stages of culture shock and that some modern examples of culture shock are very similar to religious conversion experience. It will contextualise these observations into the thesis that 'religion' and 'culture' are only clearly distinguished in Western or post-Enlightenment societies, that 'culture' has come to replace God in many modern societies and that a strong divide between the two concepts is not philosophically sustainable. Accordingly, it will apply the modern model of 'culture shock' to Patrick's experience, arguing that it exemplifies this model.

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