"David Williams has written a masterful and remarkably concise synthesis of Georgia's religious odyssey. His title is no mere artifice of alliteration, for he does indeed take us from thousand-year old moundbuilders to modern megachurches, and from Moravians to Muslims as well, reminding us of a persistent strain of religious diversity while placing the emergence and evolution of a Protestant evangelical ethos at the center of Georgia's historical experience."
—James C. Cobb, author of Away Down South: A History of Southern Identity
Williams shows that colonial Georgia was a remarkably diverse place, populated by mainline colonial congregations that included Anglicans, Roman Catholics, German- and Spanish-speaking Jews, Salzburg Lutherans, and Scottish Presbyterians. It wasn't until much later that evangelicalism triumphed and Baptists became the overwhelmingly dominant denomination. Williams uses the stories of such important figures as Tomochichi, John Wesley, Jesse Mercer, Henry McNeal Turner, Lillian Smith, Martin Luther King Jr., and Clarence Jordan to portray larger historical narratives and denominational battles.
Race and religion were intertwined not only in such key movements as abolition and civil rights but also throughout Georgia's history. "In order to fully grasp the religious heritage of Georgia," Williams says, "we must return again and again to racial matters." Recently, Georgians have seen racial, ethnic, and religious diversity grow as Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Baha'i, and other communities have settled in the state. Williams explores how Georgians have dealt with contemporary issues of tolerance and how, at times, the state has taken center stage in our nation's culture wars.
Firmly rooting religious history in a social, cultural, and political context, Williams presents a representative and balanced account of Georgia's religious heritage. From Mounds to Megachurches sheds new light on what it means to be a Georgian by exploring an issue that remains central to life in the Sunbelt South.
Read more about megachurches at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
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