Chapter

Interrogating Human Security and Religion in Guatemala

C. Mathews Samson

in Religion and Human Security

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199827732
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950553 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199827732.003.0009
Interrogating Human Security and Religion in Guatemala

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This chapter examines the potential contribution of religion, particularly Pentecostal Protestantism, to ameliorating human security problems in Guatemala. The definition of human security used in this volume has three components: a concern with human physical well-being, a juridical aspect that includes human rights, and a more general “culturally conditioned” component related to the need for “freedom, self-expression, and human autonomy.” An ethnographic reading of the Guatemalan context demonstrates that insecurity poses threats to the populace both psychologically and physically. It is argued that, in the face of such threats to well-being, the burgeoning Pentecostal presence plays an ambiguous role in contributing to human security in postconflict Guatemala. There can be little doubt that Pentecostal communities possess resources that can contribute to the betterment of human welfare, but the direct evidence for major contributions in terms of physical or juridical security is rather thin. The most significant contributions of Pentecostals are made at the community and individual levels rather than in the realm of national social policies and political agendas.

Keywords: religion; Pentecostal Protestantism; human security; human welfare; Pentecostal communities

Chapter.  9950 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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