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Millenarian Movements

A weakening or disruption of the old social order, social unrest and loss of power result in religious movements that may be called millenarian. Millenarian movement believes in the coming of new world in part through supernatural action.

These are religious born of frustration, despair or bewilderment which seek to cut through a hopeless situation with a promise of the millennium- a promise of good government, great happiness and prosperity.Millenarists call for complete change. Their main theme is moral regeneration and the creation of a new kind of person. Such aspirations are often articulated or symbolized in a hero or prophet.

In Melanesia, millenarianism took the form of cargo cults. The cults blended Christian missionary teaching concerning the eventual millenarian resurrection of Christ with the Melanesian's own myths in which mythical ancestors would become transformed into powerful beings and dead would return to life.

The millennium would occur when the ancestors would return in steamships or airplanes bringing European goods (the cargo) and initiating a reversal of the social order.

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