Essay on Religious Views for Puritian, Transcendental, and Enlightenment Era

Submitted By teendancer123
Words: 647
Pages: 3

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion” (Abraham Lincoln). All throughout history and all throughout the world, viewpoints on religion and God have clashed. This disagreement often times created harsh wars and bloody battles. The ironic part set within these disastrous times, is their love and respect for their God. More specifically the Puritans, the Enlighteners, and the Transcendentalist all honored God, but the role of the Almighty differed between the three groups. The written accounts based off of Anne Bradestreet, Thomas Paine, and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s works demonstrates how God plays a role in each of these individual’s lives.
Looking into the Puritans way of life, one can witness the unwavering devotion towards the Creator. Anne Bradstreet often “turned inward and relied on her faith” so as to deal with her harsh living conditions and frequent illnesses (qtd. in PP, Hansen). Although the journey and settlement to the New World brought relentless hardship, it also brought freedom of religion. Unlike the beliefs set forth by the Church of England, Puritans believed “God freely chose those he would save and those he would damn” (Norton Anthology pg. 13). This belief caused the Puritans to frequently self-examine by “address[ing] the heart more often than the mind” (Norton Anthology pg. 14). Although Bradestreet has confessed her religious doubts, her respect towards God overpowers all. As seen in Bradstreet’s poem “Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 10th, 1666”, she “blest His name that gave and took” (Norton Anthology pg. 122). Even though her beloved house lay in ashes, Bradstreet looked inward and realized “[her] hope and treasure lies above,” revealing her never ending love for the Creator (Norton Anthology pf. 123).
Enlightenment thinkers often choose reason and science over religion; although, at the same time they “rebelled against religious intolerance and thought people should be able to pursue their own religion…or none at all” (qtd. in PP, Hansen). Thomas Paine’s perception of the “cruelty inherent in Christianity,” confirms his outcome as a “rebel forever” (Norton Anthology pg. 323). The acts of Great Britain throughout this time period molded the foundation for Enlightenment beliefs: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Paine explains how America’s future happiness does not depend on “her former [or future] connection with Great Britain,” instead, “she hath enriched herself [with] the necessaries of life” (Norton Anthology pg. 326).
“The stars awaken a