Peoples Different Religious Views Philosophy
Everyone views religion differently. Peoples religious beliefs vary greatly and they also tend to change. When you look at the quote, "God made man in his own image, and man returned the compliment" (Blaise Pascal) , you can see how people make god out to be something they want him to be. The quote is saying that God created us and made us how he wanted us to be. With that being said, the quote flips back and pretty much says that man is doing the same thing in return. We are taking God and creating our own image for him. We are trying to make him something that we can be satisfied with and worship. When you view the works of Winthrop, Dane, Wigglesworth, Rowlandson and Franklin, the reader can see how their perceptions on religion vary in each person. Four of them have the same religion. Winthrop, Dane, Wigglesworth, and Rowlandson all study the Puritan religion. The other person, Benjamin Franklin, was a Deist. The four Puritans have the same view on God and Franklin, of the Deist, has his own view of how things are and he goes against the Puritans. When compared side by side, Puritanism and Deism are quite different. The Puritans view God a certain way and The Deist view God another way. Likewise, Puritans see human nature differently than the Deist.
The Puritans view God as being good and they see the Bible as God's true law. The Puritans say God interacts with them through the use of the Bible or "God's true law". The Puritans also take God's true law and incorporate it into everyday life. You can see how they do that in John Winthrop's article. In John Winthrop's article about "Political Authority and Liberty", Winthrop talks about how God's true law factors into our law. Winthrop says that "we shall govern you and judge your causes by the rules of God's laws and our own, according to our best skill." (Winthrop 1) In this quote taken from the article you can see the comparison between our law and God's law. Winthrop says that they feed off of each other. That means that when it comes time to prosecute someone, they will take God's law and their own personal laws into account when making a decision. The puritans also said that people are predestined. The Puritans say God has a plan for everyone and no matter what a person does, they cannot alter that plan. Michael Wigglesworth shows why they think this way in his article titled, "The Day of the Doom". In Wigglesworth's poem, he says, "God had predestined them." (Wigglesworth 4) This means that God has already determined who will and will not make it to Heaven. The Puritans also believed that mentally retarded kids were predestined to go to hell and the same goes for babies that haven't been predestined for salvation. (Wigglesworth 3) The Puritans see god as being good. They see him as a person full of blessings. In Dane's story, Dane says, "I can't help but take notice of God's goodness...". (Dane 7) Dane, and the rest of the Puritan religion, view God as good because in Dane's case, he seen God as good because by worshiping God, he didn't have a temptation to do wrong. Dane said God was also good and he could see it because he restrained him from doing something with the naked lady in his inn. Dane said, "I took notice of the good in God in restraining me". (Dane 8) Dane knew that God would help him out and that he didn't have to steal or do bad things to get what he wanted. He deemed God as "Good" for that simple reason. According to Mary Rowlandson, " Job 1:15, and I only am escaped alone to tell the news....the Lord by his Almighty power preserved a number of us from death...", the Puritan religion was so strong that immediately after escaping their demise they continued to spread the word. With that being said, Rowlandson and the Puritans view God as sort of a preserver of their religion. All in all, the Puritans view God as being Good, they see the bible as God's true law, they believe in predestination, and they believe that God helped preserve their religion.
In comparison, the Deist, Benjamin Franklin's religion, view God a bit different than the Puritans. Deism is knowledge of God based on the application of our reason on the designs/laws found throughout Nature. Franklin grew up in a Puritan lifestyle, but as he grew older he read more books and found out that many things he read went against the Bible. Franklin, " I found them disputed in the different books I read". (Franklin 25) Deism believed in God, but they didn't believe in a Christian God. (Franklin 26) Franklin see's God as being the creator of the universe. Franklin goes against the Puritan religion in his Dissertation. Franklin says that a good and powerful God must have made an all good universe and with that being said, free-will and evil can't exist. What he meant by this is that nothing is perfect as the Bible proclaims. Franklin believes that according to the Bible and God, everything should be perfect. There should be no flaws or defects in life. In hence, Franklin views God as a myth. He doesn't believe that there is a person who is so perfect. The Deist outlook on God, as reflected in Franklin, is sort of a more straight forward view. They look at things very deeply and thoroughly. Unlike the Puritans, they look at the broader aspect of religion.
Like religion, the Puritans and Deist view other things differently also. The Puritans view human nature different. Human nature is how people are believed to think, act or feel. What the reader can see in the Puritan's work is that they consider human nature as being defined as being bad. They thought that all humans were evil by nature and that's why they based a lot of their laws around the Bible. In Wigglesworth's poem, he compares God to a judge that is about to rule over people. He said, " The Judge draws nigh, exalted high upon a lofty throne." (Wigglesworth 3) When Wigglesworth drew the comparison, the reader can see how the Puritans viewed human as being bad. The reader can also see how they try to incorporate God and the Bible around the believed to be "corrupt" humans. According to Winthrop, " This [kind of liberty] is that great enemy of truth and peace, that wild beast, which all of the ordinances of God are bent against, to restrain and subdue it." (Winthrop 1) The wild beast that Winthrop mentions is humans. He is saying that humans are out of control with the way they act, think, and feel. Since Puritans view human nature is bad, it must be corrected. Their idea of correcting it is leaving it up to God. This becomes evident when Dane skips church and gets stung by a bee for doing so. Dane said the bee, "struck my finger....I thought of my mothers words that God would find me out". Dane says he gets punished by God because he has done something bad by skipping church. This shows how the Puritans viewed God as the savior for mankind. Their outlook on human nature is that it is bad and they see God as the person who can fix this mess and correct society to change their view on human nature.
The Deist view on human nature was different than the Puritans because of the simple fact that they didn't follow the Bible as closely as the Puritans. The Puritans wanted to establish human law with God's law. The Deist viewed human nature as being "set in stone". It was believed to be unchangeable. Franklin never blamed human success on God. When you revisit the definition of human nature which is, how people act, think or feel, you get the sense that Franklin felt as if God doesn't determine his life. His success was blamed on skill, " with his intelligence and literary ability". Every time Franklin received a job, it was based on how much he knew. It was never considered a blessing or a sign of something good or bad like the Puritans did. Franklin's definition on human nature would be simple. It would sound something like this. Humans are bound to do well based on what they know. There isn't an outside force that can determine whether or whether not a person does well. If everyone could rely on a force to lead them than the world would be a very "guided" place. That is how Franklin felt on the inside when it comes to human nature. Human's are not given anything.
All in all, the Puritans and Deist both look at God and human nature differently. The Puritans view God as being Good, they see the bible as God's true law, they believe in predestination, and they believe that God helped preserve their religion. The Deist view religion as a totally opposite of the Puritans as they question everything about God. Other than religion, the Puritans view human nature as being corrupt while the Deist view human nature as being "set in stone" With the two religions major differences, you can sort of view them as each others rival. They both hate how the other thinks and feels. When one religion has a solid point, the opposite religion counters it. After all the arguing is said and done, it boils down to two religions with two totally different views.
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