With the Reformation in the sixteenth century, a new faith emerged. Protestantism, a faith based more on the reading and personal reading of the Bible, attracted many followings. Naturally, every person ‘s reading was non the same. Sects formed within the Protestant faith, one of which was the Puritans. The Puritan religion revolved around the position of God as a vengeful, unforgiving “ cheat participant ” who controlled every facet of his followings ‘ lives. These more extremist Protestants besides viewed human nature as of course iniquitous and evil. Many of the Puritans were unhappy with the manner the Church of England was learning the Christian religion, and moved to the New World to put up churches and spread out Puritanism. As more and more of the population began to read the Bible and construe it in different ways, a more scientific and sensible religion surfaced. Termed Deism, the new faith attracted some of the greatest heads of the English settlements, most notably Benjamin Franklin. Franklin viewed God as more of an all-knowing “ clocksmith ” and human nature as inherently good. These positions differed greatly from those of the Puritans. While the Puritan beliefs towards God and human nature required a more pious attack to life, the Deist rules of Franklin called for a more hands-off, self dependent manner of life.
The Puritan God ‘s intercession was non limited to those who had evidently sinned though. Mary Rowlandson, a devout Puritan, was kidnapped when Indians raided her small town of Lancaster. She watched as most of her household and townsfolk were slaughtered, and so taken prisoner for an drawn-out period of clip. During her parturiency, she saw some of her household being traded or yielding to the changeless menace of decease. Rowlandson viewed the full episode as a Job-like spiritual test, and afterwards felt that she genuinely knew what “ sorrow and affliction was ” ( 8 ) . Rowlandson ended the history of her narrative by saying that she “ learned to look beyond present and smaller problems, and to be quited under themaˆ¦stand still and see the redemption of the Lord ” ( 8 ) . Her experience brought her closer to God and made her more aware of his changeless presence.
Puritans and Deists were genuinely similar in merely a individual manner: both believed in the being of a Supreme Being. Benjamin Franklin begins his booklet with “ There is said to be a First mover, who is called GOD, Maker of the Universe ” ( Franklin 6 ) . Not merely does Franklin admit to the obvious being of a Higher Being, he implies that this “ Maker of the Universe ” is more of an perceiver of life, when he calls God the “ first mover. ” Where the two beliefs differed was in the function of this divinity. Unlike the Puritans, Deists like Benjamin Franklin believed that God took a more removed attack to regulating His Creation. Although Franklin ‘s parents raised him as a rigorous Genevan, he began to oppugn his religion every bit early as 15. Franklin states that “ after doubting by bends of several points, as I found them disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself ( Franklin 5 ) . Franklin came to see the Bible as no less than a book of fabrications, and questioned whether Jesus was genuinely a divinity. This belief was true for all Deists. To those who practiced this religion, God was non a Christian “ cheat participant, ” who controlled the actions of all, but more of a clocksmith, who created adult male, so took a measure back into a more experimental function.
The positions of the Puritans and Deists differ on more than merely the function of a higher being. Their several beliefs about the position of human nature were complete antonyms. Puritans, through reading of the narrative of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis, believe that worlds are born of course iniquitous. In a 1645 reference to Massachusetts legislative assembly, Governor John Winthrop states that “ our [ People ‘s ] nature is now corrupt ( because all people are evildoers ” ( Winthrop 1 ) . Winthrop was discoursing natural autonomies, which he described as the freedom to make whatever one wants. He goes on to state that when given free reign to exert this autonomy, “ work forces turn more evil and in clip to be worse than beast animals ” ( Winthrop 1 ) . This public reference exemplifies the Puritan take on human nature. All people are evildoers and when left to make what they want, will perpetrate beastly acts. To forestall this, the settlers needed an elective authorities under the authorization of Christ. As New England Minister Thomas Shepard stated, “ good workss can non acquire anyone into heavenaˆ¦human Black Marias are disgusting sinks of all godlessness, buggery, blasphemy, slaying, prostitution, criminal conversation, enchantress trade [ and ] sodomy ” ( Wigglesworth 4 ) . He subsequently says, “ [ people ‘s ] best responsibilities are tainted, poisoned, and mingled with some wickedness and hence are most abominable in the eyes of a holy God ” ( Wigglesworth 4 ) . Shepard ‘s statements once more represent the Puritan belief of corrupt, built-in human nature. He is connoting that no affair how good one ‘s actions are, they are stained by the crud of original wickedness. He besides hints at the thought of predestination, connoting that if one who has non been granted redemption efforts to derive it through good workss, he or she is dissing the Lord through their actions.
The Deist position of human nature is the complete antonym. While the Puritans argued that God was holy and vindictive, Franklin stated that the expostulation that “ God permits evil actions to be done, for Wise terminals and intents ” destroys itself. He argues that “ whatever an boundlessly good God [ creates ] must be good, is thereby made good, and can non be otherwise ” ( Franklin 6-7 ) . In other words, because God is an all-good being, his Creation can be nil less than this ; human nature is inherently good. This belief wholly contradicts that of the Puritans. Of class, this does non intend that Franklin did non acknowledge that worlds are capable of morally evil workss.
In order to battle any human desire to perpetrate bad workss, Franklin set up a list of 13 virtuousnesss to help him in his quest to make “ moral flawlessness ” ( Franklin 12 ) . He boldly declares that he “ wished to populate without perpetrating any mistake at any clip ; I would suppress all that either natural disposition, usage, or company might take me into ” ( Franklin 12 ) . Franklin recognizes that there are built-in human desires to perpetrate “ morally incorrect ” workss and sets up a program to control said desires. His principles were placed in an order for him to make them and included moderation, silence, order, declaration, frugalness, industry, earnestness, justness, moderateness, cleanliness, repose, celibacy and humbleness. The simple fact that Franklin was on a pursuit for moral flawlessness illustrates his Enlightened, Deist believing. Franklin sought to go the best that he could be through a set of criterions that he had created himself. This self dependent manner of thought was rather contrary to that of Puritans at that clip.
Puritans did non believe in the simple construct of “ moral flawlessness ” and if they did, it surely could non be achieved without monolithic aid from Christ. Alternatively, Puritans were much more dependent on the word of God to help them in life and assist do of import determinations. This is apparent in both the narratives of Mary Rowlandson and John Dane. In Dane ‘s autobiography, he recalls picking up a Bible and turning to a random poetry to assist him make up one’s mind whether or non he should travel to America. The first 1 he finds reads “ Come out from among them, touch no dirty thing, and I will be your God and you shall be my people ” ( Dane 6 ) . Dane interprets the optimistic tone of the transition to be a clear mark from God stating him to travel to New England. Dane ‘s Puritan parents rapidly agree and help him travel. Like Dane, Rowlandson used a Bible poetry to help her in her battle as an Indian prisoner. When all seemed lost, she read Psalm 94:18, which read “ when my pes slipped, thy clemency, O Lord, held me up ” ( Rowlandson 7 ) . After happening new hope in the Psalm, Rowlandson finds out that she is shortly to be released. Her religion in God gave her the aid and inspiration needed to maintain traveling.
The Puritan religion and the Deist religion were merely genuinely similar in one manner: the belief in a Higher Power. The two faiths differed in every other manner, including the good or immorality of human nature, and most significantly, the function of God in mundane life. To Deists like Franklin, God was merely “ the first mover, ” a “ clocksmith, ” who created adult male, so took a measure back. To Puritans like Rowlandson, Dane, Winthrop and Wigglesworth, God was involved in every facet of human life, and interfered when He felt fit. To them, God was an almighty “ cheat participant. ”