Puritan Religious Ideology and Its Impacts on U.S Today

PuritanReligious Ideology and Its Impacts on U.S Today

Puritanismis not onlya religiousdogma,buta philosophy,an amalgamation of lifestyleswith livingvalues.Puritanismhas exertedimmenseinfluenceon American cultureandsubstantiallyshapedthenationalcharacterof theAmerican people.Itwould be expected thatmanyofthemainstream, valuesin theUnited States suchas egalitarianism, individualism andoptimismwhich findtheir hallmarkin thePuritanism of thecolonialera(Kang 148).

Puritanismhas influencedAmerican nationalcharacterof acquiringmaterialgoodsandotherformsof wealththrough thriftandhandwork. Puritans in America associatedmaterialwealthwith God’s favor(Kang 149). ThePuritan believedthathardworkwasa meansandwayto pleasethecreatorof theuniverse.In thisvein,theysupposedthatwhenan individualgeneratedwealththrough hardworkandthriftheorshewas guaranteedof God’s favor. Thecanonof predestinationkeptallPuritanscontinuously workingto dogoodin thecourseof their lifein orderto be selectedforthenextlife.God thecreatorhadalreadyselectedthosewhowould goto heavenandhell,buthumanbeinghadnowayof knowingwhich grouptheywerein (Reuben 1).Christians whowereaffluentandpossessedimmensematerialwealthy would naturallybe blessedby Godandas suchwerein goodstandingwith him ((Kang 149).

Theworkethicsof Puritanswasthebeliefthathardworkwasan honorto thecreatorf theuniverseandwould,therefore, resultina prosperousreward.Anydeparturefrom thetypicalwayof Puritan lifewould be austerely deniedandcondemned(Reuben 1). Apartfrom earlyChristian in theNew World wholecturedon thesevalues,somepoliticalandsocialactivists suchas Benjamin Franklin fervently promotedthevalueof beingthriftyanddiligent(Kang 150). Morespecifically,theworkof B. Franklin implantedthesevaluesin theheartof theAmerican populace.Thepursuitof materialwealthpersuadedthem to conquerthenaturalandexpandmorefrontiers.Consequently,allPuritans strivedto workhardto performtheir taskin thebestwaypossible.Theydevelopedtheir featuresof assumingrisksandpursuingwithout ending((Kang 150).

Thepursuitof materialwealththrough hardworkisthe one the resulted in the emergenceof individualism. Asis knownin themodernworld,individualism is theepicenter of American values.Itis hingedfirmlyon theearlyAmerican Puritanism ((Kang 151). In themoderndays,thenotionindividualism has permeatedeveryaspectof American society.Ithas become a societythat attacheshighvaluetoautonomy,privacy,self-relianceandmutualrespect.Puritanism,beinga productof thereligioustransformation,maintainedtheanti-authority normanddevelopeda strongself-awareness program(Kang 150).

Attheoutset,Puritans rationalization of faithmodelledto thedenialof Pope’s power.ThePope wasnolongerthebridgebetween Christians andtheir God. In thisvein,allChristians would directlycommunicatewith God through his faithin Him andas sucheveryone could be a priest(Reuben 1). Themindsof Christians wereliberatedfrom rigidRoman Catholicism. I thislight,personalvalueswasemphasized,andone’s soulbecamemorefreeandautonomous.Secondly,based on Martin Luther precepts,Puritans createdtheir ownchurch,selectedtheir ownpriestandremovedthehierarchical systemof church.Asa consequence,Christians wereemancipatedfrom strictRoman Catholic decreesandthechurchbecamean openunionforeveryone andsalvationwasa privatedivinequest(Reuben 1). Puritans anti-authority andtheir sturdyself-awareness aretheonethat createdthewayforgrowthof individualism in colonialAmerica, which subsequentlybecameone of themostpivotalvaluesof theAmerican populace((Kang 149). Individualism isbestexemplifiedin themovie‘The Hunger Game’ wherecompetitorsdoanything possible,includingreapingoff othercontestantsheartsin orderto survive.Survivalin thegameandurbanlifeonehas to Marshall greatstrengthandspirit.Peeta,one of the key characters, iswelltooawareof thisfactandstrivesto keephumanityanddignityas heattemptsto survive(kagan 1).

ManyAmericans, in accordance with theprincipleof self-reliance,havemovedout of povertyandbecomewealthyandrespectin thesociety.On theeveof civilwar,thevalueof gatheringwealththrough thriftandhardworkhadfueledfastgrowthof theAmerican capitalism(Kang 149). Itcreatedthevalueof individualism which has playeda hugefunctionduring thereconstructionafter theworldwarandtheeraof westernexpansion.Hithertoitis partof American nationalcharacter.Toa majorityof American populace,materialacquisitionis one of themarksof success,thesymptomof their personalvalues,andtheemblemof one’s autonomy(Kang 150).

Conclusion

Eventhoughitisapparentthattheinfluenceof Puritanism in England has fadedover time,its influenceis extensivewiththemodernlifeof Americans, moreparticularlytheAmericans values.Whileits theologicaleffectshaveweakenedas timemoveson, Puritanism continuesto exerttremendousinfluenceon political,economicandethicalthoughtsof Americans. Wecannot denythattheAmerican populacevalueshavesignificantly changed,andthattheir lifestyles are quitedifferentfrom whatPuritans in England advocated.Nonetheless,thefundamentals of American valuesmatchto theessenceof Puritanism. Asillustratedin themovie‘thehungergames’Puritanism is not onlya religiousconviction,butan elementof American culturewhich has influencedthevaluesof Americans as wellas their nationalandglobal character

WorksCited

Kagan,Darina. &quotTheHunger Games Themes That Apply to Our World Today.&quot23 March 2012. The Huffington Post. 21 February 2015&lthttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/darina-kagan/the-hunger-games-themes_b_1391574.html?ir=India&gt.

Kang,Ning. &quotPuritanism and Its Impact upon American Values.&quotReviewof European Studies Vol.1, No. 2 (2009): 148-151.

Reuben,Paul P. “Early American Literature to1700 – A Brief Introduction.&quotPAL:Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. Retrieved fromwww:http://archive.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap1/1intro.html

Related Posts

© All Right Reserved