The British Empire during the sixteenth and 17th century had a changeless battle of power for laterality of the state. The chief factor was due to faith. This battle led to the outgrowth of the spiritual group of Puritans. They intended to come to the New World for spiritual autonomy to pattern Christianity in the manner that they thought God had intended it. This became the dominant Protestant position of the New World in the seventeenth century ; nevertheless, with the reaching of the Enlightenment, intuitions of this manner of thought came approximately. Many people began to doubt the dependability and ground of this belief system, and therefore Puritanism had a new antagonist: Deism. Puritans and Benjamin Franklin, a freethinker, had dramatically different perceptual experiences on both human nature and the function of God. Puritans viewed God as a instead active, loving, and wroth participant in the lives of the choice few he predestined, and human nature as innately evil and incapable of making good. Franklin, on the other manus, saw God as a removed figure that did non step in in the lives of worlds, and human nature as endeavoring for self-improvement through the pattern of virtuousness.
The Puritans held a really dark position of human nature. They believed that all worlds were basically evil, and that all human nature can make is wickedness. Governor John Winthrop makes this clear in his 1645 address to the Massachusetts legislative assembly. Winthrop histories for two different sorts of autonomy that are prevailing in the lives of all world: natural and civil. He states that natural autonomy, the natural desire to make what one wants, “ makes work forces turn more evil and in clip to be worse than beastly beastsaˆ¦ [ and ] is [ the ] great enemy of truth and peace ” ( Winthrop, 1 ) . This type of autonomy is what all work forces are born with and will necessarily turn to when civil autonomy is non instilled. Civil autonomy, harmonizing to Winthrop, is “ the proper terminal and object of authorization and can non exist without it ; and it is to that merely which is good, merely, and honest ” ( Winthrop 1 ) . If work forces want to travel off from their of course corrupt nature they must subject to this higher authorization, so that they may be “ satisfied to bask such civil and lawful autonomies, such as Christ allows [ them ] ” ( Winthrop, 1 ) . Winthrop, along with many other Puritans, made it clear that the nature of adult male was evil. New England curate Thomas Shepard asserted that “ [ our ] best responsibilities are tainted, poisoned, and mingled with some wickedness, and hence are the most abominable in the eyes of a holy God ” ( Wigglesworth, 4 ) .
Even though the Puritans deemed human nature to be corrupt, they still concluded that God chose certain people to be saved, and that God was deeply involved in the lives of those he did denominate. It is necessary to concentrate on the “ extraordinary love God shows to those few deplorable sin-drenched persons he chose to salvage ” ( Wigglesworth, 4 ) . God uses agony, hurting, and encouragement to let His chosen few to turn in their religion and pull them closer to him. This active function is displayed in the first-hand histories of two Puritans, John Dane and Mary Rowlandson. John Dane foremost recognizes the fact that God is ever at that place when he thinks about stealing a piece of gold from a gentleman while he is working. He thinks about taking it but decides non to because he realized “ cipher could cognize of it, yet God, He knew of it ” ( Dane, 2 ) . He accounts for this ubiquity once more when a wasp stings him. He states that, “ as it struck my manus, so it struck my heartaˆ¦and now [ I ] concluded that God, God has found me out ” ( Dane, 4 ) . Dane believes that God was doing him hurting and agony because he skipped Sunday church. This, harmonizing to Dane, is grounds that God is pass oning with him, allowing him know that He is invariably present in his life, watching over him and doing certain he is on the right way. God besides used encouragement to steer John Dane. While Dane was make up one’s minding if he should travel to the New World, he put his religion in God and asked Him to give him the reply. He so opened up his Bible and the first thing he “ cast [ his ] eyes on was: ‘Come out from among them, touch no dirty thing, and I will be your God and you shall be my people ‘ ” ( Dane, 6 ) . Dane regarded this as reassurance and encouragement from God to venture out into the New World.
Mary Rowlandson saw God ‘s love and engagement through her ain agony in the signifier of a violent Indian foray that resulted in much decease and her ain snatch. She believed that in order to turn with God we must be placed in hard state of affairss so that we may set our complete religion and trust in Him. She reflects on her difficult times, stating, “ It is good for me that I have been afflicted. The Lord hath shewed me the amour propre of these outward thingsaˆ¦that we must trust on God himself, and our whole dependance must be upon him ” ( Rowlandson, 8 ) . While in imprisonment she was given a Bible by one of the Indians. She believed that God was able to soothe her by taking her to the poetry where “ [ T ] here was mercy promised once more, if we would return to him by repentanceaˆ¦ [ and ] the Lord would garner us together, and turn all those expletives upon our enemies ” ( Rowlandson, 5 ) . She clearly thought this was directed towards her, and was God stating her that her household would be reunited. These two Puritan ‘s histories show the Puritan position that God intervened in adult male ‘s lives, turn outing that the people “ could make anything for God or endure anything for God ” ( Dane, 7 ) .
Benjamin Franklin, nevertheless, had a wholly different position on God and human nature due to his Deist beliefs. Contrary to what the Puritans believed about human nature, Benjamin Franklin ( and most Deists ) believed that human nature was perfectible and that worlds were necessarily traveling to waver and transgress, but that they should concentrate on self-reformation. He believed that worlds were put here to make good and to do the universe a better topographic point. He invented a figure of points demoing his thrust for promotion, and was fond of stating, “ That, as we enjoy great advantages from the innovations of others, we should be sword lily of an chance to function others by an innovation of ours ” ( Franklin, 21 ) . The Puritans believed that worlds could non assist but transgress, but Franklin believed that worlds were still capable of making good, and could “ arriv [ e ] at moral flawlessness ” through the pattern of virtuousness ( Franklin, 12 ) . In his autobiography, Franklin lists 13 different virtuousnesss that he strives to hone in his life. He creates a chart where he is able to document his efforts, and comes to the decision that he was “ a better and happier adult male than [ he ] otherwise should hold been if [ he ] had non attempted it ” ( Franklin, 14 ) . He came to understand that goodness could be attained if one truly strives for it, and that we are non wholly doomed to a life of wickedness and corruption.
Franklin had a position of God that was about opposite to that of the Puritans. He believed that God is a removed figure who sets His creative activity into gesture and does non interact with adult male at all. He is instead a clocksmith, who winds the universe up and tickers it go. Franklin ‘s Deist thesis provides grounds of this all-powerful God: “ There is said to be a First Mover, who is called GOD, Maker of the Universe ” ( Franklin, 6 ) . Franklin really grew up in a family where Puritanism was the chief belief system ; nevertheless, as Franklin grew to educate himself he began to read books on scientific discipline and doctrine, and began to turn away from his household ‘s beliefs. He “ began to doubt of Revelation itself ” , intending he questioned the legitimacy of the Bible because he could non happen any ground behind it ( Franklin, 5 ) . Furthermore, because of his scientific cognition, he could non see how certain supernatural events in the Bible could hold occurred. He rejected the Bible and everything involved with it including a Savior, miracles, and God ‘s engagement with human nature. Where Puritans idea of God as being an active participant in people ‘s lives, Franklin saw God as disconnected from the universe.
It is clear that the Puritans and the Deist Benjamin Franklin held opposing positions on the stance of God and human nature. In the 18th century people began to turn away from the Puritan based thought that worlds were capable to transgress. Deism came out of the Enlightenment, with the reaching of accent on ground, scientific discipline, and advancement. With this new manner of believing there was reevaluation of authoritative Christianity and its positions. Deism adopted the thought that worlds were capable of flawlessness, and were non doomed. This new manner of thought besides brought about a new manner of sing God. Deists viewed him as a distant God from his creative activity, which was contradictory of the Puritan belief that God was personally involved with adult male. This alteration in the point of views is illustrated in the first-hand histories of Puritans and the autobiography of Franklin. Through these plants one can reason that there was a great dissatisfaction in the hopelessness in the accustomed Puritan instructions, finally taking to the enlargement of the newfound Deism in the 1700s.