HIST Paper 1 - Throughout the 17th century and the 18th...

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Throughout the 17 th century and the 18 th century, different forms of ideas and opinions were existed about God, human nature and their interactions. Two prevailing points of view concerning these interactions can be compared by analyzing the beliefs and practices of Puritans and Deists. Puritans appeared in New England as early as 1620, escaping religious persecution and repression found in the Church of England in hope of maintaining their religious and cultural identity. Puritans were Protestants who often had a Calvinistic approach to religion. They believed the Bible was the source of all knowledge and had all of the answers for life. Puritans believed that individuals were predestined to live a certain life that will result in going to hell or heaven and there was nothing that could be done to change this destiny. Conversely, Deists were actually skeptical about the Bible as the Enlightenment period emphasized reason and logic as ways to analyze social and physical aspects of life. If answers could not be logically deduced about certain religious and biblical events, Deists tended to doubt traditional religious explanations. Deists also believed in free will rather than predestination, unlike the Puritans. They believed there were certain ways to live your life in order to ensure a spot in heaven. Both these points of view required a level of community literacy such that for the puritans, one could read and understand the biblical scriptures and for Deists to read and understand the broader views of religion, sciences, math and politics. There are many other differences and similarities between Puritans and Deists which can be seen by analyzing the works of authors during this time period. John Winthrop, Michael Wigglesworth, and Mary Rowlandson were strict Puritans whose religious beliefs permeated their writings. Benjamin Franklin, whose writings were widely distributed during this time, expressed views that suggested individuals abilities to chart their own destinies with a broad based view of the multiple ways in which God and man interacted. Franklin, among others, are classified as the “enlightened” and a Deist, elements of
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which can be seen in his respective writings as well. These authors, although different in their
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HIST Paper 1 - Throughout the 17th century and the 18th...

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