Emerson's Theory Of Religion By Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Religion is generally viewed as a common belief shared by a group of people. These groups then create dogmas and doctrines that are to be followed and perceived as true. From the doctrines rituals and rites form leading to a sense of unity through initiation. Once a person is initiated they are granted membership into the religion and are given a sense of belonging. The sense of being part of a bigger picture is a commonality found in all humans. The usual uniting factor that binds people to a religion is the belief in the same higher being, usually called God, or Gods. While Ralph Waldo Emerson was a man of religion he was not a man of traditional religion. His approach on religion came from a much earthlier source in quite the literal sense.…show more content…
As Robinson points out Emerson used his writings to express his spiritual beliefs and challenged others to follow his ideology. To Emerson his writing was his religion and nature was his place of worship. It was a way for him to express his ideas about the divine flowing through nature and self. A professor in the religion department at Miami University by the name of John-Charles Duffy wrote an essay over Emerson’s ideas and religious beliefs. One excerpt that stood out was “When he (Emerson) stood before the Harvard divinity school graduates, he believed that he was declaring the word of God within him to a generation in need of truth restored. It could be said that, like the prophet of the proverb, Emerson was rejected by his own” (Duffy). Emerson believed the words he wrote as gospel. While addressing the Harvard graduates Ralph Waldo Emerson was hoping that his words would resonate inside the young bright minds and unlock the same transcendental mindset Emerson found himself…show more content…
Susan Dunston, a professor at New Mexico Tech claims “Emerson’s original relation to the universe calls for experiencing the other with genuine curiosity and openness rather than appropriation (or avoidance) of it as a way to assuage our own desires or fears” (Dunston, 31). Dunston’s analysis means that Emerson viewed nature as an outlet to allow a reflection of self and to rise above the things that cause fear and oppression of the mind. In “The American Scholar” Emerson wrote “the one thing in the world of value is the active soul” (Emerson 539). As before mentioned Emerson believed the way to spiritual enlightenment was finding one’s self in nature. Just a few lines before Emerson writes about the active soul he mentions that “Books are the best of things, well used; abused, among the worst” (Emerson 539). From here one can extrapolate that Emerson believed knowledge to be a powerful tool however man must use the knowledge in the right way. Some may call this wisdom, and wisdom is only achieved through life experiences and a thorough understanding of the soul or self which Emerson believed could be achieved through the study and exploration of

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