Human Nature Of Religion Essay

analytical Essay
975 words
975 words

Just as it is human nature to feel desire, it is also human nature to long for an understanding of Earth’s unanswerable questions. Prior to scientific discoveries, humans developed their own means of understanding- religion. Although religion originally served as a means to explain natural phenomenona as well as spiritual ones, as science began to answer those kinds of questions, religion evolved to explain what science could not. Questions about the meaning of life and the mortality of man were answered in various formats. Unfortunately, as it is human nature to desire knowledge, it is also human nature to physically see manifestations of this knowledge. By creating immutable answers to mutable questions, mankind accidentally created …show more content…

He tells us that we “trust that somehow good/ Will be the final goal of ill” (LIV 1-2). By believing that everything served a purpose in his life, Tennyson unwillingly created room for disbelief once something in his life goes terrible wrong. In this case, Hallam serves as a catalyst, his untimely death causing Tennyson to wonder if there is a divine purpose in life and why, should there be such a purpose, someone so close to him died so young and without such a purpose. Unfortunately, the idea of “life’s grand purpose” robs the idea that humans have free will or control over their life. This ultimately makes one feel extremely helpless. This helpless feeling manifests itself and Tennyson reports feeling like “an infant crying in the night […] with no language but a cry” (LIV 13-16). By comparing himself to a human in its most venerable state, Tennyson is commenting on how believing in the idea of religion may provide temporary comfort, it ultimately leaves the believer feeling just as helpless as a …show more content…

Nature. While many people view God and Nature as either two separate entities or intertwined, Tennyson takes a somewhat different stance. Tennyson originally portrays Nature as selfish and harsh while God is kind and loving. Tennyson writes that Nature is “so careful of the type she seems/ So careless of the single life” (LV 7-8) while God is described as “the larger hope” (LV 20). Tennyson also writes about how Nature cares “for nothing, [all species] shall go” (LVI 4). By writing these statements, Tennyson undercuts his previous idea that God is cruelly robbing young people’s lives as part of the “larger plan”, in favour of Nature being cruel. Although she created man, she cares not whether he lives or dies. Such an idea is a common interpretation of God, especially of how he is depicted in the New Testament as a loving and forgiving God. Another interesting aspect of this interpretation is how Tennyson chooses to assign masculine pronouns to God and feminine pronouns to Nature. This could be a call-back to the story of creation wherein Eve is often interpreted as a careless woman while Adam is a man aspiring to be good in cruel world. By writing God and Nature as echoes of Adam and Eve, not only is Tennyson referring to the creation of religion for humans, he is also adhering to the traditional Victorian values wherein the man was created to be stronger

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how religion evolved to answer questions about the meaning of life and the mortality of man.
  • Analyzes how tennyson sets up the context for his crisis of faith by comparing himself to a human in its most venerable state.
  • Analyzes how tennyson's critique of religion comes in the form of god vs. nature.
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