Essay on God, Or Gods, By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Essay on God, Or Gods, By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Length: 1002 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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. Emerson believed that the only religion one needed to follow was one of nature or the belief of transcendentalism. Emerson’s sense of nature was much broader than the denotative meaning, he believed nature to be both wilderness and the essence of the human soul.
Some have called Emerson a Unitarian or a Christian who asserts the unity of God and rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. This evidence can be found in his essay titled Nature where he will only occasionally refer to God in the proper noun form but it was more common to use the common noun form of god. While Ralph Waldo Emerson was a pastor at one point in his life the death of his wife caused him to remove himself from the church and travel to Europe where he met with many writers such as Thomas Carlyle and Samuel Coleridge (Baym and Levine 506). upon his return from Europe Emerson started working as a lecture until 1836 when he anonymously published Nature at his own expense. David M. Robinson, a professor at Oregon State Univer...


... middle of paper ...


... 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 nature.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Ralph Waldo Emerson And Transcendentalism Essay

- Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston in 1803. He was a son of Unitarian minister and the descendant of New England clergymen. This led him to become a minister himself and later quit to focus on his philosophy called transcendentalism. Emerson started writing in his youth and later attended Harvard University. After graduating from Harvard in 1821 he taught in a women school. The book of Anthology of American Literature says, “Like his philosophy, his writing seemed to lack organization, but it swarmed with epigrams and memorable passages” (939)....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
2180 words (6.2 pages)

Essay on Critical Analysis of Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson

- ... He writes about how it is rare for adults to be in awe of nature, and that we need to preserve a sense of childhood within us. The reason being, that children are more prone to the discovery of their surroundings. They have not yet become accustomed to trees blowing in the wind, or water gathering on the ground. They are not annoyed by the sounds of birds, and hold no disgust yet for crawling creatures. They are just simply in wonderstruck by it all, as if it is something too good to be true; this is the virtue that Emerson wants us all to hold dear....   [tags: disdain, god, uncommon, compassion]

Better Essays
795 words (2.3 pages)

What Mythical Inspiration Is The Basis For The Poem? Essay

- Interpret "Bacchus." What mythical inspiration is the basis for the poem. For one to consider the mythical inspiration behind the poem Bacchus in The Norton Anthology of American literature, one must first get to know of the mythical God called Bacchus (Krupat and Levine 343). Bacchus is the Roman god of wine, merriment, ecstasy and theatrics. He was the son of Zeus, the king of the Roman gods and Semele, the daughter of Cadmus. Bacchus was the personification of the blessings of nature in general (Encyclopedia Britannica)....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
926 words (2.6 pages)

The American Revolution And Great Awakening Essay

- The American colonies began at Jamestown. However New England, a few colonies North would develop into the intellectual hub of the early United States. Cities like New York and Boston and Universities like Harvard and Yale were built by Calvinists; specifically the Pilgrims and the Puritans. Their sober, “City on a Hill” community would set the cultural and religious tone of early American society. However, the American Revolution and Great Awakening would eventually counter the dry and submissive attitudes of the Puritans with an individualistic and idealistic fervor that would spawn an entirely new religious movement, one based around the individual, a positive connection to nature, and so...   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
1793 words (5.1 pages)

Essay on The Theories Of Ralph Waldo Emerson

- A group of logical thinkers called the American Transcendentalists existed in the time lasting only roughly 20-30 years from the 1830s to the 1860’s, but the ideas of these philosophers in this particular era proved to be extremely unique. They focused on answering questions of the unknown and providing a deeper understanding of man and the universe. The Transcendentalist theories and ideas might have made a valid point in the 1800’s and actually made sense to follow through with and understand, however this concept does not seem to have a stable place in the world today....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
1351 words (3.9 pages)

Essay about Transcendentalism, By Ralph Waldo Emerson

- Transcendentalism is a major concept that originated in New England from 1836 to 1855. It is the idea that people have knowledge about themselves that rises above or goes beyond the five senses. The man credited with leading this revolutionary movement was Ralph Waldo Emerson. He was born in Boston, and used his experience at Harvard and as a Unitarian Reverend to help start this revolution. He eventually would come to the conclusion that the individual is more morally just than religion. He started this shift with his book Nature, which he published in 1836....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
1089 words (3.1 pages)

The Writings Of Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

- Ralph Waldo Emerson was a 19th century poet and philosopher, who wrote several essays and poems throughout his career(1). Emerson was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard College. In 1826, he became a minister, and later in 1829 was ordained to a Unitarian church. That same year [1829] he married his wife, who died of tuberculosis just three years later. Emerson found himself in an immense state of grief and ended up stepping down from his clergy status. (1) In 1832, Emerson spent time in Europe with literary scholars, developing the ideas and notions of spirituality that are found in his compilation of essays titled Nature....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, Concord]

Better Essays
770 words (2.2 pages)

Ralph Waldo Emerson 's Nature Essay

- Our society today faces a multitude of problems. The environment is littered with widespread pollution, fighting engulfs countries into turmoil, and inequality remains rampant across all nations. Not surprisingly, many people are now turning to a primitive way for solutions, nature. One essay that explores the value of nature is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature. In his essay, Emerson argues the importance of nature in solving his and the world’s problems. Based on my reading and analysis, the value of nature is its ability to restore greatness to the world....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
1487 words (4.2 pages)

Ralph Waldo Emerson 's Nature Essay example

- Plotinus once said, “Nature is but an image or imitation of wisdom, the last thing of the soul; nature being a thing which doth only do, but not know.” Plotinus’ quote, which is featured in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, “Nature,” summarizes the gist of the essay’s theme. Because Emerson believed humans did not understand nature, Emerson explored nature through its many different aspects and characteristics. Emerson’s often expressed his ideas through analogies because he believed analogies were the basis of human thought....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism]

Better Essays
1303 words (3.7 pages)

Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay

- Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts. Early in his life, Emerson followed in the footsteps of his father and became minister, but this ended in 1832 when he felt he could no longer serve as a minister in good conscience. He experienced doubts about the Christian church and its doctrine. These reservations were temporarily alleviated by his brief association with Unitarianism, but soon Emerson became discontent with even their decidedly liberal interpretation of Christianity....   [tags: People Ralph Waldo Emerson Biography Essays]

Better Essays
1317 words (3.8 pages)