The Many Ideas About Religion Essay

The Many Ideas About Religion Essay

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From the very beginning, settlers in America had very different ideas about religion. Many had come from parts of Europe that were experiencing an on-going battle between the Catholics and Protestants. Establishing colonies in North America gave Europeans the opportunity to practice their own religion without persecution. Once in America, various sects were founded, including the Puritans, the Quakers, and later, the Protestants from the Enlightenment. Despite the colonies rich history of religion, there were the outliers that continued to branch off and establish their own unique ideas, or those who pushed religion away from the center of everyday life, more focused on increasing earthly goods.
Roger Williams was once a part of the Puritan colony in Massachusetts. Considered a troublemaker to the Puritan leaders, they cast the minister out of the community because of his ideas of religious practice. As Williams set out for Rhode Island, he hoped to establish a religion that was purer than even the Puritan’s practices. The teachings of Williams was clearly a challenge to those of the Puritans and for that, he was expelled from Massachusetts. With a small group of followers, Williams traveled to Rhode Island and established the town of Providence.
Williams believed that “…there should be a clear division between the practice of religion and the politics of state” (Schultz, 41) because politics hindered the soul’s journey toward purity. In the case of a member of the church or a Christina being a civil magistrate, they must act with gentleness towards those who oppose their doctrine. They must not rise up and subdue their challengers but wait with patience for God to “…grant repentance unto their [religious] opposites…” (William...

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... Woolman’s ideas, like how owning slaves went against Christian nature and how he considered the Indians and others as equals, “…whose souls are as precious as ours…” (Woolman, 131)
These three men lived in roughly the first one hundred years of America’s settlement. As the English established themselves along the east coast, diverse societies emerged. In the first few colonies, religion was a very important part of life; many settlers had traveled to the New Land in order to escape religious prejudice and practice their beliefs in peace. As time went on, towns were founded, crops were planted, and the colonies became wealthier and more self sustaining. These economical changes affected the population, and soon became the focus of many Americans. For some, religion was simply a routine and a way to gain more wealth, but for others it was fundamentally a way of life.

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