The Puritan experiment carried out in New England was a failure. The reason for this was that the people simply lost faith. The contradictions in the religion and the general feeling of betrayal caused the people to reject the ideals that were once held as sacred and perfect. The puritan religion was based on several tenants that, for a most part, contradicted each other. Man's fate was said to be pre determined and salvation was out of his control, but at the same time, man was expected to live a near perfect lifestyle for no truly justified reason. The Puritans also lived in a theocracy since man was fallible, yet, God's will was interpreted by the Preacher who was a man and was as weak and vulnerable as any man. These contradictions along with others caused people to lose faith in the religion despite the good intentions of the Puritans.
Pre Destination was one of the most prominent beliefs in the Puritan faith. However, when combined with the pure lifestyle forced upon the puritans, it also became one of the many contradictions. The pure lifestyle was an obvious attempt to keep society in balance by making people conform to certain ideals and rules. The major fault, however, was that these regulations were portrayed as necessary for entrance into heaven.
"First, God elects individuals to be saved. Second, He designs
complete redemption only for those elect. Third, fallen man is
himself incapable True faith and repentance." (Mumford) p.9
This pre destination, as seen here, is dependant only on God and lifestyle is not mentioned. Yet, the Puritans seemed to feel it necessary for one to live a pious life avoiding dancing, card playing, and anything in general that could be construed ...
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...ecause man here felt betrayed by the one aspect of life, in which, he had total faith.
The Puritan faith began with what every successful religion needs, highly devout followers. The failure of the religion happened when these devout followers began to lose faith in the Puritan way of life. The decline in faith soon caused the decline in a membership, which, in the end, caused the failure of the religion. A religion without followers cannot prosper. It is a physical impossibility. With all of this devout worship and strict societal constraints what was it that the puritans were attempting to create? The puritans were trying to create a utopian society in the new and uncultivated world of America. They hoped to do this by starting with regulations and stability, but it soon fell apart as the puritans were unwilling to accept or conform to other ideals.
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