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The Puritan belief structure was built around the idea of treating one another as brothers, loving one another and having compassion. The Puritans also believed everyone should be virtuous to one another. The Puritans themselves did not treat the Native Americans this way. The Puritans look at themselves as the better group of people. It did not matter who someone was or what type of skin color one had, if one did not have the same beliefs as the Puritans he or she was considered an outcast in their society. The Puritans saw the Native Americans as savages and beasts. The Puritans’ relationship with the Native Americans was contrary to Puritan Christian doctrine.
To understand how the Puritans viewed religion, one needs to look at how they understood their Christian God. The Puritans knew God though the bible and what their ministers preached. They did not believe that God would speak directly to mortals. The Puritan Minister Robert Cushman once stated, “Whereas God of the old [Testament] did call and summon our fathers by predictions, dreams, visions, and certain illuminations…. Now there is no such calling to be expected for any matter whatsoever.” In the Puritan’s time, if God was to speak directly with a mortal, it was thought to be the devil in disguise. One Puritan woman, Anne Hutchinson, was believed to have predictions from God. This infuriated the Puritans because they did not believe in the idea of God giving her visions and thoughts. They believed that Satan was the one giving her these visions and thoughts. Consequently, the Puritans then banished her into the wilderness outside of Massachusetts Bay. This shows that the Puritans treated anyone who did not totally agree with them as an outcast to their society.
The religious beliefs and the rituals of the Indians of southern New England were in many ways how the Puritans thought the devil and witches to act. English observers Edward Winslow, Roger Williams, and other Puritans found out that the Indians believed that spirits would speak directly to mortals though dreams and visions.
William Simmons stated, “A powerful spirit known as Hobbamock was said to enter certain persons and to remain in their bodies as a guardian and familiar.” Hobbamock was the Native American creator. The spirit Hobbamock was the “souls of the dead” that would take the shape of the human body and animals.
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The Puritans were supposed to be a model for the entire world to see. John Winthrop said that they were a city upon a hill; by this he meant that all of the other people of America should look to them because they should set a perfect example of how a city should be. However, the Puritans were hypocrites. They could see themselves only in their own eyes not through the eyes of the Native Americans. The Native Americans land was being stolen. The Puritans saw themselves as the superior group of people. They thought the Indians were ignorant. All the other religions were inferior to what they believed.
The Puritans’ relationship with the Native Americans was totally contrary to Puritan Christian doctrine. The Puritans believed that they were better group of people than the Native Americans. The Puritans were hypocrites. The Puritans preached of how they should be compassion toward one another, but in all reality they themselves were the ones who were not keeping up to their Christian structure.
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