In the 17th century, religion had a major influence on authority. Religion and authority went hand and hand. An authority figure is someone whom has control, at least to a certain extent. My analysis of 17th century North American Calvinists and Puritanists display a shift of faith and assurance in religious authorities. This is evident in Mary Rowlandson’s “The Narrative of the captivity and the restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson”, Anne Bradstreet’s poem “Verses upon the Burning of our house” and Arthur Miller book titled “The Crucible”.
In the 17th century religion was a big thing in North America. There were two major religions, Calvinism and Puritanism. Both religions were sets of Christianity; one was more extreme than the other. Calvinists had 5 tenets or beliefs. The tenets are Total depravity, unconditionally elected, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace and Preserve. Based on those tenets as a Calvinist, being chosen you have a chance to escape your life of sin. They believe that they were born into sin and you can’t escape your sinful nature. Once you are chosen, you must do the work of God and teach despite suffering.
On the other hand, Puritanists were more extreme than Calvinists. In the word “Puritanism”, the base word is pure. Pure basically means clean or without sin in this context. Puritanists must sleep, think and breathe God. Doing anything else is sinful. There is no one above the almighty God. Materialistic things have no value, especially when compared to God. Mary Rowlandson author of “The Narrative of the captivity and the restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson” believes that her God is the supreme authority. In the 17th century the husbands were seen as their lords.
She didn’t call on her husband during the invasion, she called upon God. This shows that she is devoted to God and her belief system. In Addition, she thinks everything happens for a reason. She thinks that the Indian invasion is a test of faith from her God. In the text it stated “ The lord hereby would make us the more acknowledge his hand, and to see that our help is always in him”. This is evident that Mary Rowlandson is a devoted and dedicated Calvinists. In her narrative it said “ but we must go….. ” This quote is saying she is prepared for anything and everything.
It sets the tone. The tone of the narrative is optimistic, because of her faith. In short, Mary Rowlandson believes God is the head of all! On the other hand, Bradstreet cannot say the same. Anne Bradstreet author of the poem “Verses upon the Burning of our house” also believed that God is her supreme authorist. In the text it stated “and to my god……. ”. It shows that she is also devoted to her God , but later their is a shift in faith. “ Here stood that trunk, and there that chest…… my pleasant things in ashes lie. ” She is being selfish, according to her religion.
Thinking about materialistic things are against her religion. At this point,her point of view is discouraged and selfish. The tone of Bradstreet’s poem is angry. One moment she is sleep, then abruptly she is waken by a fire. Her kids sound horrendous crying. Thus, she is questioning her faith in God, which is her challenge. Proctor is a character in Arthur Miller’s book “The Crucible” viewed Reverend Parris as an authority figure. “ I want a mark of confidence…… I do not wish to be put out like the cat”. Proctor believes Parris is a fraud.
Proctor has never had a reverend request landrights. Parris feels that having landrights will assure him that he will not get kicked out on his butt. Proctor’s tone toward Parris is hostile and disrespectful. Proctor disrespectfully talked about Parris in “The Crucible”. In a scene with Hale , he stated that his child has not been baptized because “ I don’t want Parris to lay a hand on his baby”. Proctor does not have a problem with God, he has a problem with religious figure. A theocracy is a government ruled by a or subject to religious authority. Theocracy was major in the 17th century.
Nowadays, theocracy is being obsolete. In Middle eastern nations theocracy is very important. Those nations have secular governments. The United States has a Democracy. Government and religion are two separate things. Our laws do not depend on a religion, mainly because the USA constitution gives us freedom to practice any religion we desire. That is why theocracy is not relevant in the USA today. There are thousands if religions practiced in the US today. To make laws around religion would cause conflicts because it would be hard to please everything.
I learned the importance of religion and authority int he 17th century. There is a major difference compared to today’s relationship between religion and authority. Some people do not believe in God, in the 17th century that would have been accused of being a witch, practicing witchcraft and would have been killed. Authority is seen is various places. In homes, authority is seen in parents. In schools, the teachers and principal are authority figures. In the 17th century, authority was seen in God and only in God.
Courtney from Study Moose
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