Religious belief and instruction remain until to date the society’s moral ethos lifeblood. In the three texts; “Sinners in the hand of an angry God”, “Common sense by Thomas Paine” and “The sculpture’s Funeral”, religion does not just teach virtue but it catalyzes moral action. In the society as represented by the three texts, religion plays an essential role that warrants special considerations. Religion in all the texts represents the fundamental of democracy where people voluntarily obey law. Christianity according to the three articles backs the moral standards of the societies in the articles and it is the remedy of sin. Religion is the pillar used mostly in the “Sinners in the hand of an angry God” and “Common sense by Thomas Paine” where religion is fully tied with the moral standards of a community.
“Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God”
“Sinners in the hand of an angry God” by Jonathan Edwards preached in Enfield, Connecticut on July 8, 1741, appeals to sinners to identify that God will judge them and that the judgment will be painful and fearful than they would comprehend. The approach of Edward can be described in three themes that are represented using vivid metaphors which are the soul and the heart of the author emotional appeal to his listeners. The first is them that corrupt sinners face a fearful judgment. The second is that the unrepentant time is short where Edward said that the wrath of God will come unexpectedly and suddenly. The last theme is that the only extension during the day of mercy is God’s free choice which gives an opportunity to respond to His will
According to Edwards, (p 11-13) the concern of the author is to galvanize his congregation to change their sinful ways. His purpose and persuasive language has been displayed in this writing. He uses a scary imagery in his sermon to persuade the congregation with a primary responsibility of moving people towards believing that their ways can be changed by accepting divine teaching. In this context, religion especially Christianity is the drive and key to heaven. Edward during the conclusion of his sermon states that if people do not embrace change, they will be consumed. This assists the congregation in accepting their agency of repentance. Evil according to Edward causes a person to sin and sinning has consequences which is the consuming fire in hell.
“Common Sense by Thomas Paine”
The author from the start of his text indicates his negative attitude towards the government. He illustrates that the government soul value lies in “restraining our vices”. According to Paine, thirst for absolute power creates the natural disease of monarchy. Religion brings democracy and in America there is no path without democracy which as Paine states is one reason of separating America from British. He criticizes a group of religious pacifists known as Quakers who mixes their American politics with their religious views. The author sites the word of Samuel from the Bible where he was warning the Israelites against earthly kings. He explains that the Almighty who is God ((Paine, p38) implants in people the inextinguishable feelings for wise and good purposes which act as guardians of his image in their hearts. These feelings distinguish man from common animals.
“The sculpture’s Funeral”
Harvey Merrick’s dies and is taken by Stevens his friend to his family. Stevens is amazed by the response of his friend’s family. To him, Harvey is a good friend, educated and talented and he is mourning his departure. This is in contrast to his family who instead of mourning start to criticize him for his many failures like failing to support his family. Stevens watches the family of Merrick with scorn and bitterness which they take from the caricatures of that time.
In this context, the Merrick’s family is evil people whose culture and beliefs limits them. To them an educated person should return to his hometown to give a hand physically in its growth. Their evil aspect is illustrated with their selfishness which is well explained by the lawyer who opens his eyes after the death of his friend. He feels a failure for allowing the villagers to take advantage of his position. According to his tribute, he scorns the family because of their selfish and greedy actions which contributes to their actions. In his speech, the lawyer calls the name Lord Lord (Wykes, p5) when explaining how the villagers treated other young men who were academically successful but died unsuccessfully as rascals. In the same page he cites Christianity to help them mound their behaviors.
Comparison of the Three Texts
(Hubbard, Ron) explains that religion brings people and society together providing a community to support each other and their attention is focused to God. It comforts those in need, giving them a moral framework and an eternal life. The three texts in their own unique way illustrate a supernatural power that controls the way people live and respond to the societal norms. Religion as the theme in the texts acts as a binding fabric to the community and society giving objectives to the lives of people.
In “Sinners in the hand of an angry God”, evil is used as a catalyst to hell which is similar to Common Sense by Thomas Paine who uses government as a symbol of evil. This is also related to “The sculpture’s Funeral” where the actors’ attitude is evil because they do not see the goodness of anyone but ill talk about others. “The sculpture’s Funeral” states that only Christianity would mound how individuals act. In contrast to other texts, “Common sense by Thomas Paine” in his closing remarks ask all patriotic Americans to join hand in despising and mocking all who believe that God condemns the America War for Independence. Religion in all the texts illustrates the beliefs of individuals which are too strong and they influence their behaviors.
The three texts represent religion as the medicine or remedy of evil. Religion also acts as a road to freedom either to heaven, straight society or democracy. Evil is represented in the three texts and remedy is religion which counters it. The three authors individually thinks and believes there is a supernatural power that controls how a person act, which is more than earthly laws. The exceptional text about religion is “Common sense by Thomas Paine” where he illustrates that religion can inspire conflict in a country or globally. To him he illustrates both the positivity and negativity of religion in relation to evil. Religion can either heal or cause evil.
According to the three texts, religion especially Christianity is a theme that is present in each article. The authors describe its impact to the society and morals. It is the binding fabric of their individual society giving the community the objectives to follow. The fear of the punishment of supernatural power that originates from sin creates and mounds an individual.
Edwards, Jonathan. “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God. A Sermon Preached At Enfield , July 8Th, 1741”. University Of Nebraska – Lincoln Digitalcommons@Universit Y Of Nebraska – Lincoln, 1741, pp. 6-35. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1053&context=etas.
Hubbard, Ron. “Religious Influence In Society”. Freedom, 2014, http://www.freedommag.org/issue/201412-expansion/l-ron-hubbard/religious-influence-in-society.html.
Paine, Thomas. “Common Sense”. The Writings OF Thomas Paine, pp. 67-101. http://www.calhum.org/files/uploads/program_related/TD-Thomas-Paine-Common-Sense.pdf. Wykes, Walter. “THE SCULPTOR’S FUNERAL By By WILLA CATHER”. 2006, http://www.10-minute-plays.com/dram
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