The definition of religion is often different across different groups depending on the values and beliefs that they hold. Noticeably, most people define religion based on what history holds as true for them. Typically, the catholic Spain defines religion as a matter of doctrines, rituals, creeds and traditions. Seemingly, the catholic Spain seems to attest to the fact that religion is more of a way of life. However, this is not true according to the historical chronology of religious beliefs. Looking closely, history explains the evolution of religion through ages. Thus, religion is never a set of compact doctrines and traditions.
According to the series, which seems to define religion with an element of history, there are more questions on a given definition than there are answers. Accordingly, the series in episode one attests to the fact that religion is a history of prejudice, slavery, murder, ignorance and intolerance. Noticing that the non-religious and atheists also have a history of prejudice, slavery, ignorance, intolerance and murder, the aforementioned definition becomes void.
In a more realistic sense, religion refers to the whole world around us. Concisely, religion entails all ways of experiencing and seeing the natural world, just as it was for the Native inhabitants – encountered by the Franciscans. According to the series, religion animated the lives of both the Pueblos and Franciscans, but in different ways. Suffering, sin and salvation were central to the Franciscan faith while the Pueblos never had a concept of redemption, sacrifice or punishment after life. The Pueblos had no word for “religion” as an institution with creed or dogma, but all they had was “ religiousness,”- a way of living cognizant of the spiritual forces that pervaded every moment. Ironically, the video describes religion as something that has helped individuals to “learn far beyond about themselves.” controversially, this claim suggests that people have gathered all the knowledge and they no longer have a need to know any more. Simply, this equates humanity with God. Thus, religion is a lie that is a lie, which is often in direct conflict with every bit of knowledge that we have learned about the natural world and ourselves.
According to the puritans, God’s plot was one plan of realizing human salvation. Moreover, the puritans ascribed their faith in the plan of salvation framed in theology and scripture. In essence, the central element of God’s plot of salvation as per the puritans was the sacrifice of Christ-the only begotten son of God. In a broader context, the puritans considered this as a show of love for humanity from the side of god. With the concept of salvation in mind, the puritans had a deeper understanding of conversion. Illustratively, conversion was a prolonged arduous journey, which needed a lot of commitment and tenacity from the side of the followers of Christ-humankind. Notably, puritans oppose the notion that conversion is a blinding moment of faith.
Essentially, the puritans have a strong faith for salvation through conversion owing to the fact that they have envisioned a divine scenario that governs the lives and saving of souls.in a cosmic drama of redemption, the puritans are interesting actors regarding to their flow of faith. For example, they hold a belief that god wrote the script, directed the staging, cast the parts while Christ plays a role of managing the starring while religion is purely meant to explain each scene and act. Undoubtedly, the ideas and emotions revealed the aforementioned dramatic presentation; the ways lived, and meanings made of it are characteristic to the puritan spirituality.
Unfortunately, in the modern days conversion is different from the puritans’ view. Nowadays, there has been a shift from puritan to evangelical preaching. Unlike puritan, preaching which emphasized on God’s plot for salvation of humankind, the evangelical sermons focus on diverse religious beliefs. In the modern United States, conversion is a mere blinding faith for most people-or just a representation of protestant revivalism. In addition, religious freedom is a practice that goes in association with political ideologies. In reality, people convert to various denominations where they feel they have “freedom” to express their views. In other words, religion is fitted into people’s beliefs and not the other way round.
Instances of democratic overtones prevail in both the evangelical and puritan religious expressions.one of such situations prevailed when George Whitefield challenged the church authority, and he upset the religious establishment. Noticeably, these democratic overtones came into play when Whitefield preached and claimed that people should be gathered outside the church. Specifically, this form of religion was more in tune with the 18th century than it was with the standing religious and social order. In addition, the evangelist Charles Chauncey believed that the religious authority resided with the government. Simply, this means that the government was responsible to support the churches and provide provisions within which such churches expressed their religious freedoms.
Religious individualism is deep rooted into the history of America.in the 17th century, Massachusetts; a personal salvation experience was prerequisite for acceptance as a member of the church. In the 18th century, it was possible for individuals to find the religion that suited their political inclinations. From a wider perspective, this means that people were able to exercise their religious freedoms not because of the faith that they hold in God but largely because of the political inclinations. As such, the Great awakenings of the 18th century contributed to the revolution of America because the religious groups and freedoms determined the political choices. Thus, people would ascribe to religions that they felt hold the same beliefs they did.
The puritans regard themselves as the new Adan and Eve because they consider themselves as the initiators of the American history. Essentially, the relationship of man with God marks the beginning of the political alignments in the United States. Notably, people started to make political choices from the point of the religious beliefs, which comprised of the relationship with God. An expression of love for one another, which is central to American democracy, started from the religious relationships among people. As such, the puritans, who mainly preached about the need for salvation through conversion, regard themselves as the initiators of any political and religious unity in the United States.
The American story of liberty and freedom is similar to the story of the exodus because it was a long journey towards unstoppable revolution. Initially, the puritans served as leaders of the American people through the journey through preaching about conversion and religious values that united the people. Like the story of the exodus, the religious freedoms of people in America are represented as liberal with religious bodies competing in the market. However, the unlikely political alliance between the enlightenment figures and evangelical Baptists and the start of a united nation marks the significant turn point of the American exodus.
The American people consider themselves as the chosen people because they consider themselves as the beginners of religious freedoms in the world. In fact, it was easy for the religious realignments to take off after working out in the United States of America.
"God In America: Watch the Full Program Online | PBS." God in America. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.