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Benjamin Franklin And Religion Essay

1342 words - 5 pages

For many centuries, God has been changing; His interpretations are what that has changed the most about him. The God of the 1st century is nothing compared to the God that billions of people worship today. Seeing that God has undergone so many different types of transformations, I would be correct to say that many diverse understandings about His role and His teachings have come about. For example, there are several, unique types of Bibles addressing what God has said, but honestly, He only said what He spoke in one way. The various beliefs about God have led Christians to gain different perceptions about their God, which caused them to worship and appreciate Him in drastically different ways. This can be seen particularly in the way Deists, such as Benjamin Franklin, recognize God and His Word in opposition to that of the Puritans.
As skeptical people, we all question what we cannot see or have trouble understanding why certain things happen, especially those spiritual or supernatural occurrences. Franklin was born into a Puritan family and seemed to follow the Puritans’ ideas for following God’s Word. Around the age of fifteen, Franklin began to question the Bible causing his Puritan based background to quickly fade. He had started reading books written by Deists and began to question the truthfulness of the events in the Bible. These Deists authors combined religion and reason to believe in a creator whose presence is not demanded in their day-to-day lives. After his readings, he was not absolutely sure that the Bible was a revelation by God. He felt that the men who wrote the Bible were not directed by God in any way whatsoever. He also began to doubt that Jesus was even the messiah (Franklin, 6). Franklin’s God had become a God vastly different from the God of the Puritans. He did not feel that God’s grace and love was limited based on stipulations, as did the Puritans. To Franklin, God contained “infinite wisdom, goodness, and power” (Franklin, 7). Franklin adopted the Deist idea that he should expect very little from God and learnt quickly to not depend entirely on Him.
The Puritans differed when it came to their belief in the Bible. The group had absolute faith in the accuracy of the events the Bible spoke to them. Puritans believed in the God that was described in the Bible and thought no other way of Him. Puritans relied on the Bible heavily and took everything written in it literally. To the Puritans, the Bible was a source of inspiration as well as a revelation from God Himself. Whenever one fell to times of hardship, they would turn to the relevant scripture and use it to give them the strength and inspiration to move beyond their difficult condition. Rowlandson found herself captured by Native Americans in Massachusetts; even though this was a tough time in her life, she sought the Bible. When the Native Americans first captured her, Rowlandson recited the second Corinthians 12:9 to herself to remember her eldest sister and...

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