Puritans and Witches - Natural Enemies

Topics: Salem witch trials, Witchcraft, Christian views on magic Pages: 3 (1240 words) Published: October 8, 1999
When the Puritans moved to the New World they created a new society based upon perfect adherence to the strict and intolerant Puritan philosophy. However, the moral center of their universe could not hold because the people themselves although normally English, were blends of their European ancestries and the folk culture of generations before them. Puritan philosophy was rooted in the search for spiritual perfection. Witchcraft was viewed by Puritans as evidence of the man's spiritual weakness. Therefore, Puritan philosophy, as later reflected in The Crucible, was the natural enemy of witchcraft.A Puritan's first responsibility was to serve God. The Bible was a Puritan's road map toward that duty. While Puritans respected authority, they did not revere tradition or ritual. Their churches were plain and unadorned. Prayer and listening to sermons were constant companions to the righteous Puritan. The family was a homage to God. A man's gift to God was a happy, prayerful family centered within the church. A Puritan considered it a kindness to his neighbor to keep an eye on the neighbor's behavior and to guide him when guidance was deemed necessary. Corruption in the community could easily spread into the church, and the good Puritan was ever-vigilant against scandal in either place. A personal scandal was a community matter, and a church concern as well. Sin was a heavy burden to the Puritans. No method existed in their faith for ridding oneself of sin. And because they believed that God could pluck them away from life and cast them into hell at any given time, sin and atonement were foremost in a Puritan's mind. Because of the fall of Adam and Eve, atonement was a real puzzle for the Puritans. There was no hope for man other than perfect obedience to God's laws. Yet any clear-thinking Puritan knew in his heart that he was not a perfect person. So, then, how to atone? Good deeds were looked upon with suspicion by the clergy and other citizens....

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