Religion and Individualism

Topics: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, United States Pages: 7 (3105 words) Published: January 13, 2013
Lilit Markosyan
Different countries have different cultures, traditions and values. They represent the image of the nation, people’s mentality, how they think and behave, and what they strive for and struggle for. With the help of them we judge of what is important in life of a person, of a nation, of a country. America is not an exception. Despite the great number of various ethnic groups that inhabit United States, there are things that unite all the people. Among them are such values like freedom and independence that entirely characterize America. The American founding fathers felt that this concept was of utmost importance when they were deciding what the United States Of America would be and how it would function. In the second paragraph of the “Declaration of Independence” it‘s written: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This is what sets the U.S. apart from all other countries in the world. Other values are beauty, nature, patriotism, optimism, and equality. All of them are described by different American writers, painters, politicians and philosophers. Probably the most important ingredient of Americans' ideology is their belief in the freedom of the individual called individualism. America’s highest ideal and greatest blessing is freedom and each individual decides to what purpose should it be employed. Everyone should set his own goals for himself. Americans are considered to be rather religious nation. A majority of Americans report that religion plays a very important role in their lives. We can see how various writers, politics and painters talk about religion and express it in their works. In this paper such values as religion and individualism will be analyzed, through the words of Emily Dickinson, Abraham Lincoln, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emily Dickinson, an American poet, was brought up in a prominent family, which raised Dickinson to be a cultured Christian woman who would one day be responsible for a family of her own. Her father attempted to protect her from reading books that might "joggle" her mind, particularly her religious faith. She dressed only in white. In religion white color is the symbol of innocence, purity, holiness, and chastity. She used contemporary popular church hymns, transforming their standard rhythms into free-form hymn meters. Her poetry contains almost all the range of biblical and religious designations. Emily Dickinson’s poem “Faith is a Fine Invention,” can be interpreted spiritually. Dickinson says, ““Faith” is a fine invention- When Gentlemen can see…” In context, Faith is belief that does not rest on logical proof or evidence. In other words, faith is belief without seeing. In Dickinson’s poem, she suggests that humankind only possess faith when the object is seen. In essence, “faith” is nonexistent. Dickinson continues in the subsequent lines saying, “But Microscopes are prudent- In an Emergency.” This suggests the characteristic of some people who simply cannot accept something without witnessing an in-depth account. For example, “Microscopes” could be a representation of modern day scientists and interpreters who research and develop explanations to discover the truth behind what is believed. Continuing, Dickinson suggests these “Microscopes are prudent” only when things go bad. As with most people today, good judgment is generally a last resort in the midst of adversity. Genuine faith is the only way out of trouble. Nevertheless, humankind is busy trying to offer explanations and theory rather accepting belief without logical evidence. In her poem "This World Is not Conclusion" we see that she didn't think this world is the end. “A Species stands beyond” – this means that life exists somewhere beyond our world. She was saying that death is not the end of this world. There...
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