Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Purifying the Puritans

Please read ALL of the following directions:

Based on your experiences with the readings and information you consumed on the Puritans, what commentary or critique can you give that shows how Puritan culture is reflected in the modern world? (Hence, Where do you see Puritanical thinking/values/beliefs/ or language in our modern world?) 
I expect a solid response which shows depth in support and explanation synthesizing these ideas.  Be original, be thoughtful, be real.
When you are done with your response, please ask another critical question (just ask it under your response) that extends the topic AND as a part of your grade, you need to respond to at least 2-3 other people and their thinking.  Make sure you are being constructive and CHALLENGE one another.

82 comments:

  1. While the Puritans offer well thought out arguments about God and their religion, the ones in authority seemed to drive fear into the hearts of the community. I do believe that God is just, and He has wrath inside Him against evil, but not against humans. God loves humans, He created them in His image and will make all things work together for the good of each heart. Yes, God loves justice, but more than that His love for every person is everlasting, and unconditional. He is the light of the world and what defeats darkness. Edwards directed his focus toward how awful Hell will be, rather than how beautiful and marvelous the Kingdom of God is. He drove fear into the community, and scared people into their faith. Many people allow fear to become their motivation in today's society. Humans seem to be willing to do or sacrifice anything in order to feel safe and secure. God wants a relationship with the hearts He created, not humans attempting righteous because it is 'the only way.' Righteousness and holiness are not qualities that get a person into Heaven, but the confession and repentance of one's sins. One is not capable of going through life on their own. One cannot simply 'try harder' in hopes for a happier life. People have been created to need God.

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    1. What Puritanical beliefs do you see in our modern world? What are some similarities between their society and ours?

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    2. Jordan, I find what you wrote very interesting. I literally just wrote my blog post on almost the same topic you did about how God wants us to live in faith and not fear. Why do you think people turn their cheek to God, when they get scared? I find it interesting how sometimes people seek comfort in God and his love because they're, so afraid of not going to heaven. It's a real weird how people who are a religious especially do this. I completely agree with you when you said humans will do and sacrifice anything to feel safe. I really liked what you said and your views on God inspire to grow a better relationship with God everyday.

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    3. Jordan, I completely agree with your response to Puritan society. I also believe that we were made in God's image and he made us to have longing towards a greater good and a greater love. Do you think that Edwards' way of persuading the people into faith through fear was wrong? I also liked how you connected Edwards' sermon of the fear of hell to today's society. I am inspired by your ideas in class and it makes me want to be a strong woman of faith in front of the class as well!

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    4. Jordan, I completely agree that people have a need for God. He provides the safety and security we all pursue. It saddens me to see people taking advantage of this need for security by inducing fear in people to control them, and providing a false sense of security for those who comply. There is good in the world and inevitable bad, and no matter what security measures are put in place, bad things will still happen. Society cannot depend solely on these systems for security in the long run. It gives me hope that God can provide this safety. What are your thoughts on society's attempt to create a false sense of security with the inevitable evil in the world?

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    5. I completely agree with your approach to this idea. The Puritan society focused too much on the consequences of sinning and not following God rather than on the amazing opportunity they have to be loved by Him. I think many people in Puritan society didn't understand what it meant to follow God, they just made the decision out of fear. How many people in this society do you think would still chose their religion if the consequences weren't so glorified?

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  2. The Puritans were the founders of this country, and while their beliefs and ideologies seem harsh and extreme, their way of living is not that different from ours. The Puritans believed that they needed to live a righteous and fulfilling life that would hopefully send them to Heaven and not Hell. This can be a parallel in our society, since when ever someone is in trouble, or has lost their way we choose to stand back and watch because of the fear of what could happen to us. There are many examples of this in our American history such as the Civil Rights Movement and woman's suffrage. These people had to go through what they went through all because we as a a society were afraid of what would happen to ourselves. This puritanical view of the unknown has kept us from changing our harsh and extreme ways of dealing with issues. While reading Matthew Hutson's article, I noticed that even our generation still has traces of Puritanical beliefs. God did not create man with intentions of evil, but of intentions of good and I think some of us have lost that. Now, we might never change our puritanical views, but let's not forget that without the puritans we would be nothing.
    Had the Puritans not come to America, what would our society look like today? Would it be the same or completely different?

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    1. Ciara, that is a very good question and I believe that our world would be very different. I think that we learn from mistakes and from our successes in history and even now, I am learning about certain ways Puritans handled different things. Our entire nation knows about the Salem Witch Trials and it teaches others about wrongs and rights and it is a part of our history. So to answer your question more specifically, I think that our world and how it has grown as a whole would really be different. Our history would be set up differently because we would have learned about these things later on and that might have had a total cause and effect sort-of response. On the other hand, our geography would not have changed, for as we expanded no matter whether the witch trials were going on or not, and this happened in a small town. I think our history may have played out slighty differently, but geographical wise, there was no effect here.

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    2. Great question! Well if the puritans had never came to America then I don't think America would necessarily have all the freedoms that it does today, if another group didn't travel here to find religious or government freedom. The U.S. may nave been dictated by a communist government which means Americans would have ended up in a world of three to four churches total, so people would provably have all the same believes. Because of having all the same believes, the same similar events might of occured because no one would be able to think for themselves in a communist government, so accusing people below you for your mistakes would still be very possible. People are always going to have something to be afraid of so puritans or no puritans or no puritans people would scapegoat someone for something.

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    3. That is a very interesting question. Now of course it leads us into a completely hypothetical train of thought, the most important question of which is: who would have replaced the Puritans in settling the New World? They would be the ones that shaped America.
      Without knowing who that would have been, I think it is still reasonable to assume that they would not have been as hardworking, moralistic, or close-minded as the Puritans. Therefore it follows that those qualities would most likely have been less prominent in the original American make-up. Had the Puritans not been the ones to settle America first, I am certain that our culture would be entirely different- perhaps we would have ended up more like European countries (assuming that those settling America would have been from Europe). This is a very interesting concept you presented- it's fascinating to think of the "what ifs"!

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  3. I see the most Puritanical beliefs influencing America as far as work is concerned. I believe that in America we truly believe that good things come to those who work and are successful. Too often in America, people are putting time and relationships aside to focus on work. My cousin from Norway has been living in the United States for almost a year as a police officer in Florida. In talking to him, I discovered that he liked the culture more in Europe because they didn't take work as seriously as Americans. As he put it, "Here you live to work, as opposed to working to live." I fully agree with him in that the amount of time and focus we put in our work is above average. And in doing so we are pushing relationships aside. In Norway, they get a six month maternity leave as opposed to our average ten weeks. It seems absurd to us that the Mom would really take half of a year caring for her baby, whereas it seems absurd to my cousin that we only take ten weeks. The Puritans believed that doing good, working hard, and being successful were signs of God's grace, mercy and love. Although many Americans do not believe the religion affiliated part of this belief, we most certainly tend to work hard, and be successful. Not only do we work hard, but we feel as if we have failed if we don't work hard. I am not saying that hard work is a bad thing, but when you put relationships second and work first, something is surely wrong. I think America shares the same beliefs as the Puritans in one sense particularly, that good things come to those who work and work and work.
    Do you believe that in America we hold the quality of our work to standards similar to those of the Puritans?

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    1. Kiley,
      I support your argument, and I can see the similar work standards that we as Americans hold ourselves to. I really like your quote from your cousin, and thin that it reveals the heart of American culture. Our country was founded on the belief that people will rise and fall based on how hard they work and how much effort they put forth. And while that ensures that people can always work to achieve something higher for themselves, I think that it has tainted our relationships and connections. However, in social studies we watched a video that exposed that America is at the top in any category. We have the most obese people, our science and math programs aren't top, or even close to it, in the world, and our test scores show that our kids aren't the smartest in the world. I found this strange because like you mentioned Americans strive to work hard and unlike many countries around the world work longer hours, don't get as much vacation and maternity leave, and consequently should be doing better. Do you think that this obsession over getting better and working hard is actually having a negative effect on our society by destroying our personal connections and therefore affecting a critical key in our society's success?

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    2. *correction: America is not at the top in any category (sorry for the typo)

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    3. Kiley,
      I love how you talk about your cousin from Norway. I think that brings in a whole new perspective of America that we as a society don't know about. In America it seems as though we work too hard, so that we can be the best when we still are not the best. I find that ironic how some countries who don't strive to be the best, are ranked the best out of the entire world. The Puritans believed that to be one of the chosen, you had to work the hardest and show the most devotion, but this has ruined us. We forget about our families, and friends and the people who made us who we are today. Responding to Sarah's question I think this has had a negative effect on society, because working too hard makes us forget the beauty of life and how precious it is. For me personally, I'm obsessed over getting A's in all classes even in classes where it's very hard. This has made me think about the future instead of what I'm doing in the class that day. With being too caught up in the future, we are forgetting about the now, which is the key to success in the future. Asking Sarah and Kiley do you think America will fall if we keep going along with our puritanical beliefs?

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    4. Actually Sarah, this is a very interesting comment that you have made because yes, I believe that our obsessive wok ways do actually hinder the amount of work that gets done. I think that part of this is because we are not very effective in our work style. I also believe that another reason for this is because we entirely forgot how to play. For me personally, I work harder to get something done when I know that I have something to look forward to. For instance, I am currently working hard to get my homework done in anticipation of the DECA Barbecue. I think that if Americans were more balanced in their work versus play time, that we would actually become much more effective workers. I agree with you in every aspect that it is very likely that our obsession with work is in actuality making our work less meaningful.
      Ciara, no I do not think that America will fall if we continue with our Puritanism based beliefs. Although I do not think they lead to the most productive and beneficial lifestyle, I do not see them as being the cause for the downfall of our country. This is just my opinion, seeing as many people believe that the downfall of our country is near, and I do not believe that to be so. More and more awareness has been raised involving freedom versus security issues, and I think that eventually the people will draw the line. We just need to be slightly more diligent in our decision regarding where exactly the line should be drawn. So, Ciara, no it is not my current belief that America will fall for any reason in the near future, especially one caused by puritanical beliefs.

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    5. Kiley: Reeally neat question! I think that although our modern policies may be more lax than the puritanical ones both work ethics are very similar. For example because the puritans were the first of the colonists to arrive in America they had to put in a lot of hard work to settle the land and create a life for themselves similar to what they would of had if they would have stayed in England. Today over 50% of Americans work more than 40 hours a week- and Americans as a whole take less vacation and retire later than any other country in the world. It just goes to show you that although many other things have changed from the first Puritan village our work ethic has remained very similar.

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    6. I really like your argument and agree with you. I think the hardworking attitude is something that defined the Puritans and is part of what made America a force in the world.
      Your question is a good one. I do not believe that we hold our work to the same quality, but that we have redefined what quality is. For the Puritans, the idea of quality was dedication to your craft and hard work. While those values still exist, today we look more for the quality of the finished product- whether it took you 10 days or 20 is not as important as whether the job is performed to the highest standard possible. There is a sense that talent can carry people through if they put even a little effort in, whereas for the Puritans hard work was all that mattered (as long as the job was performed somewhat adequately). I believe that today we hold a higher standard for the quality of the finished product- but that the Puritans expected much more in terms of hard work and complete focus on the task at hand.

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  4. Within the modern world, puritanical thinking and values exist in today’s society because they were the founders of our country. Even though the beliefs the Puritans possessed are incredibly different from the beliefs society upholds, we share the values that influenced the Puritans. The Puritans were driven by fear, just as an innumerable amount of people are today. In the consumption of fear, puritans lived piously in hopes of being one of the chosen by God to live in Heaven for eternity after death. As a person living in the modern day world, I can say that we do not conduct ourselves in such standards that the puritans did, however, fear influences our actions just as they did the puritans. In puritanical society, Edwards used the power of his language to instill fear into those who were not following the puritan path and drove them to worship. From this, one can see that a person can be driven to do things out of fear. Edwards instead of focusing on how marvelous and glorious the kingdom of God is, utilized the power of fear to influence people into Godlier ways. In today’s society, we fear different or perhaps the same things and do whatever needs to be done in order to not confront that fear. Puritans and us alike are suppressed under the constraints of fear. The puritans feared the wrath of God and the depths of hell, now our fears have developed extraordinarily, but fear has and will continue to control us. To continue, puritan’s thinking can also be traced to today by the speculatory question of what happens when we die. The puritans were positive that Heaven and Hell existed, as a result, they did not ponder this question, but society, including the puritans, are collectively controlled by beliefs of what will happen after death.
    How does the question of what happens after we die influence/empower religion and instill fear in society? Is fear a central control mechanism used by those in power, and how is fear utilized to make people do certain things? Will puritanical values or beliefs always be apart of society or will they continue to dwindle?

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    1. Hi Hayden! I think that your first question, asking about how the idea of where we go after death can influence religion and instill fear in our society. I personally think that the idea of heaven and hell can rule someone’s life, and it shouldn’t. Humans were made to live and to breathe and to laugh. God gave us all these wonderful resources to use them and with something like heaven or hell, I feel as though those need to be waited to stress and think about until you have reached the conclusion of your life. People should live their life to the fullest and then once you have come to a closing of your story and you're happy with the result, it should not matter where you will go, because you will be too proud of where you have been. I‘m only one person though and I know that a lot of religions base some of their actions on whether you will get into heaven. Heaven plays a very big role in many religions and I respect that, but it is sad to see that fear can drive a person into heaven. Heaven is depicted as a wonderful, loving place that has no fear and all your loved ones wait by a golden gate on the clouds to welcome you into something sweet. Fear should not be driving you to something like heaven, but it should be more thought of as a reward for living you life. To some religions, living your life to it’s fullest is following certain rules and then fear can come from that. Society can have fear from religion, and it shouldn’t be that way. Religion should be an escape from the rest of the fear the world holds and I think that fear is instilled into our society by the fact religion holds high standards to get into something that should be a reward.

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    2. Hayden, I think that the fear of the unknown very much does influence how we live and act. And to many, the afterlife is very unknown. Some religions are very much based off of this fear, believing things like heaven and hell. As we read in "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" (pardon my quotation marks I do not know how to italicize on blogger), people are persuaded to believe in heaven because of the fear of hell. People fear God's wrath so much that they sometimes irrational do whatever they can to get to heaven. Another example is the phrase YOLO. You only live once, so party hard. And many people attempt to live their lives by this phrase, but there are also many who do not believe we only live once. And the fear of the afterlife causes people to enjoy their lives less because they feel pressure from an unknown source to act in a certain way. So I think this is a very scary and real question, as I completely believe that the fear of the unknown causes us to act according to unknown standards set by an unknown source.

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    3. Hayden: Although I do think some people still fear what happens after death and live their life accordingly the driving factor for people's action has changed. I believe that many Americans today are more afraid of what will occur in the future than what will happen after death, and this fear causes things like McCarthyism (during the cold war) and discrimination against other religions (after 9/11) to occur. As for your last question: I think that because our country was founded on these Puritanical beliefs and those same beliefs have managed to last this long they probably won't be disappearing any time soon, even though they haven't been as prominent due to the influx of new races and religions that occurred after the founding of our country.

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    4. Those are really great questions! When you asked whether what happens after we die is influenced by religion, the first thought that came to my mind was absolutely. I think that since we truly don't know what happens to us after we die, we rely on our religion to tell us what it will be like. To us, it is a trusted source and we can use that to live our lives the way we believe will get us to where we want to be. Those in power use fear as a central control mechanism simply because of the fact that it is the emotion that strikes people the most emotionally. Yes, happiness, sadness, and anger all are influences in our decisions, yet fear is what makes us act on it and what makes us want to do better so that we achieve the things we want. I think that Puritanical values and beliefs will always be apart of our society to some level of degree, as we as a collective society have never truly questioned and challenged these values and beliefs.

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  5. America today rarely associate its behavior and customs to be relating to Puritan culture. But when looking at them in a different perspective, is is obvious that many hints and traces of the first Puritans to settle the America are present in today's society. These hints are found in holidays, a general way of thinking, and the overall motivation of Americans. Traditional and widely celebrated holidays such as Thanksgiving mirror a custom started by the first Puritan settlers. These first settlers were expressing their thanks to their God for gracing them with a successful voyage to America, and a year of plentiful after some harsh winters. Today, while Thanksgiving is often commercialized and has lost some of its original intentions, it still is seen as holiday to count blessings, spend time with family, and celebrate success and plenty. Puritan reflections in our society run deeper than just holidays, and can be seen in the habitual mindsets of Americans today. Known to be rather exclusive, the Puritans frowned upon racial variety, and were known owners of slaves. Today, while America has greatly diversified, racial stereotypes and assumptions are an active part of the culture. Much racial tension regarding Mexican Americans is a common theme among today's American society, as many consider their race to be fleecing the health care system and entering the country illegally. While this may be true in some cases, it is close-minded to believe that every single Mexican American is illegally living in America. This is just one of many stereotypes in America, which reflect the Puritan's exclusive views. Puritan values can also be found in the way that Americans are motivated to do things. The Puritan culture stood on the idea that following the will of their God would lead to a peaceful afterlife, and that if you pleased God He would save you from hell. Today, while many American's beliefs may not be as harsh, it has been proven through scientific studies and just general observation that Americans are motivated by the idea of a earning a spot in the good graces of whomever they are trying to please. The idea that an individual's success and rewards are based on their work ethic is the dream that America was built on, and reverberates the Puritan's motivation of heaven. Children in America strive for good grades, teens set their sights on college educations, and within each career is a success ladder that is believed to be climbed only through hard work and dedication. This is very similar to the Puritans' hopes that by striving to be perfect in the eyes of their God that they would some day be rewarded for their hard work with a place in heaven. All of these connections of celebratory traditions, stereotypes and racism, and a general motivation that resound the early Puritan beliefs raise many concerns.
    Since American society is in many ways alike to the Puritans societies that formed this country, is modern day America susceptible to the same hysteria and fear that the caused chaos in the Puritan society during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692?

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    2. Yes, Sarah, in some ways I believe that we are susceptible. We are a generation full of people who have to blame something. And we're also not the sharpest tools in the tool box when it comes to our intellect. So I think very well that it is possible for a mass hysteria to break out in the USA. Look at events such as the Cold War and McCarthyism. Both were caused by fear. And today we live in a very fearful culture as well, seen as we are constantly giving up freedoms for security. In my opinion, fear is bound to disrupt an entire culture at any given moment. We will never know when chaos is to come again no matter how hard we try to predict and avoid. At the time that chaos does come, we will not be able to stop it. Before and after the chaos we will look at the events with a critical eye and think to ourselves, "How is it possible for an entire area to be filled with so many idiots?" But in reality we must keep in mind that during the time of the chaos, fear has taken over. And when fear takes over the word logical is immediately removed from the dictionary. So yes Sarah, I believe that wherever there is fear, there is an increased change of hysteria. Fear is everywhere, so what does that say about hysteria?

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    3. Hi Sarah! I absolutely loved how you connected puritanical values and ideologies to holidays and the stereotypes a multitude of Americans have about Mexican Americans. To answer your question, I absolutely think that today's society can be susceptible to the fear and hysteria that the puritans underwent. For example, in the modern day world we as a society fear teroists, hijackings, school shootings, these fears rule our everyday lives and can be seen with the precautions taken by the airport, schools, and public settings like the Pepsi Center. This fear can even be seen at Arapahoe. The precautions taken to lock doors so non students can not enter the building. Fear rules society on a daily basis, and can lead to a hysteria outbreak. In the 1950s when the red scare occurred, people were driven by fear to identify the communists in society, influencing people to persecute others in hope of finding culprits. Fear can take hold of society and lead to an outbreak of hysteria at any moment and the possibility of this happening is very likely because fear drives us as a society just as it did the puritans.

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    4. Sarah, like Hayden I loved your connections of puritanical views to Mexican Americans because it makes me think about Middle Eastern people after 9/11. They were stereotyped as terrorists when most of them probably are not. To answer your question yes, I believe we are susceptible to fear and hysteria because it is all around us. Fear has been the driving force of America since the day the Puritans landed here. They were taught to believe that anything different or out of the ordinary was bad and needed to be stopped. We are no different as we stereotype the Middle East, and still don't pay woman as much as we do men. Going back to fear, for me personally I have become more aware of my surroundings. When the Aurora theater shooting happened, every time I saw a strange person walking across the theater my heart would race, all because of what the hysteria had planted in me. I think this is why we have had so many horrific events happen, because hysteria creates more fear. Our ancestors might have started colonization in America, but they brought something that would shape our world as we know it.

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    5. I think that any society is vulnerable to hysteria and fear. America didn't think it would ever have a situation like that, and then a Senator named Joseph McCarthy nearly destroyed America as we know it with a fake list. No matter what point in history, or what kind of government every country is susceptible to anxiety and fear, including America. I would even argue that America is the most vulnerable, because in America the people elect the government and everyone has the freedom of speech. We have to be the most careful not to follow fear and anxiety, because it could be the thing that brings this great nation down.

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    6. That's a great question! I have to say that unfortunately, modern-day America is very susceptible to the hysteria that was found in Salem in 1692. We as a society haven't quite yet learned that hysteria does nothing for the action we are trying to take in the midst of frightening events. Hysteria should be considered a factor that negatively impacts our solutions to things that we consider problems. The hysteria plants a seed in our minds every time, and innocent people are often scapegoated simply because we don't take the time to find out the legitimate source of the problem. Hysteria breeds a society that generalizes people, places, and events, which is never a good thing for the accused and even the accuser.

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    7. Sarah, I absolutely agree with your connection between the Puritan's close mindedness and American's views on Mexican Americans. I think that we have adopted the Puritan's ignorance towards not only racial diversity but also many other aspects of American culture today. To answer your question, I do think America is capable of that kind of fear and hysteria. Fear and the unknown are both very powerful things in people's lives and influence them every single day. If fear is present among enough people, it will create hysteria. fear is part of human nature.

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    8. Our society today is defintitley susceptible to the kind of hysteria created during the witch hunts. In fact, that terror could spread much more rapidly and have a bigger impact than back in even the 1950s with Joseph McCarthy because of the internet. The interconnectivity of the world makes news or emotions spread especially quickly, so something like the Salem witch trials would have a bigger and more destructive impact. Hopefully, everyone can learn from mistakes in history and try not to repeat them ever again.

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  6. When the Puritans lived in the 1690's they lived life respectfully, cautiously, and as the children of God. Today I think people live this way at less of an extreme. Religions similar to Puritan beliefs like Christianity, Catholicism and other forms of religion stemming from the Bible still play a large role in society, and still drive some people to get up and live their lives everyday. Even for the people who have lost religion along the way still have these Puritanical beliefs, and judgements, especially when it comes to work-ethic, salvation, sexual tensions and perceptions of other people. Our work ethic seems to almost blind us and keep us naive to what life really should be about when it comes to living life to the fullest for yourself, and not just to prove to God that you should be in heaven and you shouldn't go to hell. When it comes down to eat people today reflect the ultimate, powerful, and some of the most important ideals of Puritans over two centuries ago. Puritans saw success as God's grace, saw it as a second chance, God willing you to do better and that you will find yourself in heaven, showing people that God was inside everyone. Today I think the idea of proving yourself successful and better has a lot to do with people's gratification and self reflection, making us hard workers which leaves me wondering if that's a good thing or not? We are taught that being an extremely hard worker is good, and I believe it to, but is that only because I've grown up in a society that has seen hard work as an almighty achievement and blessing for 200 years?
    I agree with what Kiley was saying about her cousin from Norway saying that we live to work, whereas he works to live. I feel like my whole life I've been told work now and play later, but what if I don't make it to the later. I feel like I should work hard and enjoy myself because I'd like to keep my own Puritanical origins with some worldly aspects to keep me balanced. I think that people need to focus more on their relationships with people as well and that we can't hide behind jobs.

    Responding to Ciera's question, I'd say that are society would be however the next landing civilization instead of the Puritans, religion was, or their spiritual beliefs and morals. I think that America was vulnerable at that time because of how new everything was how persuasive the little population was, we needed a first building block to kick off of. Society could be the same if a similar people came or similar religions or views, but most likely it would be entirely different with entirely different beliefs.

    Based on today's society compared to Puritan society in 1692, have we improved more as a people? Have me morally, and overall improved?

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    1. Elizabeth,
      I think that, in response to your question of have we improved as society from the Puritans that used to populate America, I don't think we have. This sounds so depressing, but I think that our lifestyle is very similar to the way that the Puritans lived, just in a different sense. Instead of being motivated by God and heaven, we are motivated by success and money, and like you and Kiley have said work ridiculously hard to get there. I think this is comparable to how hard the Puritans tried to live perfectly in the eyes of their God. Therefore we haven't really improved, just our heaven has taken a different form. How do you think we could go about becoming a better society, or in other words what could we do differently to separate ourselves from our crazy work-filled lives.

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    2. Elizabeth,
      In answer to your question of whether or not we as a people have improved morally, I do not think that we have.I agree with your analysis of how Americans today are less strict but are still governed by simple morals with what you said about work ethic. Today, I think many people have good work ethic to get into their form of "heaven". For some people that "heaven" is maintaining their job or making more money. Instead of doing the right thing just because it's the right thing to do, too many people's motivator is the threat of getting fired otherwise. This worries me as I wonder if our promotion of good work ethic is actually promoting a more selfish world. We haven't much improved from the Puritanical times as the Puritans were motivated to do good by fear and selfish reasons. To say that we have steadily declined from that could be considered an understatement. In American culture today, we often do the right thing for the wrong reasons or just flat out do the wrong thing. We have become a very selfish nation that is incredibly superficial. I think that in order for America to change our direction we need to start small. Do each good thing just because it is the right thing to do.

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    3. Elizabeth, I think in some ways yes we have improved from the 1600's, but those puritan values and beliefs are still with us today. Our new advances throughout our history have shown we are better that the Puritans ever were, but we still used their ideas such as living to work. By doing this we forget about how important our families are and the needs of people less fortunate. But in some ways we have overcome our differences and created many landmarks in history such as President Obama being the first African American president. So yes, we have improved as a whole, but we can't keep improving unless we start to change our Puritan values.

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    4. Elizabeth, I absolutely agree with what you are saying about living for yourself and relying less on living and working for someone or something else. I think it's so important to care less about pleasing others and just focus on pleasing yourself. In response to your question, I do think we have somewhat improved as a people since then. What defines us as Americans is our ability to learn from our tragedies and mistakes in our past to make the future better. We have make huge advancements in our ability to just simply be better people. However, we still have a long way to go, and many more mistakes to learn from.

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  7. I have learned so much this week about Puritans and they way they lived and although it seems they were harsh on the others around them, I do believe that we as a society still take after some of the Puritans terrible qualities. For example, we always seem to place blame on each other when we have no time or motivation to look for what is right. We crack under pressure, as Elizabeth Parris did when she was questioned about her strange actions. As a society, we have been struggling to take blame for our own actions since the late 1600 and it all started in Salem. People are very scared of their consequences, as they should be for committing a wrong action, and tend to put blame on others. When we have no motivation to do something, we take an easy route, and most times it ends up not being the best way to handle the situation. Onto a positive note though, Puritans believed in God and His holy spirit and trusted in His decisions and laid their whole life into His hands. I think this trait in humans has lasted a long time and has now carried from religion into other things we enjoy. Obviously, some Puritans only believed in God because they were scared to speak up and reveal they didn’t believe in all of the rules and regulations it held. Humans though have a gift of having passion though, and when we are passionate about things, such a religions or sports or another human, many good things can come out of that. My question for all of you would be do you think anything else good came out of the Puritans? Yes, there were many negative traits and actions we learned from, but what other positives can you pull from the Puritans and the witch trials?

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    1. There are not many positive attributes of the puritans, however if a person changes their perspective to be more open minded, they will find that even though the puritans committed callous acts out of fear and negatively drove people to worship in the puritan way, their determination and dedication is outstanding. Their ability to commit their lives and every aspect of themselves to God depicts the love and appreciation they had for him. The quality to commit yourself, your entire being, to someone is truly rare in this society. The puritans dedicated their lives to God out of fear, but even in the consumption of fear they were able to demonstrate the love they had for him. A person to demonstrate their love in today's society so fiercely is incredibly rare, and is a quality that ultimately redeems them for their negative idiosyncrasies.

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    2. Cece, I enjoyed reading your response and your perspective on the Puritans and the impact on society today. I also think that blame not only came from just the Puritans, but it is just a part of human nature. Although there is no way of knowing, I think that blame would still occur today if the Salem Witch Trials had not happened. It is true that we, as Americans, tend to blame others in order to save our own skin. I believe that everybody sins and is selfish, but we can help this by having more love and showing more compassion to others to share the good in life. To answer your question, I think that religion and having faith in God is the main positive characteristic that Puritans brought to our country. At least for me, having faith in God and putting my trust in Him helps me to overcome my struggles and fears. There is a lot of evil in this world, but I think that more good is out there and it is much more powerful than evil. Good question and response, Cece!

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    3. Other than hard working nature and morals, not many good things came from Puritan culture. The one outstanding lesson we can learn from the Puritans is from their mistakes. The Salem Witch Hunts taught us about the danger's of hysteria and fear as well as what it can lead to. So we can take what good we can take from their culture as well as look at what mistakes they made and learn from them, which is a pretty positive impact.

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  8. I agree that there are traces of puritanical belief but there are also many stark differences in today's culture. Many of you have mentioned this, but one of the huge similarities is the role that fear plays. Miller's words from "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" provide a perfect example of this in Puritan culture. Miller invokes fear because he knows the impact it has on others. The puritan's purpose revolves around religion and fear played a role in that which shows how it effected their culture. In today's culture glorified aspects of life include success, image, beauty, security, freedom, and individuality. Fear plays a huge role in these through media, family and friend's input, and schools. Society makes us fear the future and focuses on good grades as they will determine if we go to college and weather or not we will be successful. Commercials uses our fear of a bad image by showing us the best make-up to put on, clothes to wear, and technology to get. Recently popular movies like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Giver reflect our fear of loosing freedom. The list goes on and on of ways that our culture abuses our fear of losing something important to us. On the other hand, there are many differences between our culture and Puritan culture. Although religion can create fear, today there are many different view points on this issue. I agree with what Jordan pointed out about how we interpret the bible in a totally different way. There are hundreds of denominations that distinguish how they believe the bible and why. Also there isn't one absolute truth like there was in the puritan culture. So many religions or beliefs about the world are accepted and individuality is encouraged. The values and standards that were set hundreds of years ago have expanded into so many different levels that I don't even know about all of them. Obviously ,there are always set in stone ideals, but in many ways they have grown into things completely different and unique.

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  9. What are differing purposes in today's culture verses puritan culture? What role does purpose play in life and how does it help distinguish cultures?

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    1. I think that in the Puritanical culture, the purpose and motivator for many people was getting into heaven. They supposed that their purpose in life to prove to God that they deserved to get into heaven. Everything that was done, was done to fulfill that purpose. Today, many people don't know what their purpose is in life. For some, it may seem that their purpose is to succeed (in their own definition of success) or make money. I think that this says a lot about American culture today as I see America as somewhat superficial and selfish. The fact that our motivation is money and success while the Puritans' main motivation was heaven exposes the differences in the cultures. Culture leads people into what they believe that their purpose in life is. If the culture is pure, the purpose is pure. If the culture is broken though, there will be complete confusion among people as to what their purpose is.

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  10. Puritanical beliefs are incredibly deep and detailed. At first glance, it would seem that the Puritans and modern Americans have little to nothing in common. To think that America is based upon their beliefs was baffling to me. However, upon closer inspection of American culture today, it's really not that surprising. The Puritans at heart were close-minded and feared questioning the unknown. Modern America hasn't changed too much. A deeper look at modern society exposes America as insecure and lacking real depth, thereby encouraging its citizens to cling to the known and resist the unknown. Though we like to fool ourselves into thinking that we are open minded to everything, we are, in fact, not. We have a set notion of good and bad and anyone who disagrees is labeled as confused and/or unpatriotic. Stuck in a constant way of thought, America will never be able to grow and change our ideas fully. The Puritans escaped from the religious pressures that Europe put on them just to fall back into strict religious ruling by their own hand because it was the only thing that they knew. The security and stability that traditions offer are often good but they do need to be challenged. American culture is so afraid of challenging what we have become due to the fear of what we might find. Instead, we try (cowardly) to cover up all of our mistakes and problems with lawsuits and irrelevant positive information. Currently America is 26th in math, 21st in science, and 17th in reading. We are not the best country academically anymore. Yet, many people of power would be all too willing to hide that fact and insist that Americans still receive the best education. Even when certain people of power are willing to admit our downfall in education, nothing is done to change that fact. People are incredibly hesitant to try new things, even if it's for the better. The Puritans have also suppressed change for the "betterment" of their people. The only time that they embraced change was when it was (a) temporary and (b) would help them maintain long-term stability. Many of the people who were convicted and did not confess to witchcraft were hanged. I believe that one of the reasons for this was to maintain power by making an example of anyone who disagreed with the church's reasoning, thus keeping order and stability.

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    1. Sophie: I completely agree with you! America likes to point out and 'fix' the 'downfalls' of other countries but we can't seem to help ourselves!! I'm not sure if you're aware but a recent study was conducted by pediatricians across the country that revealed that teenagers should not in fact be made to wake up at such and ungodly hour in the morning, and that if we didn't change anything soon many teens both physical and mental health could decline. But even though these finding were highly publicized only 15% of our nations schools changed their start times! This greatly ties into your question because even though a few people were willing to make a change form the way we have been running schools for a decade to fix a major problem most education systems chose to stick with tradition, and sticking to an old tradition is conformity at its basis.

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  11. What role did conformity play in the Puritanical society and what role does it play in ours?

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    1. I think conformity played a huge role in the Puritan's society. Their society was such a tight nit community wound around beliefs there was really no room to be different. As we saw during the witch trails, if you were seen as different they pegged you as evil. I think that will come naturally when you live in a society of such strict beliefs. Now a days conformity is almost seen as uncool. We try to be as different and unique as possible. I think our society is very divers and accepting so conformity is not as popular or important as it was to the Puritans.

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    2. It really dictated life then, as it does now. It plays a large role in the deterioration of self image and diverse culture. When everyone is following each other into and out of trends there is no room to be unique with out the fear of judgment from peers. I think that ultimately Puritans also put this fear of judgment within us, because being judged for difference in their times sometimes meant death.

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    3. Conformity is a huge role in both of our societies. For the Puritans everyone would act the same and devotedly follow the Bible. During the witch trials it was often people who weren't like the social norm who were accused of being witches. Today everyone mostly everyone tries to fit in with what we perceive as the social norm especially with kids. Kids are always changing styles and are trying to keep up with what is cool. In a way it runs our lives. If people didn't worry so much about trying to fit in but instead were to just be themselves the world would be a much better place.

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    4. In both the Puritan's and today's society, conformity is huge. Conformity is when you sculpt yourself into something that fits into normal. That is definitely what the Puritans did, they all have the same beliefs and culture. If someone didn't fit exactly into the norm then, they were considered a witch and shunned or even killed. In today's society their are tons of stereotypes and if you don't technically fit into them, then you are weird but you weren't like shunned or killed you are just considered different than others. This is because after the Puritans everyone began branching out becoming new people and finding new beliefs, creating new cultures.

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  12. The Puritan spiritual leaders often used fear to control the way their flocks acted and thought, and although many things have changed since the puritans first settled in America one thing has stayed the same: our leaders still use popular media to strike fear into the heart of the masses and get them to lean in one direction or the other. Preachers like Johnathan Edwards used frightening imagery to scare the people they preached to into being proactive about finding a way to get into heaven. For example Joesph McCartney used fear in his many speeches to get people to hunt for communists in the government and in their communities. President Bush used a similar tactic to scare America about the so called 'terrorist threat' after 9/11. But our modern culture hasn't only absorbed the negative things about these Puritan beliefs. Johnathan Edwards's strong words inspired some of the Puritans to live more moral and clean lives and both McCarthy and Bush inspired the citizens of America to be more socially conscience and watchful of potentially harmful behavior. So here's my question: if the group that had established the first colony in America been atheists how would our values and culture be different if at all?

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  13. The Puritan belief on hard work is a quality that society is constantly repeating throughout our daily lives. A recent Gatorade commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sB6AS9bfEx8) demonstrates not only how literature reflects our belief in hard work but also in athletics. Looking at the amount of effort that people have posted on here, hard work is prevalent in our academic careers. Many people believe that you work hard you get into college and on to a successful career. Another Puritan belief in our society today is simplicity. Take a look at architecture from the Puritans and modern society.

    (http://www.google.com/search?q=arapahoe+high+school+library&safe=active&es_sm=93&biw=1366&bih=643&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=KfgRVPH2IOmL8QHBhoHoDQ&sqi=2&pjf=1&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ#safe=active&tbm=isch&q=modern+architecture&facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=fgCan2h_t4s6aM%253A%3BAXwzJLBhENyT5M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fdesigngrapher.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2013%252F07%252Fmodern-architecture-designs21.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fdesigngrapher.com%252Fmodern-house-architecture-ideas%252F%3B680%3B450)

    (http://www.google.com/search?q=puritan+architecture&safe=active&es_sm=93&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=GfkRVMCoJsTDggTC8oDoDw&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=1366&bih=643#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=r12mAOfnxXwqxM%253A%3BhWfP9VnyGncIFM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.pioneervillagesalem.com%252Fpics%252Fpuritan_houses.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.pioneervillagesalem.com%252F%3B595%3B420)

    Both buildings share simple elements and do not contain complex element such as carvings or artistic windows. Hard work and simplicity are merely two examples within a vast pool of Puritan Beliefs that have survived in modern society.

    Question:
    What would our society look like had we drifted farther away from our Puritan roots?

    Answers:
    1. Sophie K.'s Question: Conformity played a similar role in both the Puritanical and our modern society. Conformity created norms and warded off attacks from other members.
    2. Grace C.'s Question.: Had the American founder been atheists rather than Puritans then modern society would be less consistent. I do not believe that our society be any worse in the ways we party and sin but the areas where people perform these actions would be even more sporadic than modern society.

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  14. In today's society and in puritanical society, people drive their life's in the direction of fear. Puritan believe's were solely based on the fear of going to heaven or to hell, whereas people today's life's are drove by a number of fears. In puritanical times, the puritans went on about life based on a believe they kept true to God. In today's modern world people also run their life's based on the idea of believing in something strongly. "Still Puritan After all these Years," states "In none of these studies did the results hinge on the participants’ religious affiliation or level of religious feeling. Whatever these Americans explicitly believed (or didn’t believe) about God, something like Puritan values seemed to be guiding their moral judgments" ("America"). Matthew Hudson is stating that just like in the puritan's culture American's today still base their actions upon a strong believe one is in because of fear. I believe the human nature is flawed and just a scapegoat for people's actions. Although there will always be a little fear inside of someone, God has given humans all the power in the world to live a life that's based on what people love. I think most people turn to something like religion to cover their fear. This is not necessarily a ludicrous act, if people are finding comfort in God and the Saints of God not the idea of religion and being a part of something. Puritans lived their life fearful of going to hell and only wanted to go to heaven out of fear of not going to hell. In society and even my own church, I see people just like the puritans turning to God only for the perks of going to heaven; however, this is not Biblical. The Bible talks about how men will make it to heaven because they live a righteous life, but most will only make the cut to heaven if they really truly love God. I believe it is up to us where we go, what we believe, and whether or not we life in fear, and because of this p we never learn to love, care, hurt, sacrifice, and life. Maybe it is "human nature" to have a life based on fear of not going anywhere, being poor, or being unhappy, but God has given us the ability to change our destiny's and live life running towards love, and over coming fear. Question is Why do people find comfort in their fears because, when the whole world is pointed in their favor?

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  15. The Puritan ideals and beliefs of working exceptionally hard to succeed in life and earn the grace and mercy of God has definitely had both a positive and negative effect on contemporary American culture. On one hand, working extraordinarily hard has gotten this nation to where it is today in being a world superpower, and on the other, working too hard like many of us do has had a negative impact on our relationships with family and friends, our sense of relaxation and peace, and our attitudes pertaining to all facets of life. When we work too hard we get things done, they may not always have the quality that should be there, and we only focus on getting our tasks done and not taking the time to make them better. This has had such a negative impact on how we as Americans are ranked in the world, and how other countries and people view us. It’s also important to note that living in a work-driven society, fear also plays a huge role as well. The Puritans set the example that if you did not work hard or do everything you were supposed to perfectly or up to the standards of the church, you would go to Hell. I think that in today’s society we are so fearful of what will become of us if we don’t work hard or live up to other’s expectations. We fear that people will view us as lazy, incompetent, or ungrateful. We fear not necessarily that we will go to Hell if we don’t do everything perfectly, but what the course of the rest of our lives will be. So here’s my question: Would America today be as work and fear-driven if the Puritans had a different set of values and morals?

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    1. Yes, I honestly do think that America would. It might not be as strong, but I think that the ideals of freedom created a natural hard-working attitude, knowing that hard work would allow you to rise in society.

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    2. I really like this question! The Puritans were the first real culture that revolved life around fear and handwork. I think that their culture does have an effect on how America is fear-driven because they were they first group of people living here. At the same time I think even without the Puritans we would still be fear-driven. Fear is part of human nature and a perfect tool for government to use to manipulate how society acts.

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  16. Often in America, there are signs of the Puritans. Over the years, society has shown less and less Puritan influence, throwing of some of the good things as well as the bad things. The one Puritan influence that still stands strong is their hard-working attitude. America is a special place because it is one of the few, if not the only, places where hard-work can get you anywhere. Things like money and social class are definitely factors, but America is truly the land of opportunity. From the Puritans to modern day Americans there has been a history of hard work. On the other hand, the mere fact that hard work causes you to rise could be the motivating factor in many of the hard working tendencies of Americans. Certainly things from the Puritans, mostly religion, influence certain groups of people, but as a whole America is so diverse that Puritans really aren't a major influence in today's society. In fact, the thing Puritans were most famous for were the witch hunts. Personally, I think that Puritan influence has faded and faded, from their views on women to their harsh lifestyle. If you squint, you can see traces of the Puritans in hard working society and through the freedom of religion, but you have to look very hard.

    Do you think that our society is directly influenced by Puritan culture? Why or why not?

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  17. Where do you see Puritanical thinking/values/beliefs/ or language in our modern world?)

    I feel like over the past few hundred years, Americans have adopted both the good and bad of Puritanical society. We've adopted their believe that hard work truly pays off, but I also think we've adopted their close mindedness. The Puritans believed that hard work paid off. They devoted their whole lives to God and worked just to please him so that one day they might be one of the chosen ones who gets to go to Heaven. I believe that people in today's society work in a similar fashion. They work their whole lives so that they can be successful. People are so desperate to prove themselves in life, much like the Puritans were desperate to prove themselves to God, They work themselves to the bone to do so. I do believe that hard work pays off, but we should also take a moment to relax a bit and focus on other aspects of life. American society has also adopted the Puritan's close mindedness. The reason the Witch trials started was entirely because people didn't understand what was going on and they were ignorant to the situation. I think today is a parallel of that attitude in life.We don't go around calling each other witches, but people are very ignorant with issues that effect our world today. Things such as immigration, Feminism, what's going on over seas, and even the world's views of America. I think it's so important to grow and learn from the Puritan's mistakes and be more open about the world around us. Is it possible for people to become less ignorant about today's issues? If so, how can we change people'e views?

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    1. Great question! I think it is possible for people to become less ignorant. Society still tends to turn a blind eye to the issues and struggles of our country. It acts in a state of denial towards the aspects of America that, in reality, are not very pretty. A large part of this is society's ego as a country, with America as the land of promise, and the greatest country in the world. However, more attention needs to be brought to these movements. After all, it was movements like these that created America and its freedom. Society could turn these views by looking into the heart of our country and these social issues, instead of focusing on things like weather or not Obama Care is a good idea. Our society needs to join back together to fight these things, instead of pushing themselves away from each other to prove who is right.

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  18. The Puritan values and thinkings are still apparent in modern society in many different ways. The Puritans believed in handwork and a full lifestyle which is still upheld in todays society. We feel the need to fill our lives with hard work and purpose, rather that is because of faith or simply to live life to the fullest and be successful. Puritan's were also very faithful dedicated people who were passionate about what they believed in. I think this is apparent in todays culture only now a days we are passionate and dedicated to other things. Usually theses things play a major role in our lives and the way we do things, much like the Puritan's. Puritan culture was also mainly driven by fear and that is still a big part of our culture today. Its apart of human nature and I think fear will always be something that can really drive a society. Government has a way of using fear to cause our society to act or feel a certain way. This was definitely carried out during the witch trails as it is still used today. In modern day the media and news have a big role in manipulating things to scare us into feeling a certain way. Puritan culture is still very similar to todays culture because the Puritans were the founding people of America.

    How does fear manipulate cultures to do certain things? In what ways do people use fear to their advantage?

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    1. I think that fear can change a lot of what we do. It influences us to do things that we wouldn't normally do and it makes us do stuff that could ruin relationships. For example, if you fear being caught doing something you aren't suppose to, you might ask someone to cover up for you, which puts both you and that person in a bad situation. Basically, fear drives us to do everything like pick out our clothes or read a book. I know those sound like weird examples but its true. You may fear people judging you if you where certain clothes so it influences you to ear different clothes. You may fear getting a bad grade in a class so to bring up that grade you actually have to do work and read the book you have to read. People's fear manipulate almost everything that they have to do anyway. I think that other people use others fears to their advantage. Like a type of blackmailing. They take their fear of getting caught and make them do things for people in order to not get tattled on.

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  19. Puritanical systems and values are reflected in our lives today through the importance of fear in our culture and the stark divisions that define many parts of our lives. Just as Puritans lived with voices such as that of Johnathan Edwards whispering in their ears to put the fear of God in them, we are constantly barraged by negative media that is determined to show us all the anger and hate in the world. For the Puritans, the terror was Hell, eternal damnation; for modern day Americans, the danger is far less concrete. We fear the shadows in the dark: the insanity brewing unseen in a pair of teenagers, the terrorists being planted in our midst, the unpredictability of the world. In both cultures, fear is a driving force that impacts how people live their lives.
    Stark divisions are another part of life that we have inherited from the Puritans. Almost everything is black and white. For Puritans, it was a simple as being a good Puritan- or being a blasphemous human being that was soon to be welcomed into Hell. Your faith was all that mattered. Today, though we judge by other things, that black and white view of the world persists. Our politics are so partisan that we can hardly get anything done, we condemn ethnic groups and regions for the actions of a few radicals, and we are frighteningly close-minded as a country. This rigid view of the world is something that we certainly inherited from our Puritan beginnings.
    I have portrayed the above characteristics as weaknesses in our society- but what advantages can you see in these Puritan attributes of America?

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    1. Elena- I agree with what you are saying about the disadvantages, but I also think that a lot of good has come from the Puritan's way of life. One of the most prominent good things that came from them was the idea of living a virtuous life. Wanting to go to heaven and live for God so badly really did give them the opportunity to lead a good life in honor of something bigger than themselves. It taught them to value each other more than possessions, which is an idea I think modern Americans could use.

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    2. Elena, I find it interesting how you mentioned the black and white contrast between good and bad. I see this as both an advantage and a disadvantage. This contrast is good because it shows society how both good and evil exist in the world. It allows us to acknowledge that there are consequences for our actions; it teaches us responsibility. However, I also find this as one of society's greatest disadvantages as well. This ideal turns us to neglect the other side of the story, and to judge people for their beliefs when we do not even know them. As a society, we are pushing ourselves further apart in our negligence in taking other perspectives. In reality, we have not learned to compromise and accept that others, even if their ideas differ from our own, are not necessarily wrong. What do you think may be the cause of why our society struggles so much to compromise and accept others?

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  20. Edwards’ article “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” made me question my own beliefs and faith because personally, I disagree with what Edwards is claiming. Like Jordan’s response, I believe that striking fear in listeners’ hearts and forcing them into faith is cruel and disrespectful. I think that Edwards does not have the control of changing other’s hearts, but only God does. I believe that God has created us to be more like Him and He made us in His own image. Not only that, but I believe He also created us to have a sense of longing, and that longing can only be satisfied by Him. Striking fear into other’s hearts seems ironic to me because God does not want us to live our lives in fear. He tells us “Do not be afraid. I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). I believe that God’s love for us overcomes our fears and He wants us to turn to Him when we are fearful of evil, not of his wrath. However, I am thankful that Puritans brought their strong religion along to our country because religion has shaped us into stronger and better people today. Although we have our flaws, religion helps us overcome those struggles and fears as a community. I also believe that beauty is made out of the dust and that everything happens for a reason. For example, we can all relate to the shooting and how much beauty has come out of such a tragic event. I have seen a stronger and tighter community at Arapahoe than ever before. I believe that God put this event in our lives in order for us to see the light and beauty in this world. If it weren’t for the Puritans, our society would not have adopted these foundational beliefs.
    Question:
    If the Puritans had not come to America, do you think that religion would be the same as it is today? If not, what would religion look like?

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    1. I have no doubt in my mind that the basic principles of religion would be the same, but I believe the freedom of practicing religion would be drastically different. In our world there are already too many countries where it is illegal to own a bible and believe in a certain God. Without the Puritans, I don't know how America would've learned that differing religions in a society is okay and fascinating.

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  21. Through what I have gathered over the past few days while studying the Puritan ways of life, modern day America has evolved in some ways, but it is still very evident where we come from. Traces of puritanism can still be seen today wherever you look. "Still Puritan After All These Years," highlights some of the key things that link us back to our country's true founders. For a country that claims to be culturally diverse, it is clear we prioritize Christianity. In our everyday interactions we see it when we look down at any piece of currency and see "In God We Trust.” Around holidays I never hear anything other than Christmas ads, or decorations in department stores, as if we have completely forgotten that other religions are celebrating holidays too. Women are constantly told to dress for themselves, and not worry about other peoples opinions. However, when they actually do dress scandalously, they are shamed for provoking men's vulgar thoughts or actions towards them. If a woman walks down the street in muslim attire I’m sure she does not feel that puritanism is a thing of the past as she can feel people’s judging stares on her. We grow up in a world where diversity and individuality are exalted but that little bit of Puritan in us, is what I believe is still keeping the pressure to conform so alive in America. I don’t know if America will ever truly evolve its thinking to a level where acceptance is truly towards everyone, but I would like to know how we would get there. I would like to see a world someday that I am proud to have been a part in creating and where one person’s beliefs are not held above others. What would it take for our country to shake the conservative mindset, and treat everyone with complete equality and respect?

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    1. Do you think that the Puritans are mostly to blame for today's inequality towards one another? I completely agree with your blog and think that it is beautifully put. My answer to your question, however, is I don't know if we will ever be able to treat everyone as equals. Since the founding of America, we have said, "All men are created equal", yet as I look around each day that is not what I see. I still see racial profiling, stereotyping, and others judging each other all day, and it makes me sad. I do not know if America will be able to move past it because we have been this way for so long. I hope that one day our society will mend what we have done wrong, but it would take everyone working together to see a world that we are proud to have helped. I hope this happens, and I will do my part to ensure it does.

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    2. I think that in order for there to be complete equality and respect for everyone we would need a whole new generation to be brought up without any racism or disrespect at all. The reason it is still alive today is because children are learning it from their parents, who heard it from their parents, who heard it growing up. It is part of their culture and without realizing it they are spreading it to their children. The way I see it racism is being passed down like an old family heirloom. Most people nowadays are pretty open minded and aren't critical of other's ethnicities, gender, or sexual orientation, but there are still people who grew up intolerant of other people. Discrimination is becoming less and less common and hopefully someday it will be gone for good.

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  22. In today society’s Puritan ideas and beliefs are still alive and well. A lot of people still live by the same rules and beliefs that the Puritans lived by. Rules based from mortality and family values. Many people also still hold a strong faith. Usually their faith helps create the rules that they live by. I think part of the reason America is one of the most religious countries in the world comes from the Puritan’s strong religious beliefs and search for religious freedom. But on the other hand a lot of people also live with the same fear that the Puritan’s live with. But I don’t think this is a purely Puritan idea, I think that the fear and scapegoating is a purely human emotion. One way that people do this is with Hispanic-American’s. A lot of people unfairly blame them for the economic crash in 2012. This is a similar pattern to how people treated new immigrants in the 1912’s. In all of these situations people blamed the new outsiders, the people who were lower class, the ones they looked down upon, for things that were totally out of their control.

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  23. Although America has become a giant melting pot of cultures and religions over the years, the goals and morals Americans find socially acceptable really have not changed much overall. I believe the most prominent place of this sameness is located in the workplace and what the American Society views as “success.” This leads me to question, what makes someone successful? According to our society, it is hard work, and success in the workplace. In his article, Matthew Hutson explains, “They also believed in predestination and viewed success as a sign of salvation,” (Still Puritan). This is very important, because it shows that if their success gave them salvation, the Puritan people would work even harder for it. This idea has definitely carried forward into society today, pressuring Americans even in their childhood. For example, students are pushed to get good grades, because if they get good grades and graduate, they will be successful and get a job. This makes it so that the person is secure with themselves, like in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Success in America has become success in the workplace, and success in the workplace means stability, safety, and comfort. I completely disagree with the way that society views success, and how it is achieved. To me, having success means being happy. It does not matter if I have the best paying job, perfect relationships, or if I am in with the hottest trends of the era. I find happiness in doing what I love. Success in my life would be me doing something I have a passion for, regardless of how much the job pays.

    What makes someone successful in your eyes, and how might this differ from society’s view of success?

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    1. I agree with this completely. When I see someone with a smile on their face from ear to ear, I think to myself, "Wow, they must have done something right." I watched a video the other day about a man born without his arms or legs, and he admitted that several times he wanted to give up on life. Pushing through those dark spots in his life, this man married, learned how to get around on a day to day basis, and now speaks publicly to people about not giving into struggles. This in my eyes is the greatest success. A man born with nothing has so much happiness in his life, and that fills me with joy. I believe society views someone as successful only when they are the best of the best. In your blog, you mentioned, "For example, students are pushed to get good grades, because if they get good grades and graduate, they will be successful and get a job." I agree and disagree. I think that society views that as average, but they expect the student to get straight As while in school as well as participating in sports. The student also is expected to graduate and continue onto a college such as Yale or Harvard, and the student must get a perfect job right after college as well. In society's eyes, I think they would view that as success. So my question for you is can we be successful in today's society.

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    2. Abbie, to answer your question, I do not think that society sets a realistic view of success, and that few will achieve it. Only several people will become the next presidents, entrepreneurs, and movement leaders. Society sets these goals for everyone, but these goals are unrealistic for a lot of people. Society's view of success absolutely disgusts me. Each person is an individual, so we cannot be expected to share the same hopes and dreams. We each need to find our talents, and nurture them. Then, we can live out our own definition of success, weather that means being happy, working hard, or just making it through life. Society encourages individuality and standing out. However, it neglects those who want to follow their own dreams, instead of those which our society encourages as successful.

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    3. I also completely agree with your defintion of success. I have seen people that make barely any money act the most joyful out of anyone I know because they are doing what they love. Those people are my inspiration, because I know that I can be happy whether or not I fit into society's picture of success. On the other side of this view, I have seen people who make a lot of money and are very "successful" that don't look happy with how their life has gone. In my opinion, the sad people are those who follow others' view of success, and the happy people fulfill their own dreams and form their own prosperous future.

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  24. Prior to reading the papers and articles we received this week regarding, I admit I knew little to none about the Puritans and our relationship to them. I only knew that thanks to them I eat turkey with my family on Thanksgiving and that their lifestyle was seated in deep religion and hard work. Delving deeper into their life, I learned that they connected to our lives in a way I have never realized. If we just look closer, we can see their lives reflected in our own. Hard work truly stuck out to me as one of the ways they impacted our lives today. With the strong work ethic that I see so often today in today’s society, I can not help but be reminded of the Puritans. Even Matthew Hutson said in his article “Still Puritan After All These Years”, “Researchers found that Americans- but not the Canadians- solved more anagrams with salvation on the mind. They worked harder” which shows just how closely our work ethic is related to theirs from two centuries prior. This continued sense to work hard has even led society today to strive to be perfect which has affected millions of people. Not only has the Puritan’s belief in hard work affected our society, it has shaped it. Working hard is certainly not a bad thing, but I am not quite sure what the limit is yet. Without the Puritans we would be growing up in a much different world. What that world would be like, I do not know.

    What would our society be like today without this intense work ethic? Would it be better or worse for it?

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  25. Where do you see Puritanical thinking/values/beliefs/ or language in our modern world?)
    Over the past couple of days through reading about the puritans I have gone back in time to see what their lifestyle was truly like. Everything they did they were doing to please God. They worshiped him and did what they felt he wanted them to do. Puritans believed that God had a plan for all of them and that whenever something happened that was God's will. The reason that the puritans came to America was because they were being persecuted in England. I think the Puritans are a perfect example of one of the aspects of our first amendment, the freedom of religion. The Puritans have helped bring the freedom of religion to light in modern America. There are so many different cultures that have come to America, so naturally there are many different religions. The Puritans realized this which is what drew them to America. Today in America everyone has the right to worship how they want and can even choose not to worship anyone if that is how they feel. There are still places in the world today where people can not worship the God of their choice and are jailed or even killed. The Puritans also did everything by the book, and by that I mean the Bible. Their religion controlled their lives as many religions still do today in America. Mormons, a religion that was created in America, can't have caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco. People who practice Hinduism view the cow as a holy being and do not consume beef products. Both of these religions are practiced around the world and they control much of their followers lives much like the Puritans religion did. The Puritans also believed in Christ which many people still believe in today. The Puritan ideals and values are still very much alive today and have made a great impact on our world.


    How do you think our society would be different if the Puritans had never came to America?

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  26. Throughout history and in the world today, any core group that creates an establishment leaves a lasting impression on that establishment. Puritans and their beliefs played a part in the founding of America, and the consequently brought their culture with them. Therefore, American culture is influenced by the Puritan values or beliefs in a variety of ways. Puritans, especially in the New England area, stressed education of children as vitally important.The ability to read the Bible was a necessity to being a successful part of the Puritan community, and by the 1670's all colonies in New England had laws mandating the literacy of children. This is reflected in today's culture by the picture of normal in education. Most students will attend high school, get into the best college they can, earn their degree, and then get a job. Education and learning is highly stressed in America in this age as it was when our country was founded. Another example of our Puritan roots is the way we plan for future happiness. The Puritans believed that man was created for God, and should devote his life to work to recieve his happiness in heaven. This belief still exists, but it slightly altered. People are always planning for the next stage in their lives. In high school, most students are planning on getting good grades to get into college. Then they have to get good grades in college to get a job. Once they get a job, they have to make money and climb the business latter to the top. If that goal can be completed, then the plans for retirement begins. It is rare to see someone perfectly satisfied with where they are and not working towards something bigger or 'better'. American culture is often still focused on the passed down idea that happiness will come later if we work now. Subtle ideas like this helped shape the United States, and for better or worse, our ideals, thoughts, habits, and values can for the most part be traced back to our Puritan founding colonists.

    How will our current beliefs and culture influence the ideals and values of an this country 350 years in the future?

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    1. Mitch, I think that this is a really interesting question with a lot of depth to it. I like how you changed the way we think about this topic. I believe our current believes will leave a huge impact on the future. We are leaving a foot print with every new invention, with new technology, and with our current and changing thoughts. With all of this it will make a gigantic impact to the ideals and values 350 years in the future. Our technology and inventions will be out dated but our ideas and thought might be similar. Our technology will definitely be the bases of all the new technology in the future. But over all our current beliefs and culture will influence this country in 350 years in the future will all of our technology and inventions.

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  27. After studying and learning about the Puritan culture, it is evident to me the effect they had on American culture. The Puritans’ life focus was on their religion. They strived to please God with everything they did. The negative effect of this was that whenever they messed up or made a mistake, it was met with a harsh punishment, sometimes even death. They started to not enjoy life and were constantly focused on everything they could do to make their afterlife enjoyable. This spread to America because even today, mistakes are a big deal. For example; when students mess up on a test, they are met with a bad grade. yes, this gives them incentive to do better next time, but it also glorifies their mistake and punishes them by the bad grade. If grades didn’t exist, it would be easier for students to learn from their mistakes, but then move past it. On the flip side, the Puritans legacy was positive as well. Our society is inspired by their strong commitment to following God. They taught us how powerfully wonderful commitment to religion is. The legacy of the Puritans will forever be apart of American culture.

    What would be different about our society if the Puritans never existed? What would be the same?

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    1. Diana, I love the way you thought about it as if the Puritans never existed. I would not think about it that way. I really think that this is a hard question to answer because so much of our society today is based off of the Puritan Culture. But I think that our world would look a lot like it did in the fifteen hundreds. Very plain and simple with not much depth to religion or anything to that fact. I think that we would still want to learn but nothing would be in depth. Our world would be just simple and plain place with not much excitement.

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  28. The Puritans were such an amazing culture of people. They influenced most of what society is like today. They showed us what it is like to trust and distrust. They had such a strong faith in God, "So they committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed" (Bradford). This just shows that even though their voyage to this new land was troublesome, they maintained faith and gave everything to God in order to help themselves get to heaven. They also showed us what it was like to turn on each other and distrust each other through the Witch Hunts. They broke charity and turned each other in just because they had a grudge against them. I think that this has carried over into today's society. Their are still a ton of people that put their faith in God but I feel like we are leaning more toward a distrusting society especially with the advancing technology. Whenever something comes up that could possibly result in consequences for ourselves, we are quick to blame on someone else, like in "Unnatural Killers" by John Grisham. Sarah was quick to turn on Ben even though she clearly was the one who committed the crime, she claimed that he forced her to do it and that is exactly what happened in the Salem Witch Hunts. Basically, Puritan beliefs and the Puritan culture is everywhere and in everyone but no necessarily in every part of someone because we have developed in to other things but since the Puritans established America, we all have a part of them within us.

    The Puritans established America and what it is today, what do you think America would be like if the Puritans didn't have the beliefs and qualities that they had back then, like their trust in God, and their ability to quickly turn on someone? What would be different about America today? What would be the same?

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  29. In our American Society today it is really evident that American culture has been impacted by religion, especially the Puritan religion and way of life. Now to be honest before this week and this unit, the Puritan culture and religion was foreign to me. But now that I have learned about this way of life and culture, I can really see where this life style is evident and most prominent in our society today. Our society today is based off of 2 main ways of life to me. Number 1. Religion and Number 2. Work and success. These 2 ways of life are all a part of the puritan culture and are the bases of our culture today. To begin, let’s start with the religion. In the puritan culture they believed that you were born either going to heaven or to hell. This was already a pre-determined fate from God. Anything you did was to please God. All the Puritans wanted was to go to heaven. Anything they did wrong was a heinous crime that was strongly disapproved of by the community. They also believed that you did everything in honor of God. That is what there life was based off of. Today most Americans have some type of religion. A lot of the main religions believe in God. We believe that your sin will be forgiven and that you get chance to go to heaven. But almost all of your morals and actions are based off of God and you live your life in honor of God. These are almost the same principals of the Puritan life style but today it is less strict and you get more chances with your life. Next, let’s move on to work and success. Work was a huge part of the Puritan culture. They believed if you worked hard enough and you had success it brought you salvation. In the article “Still Puritan After All These Years” by Gray Matter, he talked about salvation and success. “They also believed in predestination and viewed success as a sign of salvation. This led to belief in success as a path to salvation: hard work and good deeds would bring rewards, in life and after. ” (Matter 1). With this you see how the Puritans believed that working hard and success got you somewhere with life and farther with God. Today we see almost the same thing. When we work hard and it shows in our success we will get more out of our own life but also with God. Just like the Puritans success puts you on the path of salvation and this is very much shown today. These two main ways of life have changed the way we live today. These ways of life are shown because of the Puritan culture and its impact it is still has on us today.

    My question for you is: What do you think the 2 main ways of life are? And how do these ways of life reflect the puritan culture?

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