Transcendetalism The New Religion Essay Research Paper

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Transcendetalism: The New Religion Essay, Research Paper Transcendentalism: The New Religion A. K. Rodriguez Transcendentalism: The New Religion According to The American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of religion is ?a belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as Creator or governor of the universe; a personalized system grounded in such belief; or a cause or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion? (TAHD, 696). The American Heritage Dictionary provides a lexicon description of the word religion; however, the world provides a pragmatic description of religion. Religion has been the foundation of man?s search for spiritual identity, for defining good and evil, and for instituting universal harmony and balance. Since the beginning of

time, the world?s social state, cultural milieu, and political atmosphere has been the impetus for the establishment of new religious institutions and new religious doctrine. As culture, society and politics contributed more and more to the tension and debauchery of the world and man, man sought desperately for an alternative. Higher law and religion became the remedy to man?s struggle. So, the dream of making the world a better place has been embraced by every religious movement in history, and it has served as the primary civilizing influence on the planet. From Taoism to Buddhism, from Judaism to Christianity and from the Magna Carta to the Declaration of Independence, religious philosophy has institutionalized fundamental laws of life, and wisdom and spiritual values with the

objective of discerning the true essence of man and discern man?s relationship to the universe. By the lexicon and empirical definition of religion, it can be ascertained that Transcendentalism was more than a philosophy, more than a literary movement, and more than an intellectual inquiry. Transcendentalism was a religion ? a radical religion that utilized nature as its sanctified house of worship, glorified God as its deity, had disciples and prophets known as Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, Alcott and Whitman, and claimed its personal ?Bible? or documented wisdom known as the lyceum, ?The Dial? and other published essays. Most significantly; however, Transcendentalism was a new religion with its own moral commandments of higher law, its own concept of the divine. Like Buddhists,

Catholics, and Hindus, Transcendentalists were a religious faction exercising a spiritual persuasion. Transcendentalists were a sect that believed in a radical form of Christianity. According to A Religious History of the American People, Transcendentalism was born from the enthrallment of the Unitarian Church: The Unitarians believed in God?s goodness and loving kindness in man?s likeness to and ability to comprehend God, and in the human capacity for spiritual, moral and intellectual improvement (Alhstrom, 401). Dr. William Ellery Channing, founder of the American Unitarianism believed that human?s spiritual nature is God?s spiritual nature amplified and untainted to time without end. He said, ?In ourselves are the elements of the Divine? (Alhstrom, 401). Because of this,

Channing and the tenets of his ?new? dogma in the Unitarian persuasion perpetuated throughout New England as colonists were escaping the wrath of Calvinism ? a religion where predestination breathed, inherent depravity of man was supposed, and apprehensive supplication to an angry God was constant. As Unitarianism gained more popularity in America, so did an awareness for social reform and self-education. As the doctrine of social reform and self-education purportedly brought man closer to God?s perfection, and a philosophy of humanism began to emerge, an impact was produced. An intellectual sentiment began to infuse, and the Transcendental movement commenced. Although, the transcendentalists did not capitulate absolutely to the tenets of Unitarian doctrine, and would boldly