Transcendetalism The New Religion Essay Research Paper — страница 3

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regarding God and man. Clark wrote: Matters stood thus, when he was invited to make an address to the parting class of the Cambridge Theological School. He readily accepted this offer, and the result was that they heard an address quite different, we judge, from whatever fell into the ears of a theological class before? Instead of inculcating the importance of church-going, and shewing how they ought to persuade everybody to go to church, he seemed to think it better to stay at home than to listen to a formal lifeless preacher (NCLC, Vol. 1, 275-276). Although Clark and the other critics were swept away by the ?beauty, sincerity and magnanimity of the general current of the Address?, it was undoubtedly perilous, controversial and bordering on impudence. However, Emerson?s

heretical speech was raising philosophical issue with clergymen and established religion. He was also challenging its present methods of ministering truth, and possibly recruiting new followers of the Transcendental philosophy. Were ministers addressing the complexities of the human condition and answering the profound questions about existence? Was current religious doctrine spiritually fulfilling and educating man on how to have a true and direct relationship with God? Could Transcendentalism become the panacea for the existing weaknesses of spirituality? The second intimation that Transcendentalism was a new religion was that it possessed ?a personalized system grounded in a belief in God, and had a cause that was pursued with zeal and a conscientious devotion?. Not

universally accepted like the psalms, the beatitudes, or Moses? Ten Commandments, the transcendental directives were becoming popular and being internalized and moralized by intellectual prophets like Fuller, and Emerson, and practiced by Thoreau and Alcott. Similar to Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism, the dogma of Transcendentalism was documented by enthusiasts in journals, poetry, essays and books, intellectualized in academic circles like the Lyceum, and later published and relived in ?The Dial?, the Transcendental magazine. Consequently, the rapid dissemination of Transcendental philosophy and the religious education of Transcendentalism ignited a movement of followers of the ?revolutionary religion? and created an organization of Transcendental adherents with

Transcendental causes that were pursued with devotion. Although Transcendentalism was an unchained organization of cohorts and worshippers, its adherents were committed to the values of freedom and individualism, truth, asceticism, intellectual inquiry into the self, moral law, and the communion of man, nature and God, and the new religion began to flourish. Even as Transcendentalists condemned institutionalized religion, believing it was an inadequate infrastructure for teaching morality and educating about the human soul, Transcendentalists were industriously building the philosophy up to possess all the spiritual characteristics, and inspiring elements of a true religion. Whether a loose and unceremonious organization, or an effective and authoritative organization,

Transcendentalism became the new way of life for many followers, present and past, and by default, Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and Alcott had become new ministers of new thought. One of the features of a true religion is a system of values and beliefs, and Transcendentalism had a distinct set of principles. Similar to the constant citation of a Supreme Being in every Transcendental account, there was a set of moral codes that were also proposed in every Transcendental account. One of the prevailing themes in Transcendentalism?s moral code was individualism. In the Transcendental religion, individualism was good and should be paramount; collectivism was evil, and should be avoided, especially if it championed for corruption and conformity. Other religious institutions often

articulate a similar lesson about good and evil; however, their lessons are that truth and humility are good and should be embraced, and that murder and lying is evil and should be rebuffed. Emerson dominantly writes about the Transcendental value of individualism and freedom in ?Self Reliance?: To believe your own thought, to believe that is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men, – that is genius. Speak your latent conviction and it shall be the universal senses? Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world (Self Reliance, 1128) Emerson and other Transcendentalists insisted upon the dignity, worth, authority and responsibility of the single, separate person to a degree that