Spiritual Awakening

Discussion in 'History & Past Politicians' started by usfan, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    One of the great flaws of a secular education is the ignoring of spiritual movements in history. Great effort is made to interpret the actions & thoughts of people through the lens of purely secular (or even anti-christian!) motivations. But this ignores the very real & very significant impact of spiritual beliefs in society. It would be like future historians trying to explain the current terrorist actions without the driving belief system of Islam. You can't explain everything with a purely secular view, and it misses some important factors in our interactions.

    I won't be going back too far. Any discussion about spiritual awakenings has to include the biggest one in human history: The reformation. Some people view this as just political maneuvering. But they ignore the great volume of written works that provided the ideological basis for resisting the established religious institution. The Anabaptists, the Huguenots, & the concurrent protestant revival that swept through Europe unhinged the status quo, & threatened their power base. The establishment fought vigorously against it, killing, torturing, & undermining this spiritual awakening, for it not only upset the basis for their rule, but it went against their core beliefs. The divine right of kings, a professional priesthood, an aristocracy of privilege, & their right & duty to control the rest of humanity were all under attack by this awakening. So they fought it. They killed the apostates. They gave them 'second baptisms' by drowning them. They tortured them to deny this new found faith in late night inquisitions. They burned them openly at the stake, to deter any more departures from the status quo. But it did not work. Instead of nipping this new awareness in the bud, it spread like wildfire.
    • The priesthood of believers, not a professional religious class.
    • The authority of scriptures, not the ruling elite.
    • The equality of man, not a divine order of elitism.
    These were earth shaking revelations. It changed the course of history, & opened up the enlightenment era of reason, human freedom, & human equality. Philosophers began to question the authority structures, & called for them to be based on Natural Law, not mandates from a monarchy. The king was a mere man, & was not above the law.

    About this same time, the new world was being settled with refugees & rejects from the European inquisitions. Quakers, Presbyterians, & Puritans moved en masse to start their religious utopias. They fled the intolerance & oppression of the European status quo, but at first, kept the intolerant part, demanding strict conformity to the tenets of their faith. Many religious colonies formed in the new world.

    Massachusetts- Puritan separatists, with some English congregationalists.
    Pennsylvania- Quaker, Mennonites, Moravians, Calvinists, Lutherans & more. A large segment from Germany came here.
    New Amsterdam- Primarily a trading port, it become more diverse than some of the others. Jews, Lutherans, Scandinavian & Dutch fortune seekers mingled with the varied religious beliefs.
    Virginia- Anglicans, loyal to the church of England were the bulk of the colonists there.
    Maryland- In the irony of the reformation, English Catholics were no longer comfortable in protestant England, & many came to Maryland.
    Rhode Island- The famous 'religious tolerance' colony, where outcasts from all the other colonies could come. It was not a large colony, but significant as a refuge for dissenters.

    Almost all the colonies had some kind of religious basis.. they were formed as religious utopias, where the faithful could practice their beliefs without fear of persecution; all of them a direct result of the reformation. But after a few generations, the original religious fervor waxed cold, as it always does. Heartfelt piety gave way to ritual instruction, & the power of spiritual living waned. But by the mid 1700s, a significant movement began sweeping across protestant Europe, & it found its way to the new world. This was the first Great Awakening.

    ..more later..
     
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  2. modernpaladin

    modernpaladin Well-Known Member

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    He who controls the perception of the past also controls the direction of the future.

    Eliminating spirituality from historical context is an attempt to remove it as a guiding force in society.

    The State (read as: the political/financial elite) hates competition, and desires a monopoly on authority. No such monopoly can exist so long as humans percieve spirituality. Thus, the perception must be eliminated so we will worship The State, and accept it as 'God.'
     
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  3. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    The Great Awakening

    George Whitefield, an English evangelist in this time, drew huge crowds in New England, & Benjamin Franklin, a non Christian, was so impressed with his speeches that he printed the text in his newspaper. It was a movement that emphasized PERSONAL spirituality.. a living relationship with God, & centralized Jesus as the way of salvation. It was characterized by great emotion, often with tears.. 'white gutters' on the cheeks of weeping coal miners. The idea of the priesthood of believers was rekindled, & itinerant preachers fanned out across the new world bringing the message of salvation. Lost souls were their mission, & they sought to bring people back to God. Race was immaterial to many of these preachers, & many targeted plantations & slaves, & included them as equals in the Kingdom of God. This Awakening led DIRECTLY to the American revolution, the Declaration of Independence, & the writing of the constitution. Reformation concepts, such as the equality of man, Natural Law, & individual sovereignty found its collective expression in the revived spiritual climate of America.

    Thus was born the Experiment in self rule. These was not academians, pontificating about dry concepts of philosophy, but fiery eyed true believers, filled with zeal for God & inspired to LIVE and DIE for a cause higher than themselves. It was religious revival that sparked the American revolution, that brought not only the philosophical basis for the beliefs, but the earnestness & passion that is needed for any social change.

    More on Whitefield HERE..

    [​IMG]
     
  4. usfan

    usfan Well-Known Member

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    The inclusion of the spiritual condition of the people provides a much clearer, insightful analysis of history, rather than trying to force humanity to act from purely secular motivations. The reformers in Luther's time, & the Awakening in the mid 1700s provide a better foundation for the actions of the people, their motivations, & their ideological basis. Man is not a pure animal, but acts from his beliefs. It is ridiculous to ignore those beliefs when learning from (or analyzing) history.

    I wish i could say these things with more brevity, but the analysis of history does not lend itself to sound bites. I guess if nobody else is interested in this, both as analysis & a look back at where we have been, it at least has entertained me in compiling my thoughts.

    After the American Revolution came another period of slow spiritual decline. The first Great Awakening in the US brought vigorous activity, the founding of universities, outreach to the Indian tribes, & conversion of African slaves. But the subsequent generation had only the stories of the revival, & were not smitten by 'holy ghost power' like their predecessors. So expediency trumped idealism, & acceptance of moral decline became the norm.
     
  5. alexa

    alexa Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I see religion and spirituality as completely different things. Religion has a massive tendency to be dogmatic and as such I see it as a controlling force. Spirituality to me is about being in touch with your own deepest sense of being, of being true to yourself and that meaning being true to your inner feeling self. The difference is between living in your head and in your heart. For instance if you are living in your head then you will have a sense of who you are which will be determined by what you have experienced and what you have achieved. This of course could include being a member of a particular religion. You will tend to respond to what you meet in life based on things which have happened in the past and how you have learned to respond or to expect of different people but if you are coming from heart, you will be there, magically dancing an appropriate response, feeling most truly alive and spontaneous.

    I think getting in touch with your spirituality demands high ethics but I think that place itself has its own ethics which do not harm. We seem to get out of touch with our ourselves through being born and growing up.

    When I hear people are doing dastardly deeds and they call it spiritual, I do not believe them.
     

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