Archive for February 16th, 2010

Lesson Two of Puritanism

The Plymouth church that traces itself back to 1620 has been Unitarian for a century or two. Most of the Puritans’ children also became Unitarian. Now they are largely atheists.

The history of the Pilgrims and the Puritan is completely different from age to age, so everything I say here has a question mark after it. Whether they came here for religious freedom or to impose their religion, the point is they ended up with a doctrine the original immigrants would not have stood for.

No one notices this, but I do. I think about it a lot.

As I understand it, the 1620 Pilgrims were a different lot from the Puritans who came later in vast numbers. Backbaygrouch will be able to fill us in on this. The Pilgrims’ Massachusetts Bay Colony fought long and hard to keep our of the Puritan’s control, but they lost.

I have READ that the Pilgrims were far more genuinely in favor of religious freedom than the Puritans. The Puritans make a bad joke of that “America was founded by people who came here for religious freedom” stuff. Again I defer to backbaygrouch on the actual facts. Why have an expert around if you aren’t going to use his expertise?

Actually I have nothing against the Puritans for imposing their own religion on a place they went to to have their own population on which to impose their own doctrine. We all wish we could do the same sort of thing for an all-white area. It is the HISTORY, the LESSON that needs correcting.

The Puritans came her to impose their own religion in an area four thousand miles away from England. There are TWO lessons here. Most literate people are aware of the first, that they did NOT come here for Religious Freedom. I want to emphasize the SECOND lesson, which is almost unknown.

The second lesson is that the Puritans FAILED to impose their religion. Why?

Naturally I look at this from a BUGS point of view. One of our points here s that when an institution takes over, the PURPOSE of the institution is lost.

Jesus had no lessons about how a group of theologues should justify their absolute rule. “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” would have gotten someone hanged as a heretic. So they naturally went to the Old Testament to organize their society under theocratic rule.

As time passed, even before they came to America, Puritanism became more and more about how to impose their will on THIS world. The institution talked more and more about its right to rule. The same thing happened to the Catholic Church as it put whole countries under the Interdict to collect money for the Pope.

They were both institutions USING the name of Christ. I wonder how different history might have been if we had lost at Tours and the ruling institutions called themselves Moslem. It may be that we would have had much the same history and the West would have been just as different and independent, but in the name of schism between the Moslem Branch in Northern Europe and the Moslem Branch that was based in the Middle East.

The Catholic Church was every bit as separate from and hostile to Constantinople. The name Christianity certainly did not unite them. Today Iranian Islam has the same attitude to the Sunnites. My point is that no matter what the NAME institutions appeal to, history itself goes its way and institutions are part of history, not of theology.

China’s version of Marxism versus the old Russian version has little to do with Marx. Marx considered cities to be the natural development of a proletarian society rather than peasants. Pol Pot used Marxism to DESTROY his country’s cities. Before long neither version had anything to do with Marx.

The same thing would have happened if they had all called themselves True Snake Worshippers.