Puritarism

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  • Publicado : 12 de junio de 2011
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The government of Salem in 1692 was a Puritan theocracy. In other words, the town was under the unbending authority of the church. The leaders of the church, and especially the minister of thechurch, were very powerful figures, comparable to our elected officials. A person who was not a member in good standing of the church was not allowed to live in the community. All citizens were expected toconform to the teachings of the church at all times and to know its catechism, which contained the written statements of the church’s beliefs.
Puritan theology was largely based on the teachings ofJohn Calvin. Calvin was one of a group of theologians who protested against the Roman Catholic church’s departure from the Bible as the ultimate authority. Based on their reading of Saint Paul in theNew Testament, they particularly disagreed with the Roman Catholic emphasis on earning your salvation through good deeds on earth. These protesters, or Protestants, believed that salvation could not beearned. The only way to get to heaven was to be chosen by God and to have faith that He would save you from eternal damnation. Some people were predestined, or chosen to be saved, while others werenot. While good works would not earn your salvation if you had not been chosen, believers desired to do good works on earth and thus follow the example set by Jesus Christ. Good works were visiblesigns of your commitment to God.
At the time of the Reformation most of Europe was ruled by a theocracy of its own; that of the Roman Catholic church. The Protestants were compelled by their beliefs todisregard many of the practices of the Catholic church, including buying indulgences and approaching God only through a priest. The church was not pleased with this rebellion against its authority, andthe Protestants were greatly persecuted. Many of them left Europe and settled in America to escape this persecution and practice their religion in peace. This was the case with the colony at Salem....
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