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Comparative Analysis of the Writings of Jonathan Edwards and Thomas Paine

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As I re-read the two religious and not so religious writings by Jonathan Edwards and Thomas Paine, I could see a lot more than I did before. These writings seem to be total opposite thoughts and writings to me. Jonathan Edwards used Deuteronomy 32. 35 to start off his sermon, with each verse he basically inferred the meaning in his own words, based off of what he knew. Jonathan used a lot of detail when it came to him inferring each verse that he talked about and you could tell that he was a very passionate speaker, with his sermon. You could really tell that he stood his ground with what he believed throughout the part of the sermon that I got to read.

All throughout Jonathan’s sermon he talks about some terrifying images as he is trying to persuade his audience in believing that God is angry and that each and every person is absolutely powerless against the wrath of God. Edwards uses a lot of details talking about how horrible Hell is, and what kind of bad things happen to the sinners that get damned to Hell. I really believe that Edwards is trying to persuade his listeners into transforming their beliefs into the same beliefs as him, which would make them believers of God. One of the details is located on page 395, it says “That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up. ” Whereas Paine seems to be mocking religion in a way.

In the beginning on page 696 he says, “My own mind is my own church. All national institutions appear to me no other human inventions set up tp terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. ” Paine thinks that all religion is man made, he even seemed to think that the churches were human inventions, but I think that God is the reason churches came about, God giving his own sons life so we could have everafter life! Edwards is a very strong believer in only one God. He is trying his best to bring more and more people to believe in God, unfortunately he can’t help save all of the people that he comes across. In my opinion Paine is referring to the Bible, as nothing more than just a book full of literature.

Edwards is a super strong believer in the word, and Paine just isn’t. Paine even makes a snide comment in the end, on page 702, by saying “ he sees an additional motive for saying, that nothing was made in vain; for vain would be this power of vision if it taught a man nothing. ” I believe that Paine assumes that God and science are working together to “create” all the stuff and people. I really could not find any similarities in these two passages at all, one was a far extreme, and the other was just the opposite extreme from the first.

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