Monday, October 16, 2006

Contemporary Values

Please respond on one of the following:

1. Do you see evidence of the world views of the Puritans and Rationalists around you today? Think especially of debates about government, social welfare, and self improvement. Write down a few of your observations about Puritanism and Raitonalism in Americsn public life today. Give examples.

2. Consider the Purtian values in light of what you see often as the materilaistc, celebrity-crazed culture of America.

How many Purtian beliefs are still valued in America? Do Americans admire self-made people people who have built careers through hard work or do they consider get-rich-quick schemes a better route to security? Is modesty still a virtue, or has self promotion knocked it off its pedastal? Be sure to back up opinions with logical arguments.

26 Comments:

Blogger Jenn R said...

I think that the puritan lifestyle and the typical materialistic, celebrity-crazed American lifestyle illustrate two completely different ways of life on almost completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Puritans were taught to live simply and by the rules; to worship God and to incorporate religion into their everyday lives. In life today, people do not pay attention to the little things. Teenagers are raised on the idea that it is cool to live on the edge and break the rules, and many people do not tie themselves down to one religion so that they are free to "experience" which ever they feel like. It seems that in most cases, though, the reason someone does not practice a religion is because they are too busy with jobs or school and do not have time to spend on going to a service of sorts or to pray. That is interesting because in the Puritanical times, work was simply done to provide food and drink and shelter and to keep busy while waiting for the next chance to worship. In my opinion, neither way of life is perfect...I think that life should be a balance of order and spontaneity; but on the other hand, neither is wrong because life is just a compilation of choices, so as long as someone is living how they wish to live, it's all good.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Nikki B. said...

Today in America the Puritan lifestye is almost dead. Althought some people still attend church every sunday and participate in their religion, most people don't even belong to a given religion anymore. It seems that people have gone to the other extreme, opposite of Puritinism. America is now made up of workaholics who need their double shot of espresso to get through their hectic day kind of routine. People would probably benefit from more vacation time and just relaxing more often.
I think people definitely respect self made people who have worked to get where they are, but as a society we prefer a get rich quick, anything will do for money, scheme.

6:31 PM  
Blogger kellyw said...

I think that not many Purtain values are still in America today, but there are some religions that are stricter than others and have people who follow these religions more strictly. For example, some people are strong Christians who follow the bible and believe nothing else. Next, people do admiree people who work hard to get where they are, but some people would rather take the easy route and get-rich-quick without having to work hard for it. Which isn't fair to those people who do work hard and get the same results as thoughs who don't work for it. Modesty is definitly not a virture anymore. People only care about themselves now and would do anything to make themselves look good.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Nick P said...

I believe that Puritan values today are very hard to find, and people who follow them are even sometimes considered up tight. I absolutely think that Americans admire a person who worked hard to get where they are in life, and that we all want to be like them. People who are rich are generally very hard working, virtuous people. Through this habit of the rich being virtuitous, hard working people whom we admire we have become very opposite to these people. The average person sees a happy rich person and immedietly thinks that they are happy because they are rich, though it is really because of their virtues and personality. We strive to be rich and therefore happy, but the two have no corrolation. I don't believe modesty is still a much seen virtue because of the idea that being rich and popular makes you happy. In order to achieve this goal of rich popularity people self-promote to make themselves more known and popular. The people with modesty, however, are even more admired because there are so few who possess this virtue.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Kat L said...

I think that puritan life and rationalists are around in the world today. I believe that Puritains beliefs are still valued by some people but not by most. Americans believe that people who create their own businesses are greedy and just trying to earn money quickly. Modesty is still a virtue and will still continue to be in the future.

8:47 PM  
Blogger jaimeL said...

Although Puritan beliefs are not as apparent today compared to the past, their are still certain values that people today live their lives by. Even though the American way of life has become very materialistic and "plastic", people still live by some puritan beliefs. Even though people today may not be as dedicated to their religion as people in the past were, they still attend church on sundays and participate in other religious holidays and ideas. Also, many americans try to abide by the law. Many people only do what will help themselves, however there are others who still live by versions of the puritan beliefs.

9:42 PM  
Blogger emilied said...

I think that the way that the Puritans lived and our celebrity-crazed lifestlye today in America are two totally different ways of living. If the Puritans coulds see the way that we are living I think that they would feel as though they didn't achieve anything because of the way that we live and our values. We are brought up to idolize certain things and our parents use our want for materialistic things to make us happy. The sad thing is that it works. I would say that some Puritan beliefs are still valued but not to the extent that they were back then. Such as religion it does not comsume your whole life but many people choose to believe and respect their pasts.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Kristie W said...

The puritan’s values were dependent on God and that the bible provides a guide to life. Most of the puritan values and beliefs do not exist today. However, today some people in society do believe that the bible provides a guide to life and live by its word, but not everyone believes that or values that. Most of the puritans values have dwindled with time and society values have changed since. Americans build their careers through hard work rather than the get rich quick schemes because the only way to be successful in this day is to work at it and be the best. Many are always looking for ways to improve or to be better than their competitors.

12:54 PM  
Blogger katherine i said...

Our lifetime has definitely changed since the modern lifestyle of the puritans. But some Puritan beliefs are still around today. Such as worshiping in churches and working towards their religion. However, at times it seems that the Puritans took religion more seriously, and maybe even respected the values of life more. Back then going to church didn’t even seem optional; it was a requirement, or a passage into a good life. People today tend to take advantage the materialistic possessions that we receive. Back then going to church didn’t even seem optional; it was a requirement, or a passage into a good life. We all respect those who have strived in their job to reach their opportunity of success. But people still seem to do anything for money.

4:00 PM  
Blogger katherine i said...

didnt mean to do say that twice up there, i cut it and forgot to delete it^

4:01 PM  
Blogger Charlie H said...

The puritan lifestyle is almost non existent today. People who used to be all the time church-goers rarely go anymore. A few people I know still go to church every sunday, but most just don't want to go and feel it is ok whatever they do. Today people just want to have money, so they can spend it and enjoy it. The goal in today's society is make as much money as fast as possible so you can spend it as fast as possible. People are so hooked on making money that we don't stop to think about our religion, and what we should really be doing.

5:03 PM  
Blogger TylerM4 said...

A Puritan saying that has taken influence in today’s world is “ We shall be as a city upon a hill.” which was said by John Winthrop. This line has modeled United States policy because American actions are being watched by the world and the world learns from our actions. The United States sees itself as a city upon a hill for good reason because our policies affect the world. The recent sanctions that were put forth to the U.N. against North Korea were purposed by the United States and then was backed by several of our allies. Sometimes however we see our hill as a mountain overlooking the whole world. The war in Iraq is a good example of this behavior. We saw that our way of government was the best way for everyone no matter what part of the world they live in. Now Iraq has been totally reorganized. Puritan values however are dead in today’s society. People do not attend church unless they want to, which was unheard of in the puritan way of life. The thought that you should act as if you were to be saved has totally disappeared with teenagers doing drugs and drinking because they think its cool and equally guilty adults who buy the alcohol for their kids so they can be seen as the “cool” mom or dad. Americans still love the feel good story of a self made person as long as its not them because they are trying the get rich quick schemes. All the commercials that showed a group of people that worked at home and made a ridiculous sum of money has been influenced by the high demand for this type of achievement. Even the get your diploma quick and online instead of college has been seen more often on T.V. For those who were too stupid before to go to college, now realizing that it sucks to be a Wal-mart greeter all their life. Modesty no longer exists, politicians attacking each other to benefit themselves has become the norm for political advertisements instead of the ads that show the great qualifications that they have and loud mouth football players who say that they guarantee a win next Sunday because they are playing in the game.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Lance S said...

Both are still in the lifestyle people live today. Although not everyone goes to church on sundays, most do. Puritan lifestyle has definatly decreased over the past years. More and more people today are just wanting to make money. They do this by working. So that is why I think that the puritan lifestlye is declining. It is because people just want to make money all the time.

6:10 PM  
Blogger tylee r. said...

Puritan life styles are supposed to be simple, follow one religion and follow the church. In todays world, I don't think we look or identify their values. I know in a high school scene people want to be cool and be rebelious. There are a lot of teens that follow their religion but the majority of people have broken some form of rule; which rules out the Puritan way of life. I think rationalism is a little more apparent then puritanism because people think out what they are doing most of the time. People plan out what they want to do with their money and they are more realistic with their actions.

I think everyone wants to admire self-made people but a lot of people become jealous of thos people in a negative way. At the same time, our society is all about money and making money and getting money. I think when a celebrity is modest it is easier to admire them because you can almost relate to them more closely on a personal level. If they are all full of themselves and cocky , no one wants other people to have opinions like you create about that person. Staying level headed is very important in life.

6:12 PM  
Blogger TJ W said...

I think that these days America is on the fast track down the crapper. It is common for families to not attend church or even belong to a religion. America doesn't have work ethic any more. People are always trying to get rich fast and ignore the importand stuff in life such as faith and families. But I think we can still admire people who work hard to get where they are.

6:18 PM  
Blogger TJ W said...

I think that the puritan lifestyle is dead. We are not a moddest country. We spend more than we make just so we can then go show off all that we have.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Eddie W. said...

2. Puritans, root word being pure, base their lives on being simplistic with religion being a motivationg factor. America today has become so superficial and materialistic (in general) where some people say they do not even have an hour a week for God and religion, yet they can sit and watch Grey's Anatomy or Alias. But today's society has gotten the idea that one can love God any where.

I think there are a few Puritan beliefs still in todays society in America. Americans do consider get-rich-quick schemes but some try and maintain a sta ble job afterwards. To be honest, it is sad how societies today worship money over religion and base their actions on gaining money. It is disgusting how such a little peice of paper can control lives of eveyone. Without it you are history. You cannot survive on faith alone.

One cannot say if something such as modesty will or will not be a virture. It depends on the person you ask. I personally think it is and will be for the rest of the human race.

7:08 PM  
Blogger DerrikO said...

There really isn't a lot of the Puritain lifestyle left in todays America. There still might be some religous people but not nearly as many as there used to be. Most people still do follow the laws and try to live a good life. But in todays world most of those people seem to just be worried all the time. Now it is all about work hard, earn money, get rich. If you can do that you've lived a good life, religon doesn't seem to matter much anymore.

8:34 PM  
Blogger kelcey ryan said...

2. I think that the Puritans were way less vein than Americans are today. We definitely value get-rich quick schemes more so than working hard. We still honor those that strive to achieve their goal but mostly because we are shocked that someone would put forth such a great effort. It is not that Americans don't value the concept of work, it's just that we have come to expect success to be handed to us on a silver platter.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Chad N. said...

Well i beleve that purtian lif style is still around in some areas but i thing that it is not that big of a deal anymore. i believe that people have respect for people who can build up a career from nothing and become successful because that takes heart, they had to start from nothing and if what they did actully worked then mor power to them.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Madisson L said...

Today we think of Puritan and Quaker ideals as a past way of life. If we simply took time out of our crazy lives we could pause for a moment and realize that Puritanical ways of life are still honored in modern society by a few. We some how over look the simpletons because they don’t fit into our fast paced life styles; there for they don’t exist. The Puritan values are very intellectual and strategic because they keep their life simple and on a higher level than modern society because they don’t entangle themselves with the trash of celeb-reality. Despite the fact that Puritans do inhabit the U.S. we have seemed to erase them from our socially acceptable society. The United States does not even acknowledge their presence; much less acknowledge their values and traditions. Perhaps if we did however look at their teachings and practice them, we would learn the true value of hard work, discipline, respect, and non materialistic ways. The reason that Americans and the Puritans differ in such vast ways is simply because both of our foundations are composed of such different components. For instance, the Puritans have a sturdy base built off of hard work and simplicity, much of a log cabin. Americans however were originally built off of similar ethics, but have decomposed into the workings of trashy reality shows and celebrities, much that of a mansion. The interesting part of that analogy is which is easier to maintain and keep clean? The obvious answer would be the modest cabin of the Puritans because it is small and simple, opposite to the mansion which is much too large and flashy to keep "clean." I honestly don’t believe that Americans as a whole can honor what the Puritans consider to be modesty. I do however think that we have morphed modesty into a trashy form that will fit with our crazed lifestyles.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Sam Tidwell said...

I guarantee that there is still people that follow the puritan views along with the Rationalists. One good example is the Amish people. They still live a lifestyle without technology, or even electricity for that matter. If you really examine this a pure puritan view is not really seen in our society today. The views and beliefs over the years have been re-made and switched around millions of times to the point where it really is not the same at all. If a puritan were to look at our society today, they would be disgusted. We are very materialistic and more than half the country doesn’t believe in anything at all. They would see us as blasphemers, and possibly if they could, they would hang us for our impurities. Some of the only puritan beliefs that modern day Americans follow are the ones that are set forth from the bible, which a lot of people don’t follow in the first place. Even though, even if you aren’t Christian most people wouldn’t go around thinking killing people at random would be humane. Most Americans would definitely respect those who made a successful living off of hard work, with many years of school and devotion to what they wanted to do. I think most, though, would rather have get rich quick and make a fast easy lifestyle. Yes, modesty is still a virtue, especially since sexual activity has grown through men and women. I think for the women that can stay sexually pure (meaning no pre-marital sex) are those who should be very highly seen as good women. You probably wouldn’t be able to find a lot of women who haven’t had sex at least by the time they were 18. I don’t mean to be sexist, but I really do think that that is the blunt truth of our society today.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Kari T said...

i think that people want more of a get rich quick scheme rather than working for something you want because our generation has become so engrossed in the fantasy of being famous and wanting it all. but the reality of it is to get where you want in life you must work hard for it. Most people dont see this because they have become lazy and want to the least amount of work possible so that they can just get by without working too hard. Jealousy is a big factor in that. It becomes stuck in someone's head that they want to be like that person but not work to be like them. they would rather have it told to them how to do it and then be there.

10:10 PM  
Blogger Kara B said...

The only real Puritan belief that is still used and thought about a lot today is going to church and sticking to their religion. But on the other hand there are a lot of things that have changed, for example people back then admired each other for hard work but now all people admire each other for is money. Last I do not think modesty is a virtue anymore, at least not how it used to be. It used to be hard work would all pay off and they would get what they deserve. Now all it is, is get-rich-quick schemes so people become celebrities and such to make lots of money.

11:01 PM  
Blogger MikeL said...

I think that the puritan life style has decreased over time because many people have just stopped going to church on Sunday's because they would rather just sleep in. Also people don't really care about anything but making money and getting the most stuff that they can. Thats why i think that the puritan life style has been declining over time.

11:19 AM  
Blogger GG said...

My opinion is that the Puritan lifestyle is still much present in our society now. For example, not only do people still go to church on Sundays, but we still follow laws, a lot of us are against homosexuality, abortion, having children out of wedlock, we are still God fearing people. Puritans didn't acknowledge anyone else that didn't have the same beliefs as them. We are still afraid and against diversity.

10:00 PM  

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