Yet to this day, no one seems any closer to an answer than when they first started. In consequence, when trying to compare two works with very different views of life and death, like Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards and Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant, one can find many differences, but also a few key similarities. To be specific, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God shows that Jonathan Edwards believes that the sinful way man lives his life brings wrath from a god that they should fear, while Thanatopsis portrays a worldview in which death is welcomed and god is not considered. In his work Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, Edwards uses fear to manipulate his audience into repenting and turn to Christ. His puritan worldview led him to believe that “God has laid himself under no obligation, by any promise to keep any natural man out of hell” (Edwards 175).
Surely and all loving (omnibenevolent) God wouldn’t allow this. Human Evil is where people cause harm to others and create chaos. Why would God create a world that consists of evil and cruelty? therefore Mill questions the idea of an omnibenevolent God, however if it is disagreed that God isn’t all loving then it could suggest that God doesn’t know of our suffering and could mean that omniscience cannot possibly be an attribute of God. Mill would say that if God is omniscient then surely he is aware of our suffering and would therefore intervene in the evil as he loves us all.
Human suffering is a sign that there’s something wrong with the world. The experience of suffering should prompt the human search for God. Some, of course, reject the existence of God altogether. This solves the problem of suffering by removing it completely, but makes for several other problems. First, there’s no one to blame for the suffering.
To start an essay about two different characters handling their guilt in two completely different ways with ONE quote would be injustice, so I start it off with two; Said no better than the great but under read (maybe due to his Latin language that was never translated) playwright Plautus “Nothing is more wretched than the mind of a man conscious of guilt.” Not only conscious of guilt but having it constantly affect him, Reverend Dimmesdale cannot recover because he does not have the luxury of coming clean to the community. However, as the great Irish poet and writer Oscar Wilde once said, “It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.” Hester Prynne deals with her guilt by battling adversity and admitting her wrongs, ultimately being forgiven by society. Both Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale, of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, have their share of guilt. However, the way’s they go, or are allowed to go, about dealing with it is greatly different.
In the poem, Paradise Lost, John Milton, a 17th Century English poet, is clearly bewildered between the realities in society and the destiny of Christianity. Milton, throughout the poem, questions the true authority of God and his omniscient plans. He believes that God’s promise in not allowing Adam and Eve eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was almost a ploy. In book 9, from lines 753- 772, one can see that Milton is in a great state of confusion. He understands and accepts God’s all- knowing abilities.
God is so beyond our ability to understand that the only way of seeing the reality of God is to continue saying what God is not, God is more than anything we can say of him. Plotinus, Moses Maimonides, Pseudo-Dionysius and Meister Eckhart support this view – for these philosophers the real God is beyond whatever we speak of as God. Human language causes confusion when it is used to talk about God, as a result we must speak of God only by saying what God is not. Human language is inadequate in describing God – we cannot talk about God. Recognising this reaffirms that God is more than we can ever imagine – he is ineffable, can never be described so we cannot say what they are not.
Using these different types of language demonstrates a difficulty; assuming that when we speak of God, we are speaking cognitively- assuming that our statement is something that is either true or false and that it is able to describe an extinct being, God. Philosophers have always had a debate between this. Some say that a statement of God is non-cognitive, statements not subject to true of falsity. This led to a strong trial and tribulation to religious faith and its believers. Some such as Mortiz Schlick claim that religious belief is literally meaningless; religious statements are nonsense and should not be the basis of philosophical discussion.
Aquinas rejected univocal and equivocal language when talking about God. Religious language often attempts to describe the attributes or qualities of God. This is hard because God is generally not something we have direct experience of, whereas most of the things that language refers to are things that we can experience e.g. love, walking, hair. So when we say ’God is good’, we need to know that we are using ’good’ in that sentence.
He also mentioned a list of metaphors such as “people do not have skeletons in their cupboards”. I found these observations particularly humorous because for the life of me I can’t remember when I was ever taught what metaphor are but I can somehow understand them. I found myself thinking that I look at metaphors in the same way as parables in a bible, they make complicated things make sense! In a way Christopher makes us question the need for such a thing when we can just be direct when the metaphor can be confusing if you don’t understand it. Knowing that humor was lost on him and metaphor seem unnecessary I was surprised that he was accepting of the concept of white lies.
When Bont adds attempted murder to his other crimes, the demoralized village finally calls him to account. Bont’s sentence and death highlight the grievous punishments given out. Bont cares nothing for his children and they live in fear of him, just as Anna did as a child. Anna also remembers the ‘scold’s bridle’-an iron cage that was fastened over the head of a woman who offended her husband- and the way in which her mother was lead around in it by Bont ‘yanking hard on the chain so that the iron sliced her tongue’. Although Bont has virtually no redeeming qualities, Brooks nevertheless elicits some sympathy for him when the shocking events of his boyhood are revealed.