Religion In Society Aplied To The Scarlet

Letter Essay, Research Paper

Religion in Society

Throughout time, religion in society has played a major role in the lives of the

people. Religion has shaped people?s own morals as well as the laws for which the

government has established society?s fundamentals of living. Hawthorne links religion

and law in his book The Scarlet Letter, and shows his readers that society has shaped

their rules by their religion and beliefs. He tells how important the church is to the

people, how the view of predestination enters the lives of the people, as well as showing

society?s religious views on punishing for the breaking of laws.

During the puritan time period, a big part of the lives of most people was the

church. They believed that by going to church and by creating a society that revolved

around God that they would have a fulfilling life. Most societies held many of

community events and functions that were sponsored by the church. The church played a

very big role in setting the goal of a town to revolve around the church. This holds true

in Hawthorn?s novel. He set a society around a minister that was looked up to by the

people and was supported by the government in his decision and his actions. Most of the

people in the town attend church on a regular basis except for the ones that the people of

the town considered to be odd or weird. The people of the town set them as outcast and

consider them to be the main sinners and not sorry for their sins. What they do not know

is that their minister, Dimmsdale, carries around a secret throughout the book that tears at

his soul. He himself is too a sinner and because of his position in the community he can

not confess his sin publicly that he is the one that had the affair with Hester. If he took

responsibility for his actions, his life would have been ruined. His title as minister would

have been taken from him an he would have been condemned and judge for his behavior.

This is wrong cause the bible says that no one shall judge except for the lord, but in those

times, people did not care what the bible said unless it had to support their needs. People

went around judging people for the way that one behaved in order to have themselves

feel better about who they were. They figured that it made them seem like a more moral

and religious person than the next individual standing next to them.

Many of people during this time period believed in the process of predestination;

the belief of people being pre-destined from birth and that their souls were already

decided on descending to hell or the ascending to heaven. They believed that no matter

what happened that they were already decided if they would be good moral Christians or

if their lives were destine to hell because of their sins. If this were true then all of the

good that Dimmsdale did for the community and for his own life would have meant

nothing for his one major sin that he committed. The bible states that he who is sinless

let him cast the first stone. The people in the society would say that their lives are

perfect and sin free so therefore we can condemn everyone who commits a sin, but only

as they see fit to what was a bigger sin than another. In other words, people were

predestined to be sinners and because of their sins society would see them as unjust and

make them pay for their sins by always making them remember that they had messed up,

even if they had made amends with God themselves. This is why Hester had to wear the

?A? on her chest for the rest of her life. She never was sorry for what she had done

because to her the best thing came out of it. Her daughter Pearl meant the world to her

and because of this, she was pleased.

The punishments that the government placed on Hester was truly religiously

based. The people during the time period believed that if one confessed their sins that

then they would have to deal with god themselves on repenting and being forgiven. This

especially took place during the witch trials. They believed that if one confessed to being

a witch then they could not be killed because they would have to make amends with God

themselves. Hester was in a similar boat considering the fact that she confessed to her

sin. She claimed publicly that she had the affair and that she new it was wrong to have

had it. She never felt sorry for what she had done but new that it was not the best of

ways to approach things. Society then placed the ?A? on her as her punishment. They

new that there was nothing more that they could do and that she would have to make her

ties with God in order for her to have her eternal life in heaven. The religion came into

play in the government because the government?s punishment was nothing more than

making her wear the ?A? on her chest. They did nothing more because it would have

been over stepping the boundaries of their religious beliefs.

Religion in society still exist today, but not as heavily. You are not looked down

upon if you do not attend church. Back in the early settlements of the country you were

considered to be weird or possible devil like if you did not attend church. Through out

the book, Hawthorn?s condemning of the sinners of the community until they confessed

publicly, was the way that most of the societies in that time period would have behaved.

Religion played such a big role to the people that they did not create a system where

people can be forgiven for what they had done. They had to go around carrying their

same sin even though they had come to amends with God themselves. It should not have

been anyone else?s concern. Granted today?s jail system is somewhat operated the same

way, but those are for bigger crimes and set up to protect society from many wrong

doings. They are there for structure. Even today religion plays a role in government.

You have to swear under oath and on a bible that the facts that are stated in a court of law

are true. This is societies way of getting the truth out of criminals in today?s world.

Even the President of The United States has to swear to God to do his job in the most

prestigious way and not to break any laws while in office. All in all religion in law has

always and always will be a part of the government and the way that the society views the

governmental approach to things.


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