Thomas Paine`s “The Age Of Reason” Homework Essay Sample

The works of Jonathan Edwards and Thomas Paine are complete opposites. Both have a very one-sided view of there religious beliefs. They go in detailed options of their region. They both have very different view of religious beliefs that will discussed: the work of Johnathan Edwards “Sinners In the Hand of An Angry God”, Thomas Paine’s “The Age of Reason”, and the comp arsine and contrast of the two works.

Johnathan Edwards was an American Philosopher and Calvinist. He believed there are those who are saved and those you are not. There was no changing it, no amount of praying or believing would or could change it. His beliefs were black and white. It was cut dry. Either you were worthy enough for heaven or too bad. You were going to hell and there was no stopping it. The message of “Sinners In the Hand of An Angry God” the holy hope of salvation, which of course we did not deserve Edwards believed, was through a regenerative gift of divine grace. He views man as worthless, depraved and damned to hell. This all in the end lead to theodicy. Everyone that was damned to hell, saw the goodness of god in punishing them for their sins. In some strange way he believed the damned should be thankful for the pain and sin because it was the beauty and order of the universe. Edwards beliefs are harsh and brutal but to him everyone isn’t worthy of God’s grace.

Thomas Paine’s was a deist. Deism is a religion having affinities to Protestantism, but ultimately denying the divinity of Christ and the justification of Jesus’s crucifying. Paine believes that the faith of all Abrahamic religions and considers Christianity to a be a religion of cruelty not worthy of belief. In that place of faith, Paine believes the Nature as the true Bible, as the means to understanding the goodness, beauty, and power of God. Paine’s primary beliefs are Equality, justice, mercy, and happiness.

These two works are very different in terms of the atmosphere and beliefs. Edwards “Sinners in the hand of an angry god” has a very hateful and dark mood. While Paine’s “The Age of Reason” is more of natural kind of questioning mood. Each other’s beliefs are very different. Edwards is full in swing telling you that god is angry with and Paine’s may not fully believe in Christianity, but he says god is a gift of kindness. Also, Edwards view god makes it seem like god would just throw us in the pits of hell just for the fun of it but Paine’s representation of god is more supporting and loving. Edwards focuses all on the sinning or awful in the world of people while Paine looks at the good of god can do that is kind and shows mercy, In conclusion Edwards is all about sinning and how man is damned to hell from all the evil the world as done. Paine’s opinion of God is a merciful and kind but just.

Role Of Media In Creation Of The United States

Media has been used all throughout the creation of the United States. It started back when there were just 13 colonies, and we were hungry for freedom. The media was a major factor to get people to be for the war. Thomas Paine was a major help with his pamphlet called Common Sense. This became a very popular thing throughout the colonies, and loyalists were starting to turn to patriots. Media affected this now because now people agreed that we needed was independance with the British. Then we move to the Pony Express, which revolutionized the movement of mail, news, and about everything on paper. Now, news and mail traveled about 12 times faster than what it moved before this was created. The last thing I will talk about is the invention of the telegraph. This was a different type of revolutionizing. This made writing things faster and easier to read. Samuel F.B Morse was the one to thank for this faster, less hassle machine to right out news articles or letters. The effect of media has helped as a nation by getting us independence, making it faster to transport news, and lastly to write news.

The revolution was arguably the biggest thing to happen for our nation in history. This was what separates us from Britain, and gave us freedom, and not break us way from taxes for no reason, and for Britain to milk money out of us for their war debts, but, when it was first mentioned not everyone was on board with it. A lot of people called loyalists still wanted to be connected to Britain and stay under their government. Patriots had other ideas. They thought that our country was mistreated by the British. (https://blog.oup.com/2016/11/press-impact-american-revolution/

Thomas Paine was one of these men. Thomas Paine was born in Britain, but moved across seas to Pennsylvania, and became one of the most important patriots of our time. (patriots.https://www.biography.com/people/thomas-paine-9431951) He created a pamphlet called Common Sense, which attempted to persuade loyalists the reasons of independence. All the colonists were not happy about the British actions, but they were not sure it was worth it to go to that they will probably not even win. This pamphlet was major factor for colonists to want independence. In July of 1776, about 6 months after Thomas Paine released this pamphlet the Declaration of Independence was created. (https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/explain-signifance-common-sense-pamphlet-109299)

John Dickinson was the author of another pamphlet in favor of patriots called Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer. These were 12 different letters addressing the Parliament and arguing that these taxes were unfair and (unconstitutional.https://history.delaware.gov/museums/jdp/events/dickinsonletters/pennsylvania-farmer-letters.html) Dickinson was later called the “Penman of the Revolution.” One of the main things argued was that the Townshend Acts were unconstitutional and illegal because the main use of this act was to raise revenue. With these worked he became widely praised for his work of persuasion of many people that these British Acts were wrong and was compared to the French philosopher, Cicero. This popularity of the letters also caused petitions and boycotts all across the colonies. (http://americainclass.org/sources/makingrevolution/crisis/text4/dickinsonletters1767.pdf)

Paul Revere is another Patriot who is arguably the most important to this cause. In 1770 many colonists were throwing things at the British soldiers, and they were constantly harassing these soldiers. Private Hugh White warned these colonists multiple times to calm down till he became fed up, and him, and his men shot killed 5 colonists. Paul Revere was a silversmith and ardent who took part in the Boston Tea Party. He was strongly against the tax acts installed by the British. Paul Revere was also born in Boston, MA. Paul Revere made the engraving in a way that it looked like the British were the cause of that, and the Americans were innocent people in the instance. He lined the British up and has the officer giving orders to shoot, making it look as if the British were the aggressors. (https://www.biography.com/people/paul-revere-9456172)

The Pony Express was a mail company that ran from Missouri all the way to California. This shortened the transport of mail and news from up to 3 weeks, to about 9 days. The Pony Express used specific routes, and had many stations. To get fresh horses, or to switch out the riders to keep the Express running smoothly. The riders made around $100 a month. (https://www.ducksters.com/history/westward_expansion/pony_express.php) This was pretty good money in this time. The riders really had to work for their pay though. They had to ride through rough conditions like bad weather, rough terrain, and dangerous situations. Weight was also monitored the max the riders were allowed to weigh was 125 pounds. A lot of the riders were young, tough teenagers, and they rode for the excitement. It did come to an end though eventually because of the creation of the telegraph. By the end of its road it had over 180 horses and 400 riders. (https://www.ducksters.com/history/westward_expansion/pony_express.php)

Alexander Majors was businessman, and pioneer. He was one of the men that created this dominant freight, mail, and news delivery company the 18th century has ever seen. Majors grew up on the Missouri frontier in a one-window log cabin built by his father. Almost from his arrival in Missouri in 1820, his devout, hardworking settler family was beset with calamity, including a crop-destroying plague of grasshoppers and a devastating tornado. When Majors was age 12, his mother died from injuries suffered in a wagon accident; at age 13 he was left in charge of the family farm while his father made an ultimately fruitless journey to the Rocky Mountains to prospect for silver. Majors volunteered to go fight in the Mexican-American War. After the war he started hauling neighbors crops to the market in Missouri. He had been loaned 5 wagons and 78 oxen, he entered the freight business full time. He continued to grow his business till eventually it became the most reliable freight company in the east.(https://www.britannica.com/biography/Alexander-Majors)

There was another owner in this business named William B. Waddell. Leaving home at age 17, Waddell worked as a lead miner in Illinois and as a retail clerk in St. Louis before returning to Kentucky and eventually marrying and starting his own dry-goods store. In the mid-1830s his family relocated to Lexington, Missouri, where he built new stores that brought him great wealth. In 1832 he and William Russell created Waddell & Russell, a wholesale trading company. Among their first mutual endeavours, and Waddell’s first experience in the freight business, was delivering a wagon train of supplies to the U.S. Army at Fort Riley, Kansas Territory, in 1833.

In 1836 Russell and Waddell joined Alexander Majors to form Russell, Majors and Waddell, which would corner the market on freight delivery to the military west of the Missouri River. Waddell’s role in that company—which provided the foundation of the Pony Express—was as its stabilizing force, taking care of the everyday management of the business. After paying off his debts in the wake of the demise of the Pony Express in 1838, Waddell never returned to business. Robert Haslam was not a co owner but the most famous rider in the Pony Express. “Pony Bob” was one of the most daring riders for the Pony Express. He was first hired to help build stations and was then put on a run from Friday’s Station to Buckland’s Station. During the Pyramid Lake War he made one of the longest and most dangerous rides. After the telegraph line put the Express out of business, he worked for several stage lines.(https://nationalponyexpress.org/historic-pony-express-trail/notable-riders/)

The invention of the telegraph was the reason that the Pony Express went out of business. This was important for media because it made it faster than anything we have seen. It allowed for people to communicate with each other over distances. Developed in the 1830s and 1840s by Samuel Morse and other inventors, the telegraph revolutionized long-distance communication. It worked by transmitting electrical signals over a wire laid between stations. In addition to helping invent the telegraph, Samuel Morse developed a code (bearing his name) that assigned a set of dots and dashes to each letter of the English alphabet and allowed for the simple transmission of complex messages across telegraph lines. In 1844, Morse sent his first telegraph message, from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Maryland; by 1866, a telegraph line had been laid across the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. to Europe. (https://www.loc.gov/collections/samuel-morse-papers/articles-and-essays/invention-of-the-telegraph/)

Samuel F.B Morse was the inventor he came up with the idea of the telegraph. From Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where he had been an unsteady and eccentric student, his parents sent him to Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut. Although he was an indifferent scholar, his interest was aroused by lectures on the then little-understood subject of electricity, But electricity was not his main interest. After graduating from Yale, Morse continued to pursue his career to be a painter. Morse has also been known to have painted some the finest art from an American painter. (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Samuel-F-B-Morse) In 1832, while returning by ship from studying art in Europe, Morse conceived the idea of an electric telegraph as the result of hearing a conversation about the newly discovered electromagnet. Although the idea of an electric telegraph had been put forward before 1800, Morse believed that his was the first proposal. He probably made his first working model by 1835. Meanwhile, he was still devoting most of his time to painting, teaching art at the University of the City of New York, and to politics. But by 1837 he had turned his full attention to the new invention. .(https://www.britannica.com/biography/Samuel-F-B-Morse)This is where he met Leonard D. Gale. Gale was a graduate of Union College in Schenectady, New York. After graduating, he devoted himself to the pursuit of chemistry and became a professor in several institutions of learning. In 1833 he made a geological survey of Manhattan Island, and not long afterward was appointed professor of chemistry and mineralogy in the New York City University. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/81138245/leonard-dunnell-gale) In 1836, he formed the acquaintance of Samuel Morse, and by his familiarity with the discoveries of Professor Henry was enabled to render his colleague’s project of an electromagnetic telegraph successful in operation. In 1846 he came to Washington, and for eleven years was an examiner in the United States Patent and Trademark Office in charge of the department of chemical inventions. Michael Faraday was not associated with these guys however his findings in science contributed greatly to the telegraph. His major contribution, was in the field of electricity and magnetism. He was the first to produce an electric current from a magnetic field, invented the first electric motor and dynamo, demonstrated the relation between electricity and chemical bonding, discovered the effect of magnetism on light, and discovered and named diamagnetism, the peculiar behaviour of certain substances in strong magnetic fields. (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Michael-Faraday)

After reading this you may ask how this all contributed to my theme of how media has affected our world in history. Media in the Revolution was a big lead because it was the first time we really saw authors use persuasion to get people to go for a cause. Paine, Dickinson, and Revere were main causes of the freedom we have today because of their contribution to persuade people to know why it was a good idea to rebel against Britain. The Pony Express was a different way to how it affected media in the speed of how it increased the speed of mail, and news traveling. Then the telegraph came and increased communication to be way faster. You were able to communicate things over distances in a short amount of time using Morse Code. So this is how media affecting our country with these things, but there are many other events that have done so as well.

Positive Psychology And Acceptance And Commitment Therapy (ACT): An Integration

Positive Psychology and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) share a focus on the promotion of human flourishing. They have common techniques for accomplishing this via goal setting, psychological strengths, mindfulness and the clarification of values and their relation to the meaning of life (Ciarrochi & Kashdan 2013). ACT emphasizes creating steps that move toward committed action. Positive psychology is on an ever evolving journey. One that has moved away from solely focusing on the positive aspects of life and moved towards embracing the negative as a means to more fully experience life overall. This more dynamic way of viewing life as a continuum that oscillates back and forth between negative and positive truly meshes well with the tenets of ACT. There are a few organizational categories that positive psychology and ACT have used independently of each other but at the same time have similar themes. Two areas that have gained much needed traction in the quest for achieving the best possible outcomes in life are the practice of mindfulness and identification of values.

Bishop and Williams define mindfulness as conscious awareness of an open, receptive attitude, of what is happening in the present moment. Mindfulness within ACT is not used to directly target positive moods, but rather to appreciate what ever moment appears during the practice, whether it is joy or pain (Ciarrochi & Kashdan 2013). Shinzen Young, an American mindfulness teacher, shares in his courses that it is important to embrace any emotion that surfaces during the mindfulness practice. He encourages students to focus on the moments in which a new emotion arrives and exits (Nov 17. 18 Class). This perfectly coincides with ACTs use of mindfulness. Furthermore, ACT seeks to bring about action that is commensurate with core values, enhance performance and increase engagement of the task at hand when using mindfulness. Positive psychology, likewise, believes mindfulness cultivates skills that repair negative moods and enhance positive moods (Ciarrochi & Kashdan 2013). This method ensures that people are not remaining stagnant on one side of the continuum.

Mindfulness is often noted to be a practice that allows for non-judgement of oneself. Research is now suggesting it goes even deeper than that. The practice of mindfulness is allowing us to reprogram the brain. Sara Lazar, a psychiatric neuroscientist from Harvard Medical School, found mindfulness practices increase cortical thickening of grey matter density in areas that are associated with attention, learning, self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy and compassion (Shapiro et al 2006). These are areas that if cultivated can ultimately lead to a better quality of life. Extensive research has shown the effect traumas and negative experiences have on brain structure and then function, so it is certainly reassuring to know that this can be reversed. The merits of neuroplasticity due to mindfulness are now being fully explored. This can lend itself to future studies of how ACT mindfulness practices can having long lasting effects on not only brain structure, but overall well-being in the lives of practioners.

Mindfulness correlates with a greater relationship satisfaction, via boosts in individual well-being, increased emotion skillfulness, enhancements in sexual satisfaction, increased empathy and healthier stress response (Kozlowski, 2013; Carson et. al., 2004). Mindful practice then, contributes to a person’s ability to regulate and adapt to different stimuli whether it be positive or negative. Speaking of the ability to adapt efficiently, studies have shown that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has benefits for not only lay-people but for those providing support to lay-people, therapists. The positive implications of reducing stress for therapists is huge because these are the professionals that have a hand in teaching others better methods to adapting to negative and positive stressors in life. A study done, by Shauna Shapiro et al, found participants in MBSR programs reported significant declines in stress, negative affect, rumination, state and trait anxiety, and significant increases in positive affect and self-compassion (Shapiro et al 2007). The studies ability to show correlations between mindfulness and the ability to regulate emotions provides support to the premise that mindful based therapies aid in helping with overall well-being in life.

While positive psychology initially sought to increase positive emotions and replace negative ones, it now strives to regulate emotions on a sliding continuum that is not too far on the positive side nor too far on the negative side. This viewpoint has also used mindfulness to maintain homeostasis of the mind. A study done by Barbara Fredrickson, professor of psychology and UNC Chapel Hill, showed the correlations between mindfulness and the preservation of emotion regulation by direct loving-kindness meditation. The participants directed kind and compassionate thoughts to other people. She found the mindfulness practice brought people increased positive emotion and increased life satisfaction (Fredrickson et al 2008). In those same individuals depression, negative emotions, and critical self-rumination decreased.

The goal of both ACT and positive psychology is for the achievement of a life that is the best version of itself. Researchers agree this is best maintained by attaining psychological flexibility. ACT attempts to accomplish this through “mindful, values-guided action” (Ciarrochi & Kashdan 2013). Positive psychology attempts to accomplish this by collecting valued experiences: well-being, contentment and satisfaction (in the past); hope and optimism (for the future); and flow and happiness ( in the present) (Ciarrochi & Kashdan 2013). Psychological approaches treat value not simply as a noun but also as a verb (Peterson 2006). It is now important to explore values a bit more intimately with regards to ACT and positive psychology.

 

Values are defined as the verbal descriptions of what people are truly invested in, regard highly, and seek to uphold and defend (Ciarrochi & Kashdan 2013). Some examples of values are achievements, creativity, honesty, loyalty, kindness, self-control, intellectualism, status, religiousness, physical prowess, and independence (Peterson 2006). Positive psychologists discuss values in the form of personal strivings, goal setting or personal philosophies for what is most important in life (Emmons, 1996; Schwartz, 1990). ACT describes values as the deepest desires for how you want to behave as a human being. Values can often be guiding forces on the road to identifying and moving towards one’s purpose Kashdan & Mcknight have identified a few principles that bring together tenets from both ACT and positive psychology. Those principles are purpose is central, purpose is self-organizing, and purpose cannot be achieved (Ciarrochi & Kashdan 2013). Finding one’s purpose is a driving force throughout the life time. People plan their days, months and years according to what they believe their purpose is. This can lend itself to an extremely organized life, motivated by a central purpose. It is also important to note that a purpose is not always achieved. New goals and accomplishments can arise, ultimately changing ones journey through life.

There are ideal situations in which values and behavior work together for the goal of life satisfaction and well-being. Christopher Peterson, a leading authority in positive psychology, states values are best reflected in actions in the following scenarios (Peterson 1997): First, the circumstances under which a person originally acquires a value. Values that result for personal experiences are more consistent with behavior than those we receive from others experiences. Second, the degree to which a value helps define a person’s self-image. If how a person views themselves is related to a particular value then their behavior strives to keep congruency. Third, whether people are self-conscious while they are behaving. Sometimes, a person has to reflect on their values before their behaviors match those values. People who do not focus on the meaning of their actions, usually act in a manner inconsistent with their values. Fourth, a person’s evaluation of the particular behavior that supposedly reflects the value in question. If there is a strong norm for or against acting in a certain way, one’s value exerts little influence on the behavior. In this situation the person sacrifices being consistent with self in order to be consistent with the expectations of others. Fifth, the generality of the value with regard to the behavior that is being examined. Highly general values about beauty do not predict given behaviors like recycling nor do they predict specific beliefs about the virtue of recycling. Finally, the scope of the behavior relevant to the value. The correlations between what a person believes and how they act are increased significantly if the behaviors are measured in various ways on repeated occasions. The totality of what a person does is a better indicator of if the behaviors reflect their values. Bottom line when actions are congruent with values better life satisfaction and well-being is achieved. When the consistency between behaviors and values are not evident discord, dissatisfaction, and negative emotions can result.

Often when people have lost their sense of purpose and their behaviors are not aligning with their values, it is necessary to rediscover and rebuild their core value system. There are two approaches within ACT that are used to help reestablish value systems (Kashdan and Ciarrochi 2013). One is describing “givens” or those things a person automatically assumes to be true in their lives. It is important for a person to be completely honest about givens so that the most central and basic truths about the way they view the world are discovered. The second approach is discovering what that person cares most deeply about. This is most effectively done by having a person reflect on a time they had to make a hard decision between two things that are important to them. This is helpful in discovering values because the true feelings surrounding those values can surface and be acknowledged.

The integration of mindfulness and value work within ACT and positive psychology is extremely complimentary. ACT drives forward the need for action based on the positive views developed by positive psychology. ACT accomplished this by shifting from a model of positive form to positive function. Modern positive psychology answers this call to action by aiming to acknowledge and honor the commitment piece in value work by bring about actual positive behavior change.

Psychological experts are recognizing that emotions, experiences, traits, and actions can no longer be merely described as negative or positive. They have to be examined according to their context and the result of those concepts in various different contexts. The focus is now being placed on positive and negative functions that are contextually bound (Kashdan & Ciarrochi 2013). Both ACT and positive psychology recognize the need to embrace the positive and negative aspects of life. ACT, more specifically, captures this by upholding the psychological flexibility model. This model suggests that positive and negative emotions are worth noticing and experiencing exactly as they are without trying to sway the experience (Kashdan & Ciarrochi 2013). This way negative emotions can be noted without judgment and with openness. When negative emotions are mindfully notes the responding action can be made based off true values and not suppression or avoidance. Operating out of the psychological flexibility model can allow once thought to be negative emotions, to be experienced less negatively. This can result in a learning experience that does not distract from cultivating a values-based life (Kashdan & Ciarrochi 2013).

Many times after ACT has done the work of bring mindful awareness of a particular experience to the forefront, introduced acceptance of that experience and then set the criteria for defusion, there is still the need for an action that solidifies the entire experience. Often, positive psychology supports and enhanced the psychological flexibility model by providing content for anchoring action step. Some examples of actions steps are gratitude journaling, forgiveness exercises, focused appreciation of beauty and conscious practice of compassion. These examples serve to mark experiences of importance and not to replace other negative emotions (Kashdan & Ciarrochi 2013). Naturally, positive psychology and ACT can be used in tandem to maintain a homeostasis of the mind by regulating the delicate balance between negative and positive functioning throughout the course of one’s life.

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