I’m talking about Puritans!

Homepage Forums Small Talk I’m talking about Puritans!

This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  jakelafort 2 years ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Author
  • #41302

    Yes Simon those Puritans are still about and I like to mention this to anyone that will listen when I hear talk of Puritans. Extract below is from from The Necessity of Atheism written about 1933 by D.M Brooks.

    When we think of morality, we are apt to concentrate more on sexual morality than on the more obtuse moral duties. Religion has from time immemorial been held up to our minds as a great force in the production of this morality. That is another myth. In our own country it is a trite phrase that a man has a “Puritan code of ethics,” or as “strait laced as a Puritan.”

    When the Puritan Fathers landed in America, they began an existence that has revealed to the world for all time the value of a “burning religious zeal.” In a sense they showed this zeal in regard to the Witchcraft Delusion.

    Coming as they did, to avoid religious persecution in their own native country, they should have established a colony which for meekness and beneficence would have shown the value of a true religious fervor. Instead, the persecuted immediately became the persecutors—again proving the worth of a mind that is imbued with a dominating religious zeal.

    Secondly, the principal vocation and recreation of these Fathers was their religion. It is only reasonable to suppose that in such a truly religious atmosphere morality should have reached its zenith of perfection. What actually happened is well illustrated in a very informative and case reporting work by Rupert Hughes, the novelist, “Facts About Puritan Morals”:

    “Everybody seems to take it for granted that the behavior of the early settlers of New England was far above normal. Nobody seems to take the trouble to verify this assumption. The facts are amazingly opposite. The Puritans admitted incessantly that they were exceedingly bad. The records sustain them…. The Puritans wallowed in every known form of wickedness to a disgusting degree. Considering the extremely meager population of the early colonies, they were appallingly busy in evil. I do not refer to the doctrinal crimes that they artificially construed and dreaded and persecuted with such severity that England had to intervene: the crimes of being a Quaker, a Presbyterian, which they punished with lash, with the gallows, and with exile. I do not refer to their inclusion of lawyers among keepers of disorderly houses, and people of ill-fame. I refer to what every people, savage or civilized, has forbidden by law: murder, arson, adultery, infanticide, drunkenness, theft, rape, sodomy, and bestiality. The standard of sexual morality among the unmarried youth was lower in Puritan England than it is today for both sexes.

    “It is important that the truth be known. Is religion, is church membership, a help to virtue? The careless will answer without hesitation, Yes! of course. The statistics, when they are not smothered, cry No!

    “If church-going keeps down sin, then the Puritans should have been sinless because they compelled everybody to go to church. They actually regarded absence from church as worse than adultery or theft. They dragged prisoners from jail under guard to church. They whipped old men and women bloodily for staying away. They fined the stay-at-homes and confiscated their goods and their cattle to bankruptcy. When all else failed they used exile. Disobedience of parents was voted a capital offense and so was Sabbath-breaking even to the extent of picking up sticks.

    “Yet, as a result of all this religion, the sex life of the Puritan was abnormal…. Their sex sins were enormous. Their form of spooning was ‘bundling,’ an astonishing custom that permitted lovers to lie down in bed together in the dark, under covers. They were supposed to keep all their clothes on, but there must have been some mistake somewhere for the number of illegitimate children and premature children was stupefying. Dunton tells us that there hardly passed a court day in Massachusetts without some convictions for fornication, and although the penalty was fine and whipping, the crime was very frequent.

    “Nothing, I repeat, would have surprised the Puritans more than to learn that their descendants accepted them as saints. They wept, wailed, and refused to be comforted. They were terrified and horrified by their own wickedness. The harsh, granite Puritan of our sermons, on statues and frescoes, was unknown in real life. The real Puritan Zealot spent an incredible amount of his time in weeping like a silly old woman. Famous Puritan preachers boast of lying on a floor all night and drenching the carpet with their tears. Their church services according to their own accounts, must have been cyclones of hysteria, with the preacher sobbing and streaming, and the congregation in a state of ululant frenzy, with men and women fainting on all sides.

    “The authorities are the best possible, not the reports of travelers or the satires of enemies, but the statements of the Puritans themselves, governors, eminent clergymen, and the official records of the colonies. Hereafter, anybody who refers to the Puritans as people of exemplary life, or morality above the ordinary, is either ignorant or a liar. In our own day, there is an enormous amount of crime and vice among the clergy. Most horrible murders abound, by ministers, of ministers, and for ministers. Published and unpublished adulteries, seductions, rapes, elopements, embezzlements, homosexual entanglements, bigamies, financial turpitudes, are far more numerous than they should be in proportion to the clerical population.

    “Governor Bradford breaks out in his heart-broken bewilderment and unwittingly condemns the whole spirit and pretense of Puritanism. The Puritans fled from the wicked old world for purity’s sake, they were relentless in prayer, they were absolutely under the control of the church and clergy, and yet, their Governor says that sin flourished more in Plymouth Colony than in vile London!

    “If our people are wicked nowadays because they lack religion, what shall be said of the Puritans who were far more wicked, though they lived, moved, and had their being in an atmosphere so surcharged with religion that children and grown persons lay awake all night, sobbing and rolling on the floor in search of secret sins that they could not remember well enough to repent? It is well to remember that there has perhaps never been in history a community in which Christianity had so perfect a laboratory in which to experiment.

    “The very purpose of the Colony was announced as the propagation of the Gospel. The Bible was the law book. The Colony lacked all the things on which preachers lay the blame for ungodliness; yet, every infamy known to history, from fiendish torture to luxurious degeneracy flourished amazingly. This ancient and impregnable fact has been ignored. The records have been studiously veiled in a cloud of misty reverence, and concealed under every form of rhetoric known to apologists.”

    We can only conclude that religion does not seem to act as an effectual check against sexual immorality. Furthermore, high moral principles can be inculcated without any religious background, and have been in spite of religion. A man who is moral because of his reason and his sensibilities, and his comprehension of the necessary social structure of the world is a far better citizen than the man who feebly attempts a moral life because he expects a mythical existence in a delusional heaven or wishes to avoid hell-fire. A secular code of morals based upon the best experiences of communal and national life would place its highest obligation not to a deity but to the welfare of all fellowmen.


    Simon Paynton

    This is interesting.  It reminds me of what I’ve read about the kitting circles.  What’s the “moral” of this story?  That it’s unhealthy to be feverishly obsessed with “sin”?  That human beings are routinely corrupt, especially corrupted by power?  I think their problem was they didn’t have secular ethics to remind them what is right and wrong.  Their conception of how to live a good life had careered off into the bushes.

    Is there something inherent in religion that encourages people to be bad?  There are parts of religion that encourage people to be good.  This angle (above) was all about punishing bad behaviour, almost to the point of a fetish.  That’s the antisocial flip-side of prosocial religion and morality.  People get to enjoy the enforcement and punishment too much.



    Where does one begin when discussing the lessons?

    For one it is the old oppressed become the oppressors when they have freedom/power. Blacks having autonomy in Africa have proven to be as vicious as Whites. I am sure many would say the same about Jews in Israel. It is a pattern observed in Revolutions. And since Puritans specifically and all western religious groups in general are at bottom dictatorships relying on authority and requiring adherents to STFU the Puritans were predictably dictatorial once they came to Murica. Religion when it has plenipotentiary expression is the ultimate cancel culture.

    Then there is the Goya Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters dynamic. It is trite to adduce the mind-bending absurdities and irrational practices and beliefs religious adherents are infamous for but it is wise to be aware that secular culture can descend into similar patterns. Need i go any further than contemporary USA or various regimes where political ideology long since put reason into a coma like North Korea? FACTS MATTER. Reason is our best tool. If a person is at a point where they refuse to criticize or even examine any aspect of their pet ideology then they are in essence what Goya is portraying. Hello Enco.

    The psychology of the witch hunt gives us another nugget. It is the pernicious nature of group psychology. There is a passage in Twain’s Mysterious Stranger in which a character who was otherwise a decent sort joins in and throws rocks at an accused witch. That is how Puritanism brought ALL into the fold. Conformity led to hysteria and persecution. That is probably the dynamic in Nazi Germany.

    An additional lesson sounds in psychology. Yes when the rhetoric is so chaste and the demands to attend church and subject oneself to unnatural abstinence it causes a prurient form of concupiscence. The penalties of being caught or getting pregnant may even add to the compulsion. If a fisherman drives by forested personal property and glimpses just a bit of a pond, river or lake and the property is plastered with NO FISHING signs that fisherman is more tempted to fish there than would otherwise be. The Puritans had a more deliberate and in your face message, NO FUCKING! That message proved irresistible and serves as a lesson for posterity-an unheeded one for the most part…


    Simon Paynton

    The psychology of the witch hunt gives us another nugget.

    Qanon has been compared to the centuries-long witch-craze in medieval Europe: an “eclipse of reason”.

    You’re right that a preoccupation with sin just makes it more attractive: being “bad” is thrilling sometimes.




    D.M. Brooks should have cut the Puritans a little slack on seductions, sodomy, “homosexual entanglements,” and “bigamies,” since these can be, and frequently are, consensual and enthusiastically endulged in by nice and moral people.


    But otherwise, yes, he is correct. Religion and morality are not synonyms.

    My County’s Courthouse has “In God We Trust” on it, as do the vehicles for some Sheriff’s Deputies and City Police, the City Council building has a stone replica of The Ten Commandments, all County Commission and City Council meetings begin with prayer, yet this County has per capita crime rates that have approached and exceeded Chicago.

    I’m constantly churning in my mind a good way to point out to everyone the cognitive dissonance of all these supposedly moral official religious goodies in the midst of the gangland war zone our officials let continue against the Lives, Liberty, and Property of good Citizens.

    I made some flyers for all the Ossifer Friendlies out there, but have yet to have an opportune time to copy and distribute them. Maybe some day soon.

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  TheEncogitationer. Reason: Forgot to add "seductions."



    One of the “monsters” that “The sleep of Reason” produces is Tyranny. Goya and I shared and I still harbor zeal against Tyranny.



    Enco, Can you feel the tyranny?


    Man is born free and everywhere in chains. Perhaps those chains surround our brains. And all our yesterdays are in vain. My lane, your lane, never the twain…




    Nice rhyming and I’m familiar with Goya’s other work too. Somebody would have to find me and get me before I become a Madrilene. In a post-9/11 world where anything and everything can become a weapon, it’d be a chore.


    Glad to see Goya getting an airing. I really admire his work. Have not had to chance to see it in Spain  but did get to see a few in NOMA once.

    I do keep my favorite work of his close to hand. Even the owl’s feathers feel real 🙂




    Cool tat.

    Nice talking piece…and not bad way to start a conversation with a lady. If she says who is Goya then ya know she is probably not educated. The rest is up to you.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.