25 July 2011
Religion of the Victorian Era: Faith in Crisis
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness … it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”(Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)
The Victorians had a society comparable to ours with an explosion of ideas and innovation. Today our American society is famous for being a “melting pot.” Each individual has a different background where they create ideas completely different from another’s. One most likely pictures a melting pot as a fusion of ideas mixing together. One may also see the conflicts our society’s opposing ideas have created and see confusion rather than fusion. The term Victorian literally describes events in the reign of Queen Victoria during the years 1837-1901. The qualities of the queen herself help describe the values of the peoples of the time such as earnestness, moral responsibility, and domestic propriety(Christ, and Robson 980). The quality of moral responsibility had an enormous impact creating a great deal of controversy in this society. There became a religious battle; A challenge fought between the religious groups, the philosophers, the scientists, and every person with any opinion.
England’s prosperity through new technology led to an expansion of influence around the world. Its annual export of goods sky rocketed in value between 1850 and 1870 and people began to invest. This investment of people, money, and technology created the British Empire(Christ, and Robson 985). Many English people viewed this expansion as a moral responsibility. Rudyard Kipling called this the “White Man’s burden.” Queen Victoria said that the goal was “to protect the poor natives and advance civilization” (Christ, and Robson 985). The social relevance began to increase during the first century of industrialization. The sequence of events caused missionary societies to flourish and Christianity...
Cited: Christ, Carol T., and Catherine Robson. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Eighth Edition. E. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2006. 979-1825. Print.
Obelkevich, James. "Religion." Social Agencies and Institutions. Ed. F. M. L. Thompson. Cambridge University Press, 1990. Cambridge Histories Online. Cambridge University Press. 24 July 2011 DOI:10.1017/CHOL9780521257909.007
Sanders, Andrew. "Christianity and literature in English." World Christianities c.1815–c.1914. Eds. Sheridan Gilley and Brian Stanley. Cambridge University Press, 2006. Cambridge Histories Online. Cambridge University Press. 24 July 2011 DOI:10.1017/ CHOL9780521814560.010
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