The Enlightenment and the Great Awakening.

Essay by JeLyn81College, Undergraduate November 2002

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The Great Awakening and the Enlightenment were two historical events that shaped the thoughts of people and religion in America. The most important factor in both of these events is the common theme of reason behind the movements. The Great Awakening began about the 1930's and reached its climax ten years later in 1740. What exactly was the Great Awakening? It was a wave of religion revivals sweeping through New England that increased conversions and church membership. The beginnings of the Great Awakening were in Pennsylvania and New Jersey among Presbyterians and then spread to the Puritans and Baptists of New England. They were encouraged to confess sins done freely to the church in order to receive forgiveness. This whole movement was to learn a new way to capture God's truth through the own wits of man.

It was once believed that life was predestined by God and that the saved and the damned were already chosen.

Those who believed in all that was happening in the Great Awakening did away with that idea. Supporters of the revival were called "New Lights", and those who were believed in moderation, intellect, predestination, and justification through works were called the "Old Lights." The Old Lights held the old way of thinking, while the New Lights abandoned the thought of predestination and such. The Old Lights, or also known as Old Sides downplayed emotion and emphasized on rationalism while the New

Lights emphasized on emotions and the justification by faith, itinerant evangelizing, enthusiasm, revival and


One of the New Light Preachers was a man named George Whitefield. Thousands traveled far distances just to see him. Whitefield was also called "The Great Itinerant." Whitefield traveled up and down from the eastern seaboard offering others with his "supposable" way on how...