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This brief study is made to enlighten the main features and thus the main differences between the religious, economic and social cultures of the Quakers and Puritans.
The Puritans were a significant grouping of people that grew discontent in the Church of England and wanted religious and social reforms mainly in the 16-17th century. Quakers are members of a group that has Christian origins formed in the 1650s. The formal name of the movement is the Society of Friends or the Religious Society of Friends.
Their religious cultures differ greatly. The Puritans believe that the Bible is God's true law that shows them the true way of living while the Quakers do not regard any book as the actual „word of God". They both refuse the traditional formalities of Christianity. Puritans are typified by a minimum of ritual and decoration. The Quakers think that religious truth is found by inner experience and the priests and the rituals only mean obstruction in the relationship between God and the believer. While we can declare that the Puritans are Christians, some Quakers like to describe their religion as an "universal religion that has Christian elements".
According to the Quakers' social culture, every human is equal and unique since there is something of God in everybody. They value social justice, human rights, the freedom of choice and community life highly. The Quakers do not celebrate Christian festivals such as Christmas or Easter: these are not part of their life. The Puritans' social life is strict: they emphasize the need of self-examination and also do not celebrate those traditional holidays which they believe to be in violation of their principles. Three English diversions were banned in the communities of the Puritan colonies: drama, religious music and erotic poetry. The Puritans showed exceptional interest in education, considering it as a tool to perfect social living. They were the first to establish free schooling for all children. Any deviations from the normal Puritan way of life meant strict disapproval and discipline. Church infractions were equal to social infractions, since the church elders were also political leaders.
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The Protestant idea of predestination affected the Puritans' views. According to their work ethic, hard work is an honor to God which leads to a prosperous reward. Quakers try to live up to high standards of honesty in work and business, too. They refuse to work for or invest in companies that manufacture weapons or other harmful devices and prefer choosing works that are beneficial for the society.
Despite of the differences between these groupings, I think that both of them do and did much for firmly establishing communities of healthy economy and good morals.
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