Contradictions in Early Modern England

“All human beings were children of the same God, according to the Bible, and yet according to the same Bible, they were sorted out into servants and masters, the accursed and the blessed, the black and the white.” (Loomba 19).

The overall impact of religion can be beneficial, yet often time has a contradictory impact. During the early modern time period, the English based their social order on religious faith. For example, the English monarchs saw themselves as greater than the common people because they believed that all matter and life has been decreed by God. The Great Chain of Being proved that the people believed that every thing in the world had its “place” in a hierarchical order. Therefore, social mobility was unlikely even though all humans are a part of the universe created by God. Another example is the English and Irish relationship. The English saw the Irish as “uncivilized” and in need of God to have a balanced life. However, once the Irish converted to Christianity, they were still socially seen as below the English. Under the same religion, the Irish were never recognized as an equivalence to the English. This quote highlights how religion was not flexible. I chose this quote because I felt that religion greatly influenced early modern England’s livelihood, which in turn, caused a majority of the tension between other social groups and within their culture. In general, religion is self-contradictory- although the text remains unchanged, the interpretations vary depending on the time period and society.