Christianity and the Victorian Writer
With the existing literature, Christianity can be seen as one of the religions that faced a lot of challenges and oppositions from different people who thought, researched and concluded that Christianity was indeed not of great importance to the then world. The favor went to other types of religious beliefs such as atheism which is the rejection of beliefs that gods or deities existed in the traditional societies. The other one was the belief in agnosticism which is the absence of belief that the existence or non existence of a deity. This essay is meant to affirm the stated statement using the appropriate evidences.
To begin with, God and Nature seem to be at war as depicted in the poem, In Memoriam written by Tennyson. The speaker experiences some darkness doubts but finally manage to reach for the “beam” of “knowledge” from nature or God to offer him safety. The two opposing forces end up dialogues within this poem portraying a speaker who is both doubtful to and faithful to the existence of Christianity, in other words, existence of the deity. Tennyson also questions God’s existence by asking why good things only happen to bad people. When his best friend, Arthur Henry Hallam, dies yet he has been a good man all through his lifespan. This is a typical example of opposition of Christianity in the Victorian era.
The Victorian period further introduces several questions based on Christianity in the opposition to science. The author of the mentioned poem, Tennyson, takes on the opposing universes, including those of the believers and those of the doubters as well. He presents their stances and arguments in the elegy. The book, Elegy for an Age, authored by John D. Rosenberg says, “It is a slow, winding procession that, like mourning, circles back upon itself even as it progresses. It is six times longer than (Shelley’s) Adonis fifteen times longer than (Milton’s) Lycidas” (John 41). Analytically, it can be seen that Tennyson’s elegy is fashioned in a personal way and is also lengthy and has a universal style thus creating a grief world. According to several analyses, Tennyson decides to change the classic English form present in his poem, thus making it provocative and accessible to all readers. He does this by ensuring that one element within the poem combats one another in antagonistic manner. Concening the issue about good people facing bad things, the answer to the question comes out that it is nature that takes away life. It is nature that causes death. The author goes ahead asking the reason why nature takes away life which has been given by God. He goes ahead comparing the two, the giver of nature and the taker of nature.
Tennyson finds it nature beauty to have some flaws in it and the blind faith in God is examined further. He asks how a man can trust God with only blind love and faith and no proof. This acts as the faith behind the question of Christianity existence as well as the ignorance that it implies. He further questions the reason why God created a man only to be destroyed by diseases and death. The two key questions leads to the arousing of an emotional seesaw felt by the speaker’s internal conflicts between the unknown God and the natural or concrete and physical world. From the two, it is clear that atheism arises as most of people are aware of the existence of Christianity in them but only doubt the truth of its existence. They fail to come up with reality and atheism is defined from the way their lack of faith or belief in Christianity which they already know to be existing.
In addition, the poetic voice usually represents the language that can easily capture the intricate interchange of peace and grief. Tennyson, in the poem, goes ahead to provide a complex persona within the elegy since he serves to represents both the universal and personal pain. The author, Peltason Timothy, in his book, Reading in Memoriam gives an eloquent description of the speaker saying, “by the poet, I do not mean the …” The whole excerpt reveals that the evaluative question based on the knowledge of the belief in Christianity is lacking among the people portrayed by the author. However, the speaker’s role in the poem is revealed when he says that the poem has self criticism and the self analysis of the mourners when confronting death as a disturbance of the community tranquility. In order to fulfill this smartly, Tennyson decides to use a word game while creating an intentional paradox for the readers. This offers the solution to spiritual crises as displayed in the poetic text.
Another point to note is that the scientific institutions can easily lead a devout or strong Christian to several doubts and disbeliefs in what they hhave had faith on for several years. Tennyson went ahead asking the world surrounding him “Is it true that God and Nature are Strife?” that nature lends evil dreams? From the poem, it is evidentially true that God and Nature are actually at strife within the In Memoriam. The speaker seems to have reveries as he questions the sides taken or rather the standing of the institutions and a time take sides, that is, sometimes that of the doubters and sometimes that of the believers. He is torn into two but knows that religion is of great importance and he has to make a decision.
T.S. Eliot in the essay he wrote, in Memoriam, that remarks about Tennyson that he lived during the time that was already time conscious in a manner that made several great things appeared to be happening. Discoveries were made, railways were being built and the face of this world kept on changing in a positive way. During that period, there was no time in keeping up holding things permanently based on permanent truths about the life, death and God.
Tennyson also seem to favor his religious upbringing, however, when there is a tragedy, he tends to appear weaker asking God if man was really made with sole purpose of dying. He conveys the split using the normal Orthodox Christian beliefs in his environment or among his people. The phrase, “Pangs of nature”, in the poem acts as a reality that the natural world is actually self sufficient in its own and does not, in any way, need God’s intervention (Tennyson 371). This comes from the poem by Tennyson, “When Lazarus left his Channel Cave. He also goes ahead saying that if God really made all things, then does man have the claimed true will or is it that the world itself is nothing but merely God’s will or game of manipulation.
From the various illustrator information above, it is lucidly clear and convincing that there were very many beliefs in the traditional system in Religion and beliefs, particularly the Christianity. Besides, there have also been doubts on the existence of the religion in most of the ancient societies. Tennyson’s poetic work reveals a lot concerning the interpretation and comprehension on how the people practiced atheism and agnosticism without their knowledge. The paper is a cogent analysis of the views of different ancient professionals and sociologists on Christianity.