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Benjamin Franklin was not a Puritan

             Benjamin Franklin was aman that was always looking to better himself, though not necessarily by the standards other people set for him. He was not intimidated by tradition or opposing points of view; he did not shy away from arguing the righteousness of doctrines, or questioning beliefs he disagreed with. Even though he desired to be a good person, he was truly a freethinker, and his ideas regarding what it meant to be a good person often got him into trouble with people who believed in a stricter view of good and bad. As Benjamin Vaughn indicated in his letter on page 584 of the text, Franklin was a part of a “rising people” who placed major importance on the concept of self-education and resisted the practice of simply absorbing information fed to them from school, church, and society. This way of thinking was in stark contrast to the old Puritan approach to life which was based on strict adherence to the Bible, viewing anything different as dangerous or at least suspicious, and the habitual art of conformity. Benjamin Franklin was definitely not a Puritan, and this is made evident in several incidents detailed throughout his autobiography.
             The Bible was a guidebook for the Puritans and to stray from it would have been sinful in the eyes of its faithful followers. An example of the Puritans unwavering application of the Bible can be seen in “A Horrible Case of ”, read about in Chapter II of the text. The Puritans would not spare the life of a victimized animal because the Bible clearly stated, “If a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to : and ye shall slay the beast”, and the Puritans did not believe it was their place to question the word of the Bible. Franklin, on the other hand, frequently questioned doctrine based on the Bible and did not hesitate to dispute religious points with anyone who was willing, sometimes resulting in his being labeled an infidel or an atheist.