Transcendentalism vs. the Bible

So yup here I am after a rather sporadic and accidental hiatus. It's not that I don't have ideas- it's that I don't have the time to develop the ideas into blog posts. I have a few longer, more challenging post ideas that I need to get started on, but lately I haven't had the time or the inspiration, haha.

So instead you guys are getting my literature paper because I have nothing else to post at the moment and I haven't posted in long enough. (don't worry it's not all that long) XD JUST PRETEND LIKE YOU'RE INTERESTED IN A SCHOOL PAPER AND IT'S ALL GOOD.

(okay but making a graphic for a school paper is actually a really interesting experience) 

The philosophy of transcendentalism holds to many beliefs that permeate our society today. With the rise of New Age ideology, we see many transcendentalist ideas coming to prominence. There’s three major points that people who held to this worldview believed in- all of which are completely unscriptural, yet we still see them around us today. 

The first is the idea that God is in nature, and is essentially nature. And since we as Christians believe that the Bible is the ultimate authority, let’s go ahead and take a look at what the Bible has to say about this. 

Nehemiah 9:6 Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

Isaiah 45:18 For thus saith the Lord that created the Heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. 

Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. 

I think the consensus is pretty clear- God is most certainly not nature. Instead, He created nature to glorify Himself.

The second idea is that nature is the ultimate source of truth. Which, seeing as we just saw what they believed about nature, isn’t very surprising. They glorified nature to the extent of making it God, so naturally they believed that they would find truth from nature. Their view of God was that He’s the “Over-Soul,” and that the God of the Bible is the same as any other god. But I would say that the one true God disagrees with this view.

Romans 1:20-22 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 

So yeah, nope. Nature is meant to point us to God, but it’s not God, and it’s not the ultimate source of truth. When we look at nature, we can choose to glorify God for who He is. But if nature isn’t the ultimate source of truth, then what is? 

Oh, yup. I mentioned that earlier. It’s the Bible. 

Psalms 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth; for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. 

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 

If you want to find truth, don’t turn to nature. Turn to the Bible.

The third and final main belief was that man is naturally good. They wouldn’t have believed in sin. And honestly, to me, this is almost laughable- it just doesn’t make any sense at all. If man is naturally good, then why do we have so many problems plaguing the world today?

Transcendentalists believed in something called “the green apple theory,” which basically states that man is ripening towards some sort of perfect ideal. This is in direct contradiction to Scripture. 

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 

Romans 3:10-13 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 

Man isn’t good on his own. He needs a Savior- Jesus Christ. 

Any of these ideas sound familiar? Most likely. The Transcendentalists believed in a sort of subjective, personal truth. And while this ‘religion’ is more historic than contemporary, it has direct parallels with the New Age movement. These ideas are still relevant today, even if they're not necessarily called Transcendentalism. 

Romans 3:3-4 For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. 

So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? And I'm going to be brave and ask what grade you would give me... but ONLY IF YOU READ THE WHOLE THING. xD 

~ Jonathan 

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  1. I did read the whole thing ;-)

    I thought it was super creative to post your school paper, and I think I might consider doing that myself in the future XD I'd give you an A+ on defending your argument (not that I was on the other side of it)! The only thing I would have changed is the grammar--the conversational tone--but I don't know what sort of paper you were supposed to be writing, and it worked great for a blog post ;-) Great job though: I really enjoyed it!

    audrey caylin

    1. GOOD JOB. XD

      Haha, well thanks. It was sort of my last resort. :P It's an easy way to whip a blog post out. Ooh cool... but yes omw I have a tendency to use a controversial tone. I JUST WANT TO WHAP EVERYONE OVER THE HEAD WITH MY VIEWS. XD I did sort of tweak it into a more informal thing for the blog, but STILL I MUST WORK ON THIS LOL. Thanks though! :D

  2. I outright DISAGREE!!!... Just kidding :P It was actually a great paper and a nice read. I do agree with you, too many people are looking at the wrong thing for truth. When in reality they only NEED to look at God/Jesus/The Bible. I have to say that I can't really give you a grade without knowing how you needed to be graded.

    1. OH OKAY for a second there I was like 'whoaaaa okay then.' XD Thanks! Yes oh my goodness I totally agree! :D Haha well truuuue that is super valid xD

  3. Love this! :) I don't know what you are being graded for on this, but I'm going to grade you on the things I noticed/was looking for. I am not a teacher though. :P

    First, I think it had a very nice flow. Nothing seemed out of order or out of place. Second, I really like how you quoted scripture and used it to show that the beliefs are wrong. And third, I finished reading that without any questions afterward. (I don't know if this happens to you, but sometimes when I finish reading someone's paper, I have these unanswered questions floating around in my head.)

    So, I'd say you nailed it! Do I agree? Absolutely! As for your grade, I give it an A+. :D You did a great job, thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Well thanks Karyssa, glad you liked it! :D

      Ooh well thanks so much, hehe. xD Thanks for reading and for the feedback!

  4. Awesome. *thumbs up* (And yes OF COURSE I READ THE WHOLE THING!!) I totally agree with you, no surprise there, and I thought you did a great job using Bible verses to prove your point. The only thing I thought might be a problem grading-wise was it seemed a little on the short side. I don't know if there's a word otherwise you'd definitely get an A+. :)

    1. Haha thanks. :D (OH OKAY WELL GOOD JOB THEN I NEVER SHOULD HAVE DOUBTED XD) Why thank you, that was actually sort of the point of the essay hehe. :P (using Bible verses, that is.) TRUUUUE it is a little bit short.

  5. Hey Jonathan, good to hear from you again!

    I'm betting you've already considered this, but it's worth pointing out anyways. :P Namely, you're trying to disprove (unless I'm mistaken, which I very well could be.) a non-Christian philosophy by arguing from Christian premises. (i.e, that the Bible is the true Word of God.)

    While every Christian, (or at least most of them, I would think), accepts that to be true, it seems to me unlikely that those subscribing to the Transcendental worldview would consider such evidence against their beliefs as legitimate.

    I find it slightly contradictory to quote the Bible to prove that it is the true source of truth. Just because I say that my words are true, doesn't mean that they are in fact so. A more valid approach would require proving that God exists, that He is a rational being distinct from nature, and that He inspired the various authors of the Bible to transmit His Word faithfully.

    Of course, if you're merely trying to prove to Christians who could be tempted by the Transcendental line of thought, through a Biblical perspective, then this article would be a valid way of reaffirming the truth of Christianity to them, but not as convincing to those who either reject or are considering to reject the Bible's inspired nature.

    Anyways, those are my thoughts on the subject. I'm glad to see that you're keeping up with school and WHEN WILL YOU BE BACK ON HANGOUTS?!! (Please, Luke and I are getting lonely over here. :P)

    1. HI PERSON. *tackles* XD

      Ooh okay well all of this is super valid. BUT. The whole point of the assignment was to use Bible verses, haha. :P My lit course it Christian based. :D That's super thought-provoking though! (although I would disagree on the fourth paragraph, haha.)

      EEK YES IKR I SORT OF DROPPED OF THE FACE OF THE PLANET. I feel terrible tbh. D: D: I should hopefully be back soon-ish though, once I get a bunch of life things sorted out, ha.

  6. I really enjoyed this! XD I used my graduation speech as a blog post once. Hee hee. Anyway, I love how this concisely explained and refuted transcendentalist beliefs. Some papers can really be a bore to read, but this one pulls you in and makes you read the whole thing! Love it, great job!
    ~ Sarah Leana

    1. Haha well thanks! Oh my goodness... that's brilliant actually, hehe. XD Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for commenting! :D

  7. Wow, this was great! I really admire that you study this stuff out soo well, which I probably need to do more. I agree with all of this, your opinions, verses and everything! Its an amazing paper!

    1. Thanks! Hehe well my teacher gave me the three main points, so it wasn't too hard. :D Glad you liked it!

  8. Amen, Jonathan! Great paper. It is sad seeing so, so many lost souls turning for this kind if 'religion' that is not the One True YAHWEH.... Satan is a deceiver, and the New Age movement is his doing (and Satan has been at this for a very long time, yeah...), but Yahweh is Lord, no matter what. We can pray that the lost souls find the TRUE Savior...
    Definitely agree. Nature is very beautiful, but it shows God's Handiwork and His miracles! We are told that the Heaven is Yahweh's throne, and Earth His footstool... :) Pretty cool!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I totally agree. *nods* New Age is nothing more than a false religion. :D It's great to know that God is always bigger though!
      Absolutely agreed on that. :) Thanks for reading and commenting!

  9. I read through the whole thing and wasn't at all bored, so I'd say you did well!

    I actually really like posts that make me question if I agree (which I do)
    Hmm *pretends I know the first thing about grading papers* because I didn't notice any grammar mistakes, it seemed well thought out and you had bible verses to back up your opinion.... I'd give an A :)
    Anyway, nice post!

    1. Haha well that's good! :D Thanks!

      Ah saaaame then you have to actually think through it hehe.
      Well thanks, Faith!

  10. Okay so I have totally done this, turned a school paper into a blog post xD
    Honestly, this was SOOO good and perfectly explained. Especially your last point, I can't begin to understand when people believe we are all naturally good. I mean, have you taken a look at the world??
    Also, I love how you used the bible to back up all your points, because that is the ultimate truth.


      Aw well thanks, glad you liked it! :D Haha yes my thoughts exactly. *nods*
      YES AMEN. The Bible is always the ultimate truth.
      Hehe thanks! :D

  11. To be honest, I've never heard of this belief system before. If I disagreed with you, I wouldn't be a Christian. This belief system sounds like a creepy mash of Wicca/Paganism and 'Christianity'. Basically, absolute nonsense.

    Anyway, good essay!


    1. Oh haha really? It is basically absolute nonsense though, so good observation hehe. XD


  12. Very interesting. You'd get an A, in my opinion. I read a lot of Louisa May Alcott but I didn't ever take the time to look up what transcendentalism was.

  13. I sincerely believe that there is no one true path. God is wise enough to know that people are led to God in different ways. I don't believe one religion is right; therefore making others wrong. The transcendentalists didn't disregard God, nor did they try to replace God with nature, at least not in my understanding. They simply, like many people nowadays, didn't seem to find solace or enlightenment in the organized structure of religion and therefore turned to nature to find themselves; and in essence, God. Transcendentalism was rooted in American Christianity. As a matter of fact, one could even argue that they were more "Christian" in many ways in that they rejected materialism and following the "norm", especially when the norm didn't have one being good to their fellow man.

    Anyway, it's ok if you fully disagree. I happen to be an English teacher and am in the middle of a transcendentalism unit. I was researching biblical connections to transcendentalism and your blog showed up. You do write well btw. :) My students will be writing an essay on Into the Wild and I have them study a song and argue whether the song is or is not transcendental.

    1. Well that's an interesting view, Ms. Tamara! But I would disagree. :D Did you know that in the Bible, God Himself says that Jesus is the only way to get to Heaven?

      John 14:6 [talking about getting to Heaven]
      Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.

      I think God does have the power to lead people to Him in different ways! But that doesn't mean that those people are saved by some other method then faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ- because that's the only way God said anyone could be saved.

      Think of it this way: If you sent your only Son to die for a group of people, knowing that it would save those people from their sins, how would you feel about those people rejecting your sacrifice and the sacrifice of your Son? Would you be open to them 'finding their own way' to be saved, making your Son's death for nothing?

      That's exactly what God did- and yet for some reason we think it's okay to try and find another way to Heaven. But there is no other way, and I hope and pray that you'll realize that, Ms. Tamara! :D

      That's pretty cool that you're an English teacher! Thanks for the compliment on my writing. :) I hope your students do well and that maybe you share some of this info with them!

  14. I'm so glad I found this. I needed some additional wisdom on this topic because my 20-something cousin is deep into this transcendentalism. My daughter and I love her and pray for her. While it is important to me that my daughter learns identify false teachings/ religions wherever she finds them, it is especially sad to see a family member go astray. I enjoyed reading your essay, especially the structure and style. I hated writing in high school,but I can't escape it as a h. omeschool parent. I'll pass this blog on to my daughter

  15. I wound give this excellent and well thought out paper an A+. Great Job!
    FYI this really helped me answer questions that proved Transcendentalism wrong.