Does Ralph Waldo Emerson reference anything relating to religion or God in his essay "Self-Reliance"?
All of the references to organized religion in Emerson's classic essay "Self-Reliance" are negative, since the philosopher rejects any constraints that would hamper the non-conformity that he regards as the essence of self-reliance. Instead, he embraces the Socratic teaching that the voice of god dwells within each individual. As he himself expresses the individual's relationship with God, "The relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so pure, that it is profane to interpose and seek help."
If one regards religion as a refuge and bulwark against human vulnerabilty and suffering, however, Emerson is having none of it. In his belief that "Power is the essential measure of right," it's easy to see the philosopher's great appeal for Friedrich Nietzsche, who was also fascinated with power and who famously proclaimed the death of God. Likewise, in Emerson's oft-expressed disdain for human weakness, he seems to signal a solidarity with a strain of Calvinism that was becoming increasingly...
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