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What was John Milton's religious affiliation?

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Alec Cranford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Milton's official affiliation for most of his life was with the Church of England. But he lived during a time of profound religious ferment. Having separated from the Catholic Church a century earlier, there were many English people, known as Puritans, who wished to purge the Church of England of many elements they saw as superfluous and inconsistent with Biblical requirements. Milton was a Puritan for much of his life, but did not share the belief held by many other Puritans that the state should enforce religious mores or faith. The English Civil War witnessed the rise of many different religious groups as well as many freethinkers, and Milton certainly fit in the latter category. He published many pamphlets in which he argued that attempts to coerce religious belief would be counterproductive and ran contrary to the principle of free will. On this point, he was in disagreement with the mainstream of Puritanism, which emphasized predestination rather than human free will. After the Restoration, in which Charles II came to the throne, Milton, like many of his countrymen, remained in the Church of England, as Puritans became marginalized. Though he held many beliefs that did not neatly fit into any of his contemporary denominations, he died in the Church of England.

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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John Milton grew up within a Puritan family. His education was grounded within religious ideology. He attended St. Paul's Cathedral School at the age of 12. Milton then entered into Christ's College (attending from 1625 through 1632).

Towards the end of his writing, Milton began to question the Protestant religion and ideologies (Milton did not seem to have issues with all Christian religions).

It seemed that Milton examined individual Christian religions and played with their differing ideals. Instead of being against a religion as a whole, he would be against specific aspects of the religion. In essence, Milton was a little bit of Presbyterian, Protestant, Quaker and Puritan. Unable to follow one religion's ideologies in whole, Milton simply followed the ideologies from each which he tended to agree with.

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