Home > History, Politics, Religion > Are We Experiencing A New Great Awakening?

Are We Experiencing A New Great Awakening?

The life of the Rev. George Whitefield,

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For those of you who may not be familiar with the term “Great Awakening,” it refers to a period of religious revival in religious history. Generally it lasts over decades, and represents a gradual change in religious ideology, more so from those who feel disenfranchised from their church, than those who are settled in their religious methodology. These Great Awakenings are characterized by widespread revivals from evangelical ministers, a profound increase in religion, as well as conviction and redemption from those who are touched by it. Generally it is accompanied by the creation of new religious movements and denominations.

In America , the First Great Awakening began in 1734, and lasted until the Revolutionary War. In fact, this movement was an important precursor and underlying factor that would set the tone of the colonials in their quest for independence.

A Majority of the British colonials on the east coast of the New World were Calvinists. They believed that God had already chosen who would go to Heaven and Hell and that nothing a person could do would change that. For the Calvinists, Christianity was all about faith and scripture. Calvinists were divided into two classes, the civil man, who was destined to hell, and the walking saint, who was destined to heaven. It was the responsibility of the walking saints to set the example of faith, in order to keep the civil man on the path of doing good works. If the walking saints did their jobs well, and everyone was faithful to god, church, and scripture, then the community as a whole would prosper. In the colonies there were three main types of Calvinists; these were the Puritans and Separatist Pilgrims of the New England colonies, and the traditional British Anglicans of the Southern Colonies. The Puritans and Pilgrims were the most hardcore of the Calvinists; it was their belief that there should be no separation of Church and State. (Sound familiar?)

When the New England colonies were first formed, it was the Puritan and Separatist belief that true religion included a return to a feudal economy. The church run government would set the price for goods and services, and it was illegal to over charge or monopolize. Communities were built around the church, and land was allotted to villagers for open farming. It was a reciprocal economy.

However as the decades rolled by and land was taken up, later generations were forced to hive out; there was no land available around the village, so they moved further out into the township, or further still into the frontier. It was these yeoman farmers who struggled to survive, while the townsfolk prospered and became enormously wealthy. It was this hiving out that would lead to a break down in patriarchy, communal interest, and respect for authority. As each generation came to be, there was a general breakdown in their faith of the old ways, which fostered resentment towards the planter and merchant elites. The newest generations of colonials were angry that these elites were now profiting from price gouging and monopolizing, which went against the very grain of Calvinist principle.

In 1734, this religious disenfranchisement began to come to a head. New religious leaders such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield began to travel from colony to colony, without the church’s permission, to encourage a return to their roots of religious community, as well as promote faith that came from the heart, not scripture. Their sermons were emotional and captivating, and their messages of renewed faith and saving grace became popular with the common folk throughout all the colonies. Though itinerant preaching without a permit was illegal, these new preachers did it anyway.

The results of the Great Awakening had a profound affect on how colonials began to view themselves. There was now a sense of bonding among all the colonies; there was a union of faith that previously did not exist. There was a new individualism that grew from this movement, as well as a harbinger of freedom of speech, which is one of the basest of ideologies that Americans cherish and cling to for all they’re worth. This first Great Awakening would also set the tone that Americans were the chosen people to morally set the example for the rest of the world. The Great Awakening brought about monumental change in religion, as well as how the colonials viewed themselves. The result was the Revolutionary War.

With the button set to fast forward to present day, I believe that our world may now be going through another Great Awakening. However, this one is not only a change in religious conviction; it’s a wholesale change in ideology across the board. It’s this change in ideology that may be the underlying cause of the civil unrest that is erupting across the globe. Many are realizing (again) that civilization has divided itself into two classes- the haves and the have nots. The have nots have grown tired of the oppressive old ways of the haves. They’re angry, and are ready to force change. We’re seeing this in North Africa, the Middle East, and now Europe . In North America , this resentment is well under way, and I would not doubt that civil disobedience, including rioting, begins to happen in a very short time.

The haves are trying to hold on for dear life. We see this in the oppressive laws that have been passed which perpetually strip us of our liberties, and firmly cement us into our lower economic and social classes. The haves are trying to close our society and reinforce theocracy in order to protect their financial elite status. Global class warfare is once again under way, and when it truly reaches North America , we may be in for one hell of a revolution. I’m not promoting violence; I abhor violence, no matter what circumstances it presents itself in. I’m just saying, people are angry that 1% of the people control the vast majority of the wealth, as well as furious that this 1% make our laws, and control nearly every action of our daily lives.

Better buckle up and hunker down folks; there is a fucking huge storm on the horizon, and it is about to hit us with a hell of a lot of force and fury. I’m just saying.

  1. August 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    ahmen brother


  2. August 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    You mean it’s going to get worse? Can’t wait. Thanks for the heads up though.


    • August 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      I have a feeling it will. By looking at the past, History shows that the situation is right for a massive social upheaval. It’s already started in the Eastern Hemisphere: it won’t be long before it hits here.


  3. August 12, 2011 at 4:17 am

    It just so happens that I am reviewing the First and Second Great Awakenings and particularly Jonathan Edwards, and I agree with your overall historical summary. Congratulations on so much pith in a short space. See my book blog at

    I also agree with your conclusions. The productive classes worldwide will not long put up with this false austerity that benefits only the super rich. See also my political rants at

    Because I am a great admirer, though not a follower, of Jonathan Edwards I would pick a few nits with your fast overview. In my opinion, Edwards should not be associated with the idea of American exceptionalism. In fact, as a staunch believer in the doctrine of original sin he could not have espoused such an idea. Those responsible for the outlandish notion of American exceptionalism were his theological opponents, the ministers for the wealthy merchants of Boston and Salem, who were beginning to preach that maybe man wasn’t so sinful after all, and to tolerate the conspicuous consumers in their congregations who proved their “righteousness” by making a lot of money.

    In my opinion it was the theologians of the Second Great Awakening, a century later, who were responsible for installing American exceptionalism as a pillar of the national faith. By that time, the free will Methodists had largely taken over revivalism, the dogma of predestination and original sin had been considerably diluted among Puritan descendants, and most had begun to believe that we human beans could become responsible for our own salvation, thereby considerably reducing God’s role in the whole process..


    • August 12, 2011 at 7:12 am

      Good stuff!

      I would agree that it may not have been Jonathan Edwards who preached about American Exceptionalism, however there were other itinerant ministers from that time who wished to see the church return to the ideals of the shining city on the hill. While they may not have been proponents of America leading the way economically, there was a great desire to see the colonies become the moral example for the rest of the world. George Whitefield believed that there was a breakdown in faith globally, not just in the colonies, He felt that by bringing reformation in the colonies, that the rest of the Anglican world would fall in line.


      • August 12, 2011 at 7:14 am

        By the way, thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation. Welcome!


      • Moe
        August 12, 2011 at 1:20 pm

        And of course we’re in the midst of another great ‘awakening’ which has been able to solidify into a real movement thanks to modern communications – all those evangelical pastors with their TV congregations really got things going – from the traveling revival tent ot an audience of tens of millions.

        What I am hoping is that the 2012 serve as a turning point and that Americans will decide that the likes of Perry and Bachmann are just a step too far.


        • August 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

          You’re right about that Moe. In fact these evangelists and theocratical politicians are doing every thing in their power to return our country to the Calvinist ideologies of the 17th century. These people honestly believe that they are the “walking saints” of the modern era.

          Meanwhile, as the classes separate even further, anger and resentment is bubbling furiously and is about to boil over in our melting pot of a nation. We saw this first in North Africa, than the Middle East, Greece, and now England. Next up will be France. It’s only a matter of time until civil unrest explodes into violence on our continent.


          • Moe
            August 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm

            We can add it the drug wars in Mexico that are spillilng into the Southern US (we asked for it!). I’m not particularly hopeful.

            But I don’t think what’s happening here is similar to the middle east, Greece or England. I think in the middle East we could see a generations long ‘revolution’ and maybe even some wars – that might be considered th elong delayed Arab ‘Reformation’ – a turning point in those cultures.

            For us though, I think we’re more likely to implode within and I”ve no idea what shape something like that would take.

            If I were younger, I’d move to Candada!


  4. August 15, 2011 at 2:53 am

    I never have understood people who are christian to the point of being annoying, yet seem to claim that Jesus wants them to be wealthy.
    I guess they conveniently skip the scriptures about living an austere life of prayer and fasting.


  5. August 15, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Good post and I believe you are right….there is a list of indicators that I am working on for Info Ink…..well done!


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