Commentary: Mightier Than The Sword (Part Fourteen)
John Ritenbaugh, reiterating that, although Transcendentalism never achieved a major following in American religious practice, Emerson's teachings were highly influential in the Ivy League universities—Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. His teachings were said to provide a jolt to Christianity as practiced in New England following the Puritan/Separatist leanings of the Bay Colony Pilgrims, much like a blow to the stomach in a vigorous pillow fight. Even though Emerson was married and fathered a son, he had apparently written in his earlier journals of a torrid affair with one Martin Gay, leading to speculations that the etymology of the term 'gay' may have derived from this reference. Emerson also amalgamated strains from Buddhism and Hinduism, leading to some of his nihilistic references to blending into a nirvana-like Over-Soul. His insistence that every person is free to be his 'own god,' determining what is right in his own eyes, serves as the underpinnings of the ascendant, emergent religion of humanism, rapidly and savagely neutralizing all mainstream religions in North America.
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