Role of Religion in Victorian Life Essay

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Role of Religion in Victorian Life

Religion throughout history has been a dominating social factor, and in Britain during the nineteenth century, this same religious domination can be seen. The Victorian era was marked by the Church of England which developed such an influence in politics as well as religion that it became difficult to separate the two (Yi 1). The tyrannical power of the church fostered many problems (lack of space, not relating to its people, hypocrisy, etc.) and created an air where a variety of dissenting groups could form and develop (1). The atmosphere of the high church compared to that of the dissenting groups explains why the shift of religion occurred with such a large response.

Wealthy (High Church) vs.
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This example of people buying pieces of the church displays how it was growing more concerned with political and economic interests and less concerned with its common congregation and spirituality. The church's dependence on these interests created a place that did not welcome the middle and lower class worshippers, but was a ”preserve of the younger sons of members of the aristocracy who had little interest in religion and less interest in the growing numbers of urban poor” (Cody). This close relationship between church and state created a hostile atmosphere between it and society. The Church developed associations to the social burdens of the time--poverty, disease, and oppression--and became known as a group of “elite hypocrites” rather than a mass of parishioners (Yi 3). Since the high church only preached to about fourteen percent of the population in England, it was only a matter of time before the majority rose up and found spiritual refuge among the dissenting groups (Cody).

Service and Worship
Style of worship differed greatly between the Church of England and the dissenters. The Church of England had a more rigid, formal structure to it, where the dissenting churches allowed for the freedom of expression--class and respectability did not allocate where you would sit (Cody). Adorning your “Sunday best” was no longer a requirement for attendance. This tradition of the Church of England humiliated the lower classes because many “sacrificed their 'Sunday

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