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Essay on Faith Verses Orgainized Religion

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In the novel A Portrait of The Artist as Young Man by James Joyce, readers see Stephen go through life with faith, surrounded by others with faith and religious activities. After a while, Steven loses sight of true faith, forgets God and becomes an artist. Compared to “Portrait”, many skeptics in today’s culture have a mind set that organized religion does more harm than good. Many of these people make persuasive arguments that are or can be conclusive. In some cases they think or say, no matter what domination, a church, which is considered part of the organized religiosity, has too much power or it is filled with politics. Also some make the argument that, rituals take away from God and put emphasis on one’s self.
The main character, Steven in chapter three realized that he sinned against the almighty God and needed to repent, as the audience may recall to memory he became obsessed with his sexual desires and acted them out accordingly. The main character is taught by Catholicism to confess to the clergy when he had done something contrary to Gods law. Stephen realizes that he needs to get right in God’s eyes, knowing “what to do”, he gets over his own selfishness “His pride in his own sin,” (Portrait, Pg 73). So Stephen confesses to the preacher every sin that he had done including pre-martial sex and asks for forgiveness. The preacher then cautiously warns him that participating in this sin will take over his life. After this confession he found his “faith” and became a new man. “Sunday was dedicated to the mystery of the Holy Trinity, Monday to the Holy Ghost, Tuesday to the Guardian Angel…” (Portrait, pg103). As the story comes to a close, Stephen immediately jumped from being only concerned with himself, doin...


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...n cause a great downfall in one’s own faith ultimately leading to destruction. Organized religion is great thing to build faith but when it becomes your life then it can be harmful.



Works Cited

Akca, Catherine. "Religion and Identity in James Joyce's A Portrait of the
Artist as a Young Man." International University of Sarajevo . Fall 2008.
PDF file.

Joyce, James. A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man . New York: Dover
Publication, INC., 1994. Print.

Leege, David C., and Lyman A. Kellstedt. Rediscovering the religious factor in
American politics. Armonk, New York : M.E Sharpe Inc. , 1993. Google Book .
Web. 7 Mar. 2011.

Reynolds, Mary T. James Joyce: A Collection of Critical Essays. The Sermon as a
Massproduct: “Grace” and A Portrait. Englewood
Cliffs, New Jersey: A Simon & Schuster Company, 1993. Print.


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