The Great Awakening

Lead: Out of the intellectual ferment of the Eighteenth Century Enlightenment emerged a rush of devout pietism. The Great Awakening helped transform American religious life.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The wars of religion that convulsed Europe following the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Revival in the 1500s and 1600s provoked a growing revulsion among Europe’s intellectual elite against intolerance and sectarian violence. This, combined with the spreading awareness of the previous century’s scientific discoveries and progress, shaped a new way of thinking about the world. Less religious in its orientation with more emphasis on the accomplishments of man, the Enlightenment, through its major spokesmen, Frenchmen Voltaire, Diderot, Montesquieu and their many followers in western Europe and North America, stressed the importance of individual achievement, rational thought, happiness in this world not salvation in the next, and liberty.

Roger Williams and the Founding of Rhode Island

Lead: In 1636 Roger Williams, banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, founded the colony of Rhode Island, a unique constitutional experiment in religious toleration.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Puritan preacher Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts because his unorthodox views threatened colonial officials. Williams, a champion of religious freedom and favoring payment to Native Americans for unjust expropriation of their land, was banished from the colony in 1635 and ,before he could be deported back to England, he escaped south during the bitter winter and settled on Narragansett Bay near present-day Newport. There he became friendly with the Narragansett Indians and purchased from them land at the head of the bay. There, Williams established a village and a new colony, Rhode Island. Williams named the settlement Providence for what Williams said was his gratitude “for God’s merciful providence unto me in my distress.”

James Caldwell: The Soldier’s Parson

Lead: When his troops ran out of wadding for their weapons, James Caldwell found a musical substitute.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts

Content: At the time of the Revolution much leadership on the side of independence came from clergymen. In the middle colonies many Presbyterian pastors were in the vanguard of the Patriot cause. One of them was James Caldwell. Virginia born and Princeton educated Pastor Caldwell was chaplain of the 3rd N.J. Regiment. His enthusiasm for the Patriot cause earned him the love of his troops, but much resentment as well. Both his home and church at Elizabethtown, N.J. were burned by Tories raiding parties.


Read more →

Savonarola II

Lead: At the height of the Renaissance in Florence, Fra Girolamo Savonarola thundered against corruption, ostentation, and vanity in civil affairs and in the life of the Roman Catholic Church. He paid for his meddling with his life.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Savonarola was born into privilege in 1452. Educated to follow his father as court physician in Ferrara, Italy, he turned to the Dominican priesthood, and served in various assignments with increasing scholarly reputation. It was in Florence, however, at the Monastery of San Marco after 1489, that he developed the passionate preaching style that compelled him into prominence and popularity.

Savonarola I

Lead: In the Renaissance capital of Florence, Italy, the terrible and powerful voice of Fra Girolimo Savonarola was raised against corruption in both church and state. He also raised powerful enemies.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Having helped create and nurture European civilization in the long centuries since the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Church of Rome by 1500 was the single unifying institution on the continent. Millions, high and low, saw in the Church the path to eternal salvation, worshipped in her precincts, contributed to her their treasure, and sought solace from a life that Thomas Hobbes would later describe as solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Despite the devotion of countless numbers, there was trouble in Zion. With clear justification, many considered the Church to be set at rot, absorbed by worldly obsessions, ensnared by political and military ambitions, hopelessly and morally bankrupt.

Suppression of Galileo II

Lead: Condemned in 1632, the Italian scientist was not given reprieve until 1993.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Galileo, the Italian mathematician and astronomer, believed along with the Polish scholar Copernicus' that the earth revolved around the sun. The Roman Catholic Church disagreed. It taught that the earth was the center of the universe and in 1616 told Galileo to cease and disist his teachings on the subject. In 1624 there was a new pope, he was a long time friend and protector of Galileo and the scientist thought that perhaps a personal appeal would bring him some relief. He felt that it was dangerous for the church to champion a position so vulnerable to scientific evidence, that if people found themselves convinced by proof of something that it was made a sin to believe, they would reject the church's teachings in other areas and perhaps even attracted to the new Protestant ideas coming from Martin Luther in northern Germany.

Read more →

Suppression of Galileo I

Lead: Few early scientists contributed as much to the understanding of the way the universe works as Galileo but in his lifetime he was not popular.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Galileo Galilei was the son of a poor nobleman and destined for a medical career. Yet, while at the University of Pisa in northern Italy, he became fascinated with mathematics and by 1589 was teaching at the University level. Fairly early in his career, he came to believe the theory taught by the Polish mathematician Copernicus that the planets revolve around the sun, but was hesitant to teach this openly because of the almost universal acceptance of the older theory which placed the earth of the center of the universe.


Read more →

History’s Turning Points: Tentmaker from Tarsus

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. We examine history’s turning points: the tentmaker from Tarsus.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: He began life in his own words as “a Jew of the Jews.” Paul of Tarsus was a member of the Pharisees, a school of Judaism known for its zeal for orthodoxy. His early encounters with the emerging Jewish sect that would eventually separate into Christianity revealed his zealotry by going after the growing number of adherents of Jesus who were claiming that the crucified and very dead Nazarene had come back from the dead. Commissioned to attack the followers of Jesus in the city of Damascus, he wrote later that on the way he was felled by a bright light and what he described as the transforming voice of Jesus himself. This son of Judaism switched loyalties and was soon proselytizing alongside, though barely tolerated by, the understandably suspicious original disciples, those who had actually known Jesus. And in this came one of history’s turning points.