Scottish Presbyterianism was strongly Calvinist, with an emphasis on predestination and hellfire. “I shall never forget,” James wrote in his early twenties, “the dismal hours of apprehension that I have endured in my youth from narrow notions of religion while my tender mind was lacerated with the infernal horror.” He would have been required to memorize the Shorter Catechism, which declared that “all mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.” When he had a chance to meet Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who was also raised a Calvinist but adopted a much more generous view of religion, he told him bitterly that he had been taught to fear “the terrible being whom those about me called God.”3 Damrosch, Leo. The Club (Kindle Locations 936-939). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition. Damrosch, Leo. The Club (Kindle Locations 933-936). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.

— Real fear of God and Hell  

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