The Judeo-Christian History
The Judeo-Christian history traverses a period of nearly 2,000 years, beginning with the confession of Peter, and the establishment of the church by Jesus Christ. Catholic doctrine states that Christ is the head of his Mystical Body, the Catholic Church, which is the world’s oldest and largest institution. During the period of 1000 to 1600, the Catholic Church intended for its main goal as a basis for unity. Paradoxically, they sermonized so much on this topic that more people looked to the church instead of Christ as their redeemer.
As a consequence of this, the Catholic Church and the Christian religion suffered from corruption and moral problems. The Catholic Church was organized in division analogous to the Roman Empire. The bishop became the head of the church and had total authority. THE DETAILS: Judeo-Christianity says that man is incorrigibly flawed and a vulnerable offender. He is alienated from the Almighty and lacks all spirituality, and absolutely incapable of saving himself through his own endeavor unaided. Nevertheless God still is keen on this corrupt creature.
Therefore He sent Christ as an expression of His adoration and the means for man to achieve salvation. Salvation does not mean exceeding the individuality or self-esteem; the character remains as a defective modest being, the only dissimilarity being it is no longer separated from God. The very exceptional subsistence is of the nature of suffering, and there is no such thing as a persevering self or soul. PHILOSOPHERS IN WESTERN CHRISTIANITY: The two biggest names that come into mind when one speaks of faith and God are St. Augustine and Aquinas.
The two names stand tall, undefeated and unquestioned in the golden pages of western Christianity, reflecting the hearts and minds of people of their times and the times to follow. They devoted their entire lives understanding and interpreting man’s salvation from his hopeless plight. Their observations and descriptions of human motives and emotions, their thorough analyses of will and thought in their interaction, and their deep explorations of the inner nature of the human self, have established one of the main traditions in Christian conceptions of human nature, even down to our own times.
They strived to explain and justify the obvious presence of an omnipotent and omnipresent power, much superior to mortal imagination; a power that the common man so casually calls God. They aspired to save Christianity from the disruption of heresy and the calumnies of the pagans, and most importantly to renew and exalt the faithful hearing of the gospel of man’s utter needs and God’s abundant grace. Even today, in the important theological revival of our own times, their influences are the most potent and productive impulses at work.
They were never against celebrating God’s abundant mercy and grace but also fully persuaded that the vast majority of mankind was condemned to a wholly just and appalling damnation. They never denied the reality of human freedom but never allowed the excuse of human irresponsibility before God, vigorously insisting both double predestination and irresistible grace. Essentially a conservative genius, St. Augustine recast the patristic tradition into a new pattern into which European Christianity had to be molded into.
He regarded himself more a defender of the Church’s faith, doctrines and ideas than that of the Church. Fully deserving his aptest title, Doctor Gratiae, St. Augustine displays the sovereign God of grace and the sovereign grace of God as his central theme. Augustine is one of the very few great men whose impacts on the concepts of good and evil cannot be ignored or depreciated in any estimate of Western civilization without serious distortion and impoverishment of one’s historical and religious understanding.
He conserved all main motifs of Latin Christianity from Tertullian to Ambrose, appropriating the heritage of Nicene orthodoxy and drawing all this into an unsystematic synthesis of the concept of God. He deliberately reconstructed the religious philosophy of the Greco-Roman world into a new apologetic use in maintaining the intelligibility of the Christian proclamation. The core of his views and motives were the Holy Scriptures that steered his heart and mind in the directions of religious authority.
He did not invent the doctrines of original sin and seminal transmission of guilt but he did set them as cornerstones in his “system,” matching them with a doctrine of infant baptism that cancels birth sin and hereditary guilt. Although St. Augustine doubted much of the human race’s ability to life a life without sin, his writing points to a high standard of living in that he hopes and desires that this may be possible. Sophocles is one of those great writers and philosophers whose impact upon the consciences of people of his generation and many more to come, can hardly be ignored.
An important phase of his life included his involvement in politics. “Aristotle, on the other hand, speaks of a perfect or ideal society and puts a high value on moderation” (Hacker 81) The influence of Aristotle on the history of Christianity, virtues and modern politics is a subject that has been discussed for many years. The importance of Aristotle on the formulation of political theories, outside of the Mediterranean region, is not in dispute. The understanding that he had of the political influence of religion resulted in his permanent placement in the annul of political history.
“Aristotle supposes that Plato is underrating the qualitative alteration in individual temperament and traits that would have to take place in order to attain his utopia” (Hacker 81) Augustine, in the very beginning of the book, repents for not being baptized, as his mother so eagerly wanted him to. Also believed that apart from those who are not actual sinners, God also avenges those who are not baptized, as baptism in the Almighty’s eyes, is the portal of the faith a mortal holds. He presses that God punishes them who being Christians, do not adore the Almighty.
He feels that a disobedient person, despite his religious beliefs will be punished in a different level of hell depending on their moral ‘crime’ or sin. According to Augustine, the desires to touch, to please, to acquire gold, to achieve worldly honor and the powers to command and overcome were not inherently evil actions or sins, only the conscious choice to pursue them was. He sees these desires to be the a part of every mortal’s life. He feels that in achieving these, man must not depart from the almighty. He sees pride wearing the mask of high-spiritedness.
“O God, art high above all, Ambition seeks honor and glory, whereas only thou shouldst be honored above all, and glorified forever”(St. Augustine book2, 13). Cicero also sees these sins in the same way. In his journeys through the dungeons of hell,he encounters several characters like warriors, kings and soldiers, beings punished by the almighty because of their greed to overcome and acquire fame, glory and gold. So they both believed that man pursues the path of sinning when he marches on, in greed for power, fame and glory.
Augustine believed there was no rational process to gage the actions of others, other than one’s personal reason. Reason, therefore he thought was the most important of the human virtues that can never be corrupted by the passions of evil or by the sinful motivations of others. Dante, on the other hand describes fortune as a ministeress of the heavens and a guide, beyond the resistance of all human wisdom. He believes that she has been given the freedom to change from time to time, from person to person.
At the crest of man’s well being, man must not dance to the tunes of pride and offend her and when a man fails or when in misery, he must not curse her but patiently pray to her to come back. He believes that God spies’ man’s every deed very closely. Augustine too thanks his merciful God for all the gifts and pleasures that were showered upon him, but he knows well these are all short lived. Augustine describes sinning as an act a person commits right from the early days of his infancy. He opens up his self to the almighty and confesses to him, revealing his past sins.
He recalls his act of barbarism, as a child and then as a man, unhappy, selfish and never prone to satisfaction. He confesses about his numerous lies; to his parents, to his tutor, to his friends and to all whom he was loved by, and Augustine knows that the almighty had been watching all and yet silently and patiently forgave all his sins. But he also says that the day was not too far when he shall be punished, “Anger seeks revenge; but who avenges more justly than thou? “(St. Augustine book2, 13).
Augustine talks about theft as a sin, not only as defined by law but obvious to all human hearts. He feels guilty for he knew that stealing was wrong and still had a desire to commit it and more so because he did not desire to enjoy what he stole, but only the theft and the sin itself, having no inducement to evil but the evil itself. Sophocles also describes sins like fraud and theft to be a peculiar vice of man and feels that the Lord regards such sins to be unforgivable in any state of human conscience. Augustine believed that anger and violence were the greatest enemies of man.
“Anger seeks revenge; but who avenges more justly than thou? “(St. Augustine book2, 13). He says that by resorting to violence and anger, man harms himself the most and in the process, commits a sin most disliked by the lord. Sophocles too believes that man brings his own downfall when he follows the paths of resentment and rage and in doing so gets steered and diverted away from goodness and god. Augustine feels that man becomes corrupt in the eyes of the Lord although he might still be pleasing to his own eyes and desperate to please the eyes of mortals.
In his book he confesses to the lord recalling the hot imagination of puberty and the mists of passion, steaming up out of the puddly concupiscence of the flesh, obscuring his heart and soul, leaving him unable to distinguish pure affection from unholy desire. Sophocles also writes about his encounters with numerous sinners who seduced women and lost control of their lust. They confess to Dante, accepting their wrongs and evil deeds and agreeing that they deserved the treatment they were being given in the realms of hell. CONCLUSION: Almost all the Greek philosophers too regard the harm to nature as a major sin.
They accuse astrologers, diviners, fate-readers, magicians, falsifiers and other such professionals as sinners in the eyes of the lord as they distort god’s plans and diminish the love that the sons and daughters of mother nature aught to have for her. They also perceive very similarly about god’s abundant grace and mercy. ” Hear me, O God! Woe to the sins of men! “(Augustine 13). Augustine feels that when a man cries and repents, god shows him mercy for it was he who created man but not the sin inside him and that there is nothing out of sight of the almighty and it is he who makes man aware of his sins and wrongs.
He believes that there is nothing and no one that is free from sin in the Almighty’s eyes, not even the infant who has lived but a day upon this earth and that man does realize his sins of infancy when he looks at himself in a child of the present. Although in different forms and times, both men teach the generations of their times and the ones to follow the same lesson; a lesson of a universal, ever lasting, ever existing truth of the power of a redeeming God, and his forgiveness.
Thus, the definition of sin for the greats had the same meaning; absolution. Reference: St. Augustine. CONFESSIONS. Online. Retrieved 17December 2008. Hacker, Andrew. POLITICAL THEORY: PHILOSOPHY, IDEOLOGY, Science. New York: Macmillan, 1961. Hundert, E. J. “AUGUSTINE AND THE SOURCES OF THE DIVIDED SELF”. Political Theory. 20 No. 1 (1992): 88 Ibid Studia Patristica Vol. XXXVIII – ST. AUGUSTINE AND HIS OPPONENTS. E. J. Yarnold, M. F. Wiles Peeters Publishers, 2001 ISBN 9042909641,Sample Essay of PaperDon.com