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Religious Philosophy, Essay Example

Pages: 7

Words: 1920

Essay

Tillich, Chapter 1: “Being and Courage”

According to Tillich, the concept of being is as ambiguous as the creation story and Gods nature. God’s nature can either be in abstract or physical form which gives several identities used in God’s description and proof of existence. With that, he contests the earlier prepositions by the traditional theory, which posited that God’s existence began way before creation. He terms the state of God’s being as based on a power that transcends human understanding. He, therefore, proposes the “method of correlation,” which draws a line between Christian teachings and psychological and existential analysis. Human beings can substantiate their existence because they have a conscience, while God is more powerful than a concrete being. God has hidden away from human beings, making it hags to conclude that God is a being. Tillich is also described as a mixed ethical and ontological concept. It is naturally ethical to be courageous and face tough situations. Similarly, courage is finding one’s self-affirmation and fighting against situations that seem to challenge an individual’s self-affirmation. Courage is, therefore, a mixed concept where one needs to have an identity and protect that identity despite external pressures.

Tillich, Chapter 3: “Pathological Anxiety, Vitality, & Courage.”

Tillich gives analyses and views on three relative concepts. First, he talks about pathological anxiety, which is different from fear. He defines fear as the negative perceptions towards an object. Fear limits are associated with certain objects because of intuitional conditioning that informs the mind to avoid relating to an object or situation. However, anxiety is a construct of nothingness when individuals feel no direction. Anxiety, therefore, arises from a lack of purpose and attention, with an individual being in pathological oblivion. Tillich describe vitality as the inner strength that helps an individual fight negative perceptions and emotions. There is a slight difference between vitality and courage. While vitality is inward strength that prevents one from sinking into fear and anxiety, courage is the acceptance of negative situations like anxiety and fear and going through them. Courage entails self-affirmation, which identifies personal weaknesses and strengths, then isolating the weaknesses from strengths. Courage, therefore, informs a person’s ability to go through psychological degradation and achieve emotional, psychological, and physical strength. In other words, courage is the upper side of pathological cognition that uses vitality to encounter fear and anxiety.

Tillich, Chapter 5: “Courage & Individuation.”

Tillich also draws a line between courage and individuation. Courage is a derivative of individuation, a progressive psychological change induced by internal and external forces. Individuation is the gradual change in personality from unpredictable personality traits to stable personalities which identify an individual. In strengthening a person’s personality, the individual is influenced by their immediate environment and thought processes, which result from a person’s interpretation of their environment. To develop a concrete personality, their subconscious understanding of their environment is strengthened through mental development. The individual, therefore, begins to establish a specific character that becomes their identity. An individual begins to intercept objects and situations differently with a concrete identity. A positive cognition leads to courage. With such an identity, one develops an identity and courage the courage to maintain their identity, which Tillich terms as the “identity to be oneself.” One believes that they are acting independently and remain consistent with their identity. Tillich also talks about modernism and freedom, specifically outlining how modern identity promotes the urge and will to be independent-minded. One behaves and acts according to how they deem right, resulting from individuation. Modernity, therefore, strengthens self-identity and the desire to be oneself and not be influenced by external factors.

Girard, Part One: “The Biblical Knowledge of Violence”

Girard talks widely about the provisions of the scriptures and how human beings have translated those provisions. To begin with, the Bible dictates what humans should and should not do. These provisions, according to Girard, are non-negotiable if a person has to live a righteous and fulfilling life. The Ten Commandments specify actions that human beings should not commit, such as restrictions on “murder, adultery, stealing, bearing false witness, and coveting people’s properties”. However, Satan has a way of influencing human thoughts by creating knowledge and liberty. Girard explains that the path created by Satan is wide and smooth, such that one would not be wary of their violation of God’s words and the Ten Commandments. Girard, therefore, poses an argument that any action that goes contrary to the Bible is a form of violence in the Christian context. While human beings may strive to do their best to avoid biblical violence, Satan infiltrates a form of destructive knowledge that convinces them that their actions are justified, hence more violence. However, Girard says that all forms of violence will be neutralized by God’s power when Satan’s kingdom on earth will be dusted, and in its place will be God’s kingdom. Therefore, according to Girard, violence is disobedience to God’s words and commandments.

Girard, cont, Part Two: “The Enigma of the Myth Resolved”

Girard talks about one of the most controversial topics in Greek culture. Apollonius of Tyana was a famous figure in the Greek empire and constituted how antichrist groups based their rebellion against Christianity. From the accounts about his life, Apollonius had extraordinary powers, which was a similar element to what Jesus had. Different scholars have inquired about the mythological inquiries into whether the miracles performed by Apollonius were real or not. For example, it is reported that Apollonius foresaw the death of the Roman emperor died during the same time the emperor died. Modern theologists and researchers say that he had a strong sixth sense. Girard discerns by claiming that there would be no justifications of any claims about whether Apollonius had powers or performed miracles because whatever he did appeal to the people at the time according to their knowledge and understanding. He maintains that God only sent Jesus as his Son, and it is Jesus who performed holy miracles. There might have been ‘miracles that Apollonius performed, but any element in the scriptures does not substantiate them. The antichrist faction used Apollonius’s life to justify their beliefs means that Satan created a diversion for people to go against God’s teachings.

Girard, Part Three: “The Victory of the Cross”

Girard discusses the significance of the cross to a Christian’s life, much as a climax to the love of God by giving his only Son. Jesus brought the gospel for the thirsty in soul and salvation for those who had grown weary of evil. The biggest message that he preached was love, love for one’s neighbors, and love for God. Christians, therefore, understand the essence of God’s love through the work on the cross. We are reminded of Jesus’ word’s on the cross, “it is finished.” Jesus, therefore, declared an end to all sorts of suffering and debt. He shouldered the agony that humankind had struggled with over the years and let off people to enjoy the love of God. The work on the cross was the final sign of reconciliation between God and human beings after sinning in the Garden of Eden. Through his tribulations and suffering, Jesus was paying the price for our salvation. Jesus’ heroics became evident when he took all the suffering without complaint. Girard says that Jesus shows Satan that God is the highest power and his love for his children is absolute, such that there would be no purer love more than God’s. Christians, therefore, saw victory because from work on the cross, they gained salvation and were reconciled with God. Even today, Christian use the cross as a holy symbol of victory and hope. Every Christian contends with the cross as the symbol of Christianity. Some denominations have therefore continued using the cross to signify their Christianity. I.e. the crucifix for Catholics.

Altizer, Chapter 1, “The Uniqueness of Christianity.”

Altizer talks about the concept of Christianity and its uniqueness from other religions. Christianity entails a multi-faceted string of beliefs that range from the concept of God and his existence in its entirety. It is only Christians who believe in three elements about God. “God is the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”. God is the manifestation of his own self but in different forms. Christian beliefs, therefore, posit that God reincarnated himself without losing his nature as the all-powerful God. Christians also rely on the primordial state of God, which is the God who existed before time. There is also a three-faced belief about God: who was, who is, and who will always be. Altizer argues that the incarnation of God through his Son would only be real if it changes the initial sacrality. Therefore, Christians base their beliefs on the power of the Supreme Being to be manifested in the incarnation of the holy trinity. His existence draws elements of his power, and his incarnation manifests the reality of his existence. Therefore, the uniqueness of Christianity is the differentiated beliefs based on God’s existence, form, and origin.

Altizer, Chapter 3: “God and History.”

Historically, Altizer claims that there are two forms in which God has presented himself. God presents himself in the primordial form, where he hides his identity. In this form, God only showed his identity through symbols and objects but remained hidden throughout human history. He did maintain his secrecy to have total control over humans through his actions. God also remodeled himself into human form and lived among humans to identify with nature. Altizer argues that God emptied his sacrality when assuming human flesh and blood. God gave away his utmost purity for a sinful form when he identified with the human form. Altizer, therefore, argues that Christians can only know one God. If the Christian knows the formless and discreet God, they cannot identify with the other form. If one belies in the God who is characterized with being omnipresent, then they cannot rely on the God who died of the cross. Altizer says that Christians must now appreciate a radical approach towards understanding God’s true nature. History results in the telling and retelling of God’s nature that continues to alter God’s true identity. There is also the discussion of God’s nature and the reality of his grace. Altizer notes that God is omnipresent, to mean that he monitors human activities all the time, but chooses not to punish humans for their transgressions.

Altizer, Chapter 4: “The Self-Annihilation of God.”

Altizer recognizes that Christians ‘ faith is based on God’s ability to negate himself to save humankind. Altizer says that there is so much confusion when understanding God’s nature. There are questions why God would give himself to the world, to be identified to the sinful flesh only to kill himself for his children, whom he would have cleansed from heaven. Christians, therefore, believe in God’s love which is seen from his self-annihilation. Altizer also approaches this concern from the radical perspective, saying that skeptical Christians seek knowledge about God’s death. Modern Christianity has realized that God manifests himself through metamorphosis, where embraces all forms to conform to human understanding. Altizer concludes that God’s death which results from his self-annihilation, is not a symbol of doom to Christians but a symbol of victory over darkness and evil. Altizer also notes that only Christians speak triumphantly about God’s death, for in God’s death, there is victory. God’s death symbolizes the strength of an evolving and complexes God in the Christian context. The Christian God does so much for his people and sacrifices himself to bring his people closer to him. Therefore, Christians are atoned and redeemed through his death to begin life anew.

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