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Christianity and Culture

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Submitted By manguy2011
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Nietzsche's basic radical contentions were the new traditional values represented primarily by Christianity create a loss of power in the lives of individuals. His most “dangerous idea” he expresses a proclamation “God is dead.” He was convinced these new customary values presented in the Christian religions represented a slave morality (Class Notes). This was a morality which was created by weak and resentful individuals who encouraged such behavior as gentleness and kindness because the behavior served their interests in the afterlife. I do not believe that Nietzsche's bold ideas and provocative language were not meant to please the aristocratic elite but to free individuals from the solitude of their pathetic lives. When Nietzsche spoke of slavish morality or of contemporary Europe in general, he gave an offensive outlet to his abhorrence at what culture has done in the name of morality. He rejects society's repugnance of the self-contained peoples who point out its hypocrisies of class, ranks, and morals. The solitary is he who challenges society's desire to turn the human being into an animal. Nietzsche’s viewpoint, to fully understand the concepts of Good and Evil vs. Good and Bad, one must first understand certain how moral systems developed and how culture played a role in its development. Nietzsche felt that moral systems were not created by exterior beings. He feels that moral systems are developed from within a society. This claim was one of the reasons his works were so provocative during his era. Nietzsche had a tendency to make outrageous claims and he used an evocative style. As a result, his philosophy caused intense reactions of either hatred towards him or love. He directly attacked society as a whole and what was wrong with the people. Nietzsche portrays a distinction between ethics and the code of conduct which is run under the morality of good and evil. However, because the two go hand in hand, he alludes to the fact that they go hand in hand with each other in a morally concerned society. He describes

ethics as if it is the fundamental concern with the relationship with one’s self and others. Nietzsche sees any ethics under the signature of morality as a compliant to a code of conduct, even to a general good, in terms of violence towards the singular other.

With the death of God we can mark the end of the moral judgment in the world under the rule of God. The idea of God, at least as perfect, moralistic God who judges us, and before whom everyone is equal belongs with slave morality, not nobility. To be noble, one’s response to suffering, in oneself as much as in others, must not be to lighten it, but to use it to become greater. The noble person suffers greatly but is unwilling to cease their commitment to being great. Nor will they invite pity. This Nietzsche says, is what makes them stronger people. They have a willingness to take responsibility, and an ability to tolerate. The radical manner in which Nietzsche denounces against the teachings of conventional Christian morality and dramatically proclaimed that God was dead was considered a very dangerous idea during his time.

The people in Corinth seemed to be worshiping the prophets of God instead of God himself. They also had factions and cliques amongst themselves; Paul saw the quarrels that were going on, and knew it was his duty so do something. Condemning these divisions Paul explains the truth about wisdom and faith, and what his job as a messenger of God is. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he says “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone thinks that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written” Cr 3:18-23 Paul’s concern is for the people to realize their arrogance and foolishness. The wisdom in which the people claimed to have obtained is unattainable for humans. As wise as they all thought they were, it was never going to compare to that of God’s. (Class Notes) For Paul wisdom is achieved by unity and development of the

Gospel, i.e. The Eucharist. He deems that the only way to gain wisdom is to get an understanding of the Crucifixion of Jesus. The resurrection is a crucial element to grasp when studying the Christian faith. Paul states that not one person can achieve true wisdom by himself, and if he thinks he can then he is a fool indeed for wisdom is obtained as a community. At this time, the faith of the church is contaminated with worldly material attachments. The wisdom in which Paul speaks of is not of this world, the material world, but of the spiritual world in which God presides in. In regards to the people however, this is not exactly what they wanted to hear. He is telling them that love is more important than everything else, and if they lose that, they are useless or worse. At that time however, the Corinthians had made sexual immorality rampant that for them it was the most important aspect of their lives and they had made a religion out of it. The Corinthian people were insulted by the connotations Paul alluded to in his letters. They felt as though Paul came to Corinth and acted as the judge over the Corinthians. I do not believe they fully understood or appreciated Paul just coming into their city and changing their ways in which they lived by for so long. Naturally problems developed about the setting and maintenance of appropriate community boundaries between the church and the world. Many in the church thought they could continue their former pagan associations and practices. Influenced by pagan ideas, they thought a person’s spirit was what really mattered and so a person could do what they liked with their body.

In the early seventeenth century, Galileo sent shockwaves through society by questioning commonly held assumptions regarding the structure of the universe. The Church became alarmed at what Galileo and his inventions and theories were doing to the foundations of Catholic teachings regarding God’s role in creation. Galileo however, was hoping to establish the separation of science and religion: where there is no way to establish by science the truth or

otherwise of a theory, it is proper to resort to a literal reading of the relevant Biblical opinions; but where science can be used, we should interpret the Scripture in light of what science tells us can or cannot be so. His aim was to save the Church, to keep it open to new ideas and to have it work things out through debate. He had always felt that the book of scripture and the book of nature shouldn't contradict each other. He quite clearly stated, however, that where "one may firmly believe that it is possible to have" scientific justification to the contrary of a literal reading, we should defer to science and allow it to guide our interpretation. At that time however, the Christian Churches believed that the earth orbited the sun and pointed to the Bible for proof. The church believed that Galileo’s theories were heresies to the church I believe that Galileo's discoveries should be active in helping understand what the problematic Biblical passages actually entail. He was faced the Inquisition on charges of heresy because of his belief in his scientific theory. Galileo was convicted of heresy, threatened with torture and forced to recant. He did in fact renounce his theories and stated that he firmly believed that the Earth did not move, and was sentenced to a prison term. He lived an extraordinary life full of controversy, defiance and brilliance. Galileo had not allowed his opponents to silence him in the normal ways, so they looked to silence him through creating theological trouble. These men openly accused Galileo of contradicting the Bible, and set about creating popular suspicion against Galileo in order to catch the attention of the church authorities.

Kant was my least favorite, so in my case I saved him for last and will probably write the least about him and his questionable morals and theories. I think this is the main weakness in Kant's thinking, that he cannot see concepts as experiences. The basic intention of Kant’s entire practical philosophy was the attempt to determine, on the basis of r for

Kant, humans are essentially rational beings, it follows that, when they are determined by rational principles, they are not determined by anything exterior to their nature. as on alone, what is right and what is wrong, or what should be morally permitted and forbidden.

Something my father told me a couple years ago before he was leaving again for Iraq. My father said,” It is not the war that makes the person courageous and moral. The war simply provides the avenue for the person to show those attributes. Those attributes were there, in that person, before the war and continue to be after the war.” When I read about Nietzsche and his theories on morals; what my father said immediately came to my mind. Everyone has certain characteristics that they may not know about, until they are placed in a situation in which they are used. I feel as though during that moment, the strong and the weak are divided. “Turning the other cheek” in my opinion is stupid and weak. To survive and prosper we must think about what best benefits ourselves in the long run. Although at first I felt that Nietzsche was boring at first, I have come to understand his ideas a lot better in regards to my own life situations.

It seems to be a constant throughout history: In every period, people believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you would have gotten in terrible trouble for saying otherwise. To anyone who has read any amount of history, the answer is almost certainly no. It would be a remarkable coincidence if ours were the first era to get everything just right. Our restless hearts suggest that the real dangers of the present age are not to be found in an open-ended, pessimistic that encourages us to imagine our world devoid of compelling truths. In every period of history, there seem to have been labels that got applied to statements to shoot them down before anyone had a chance to ask if they were true or not.

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