Free Essay

Fascism

In: Historical Events

Submitted By gdmlm
Words 44275
Pages 178
4 March:
City of God – Utopian Reader – include a little bit on it – 22 volumes in all.
Christianity – Augustine – classicly trained greek scholar. City in north Africa. Story like apostle Paul – orginially a person who persecuted Christians – north African wealth family from – found enlightenment in Christianity. Once he joined became one of the early scholars trained in greek – regulized Christian theology.
Influence on western world – top four or five who influenced. Confessions and City of God his writings…look up!
What’s the purpose of improving human society – complex – why do it?
Can human society be made better? Why bother, what is the point, justification? Takes effort, misery involved, change, unknowns, takes energy, takes risks. HAPPINESS – justification for improving society. What do you have to have to be happy? What is happiness – PHI 101 – happiness according to whom? Lack of misery; literally the elimination of misery. Secondly, food – gives pleasure –
Happiness is lack of human misery and maximizing /pleasure and happiness.
Bliss 24/7 – hedonism
Epicureanism – eliminating misery and maximizing happiness. The justification of utopianism = why did plato want the republic? Justisifcation for improving human society among the Greeks? Poor always poor, always unhappy, death claims everyone - it is rational to maximize pleasure and eliminate misery. Do eternally accouding to plato.
Opinions – 1. Relativism is a retreat in the 20th century. Can’t voice own opinion – can’t change the world – retreatist. Lazy persons out – often times used as avoidance. DO NOT USE AS IMMEDIATE THE POOR MANS WAY OUT OF ARGUMENT. If use, have to have massive justification for it. 2.

a. Define the difference between Greek utopian experiments (2 of them) Plato and Homer refuge
Plato – more of an activist

Homer - the nostalgic Garden of Eden

In addition, define early Christian and Muslim spiritual utopianism. 1. Homer – nostalgic garden of Eden 2. Plato – more activist
Differences and similarities between Greek society and Christian/Muslim in regards to individual b. From an historical perspective: what is the bridge between Greek utopian thought and Christian/Muslim utopian theology?
Point out differences between Christian and Muslim
Historical Greek education: * What Aristotle answered and did – but do not leave out Plato
.

* Naturalism –
Paganism?
* Themes in Christian and modern (post 1500’s) a. Augustine and Aquinas – think these two for c. Augustine and the City of God: The City of God, philosophical treatise vindicating Christianity written by the medieval philosopher Saint Augustine as De civitate Dei about 413–426 ce. A masterpiece of Western culture, The City of God was written in response to pagan claims that the sack of Rome by barbarians in 410 was one of the consequences of the abolition of pagan worship by Christian emperors. St. Augustine responded by asserting, to the contrary, that Christianity saved the city from complete destruction and that Rome’s fall was the result of internal moral decay. He further outlined his vision of two societies, that of the elect (“The City of God”) and that of the damned (“The City of Man”). These “cities” are symbolic embodiments of the two spiritual powers—faith and unbelief—that have contended with each other since the fall of the angels. They are inextricably intermingled on this earth and will remain so until time’s end. St. Augustine also developed his theological interpretation of human history, which he perceives as linear and predestined, beginning with creation and ending with the Second Coming of Christ.
The City of God was one of the most influential works of the Middle Ages. St. Augustine’s famous theory that people need government because they are sinful served as a model for church-state relations in medieval times. He also influenced the work of Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin and many other theologians throughout the centuries.

Aquinas

b. Augustine city of God book – after the initial reformation it was brought back – Muslim?
Augsustine – city of god - c. Averroes sp? Born April 14 1126 in Spain.
Averroes?

______________________________________________________________________________
INTERNET SOURCES:
Constantine I – first Roman emperor to embrace Christianity. He is credited with concverting the roman empire to christiantiy. He ended the persecution of christions and eventually converted – some historians debate the true nature of his faith. Ancient Christian historians enthusiastically portrayed Constantine as a pious Christian convert. In later years some scholars suggested that the emperor simply used the faith to his political advantage. The truth may lie somewhere in between, but Constantine's importance to his adopted religion is beyond doubt. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/timeline_10.html

Transcendentalism
In his 1794 book The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine advanced a religious philosophy called Deism that struck at the tenets of organized religions, particularly Calvinism as it was practiced by the Puritans. Paine claimed that churches were “set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” These thoughts were shocking to Americans who were imbued with a strong religious tradition. At the same time, Paine’s ideas appealed to many Americans who were likewise steeped in the rationality of the Enlightenment period and who had difficulty aligning Calvinist doctrine with reason.
Calvinism held that the essential nature of infants was evil. This belief was called “infant damnation.” Calvinism also subscribed to a belief that there were only a certain few who were “elect” by God from the beginning to be saved. All others were doomed after death regardless of their beliefs or actions in life. Many people objected to the ideas of infant damnation and the powerlessness of the individual to achieve salvation.
Paine’s Deism, by contrast, claimed that human nature was essentially good and that salvation was within reach of every person through faith and good works. Deists believed in a “clockwork” universe. They felt that God had created the world and all the laws that governed it, and then He allowed events to play themselves out as they would without further divine intervention. Deists believed that the laws of the world are knowable to humanity by the application of logic and reason. This contrasted with the Calvinist idea that true knowledge is only obtained by divine revelation as expressed in the Bible. A number of the Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, became Deists.
A new Protestant sect, the Unitarians, formally expressed the philosophy of Deism. Unitarians believed in a single divine deity, the Supreme Being, as opposed to the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit worshipped by most Christians. They also believed in free will, salvation through good works, and the intrinsically moral nature of human beings, including infants and children. The Unitarian creed was rational, optimistic, and non-dogmatic. Unitarianism appealed to many intellectuals and free thinkers of the day.
Others who were unhappy with the Puritan religion chose to return to the Episcopal faith, which was associated with the Anglican Church of England. The Irish and Scots in the United States were already largely Presbyterian. A similar religious group, the Congregationalists, often merged with the Presbyterians in small communities since they differed little in creed. In these ways the religious landscape was changing in the early 1800s, especially among the established, educated people of New England. But the pace of change across the country was soon to quicken.
The Romantic Movement at the turn of the nineteenth century gave expression to a growing conviction throughout Europe and America that there was more to experiencing the world than could be inferred by logic and more to living than could be satisfied by the acquisition of material things. People felt a need to balance reason and calculation with emotion and spirit. The German philosopher Immanuel Kant first framed doubts over rationality as a cure-all for human problems and needs in his Critique of Pure Reason, published in 1781. Sympathetic poets and authors transmuted his ideas into literary works that were meant to be as much apprehended by the soul as understood by the intellect. In England, writers such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, and Tennyson, to name a few, breathed life into Romanticism through their poetry. The Romantics revered nature and felt that contemplation of natural scenes would lead to realization of fundamental truths.
In America, Emerson and Thoreau helped formalize the Romantic Movement into Transcendentalism, a philosophy that reads almost like a faith. The Transcendentalists infused the Romantic impulse with mysticism, a belief in the possibility of direct communion with God and knowledge of ultimate reality through spiritual insight. In part, this was fueled by newly translated Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic texts, which contained elements of mysticism. A thread of the mystic also ran through American Puritanism and in the Quaker faith even more so. Quaker doctrine subscribed to a belief in an Inner Light, which was a gift of God’s grace. The Inner Light expressed itself as divine intuition or knowledge unaccountable by ordinary derivations of thought.
For Transcendentalists, truth is beyond, or transcends, what can be discovered using evidence acquired by the senses. Like the Quakers, Transcendentalists believed that every person possesses an Inner Light that can illuminate the highest truth and put a person in touch with God, whom they called the Oversoul. Since this sort of knowledge of truth is a personal matter, Transcendentalism was committed to development of the self and had little regard for dogma or authority.
Ralph Waldo Emerson took up the Transcendentalist banner after studying at Harvard to be a Unitarian minister. He left what he called the “cold and cheerless” Unitarian pulpit to travel in Europe and talk to Romantic writers and philosophers, including Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Thomas Carlyle. Returning to America, he lived in Concord, Massachusetts, near Boston, where he composed poetry and wrote essays. He supported himself through annual lecture tours and was a very popular speaker.
In 1837 at Harvard, Emerson delivered his influential “American Scholar” lecture that exhorted Americans in the arts to stop turning to Europe for inspiration and instruction and begin developing an American literary and artistic tradition. Emerson preached the philosophy of the Oversoul and the organic, ever-changing nature of the universe, stressing self-reliance, individualism, optimism, and freedom. Though not inclined toward political activism, by the eve of the Civil War, Emerson became an ardent abolitionist.
Another Transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau, wrote essays that have had a profound effect on modern thought. His philosophy of individualism and conscious nonconformism is expressed in his book Walden: Or Life in the Woods (1854) where he describes living a full emotional and intellectual life for two years while residing in a tiny cabin he made himself and existing in every other way at a barely subsistence level. His other work of note is the essay On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. Thoreau was against Texas joining the Union because it would be a slave state. He felt that the United States had involved itself in the Mexican War on behalf of Texas and, therefore, he refused to pay a tax that he felt would support the war effort. For this he was briefly jailed. Thoreau’s tactic of passive resistance was later emulated by Mahatma Gandhi in India in his resistance to British rule and by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his non-violent approach to gaining civil rights.
Romanticism encouraged writing literature of remarkable emotional effects. In the early nineteenth century, Washington Irving (Legend of Sleepy Hollow), James Fenimore Cooper (Last of the Mohicans), and Edgar Allen Poe (The Pit and the Pendulum) made their marks as gifted authors. In the early 1850s, however, in addition to Thoreau’s Walden, American writers produced a dazzling set of classic works inaugurating a golden age in American literature. In this time frame, Nathaniel Hawthorne published The Scarlet Letter and the House of the Seven Gables, Herman Melville produced Moby-Dick, and Walt Whitman composed Leaves of Grass. These were a new breed of distinctly American authors, writing on American subjects and from a uniquely American perspective steeped in native Transcendentalism. Until this time American literature was considered second rate if it was considered at all. In the wake of these contributions, Europe began to look to America for thought and inspiration of true quality.
The Second Great Awakening
At the turn of the nineteenth century, America was still a devotedly church-going nation. Most Americans felt a traditional religious faith to be the foundation of moral character, and many worried that over time the religious imperative would wane into token gestures and empty social structures. These concerns increased with news of the cruelties and excesses of the French Revolution done in the name of reason.
In 1795, Timothy Dwight became president of Yale College, described as a “hotbed of infidelity.” Determined to counter the secular trend in American thinking, Dwight sponsored a series of religious revivals that fired the collective soul of the Yale student body and spread across New England, igniting a religious movement called the Second Great Awakening. The sermons preached from the pulpits of this great revival did not attempt like the old-time Puritans to pressure a captive congregation with dire predictions of a vengeful God’s omniscient power and arbitrary judgments. Rather, they spoke of a benevolent Father whose most passionate desire was the salvation of every one of His children down to the most lost sinner.
At a religious assembly, a person could be saved by faith alone during a conversion experience. Unusual behaviors such as “speaking in tongues” or convulsive fits of religious ecstasy sometimes accompanied these experiences. The only absolute requisite to salvation, however, was an acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice as atonement for one’s sins. All people were free to accept this gift or not. But the fires of everlasting hell, described in lush and vivid imagery, awaited those who turned their backs.
The Second Great Awakening soon spread to the frontier. Beginning in the South and moving northward along the frontier to the Old Northwest, a new institution, the camp meeting, ignited a spiritual fervor that converted thousands and altered the religious landscape of America forever. Many traditional churches were swept away in this new awakening. Others reformed to counter the firestorm of the evangelical preacher.
Camp meetings were generally held in the fall after harvest but before the rigors of winter. For the participants who often traveled considerable distances, religious revivals probably combined the attractions of a retreat, a camp-out, and a much-earned vacation. As many as 25,000 people gathered at revival meetings to hear the gospel preached by charismatic orators who “rode the circuit” from camp to camp.
Besides the spiritual message, revival meetings offered entertainment in an age when other diversions for the average person were either of the homegrown variety or of a quiet, literary nature. A free-wheeling, fire-and-brimstone revival provided an acceptable emotional and social outlet for people of the frontier who were mostly engaged in farming and other rural, labor-intensive agricultural pursuits. Of particular importance, women could attend and participate in religious revivals at a time when many social outlets available to men, such as taverns and fraternal organizations, were neither considered appropriate nor allowed for women. This offered revival preachers a natural female constituency that contributed immeasurably to their success.
In the south, black slaves and freed men and women could also attend segregated, companion revivals. The emotional, spiritual, and social opportunity of such a gathering can scarcely be appreciated in the modern age for its intensity. These meetings gave rise to a rich and remarkable tradition of black preachers who provided not merely social and spiritual but political cohesion to much-beleaguered black communities in the difficult times to come.
Western New York hosted so many revival meetings patronized by the hellfire-and-brimstone variety of preacher that it came to be known as the “burned-over district.” With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, commerce and industry boomed, particularly around Utica in Oneida County. This attracted great numbers of people seeking a fresh start in life. Such seekers were prime subjects for conversion by revivalists because of the social nature of a revival. At a camp meeting, a person joined hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others on an essentially egalitarian basis. Though many were drawn to the meetings for the social aspect, they were easily caught up in the event and followed through with conversion.
The women of Utica were particularly concerned with the spiritual health of their community, and since women did not generally work outside the home they had the time to organize community activities. The Oneida County Female Missionary Society raised sufficient money to support the revival movement in the area for a number of years. The role of women in the Second Great Awakening can scarcely be over-emphasized. Women were converted in equal numbers with men, but once converted tended to be even more solid adherents to their church than their male counterparts. Viewed as the moral center of the family, a woman was responsible for her husband’s and children’s spiritual well being. Women took this responsibility seriously and sought to fulfill it through church participation and, later in the century, through organizing charitable and benevolent associations aimed at social reform.
Evangelists were aware that their power to make converts rested substantially in their influence with women. The new gospels emphasized the importance of the role of women in bringing their families to Christian life. They placed an equal value on the spiritual worth of men and women, in contrast to earlier religions that tended to minimize women’s importance in the spiritual as well as secular spheres. This gender egalitarianism in religious matters marked a break with the past and offered women the opportunity to acquire standing in the community without treading on the secular prerogatives of their husbands. Once this door was opened to them, women continued to play a crucial role in religious life and went on to become pioneers and crusaders in nineteenth century social reform.
Many prominent preachers frequented the pulpits of the burned-over-district. Among them, William Miller gained a following of around 100,000 with a Biblical interpretation of the Second Coming of Christ on October 22, 1844. Failure of the prophecy to materialize did not wholly quench the Millerite movement, which became known as Seventh Day Adventist.
Perhaps the greatest evangelist was the former lawyer Charles Grandison Finney, who conducted an intense, sustained revival in the burned-over-district from 1826 to 1831. Beginning in Utica, he made his way in stages to Rochester and New York City. Church membership grew by tens of thousands wherever he held revivals. A spellbinding orator, Finney preached a theology in pointed contrast to Puritan Calvinism. Salvation could be had by anyone through faith and good works, which he felt flowed from one another. People were the captains of their own fate, and since Judgment Day could come at any time, his hearers should take immediate action to ensure the redemption of themselves and their loved ones.
Finney was a master of showmanship and participatory psychology. His revival agenda included hymn singing and solicitation of personal testimonials from the congregation. He placed an “anxious bench” in the front of the assembly for those teetering on the brink of commitment to Christ. The moment of holy redemption for a bench-sitter became a dramatic event. Finney encouraged women to pray aloud and denounced alcohol and slavery from the pulpit. He felt that mass, public conversions were more effective than the old-style, solitary communion because they emphasized the fraternal nature of church membership. Finney later became president of Oberlin College in Ohio, the first U.S. college to admit women and blacks and a hotbed of abolitionism and evangelical zeal.
The crusading spirit of religious evangelism carried over into secular life and expressed itself in a number of reform movements. Temperance, suffrage, prison reform, and abolition all received an infusion of energy from evangelical vigor. In addition, the traveling preacher expanded the horizons of imagination beyond the local sphere and even beyond the borders of the nation. Supporting a mission in a foreign country or among Native Americans in the West became a binding cause for many churches. Reports from missionaries in such exotic places as Africa, India, or Hawaii were awaited with breathless expectation. As an enticement to listen to their religious message, missionaries often provided medical, technical, and educational benefits to the people in the locale of their mission. In these ways, the Second Great Awakening contributed to changing not just the nation, but the world.
Revivalism did not affect the wealthier, better-educated parts of society that gravitated to Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Unitarian churches as much as it did rural and frontier communities that tended to be Baptist or Methodist. The Baptist faith proved ideal for conditions on the frontier. Baptists believed in a literal reading of the Bible that required no authoritarian interpretation. They also subscribed to the concept of the possibility of any person obtaining salvation through his or her own free will. Above all, however, they believed that a church was its own highest authority and thus avoided the difficulties and delays of petitions to and approvals from a distant hierarchical organization.
A group of Baptists could form their own church on the spot and choose a preacher from among themselves. The Baptists were egalitarian in their creed, believing that all people were equal before God regardless of their economic, social, or educational standing. The simplest farmer in Kentucky was on par in native dignity with every other person in the Republic. These beliefs and the Baptists’ uncomplicated organization were highly appealing to small communities of self-sufficient, independent-minded people.
The Methodists, however, were most successful at reaping the benefits of religious revivalism of the early 1800s by establishing a system of itinerant preachers on horseback, or circuit riders. Francis Asbury began the practice when the frontier was scarcely west of the Appalachian Mountains. Hardy and fearless, Asbury rode the rugged backwoods trails and preached thousands of sermons to farmers, pioneers, and backwoodsmen and their families.
Peter Cartwright, the most famous of the Methodist frontier preachers, delivered his highly charged sermons for 50 years in the frontier region bordering the Ohio River. Uneducated himself, he along with other Methodist evangelists considered education a hindrance to converting souls since conversion is not a matter of the mind but of the spirit. Energy, sincerity, and a powerful message of faith and redemption were the necessary requisites for a Methodist circuit rider. Their approach seems justified since by 1850 the Methodist Church had more members than any other Protestant sect in the country.
Churches came to reflect deep divisions that paralleled sectional interests in the country far beyond issues of religious doctrine or socio-economic stratification. By 1845, both the Baptist and Methodist Churches split over slavery. Presbyterians suffered a similar schism in 1857. The Northern churches of these denominations believed in abolishing slavery while Southern congregations felt their economic well-being was bound to a slaveholding system. The conflict over human bondage thus broke first in the communities of religion, which served as heralds to the South’s secession from the Union and, ultimately, to the American Civil War.
Utopian Movements
A number of cooperative communities were launched in the 1800s as experiments in alternative social organizations and Christian living according to scriptural interpretations. This was not a new phenomenon in the New World. The Jamestown colonists, the Puritans, the Quakers, and others had all made the difficult and dangerous voyage across the sea in order to live by their own beliefs.
Reformers in the aftermath of the Second Great Awakening sought to get away from authoritarian power structures but still provide for all members of the group. Brook Farm, New Harmony, the Shaker and Amana communities, and Oneida Colony were typical trials of utopian communes. Generally socialistic, these communities failed to thrive in America’s capitalistic culture once the vision and dedication of the original founders was gone. Their histories as alternative patterns of living are valuable, however, for their insight into human relationships and social structures.
New Harmony, founded in 1825 in Indiana by wealthy Scottish textile manufacturer Robert Owen, ironically perished early from lack of harmony among its participants. The Amana communities in New York and Iowa were also short-lived, fading away by the end of the 1850s.
Brook Farm in Massachusetts, noted as a transcendental literary and intellectual haven, suffered from indebtedness, in part from a disastrous fire and in part from lack of incentive for the members to be productive, since the fruits of the labor of all were shared equally by all, regardless of contribution. Lasting only five years, the experiment in “plain living and high thinking” was forever memorialized as the basis for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Blithedale Romance.
The Shaker communities, founded by an Englishwoman, Ann Lee, who came to America in 1774, practiced strict sexual abstinence since they believed the Christian millennium was imminent and therefore saw no reason to perpetuate the human race. Ann Lee died in 1784, but the sect continued to prosper on the strength of its fervent and joyful religious life. The Shakers admired simplicity and made an art of designing buildings and furniture of distinctive, harmonious beauty. By the 1830s, there were 20 Shaker communities, and by 1840 the Shakers had a membership of some six thousand. Shaker communities existed for another 100 years, though dwindling slowly. Their rule of celibacy and communal holding of property discouraged new converts. Because of their high ideals and lack of controversial practices, the Shaker communities lived in harmony with their neighbors.
By contrast, the Oneida colony practiced free love, birth control, and eugenic selection of parents. These life-style anomalies proved unpalatable to most Americans and caused ongoing problems with the surrounding community. Founded in 1847 in Vermont by John Humphrey Noyes, the colony soon had to relocate to more-tolerant New York. Noyes’s doctrine of “Bible Communism” insisted selfishness was the root of unhappiness. Owning property and maintaining exclusive relationships encouraged selfishness and destructive covetousness of what others have. Therefore, the keys to happiness were communal ownership of property and what Noyes termed “complex marriage” where every woman was married to every man in the group.
The Oneidans shared work equally and supported their enterprise by manufacturing such things as steel traps, silk thread, and silverplate tableware. Yielding to external pressure, the Oneida colony gave up complex marriage in 1879, and communal ownership of property soon followed. The group eventually transformed itself into a joint-stock company manufacturing stainless steel knives and tableware. Thus Noyes’s communistic utopia ended as a capitalist corporation.
In New York in the 1820s, Joseph Smith was visited with a vision and claimed to have received golden plates that detailed a new religion he called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism. In 1831 Smith founded a small community in Ohio. The Mormon faith was cooperative in nature, which rankled the individualistic temper of the times. But the colony was efficient and successful, which attracted converts. Strife with the local inhabitants caused the colony to relocate to Missouri and then to Illinois, where in 1839 they founded the town of Nauvoo. Five years later Nauvoo was the largest town in the state. Rumors of polygamy and other social irregularities incensed the moral rectitude of neighboring non-Mormons. Smith and his brother Hyrum were arrested, and while in jail they were attacked by a mob and killed.
Leadership of the Mormons was taken up by Brigham Young who led the sect to the site of what is now Salt Lake City. The Mormons were highly successful in Utah, but so staunchly independent that they raised the ire of the United States government, which sent troops against them in 1857. The issue of polygamy delayed statehood for Utah until 1896. Though no longer communal in nature, Mormonism remains a dynamic influence in the state of Utah, and the Mormon faith is recognized as a major religion in the United States.
Subordination of the individual to the group seems to be the one common thread among the utopian experimental communities. Beyond that, their doctrines, practices, and fates make each group uniquely individual. They reflected the idealistic, reform-minded spirit of their age, and remain as monuments to human courage to live differently on the basis of principle and religious conviction.
Reform might be labeled the touchstone of the nineteenth century. The movements begun then often did not bear fruit until the twentieth century, and some are still in the process of becoming fully realized. Reforms such as prison reform, corporate reform, sanitation, and child labor were mostly accomplished through court cases. Women’s rights, the universal right to vote, and temperance from alcohol relied on grass-roots movements, consciousness raising in the form of parades, petitions, and lectures, and ultimately, legislation. But the test of the nation came over reform from the practice of slavery, which sparked a terrible war. The first reforms of the era were of religion and philosophy. When the hearts and minds of the people changed, social and political reform became an unstoppable force. http://www.apstudynotes.org/us-history/topics/transcendentalism-religion-and-utopian-movements/ A utopia /juːˈtoʊpiə/ is a community or society possessing highly desirable or perfect qualities. The word was coined by Sir Thomas More in Greek for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an ideal society, and imagined societies portrayed in fiction. It has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia.
Contents
[hide] * 1 Etymology * 2 Varieties * 2.1 Ecology * 2.2 Economics * 2.3 Politics and history * 2.4 Religious utopia * 2.5 Science and technology * 2.6 Feminism * 2.7 Utopianism * 3 List of utopian literature * 4 Notes * 5 References * 6 External links
Etymology[edit]
The word utopia was coined in Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean. The word comes from the Greek: οὐ ("not") and τόπος ("place") and means "no place". The English homophone eutopia, derived from the Greek εὖ ("good" or "well") and τόπος ("place"), means "good place". This, because of the identical pronunciation of "utopia" and "eutopia", gives rise to a double meaning.
Varieties[edit]
| This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2012) |

Left panel (The Earthly Paradise – Garden of Eden) from Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights.
Chronologically, the first recorded utopian proposal is Plato's Republic.[1] Part conversation, part fictional depiction, and part policy proposal, it proposes a categorization of citizens into a rigid class structure of "golden," "silver," "bronze" and "iron" socioeconomic classes. The golden citizens are trained in a rigorous 50-year long educational program to be benign oligarchs, the "philosopher-kings." The wisdom of these rulers will supposedly eliminate poverty and deprivation through fairly distributed resources, though the details on how to do this are unclear. The educational program for the rulers is the central notion of the proposal. It has few laws, no lawyers and rarely sends its citizens to war, but hires mercenaries from among its war-prone neighbors (these mercenaries were deliberately sent into dangerous situations in the hope that the more warlike populations of all surrounding countries will be weeded out, leaving peaceful peoples).
During the 16th century, Thomas More's book Utopia proposed an ideal society of the same name. Some[who?] readers, including utopian socialists, have chosen to accept this imaginary society as the realistic blueprint for a working nation, while others have postulated that More intended nothing of the sort. Some[who?] maintain the position that More's Utopia functions only on the level of a satire, a work intended to reveal more about the England of his time than about an idealistic society. This interpretation is bolstered by the title of the book and nation, and its apparent confusion between the Greek for "no place" and "good place": "utopia" is a compound of the syllable ou-, meaning "no", and topos, meaning place. But the homophonic prefix eu-, meaning "good," also resonates in the word, with the implication that the perfectly "good place" is really "no place."
Ecology[edit]
Ecological utopian society describes new ways in which society should relate to nature. They react to a perceived widening gap between the modern Western way of living that, allegedly, destroys nature[2] and a more traditional way of living before industrialization, that is regarded by the ecologists to be more in harmony with nature. According to the Dutch philosopher Marius de Geus, ecological utopias could be sources of inspiration for green political movements.[3]
In the novelette Rumfuddle (1973), Jack Vance presents a novel twist on the ecological utopia. The hero in the novel invents paratime travel and becomes effectively the ruler of earth by giving everyone their own alternate-earth wilderness worlds as vacation retreats/suburbs without neighbors. However, he requires them to work during the week cleaning up the original Earth and restoring its pristineness. A typical job is driving a bulldozer that shoves the detritus of industrial civilization through a portal into the oceans of a paratime garbage world.
Economics[edit]
Particularly in the early 19th century, several utopian ideas arose, often in response to their belief that social disruption was created and caused by the development of commercialism and capitalism. These are often grouped in a greater "utopian socialist" movement, due to their shared characteristics: an egalitarian distribution of goods, frequently with the total abolition of money, and citizens only doing work which they enjoy and which is for the common good, leaving them with ample time for the cultivation of the arts and sciences. One classic example of such a utopia was Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward. Another socialist utopia is William Morris' News from Nowhere, written partially in response to the top-down (bureaucratic) nature of Bellamy's utopia, which Morris criticized. However, as the socialist movement developed it moved away from utopianism; Marx in particular became a harsh critic of earlier socialism he described as utopian. (For more information see the History of Socialism article.) However, in 1905 H.G. Wells published A Modern Utopia, which was widely read and admired and provoked much discussion. Also consider Eric Frank Russell's book The Great Explosion (1963) whose last section details an economic and social utopia. This forms the first mention of the idea of Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS).[citation needed]
Politics and history[edit]
A global utopia of world peace is often seen as one of the possible endings of history. Within the localized political structures or spheres it presents, "polyculturalism" is the model-based adaptation of possible interactions with different cultures and identities in accordance with the principles of participatory society.[4]
The Soviet writer Ivan Efremov produced during the "Thaw" period the science-fiction utopia Andromeda (1957) in which a united humanity communicates with a galaxy-wide Great Circle and develops its technology and culture within a social framework characterized by vigorous competition between alternative philosophies.
The English political philosopher James Harrington, author of the utopian work The Commonwealth of Oceana, inspired English country party republicanism and was influential in the design of three American colonies. His theories ultimately contributed to the idealistic principles of the American Founders. The colonies of Carolina (founded in 1670), Pennsylvania (founded in 1681), and Georgia (founded in 1733) were the only three English colonies in America that were planned as utopian societies with an integrated physical, economic, and social design. At the heart of the plan for Georgia was a concept of “agrarian equality” in which land was allocated equally and additional land acquisition through purchase or inheritance was prohibited; the plan was an early step toward the yeoman republic later envisioned by Thomas Jefferson.[5][6][7]
The communes of the 1960s in the United States were often an attempt to greatly improve the way humans live together in communities. The back to the land movements and hippies inspired many to try to live in peace and harmony on farms, remote areas, and to set up new types of governance.
Intentional communities were organized and built all over the world with the hope of making a more perfect way of living together. However, many of these new small communities failed, but some are growing like the Twelve Tribes Communities that started in the United States and have grown to many tribes around the world.
Religious utopia[edit]

New Harmony, a utopian attempt; depicted as proposed by Robert Owen
Religious utopias can be intra-religious or inter-religious. The inter-religious utopia borders on a concept like Polyculturalism and is not deemed possible in the near future or the near-far future. Fledgling theories are generally canceled as impossible, but the ideology of God and Religion used in inter-religious utopia is commonly stated by many people as their view of God. In more extended theories it goes up to the level of different religious leaders setting aside their differences and accepting harmony, peace and understanding to unite all religions within one another, thereby forming a utopian religion or a religion of Humans with God any type of force that reigned before the birth of the universe. Religion and God being used as a self-motivating factor for people to believe in and raise themselves out of difficult situations.
Intra-Religious utopias are based on religious ideals, and are to date those most commonly found in human society. Their members are usually required to follow and believe in the particular religious tradition that established the utopia. Some permit non-believers or non-adherents to take up residence within them; others (such as the Community at Qumran) do not.
The Islamic, Jewish, and Christian ideas of the Garden of Eden and Heaven may be interpreted as forms of utopianism, especially in their folk-religious forms. Such religious utopias are often described as "gardens of delight", implying an existence free from worry in a state of bliss or enlightenment. They postulate freedom from sin, pain, poverty, and death, and often assume communion with beings such as angels or the houri. In a similar sense the Hindu concept of Moksha and the Buddhist concept of Nirvana may be thought of as a kind of utopia. In Hinduism or Buddhism, however, Utopia is not a place but a state of mind. A belief that if we are able to practice meditation without continuous stream of thoughts, we are able to reach enlightenment. This enlightenment promises exit from the cycle of life and death, relating back to the concept of utopia.
In the United States and Europe during the Second Great Awakening of the 19th century and thereafter, many radical religious groups formed utopian societies in which all aspects of people's lives could be governed by their faith. Among the best-known of these utopian societies were the Shakers, which originated in England in the 18th century but moved to America shortly afterward. A number of religious utopian societies from Europe came to the United States from the 18th century throughout the 19th century, including the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness (led by Johannes Kelpius), the Ephrata Cloister, and the Harmony Society, among others. The Harmony Society was a Christian theosophy and pietist group founded in Iptingen, Germany, in 1785. Due to religious persecution by the Lutheran Church and the government in Württemberg,[8] the society moved to the United States on October 7, 1803, settled in Pennsylvania, and on February 15, 1805, they, together with about 400 followers, formally organized the Harmony Society, placing all their goods in common. The group lasted until 1905, making it one of the longest-running financially successful communes in American history. The Oneida Community, founded by John Humphrey Noyes in Oneida, New York, was a utopian religious commune that lasted from 1848 to 1881. Although this utopian experiment is better known today for its manufacture of Oneida silverware, it was one of the longest-running communes in American history. The Amana Colonies were communal settlements in Iowa, started by radical German pietists, which lasted from 1855 to 1932. The Amana Corporation, manufacturer of refrigerators and household appliances, was originally started by the group. Other examples are Fountain Grove, Riker's Holy City and other Californian utopian colonies between 1855 and 1955 (Hine), as well as Sointula[9] in British Columbia, Canada. The Amish and Hutterites can also be considered an attempt towards a better world to live in. A wide variety of intentional communities with some type of faith based ideas have started across the world.
The book of Revelation in the Christian bible depicts a better time, in the future, after Satan and evil are defeated. One interpretation is that there will eventually be heaven on Earth, or a new Earth without sin. The details of this new Earth where God and Jesus rules is not made clear. It can be assumed that it will be something like the Garden of Eden before the fall. Another possibility is that heaven will not be a physical realm, but instead an incorporeal place for souls.[citation needed]
Science and technology[edit]

Utopian flying machines, France, 1890-1900 (chromolithograph trading card).
Scientific and technological utopias are set in the future, when it is believed that advanced science and technology will allow utopian living standards; for example, the absence of death and suffering; changes in human nature and the human condition. Technology has affected the way humans have lived to such an extent that normal functions, like sleep, eating or even reproduction, have been replaced by artificial means. Other examples include a society where humans have struck a balance with technology and it is merely used to enhance the human living condition (e.g. Star Trek). In place of the static perfection of a utopia, libertarian transhumanists envision an "extropia", an open, evolving society allowing individuals and voluntary groupings to form the institutions and social forms they prefer.
Buckminster Fuller presented a theoretical basis for technological utopianism and set out to develop a variety of technologies ranging from maps to designs for cars and houses which might lead to the development of such a utopia.
One notable example of a technological and libertarian socialist utopia is Scottish author Iain Banks' Culture.
Opposing this optimism is the prediction that advanced science and technology will, through deliberate misuse or accident, cause environmental damage or even humanity's extinction. Critics, such as Jacques Ellul and Timothy Mitchell advocate precautions against the premature embrace of new technologies, raising questions on responsibility and freedom brought by division of labour. Authors such as John Zerzan and Derrick Jensen consider that modern technology is progressively depriving humans of their autonomy, and advocate the collapse of the industrial civilization, in favor of small-scale organization, as a necessary path to avoid the threat of technology on human freedom and sustainability.
There are many examples of techno-dystopias portrayed in mainstream culture, such as the classics Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, which have explored some of these topics.
Feminism[edit]
Utopias have been used to explore the ramifications of gender's being either a societal construct, or a biologically "hard-wired" imperative, or some mix of the two.[10] Socialist and economic utopias have tended to take the "woman question" seriously, and often to offer some form of equality between the sexes as part and parcel of their vision, whether this be by addressing misogyny, reorganizing society along separatist lines, creating a certain kind of androgynous equality that ignores gender, or in some other manner. For example, Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward (1887) responded, progressively for his day, to the contemporary women's suffrage and women's rights movements, which he supported, by incorporating the equality of women and men into his utopian world's structure, albeit by consigning women to a separate sphere of light industrial activity (due to women's supposed lesser physical strength), and making various exceptions for them in order to make room (and praise) for motherhood. One of the earlier feminist utopias that imagines complete separatism is Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland (1915). In science fiction and technological speculation, gender can be challenged on the biological as well as the social level. In Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time, the utopian future offers equality between the genders and complete equality in sexuality (regardless of the gender of the lovers); birth-giving, often felt as the divider that cannot be avoided in discussions of women's rights and roles, has been shifted onto elaborate biological machinery that functions to offer an enriched embryonic experience; when a child is born, it spends most of its time in the children's ward with peers. Three "mothers" per child are the norm, and they are chosen in a gender neutral way (men as well as women may become "mothers") on the basis of their experience and ability. Technological advances also make possible the freeing of women from childbearing in Shulamit Firestone's The Dialectic of Sex. The fictional aliens in Mary Gentle's Golden Witchbreed start out as gender-neutral children and do not develop into men and women until puberty, and gender has no bearing on social roles. In contrast, Doris Lessing's The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five (1980) suggests that men's and women's values are inherent to the sexes and cannot be changed, making a compromise between them essential. In My Own Utopia (1961) by Elizabeth Mann Borghese, gender exists but is dependent upon age rather than sex — genderless children mature into women, some of whom eventually become men.[10] "William Marston's Wonder Woman comics of the 1940s featured Paradise Island, a matriarchal all-female community of peace, loving submission, bondage, and giant space kangaroos." [11]
Utopian single-gender worlds or single-sex societies have long been one of the primary ways to explore implications of gender and gender-differences.[12] In speculative fiction, female-only worlds have been imagined to come about by the action of disease that wipes out men, along with the development of technological or mystical method that allow female parthenogenic reproduction. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 1915 novel approaches this type of separate society. Many feminist utopias pondering separatism were written in the 1970s, as a response to the Lesbian separatist movement;[12][13][14] examples include Joanna Russ's The Female Man and Suzy McKee Charnas's Walk to the End of the World and Motherlines.[14] Utopias imagined by male authors have often included equality between sexes, rather than separation, although as noted Bellamy's strategy includes a certain amount of "separate but equal".[15] The use of female-only worlds allows the exploration of female independence and freedom from patriarchy. The societies may not necessarily be lesbian, or sexual at all — a famous early sexless example being Herland (1915) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.[13] Charlene Ball writes in Women's Studies Encyclopedia that use of speculative fiction to explore gender roles in future societies has been more common in the United States compared to Europe and elsewhere,[10] although such efforts as Gert Brantenberg's Egalia's Daughters and Christa Wolf's portrayal of the land of Colchis in her Medea: Voices are certainly as influential and famous as any of the American feminist utopias.
Utopianism[edit]

The Golden Age by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
In many cultures, societies, and religions, there is some myth or memory of a distant past when humankind lived in a primitive and simple state, but at the same time one of perfect happiness and fulfillment. In those days, the various myths tell us, there was an instinctive harmony between humanity and nature. People's needs were few and their desires limited. Both were easily satisfied by the abundance provided by nature. Accordingly, there were no motives whatsoever for war or oppression. Nor was there any need for hard and painful work. Humans were simple and pious, and felt themselves close to the gods. According to one anthropological theory, hunter-gatherers were the original affluent society.
These mythical or religious archetypes are inscribed in many cultures, and resurge with special vitality when people are in difficult and critical times. However, the projection of the myth does not take place towards the remote past, but either towards the future or towards distant and fictional places, imagining that at some time of the future, at some point of the space or beyond the death must exist the possibility of living happily.
These myths of the earliest stage of humankind have been referred to by various cultures, societies, and religions:
Golden Age The Greek poet Hesiod, around the 8th century BC, in his compilation of the mythological tradition (the poem Works and Days), explained that, prior to the present era, there were other four progressively more perfect ones, the oldest of which was the Golden Age.
Plutarch, the Greek historian and biographer of the 1st century, dealt with the blissful and mythic past of the humanity.
Arcadia, e.g. in Sir Philip Sidney's prose romance The Old Arcadia (1580). Originally a region in the Peloponnesus, Arcadia became a synonym for any rural area that serves as a pastoral setting, as a locus amoenus ("delightful place"):
The Biblical Garden of Eden The Biblical Garden of Eden as depicted in Genesis 2 (Authorized Version of 1611):
"And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. [...]

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. [...]
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; [...] And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."
The Land of Cockaigne
The Land of Cockaigne (also Cockaygne, Cokaygne), was an imaginary land of idleness and luxury, famous in medieval story, and the subject of more than one poem, one of which, an early translation of a 13th-century French work, is given in Ellis's Specimens of Early English Poets. In this, "the houses were made of barley sugar and cakes, the streets were paved with pastry, and the shops supplied goods for nothing." London has been so called (see Cockney), but Boileau applies the same to Paris.[16]
The Peach Blossom Spring, a prose written by Tao Yuanming, describes a utopian place.[17][18] The narrative goes that a fisherman from Wuling sailed upstream a river and came across a beautiful blossoming peach grove and lush green fields covered with blossom petals.[19] Entranced by the beauty, he continued upstream.[19] When he reached the end of the river, he stumbled onto a small grotto.[19] Though narrow at first, he was able to squeeze through the passage and discovered an ethereal utopia, where the people led an ideal existence in harmony with nature.[20] He saw a vast expanse of fertile lands, clear ponds, mulberry trees, bamboo groves, and the like with a community of people of all ages and houses in neat rows.[20] The people explained that their ancestors escaped to this place during the civil unrest of the Qin Dynasty and they themselves had not left since or had contact with anyone from the outside.[21] They had not even heard of the later dynasties of bygone times or the then-current Jin Dynasty. In the story, the community was secluded and unaffected by the troubles of the outside world.[21] The sense of timelessness was also predominant in the story as a perfect utopian community remains unchanged, that is, it had no decline nor the need to improve.[21] Eventually, the Chinese term Peach Blossom Spring (桃花源) came to be synonymous for the concept of utopia.[22]
Datong is a traditional Chinese Utopia. The main description of it is found in the Chinese Classic of Rites, in the chapter called "Li Yun" (禮運). Later, Datong and its ideal of 'The World Belongs to Everyone/The World is Held in Common' 'Tianxia weigong/天下为公' 'influenced modern Chinese reformers and revolutionaries, such as Kang Youwei.
Schlaraffenland is an analogous German tradition. (See in German Wikipedia.)
These myths also express some hope that the idyllic state of affairs they describe is not irretrievably and irrevocably lost to mankind, that it can be regained in some way or other.
One way might be a quest for an "earthly paradise"—a place like Shangri-La, hidden in the Tibetan mountains and described by James Hilton in his utopian novel Lost Horizon (1933). Christopher Columbus followed directly in this tradition in his belief that he had found the Garden of Eden when, towards the end of the 15th century, he first encountered the New World and its indigenous inhabitants.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.religionfacts.com/a-z-religion-index/epicureanism.htm
Epicureanism

Epicurus (341-270 BC). Image © Epicurus.info.
Nothing to fear in God;
Nothing to feel in Death;
Good can be attained;
Evil can be endured. 1
Epicureanism is an ancient Greek philosophical system taught by Epicurus. It emphasized the goal of a happy and content life in the here and now, rejecting both superstitous fear of the gods and notions of an afterlife.
Though the modern use of the term "Epicurean" is associated with the saying, "Eat, drink and be merry," Epicureanism did not advocate simple pursuit of bodily pleasure and differed significantly from hedonism.
Fast Facts * Date founded: c. 300 BC * Place founded: Athens, Greece * Founder: Epicurus (341-270 BC) * Adherents: unknown
History
The life of Epicurus is better known than any of his contemporaries and he is more of a "personality" than any other ancient philosopher with the exception of Socrates. 2 He was born in 341 BC in the Athenian colony of Samos. In 307 or 306 BC he settled in Athens, where bought a house with a garden. Here he gathered a group of disciples and taught became known as the "philosophy of the Garden."
Epicurus and his disciples formed a close-knit community, living a life of austere contentment in seclusion on his property. He admitted both women and slaves to his community, which, along with his seclusion and "atheism," probably led to the rumors and criticisms that circulated about his school. Epicurus was a father-figure to his students and wrote letters of instruction to the Epicurean communities he had formed.
Epicurus died in 270 BC. His followers celebrated his birthday and gave him honors as to a god. No later figure of importance arose in his school, and unlike the changes common to other philosophical schools, Epicureanism was characterized by a conservative tendency in preserving the founder's teachings.
Epicureanism was highly influential in the Hellenistic Age. The Epicureans and the Stoics were the chief rivals for the allegiance of educated people of this period. Both had a continuing influence, but Stoicism, with its active involvement in public life (the philosophy of the Porch instead of the Garden), ultimately appealed to more individuals and had more influence.
Texts
Epicurus is said to have written about 300 scrolls, but little of this survives. His teachings are preserved in three letters and a collection of 40 maxims called the "Principal Doctrines" (Kyriae doxai). The works of Philodemus, a 1st-century BC Epicurean, discovered at Herculaneum, and a large 2nd-century inscription in Lycia, have further added to our knowledge of Epicurus and his teaching.
Beliefs
Epicurus taught a materialistic view of the universe: the whole of nature consists of matter and space. All matter is divisible down to the level of atoms (Greek for "indivisible"). They are eternal; neither created nor destroyed. They cannot be seen or felt with the senses but they do have size, shape, weight and motion. The atoms operate according to natural law. Thus there is no creation and no purpose in nature.
Epicurus also rejected believe in an afterlife. The soul is also made of atoms, though of a subtler sort than the body. 3 Body and soul must be joined to give life; when the body dies, the soul also disintegrates. Therefore, there is no need to fear either death or future punishment.
Epicurus did believe in the gods. The visions of gods in dreams and the universal opinion of humanity proved their existence. But he regarded them as made of atoms like everything else (immortal because their bodies do not dissolve) and living in a happy, detached society out of contact with humans. Thus there is no place for providence, prayer or fear of the gods. Epicurus saw religion as a source of fear; banishing religion made peace of mind possible. He could be said to have had "a theology without a religion." 4
The Epicurean purpose of life is peace of mind, happiness and pleasure. But the Epicurean pursuit of pleasure was neither hedonism nor self-indulgence. Epicurus primarily promoted the pleasures of the mind, friendship and contentment. Epicurus noted that it is human nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain, and made this the basis of his guidelines for living.
We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed towards attaining it.
(Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus)
He encouraged seeking after the the highest quality of pleasure, which is rarely the immediate gratifications of hedonism. Epicurus evaluated pleasure and pain by three main criteria: * intensity - strength of the feeling * duration - length of the feeling * purity - i.e., pleasure unaccompanied by pain
Therefore for Epicurus, "there was no reason to eat, drink and be merry today if you are going to have a headache from it tomorrow." 5 Overindulging in food or drink would not score highly on either duration or purity of pleasure. Pleasures that begin with pain are also inferior: eating is a pleasure but it starts with the pain of hunger; sex is a pleasure but it starts with the pain of desire. These pleasures are not as "pure" as those characterized entirely by the absence of pain, such as rest, good health, and the companionship of friends.
Just as pleasure was not to be blindly sought after, so not all pain should be avoided. Sometimes endurance of pain brings greater pleasure so that it is worth it. Moreover, since pleasure and pain are measured quantitatively, pain can be endured in the knowledge that more pleasure has been experienced. Thus Epicurus, who suffered from poor health throughout his life, could say on his death bed:
A happy day is this on which I write to you... The pains which I feel... could not be greater. But all of this is opposed by the happiness which the soul experiences, remembering our conversations of a bygone time. 6
The highest good in Epicureanism is ataraxia, a tranquility derived by the absence of agitation. And the highest positive pleasure of was a society of good friends. It shelters the fearful and gives the pleasure of companionship. He thus replaced the loss of the gods and civic life with the bond that exists among friends.
Practices
To achieve the best pleasure and prevent pain, Epicurus counseled his disciples to live a quiet, secretive life apart from society, avoiding responsibilities in public life (like holding office) or social life (like getting married). This avoids the pain of ambition and fear caused by others.
Interestingly, despite his rejection of the gods as having any bearing on human life, Epicurus encouraged his followers to worship the gods. This is partly for the sake of conformity, but also because the gods are perfect beings who deserve worship and honor. Morever, people receive aesthetic pleasure from contemplating their perfect existence.
References & Sources 1. The Tetrapharmacon, an Epicurean formula that likely dates to Epicurus himself. This translation comes from Gilbert Murray, Five Stages of Greek Religion (1955), 205. A similar formula is found in Philodemus (1st cent. BC), Against the Sophists 4.9-14: "God presents no fears, death no worries; and while good is readily attainable, evil is readily endurable." 2. Everett Ferguson, Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 3rd ed. (Eerdmans, 2003), 372. 3. "Epicureanism." Encyclopædia Britannica (Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service, 2005). 4. Ferguson, 373. 5. Ibid., 370. 6. Quoted in "Epicureanism." Encyclopædia Britannica (Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service, 2005).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- http://www.faithfacts.org/world-religions-and-theology/christianity-vs.-islam Similarities between Christianity and Islam
Christians and Muslims have some beliefs in common. We both agree that there is one God who created the universe and is sovereign in the lives of men. We agree that God is the source of justice and morality. We agree that his ultimate justice is dispensed via life after death in heaven and hell.
Fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims both consider such things as pornography and licentious living as pollutants to society. In fact, one of the reasons for the strong negative reaction to western civilization in Muslim countries is the influence of such practices emanating from the west.
But there are many things upon which we disagree. The points of disagreement touch on every important religious doctrine. Indeed, the disagreements are so severe as to be irreconcilable. We will look at these issues point by point.
Overall Tone of the Two Religions
Most Muslims are exceptionally gracious and peace-loving people. And Islam has elements of peacefulness in it. For example, Muslims point to Sura 2:256 which claims there is no compulsion in religion (compulsion), even though this passage is often interpreted in Islamic nations to mean tat "there is no competition in religion" within their borders. Another passage is Sura 29:46 which says not to dispute with People of the Book (Jews and Christians) unless they do wrong. Also, Sura 41:34 instructs that one should respond to evil with doing good deeds to the evil doer.
However, anyone who wants to commit violence has perfect justification for doing so from the Quran. While violence in the Quran is sometimes for self-defense; at other times it is open-ended.
Muhammad first claimed to have a vision from God in the year 610 AD. The first 13 years of his ministry were marked by peaceful preaching in the city of Mecca. During this period Muhammad seems to have been a well-meaning man who sought to oppose paganism and evil in his day.
However, in the year 623 he became a political leader in the city of Medina. With his political power came a new aggressive behavior. He attacked pagan caravans and used the sword to spread his religion.
Muhammad personally led or orchestrated 66 bloody invasions. Muhammad assassinated many of his opponents during his lifetime. One particularly famous event was his battle against the Quraiza Jews, where women and children were sold into slavery, and hundreds of captured men were executed. Even some of his own people were horrified. See Quraiza Slaughter.
There is a principle in Islam of "abrogation." This means that when there is a contradiction in the Quran, the later verses cancel out, or at least modify, earlier verses. Since the warring verses came during the Muhammad's later Medina period, they matter more than the earlier peacemaking ones. (The Suras in the Quran are in order from the longest to the shortest rather than in chronological order.)
According to Jihad Watch, "The Quran's commandments to Muslims to wage war in the name of Allah against non-Muslims are unmistakable. They are, furthermore, absolutely authoritative as they were revealed late in the Prophet's career and so cancel and replace earlier instructions to act peaceably. Without knowledge of the principle of abrogation, Westerners will continue to misread the Quran and misdiagnose Islam as a 'religion of peace'."
The tradition of violence in Islam, which started with Muhammad, continues to this day. There is worldwide evidence that some Muslims kill or otherwise persecute people solely for being non-Muslims. This is well documented in Nigeria, Algeria, Sudan (where modern slavery is documented), Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Malaysia.
According to the organization the Voice of the Martyrs (website www.persecution.com or search for Voice of the Martyrs) 160,000 Christians are killed annually because of their faith—the vast majority being killed by Muslims. If Islam claims to be a religion of peace, why is there so much oppression in every Muslim country?
Islam is anti-semitic. This is adequately documented—see New Trends in Arabic Anti-Semitism and Anti-semitism. In the audio tape series listed at the end of this essay, Abdul Saleeb quotes from a PBS Frontline documentary called "Saudi Time Bomb?" According to the program, Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education textbooks contained, as of the year 2000, a most disturbing teaching. The teaching, which is from the hadiths (Bukhari 4:176-177) as taught by Muhammad himself, is required instruction for all middle school children in Saudi Arabia. The teaching which is entitled "The Victory of Muslims Over Jews," says:
"The last hour won't come before the Muslims would fight the Jews, and the Muslims will kill them. So Jews would hide behind rocks and trees. Then the rocks and trees would call, 'Oh, Muslim. Oh, Servant of God. There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.' "
Included with the text is a list of principles, including the following:
"Jews and Christians are the enemies of believers. They will never approve of the Muslims. Beware of them."
Yes, the Bible has its share of violence as well, particularly in the Old Testament. For example, God instructs the Israelites coming out of Egypt to take over the land of Canaan and kill all of the inhabitants. However, there is a clear difference from Quranic violence.
The Bible makes it clear that the Canaanite society deserved it as it was thoroughly polluted by their wretchedly evil practices, including the horror of child sacrifice. (Deuteronomy 9:1-6, 12:29-31, 18:9-14; 1 Kings 14:24; 2 Chronicles 33:1-9; Ezra 9:11) Thus God used the Israelites to administer specific justice, just as he later used other societies to administer justice against the Israelites (book of Jeremiah). For more on this, see How Can a Loving God Order People Killed elsewhere on our website.
Instances such as this in the Bible are each a particular limited circumstance in time, for a particular purpose established by God. But in the Quran, we encounter general commands to kill and destroy the enemies of Islam that are applicable for all times and places and people groups.
While there is indeed violence in the Bible, one thing is certain—Jesus had a non-violent message. While some people have betrayed the peaceful message of Jesus in history, the teachings of Jesus have a consistent tone of peace, service, love, and humility. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He never told us to kill anyone, and he disdained violence. His followers echoed this command for peace. Just a few of the numerous New Testament passages that can be cited are: Matthew 5:1-12, 5:43-44, 9:36, 19:30, 26:50-52; Mark 9:35; Luke 6:27-36, 9:54-55, 10:30-37, 22:49-51, 23:32-34; John 10:7-18, 13:1-17; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 2:6-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:15, and 1 Peter 3:8-9. We encourage you to read these moving passages now, and then consider what the world would be like if everyone practiced the teachings of Jesus.
With the coming of Christ to bear God's judgment, the warfare of God's people as described in the Old Testament was converted to spiritual warfare in the New Testament (Ephesians 6:10-18). In their present warfare, Christians are commanded not to curse, but to bless their personal enemies, overcoming all evil wiith good (Romans 12:17-21).
But what about the Crusades? See Games Muslims Play.
Jesus warned, "The time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God" (John 16:2-4). While these words were spoken to his disciples, they have a powerful ring today.
There is nothing like the Christian concept of "love your enemies" or "turn your other cheek" (Luke 6:27-37) found in Islam. While Christianity says to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 19:19), the Quran instructs its followers not to even take Christians or Jews as friends (Suras 3:118, 5:51, 64, 60:1-3)!
Another interesting point is that the Islamic concept of charity is different from the Christian concept. Muslims are required to give alms to the poor, but only to the Muslim poor. In this way, the Muslim's remaining wealth is purified. The biblical concept of charity is not limited to any group. In fact, Jesus used illustrations that encouraged helping those outside the faith (Luke 10:30-37).
Islam is a religion of power and glory. Muslims find it hard to believe that Christians could worship Jesus, given his lack of political power and apparent defeat by the authorities. (They fail to acknowledge that Jesus was the ultimate victor as he conquered even death.)
Islam is more than a religion; it is an ideology with a clear sociopolitical agenda. There is no such thing as separation of church and state in orthodox Islam. Western notions of democracy and freedom are in opposition to orthodox Islam. Mankind must be controlled by Islamic law in total, and not be allowed to stray from the authority of Allah. Islam is thus a totalitarian utopian worldview. The fact that freedom of religion does not exist in Muslim countries is evidence supporting the view that Islam wants nothing short of domination through political control.
Islam must declare war on unbelief. Dr. Samuel Schlorff, an expert on Islam with Arab World Ministries explains that, "Muslims believe that Islam's destiny is to extend its control until the whole Dar al-Harb [which means 'House of War'—that is, the whole non-Muslim world] is subject to Islamic law in an Islamic state, and this includes the use of force." But since there is no pure Islamic state, Islam is considered to be at war against the whole world. See Sura 8:39.
Further, as explained by former radical Islamist, Hassan Butt, many Muslim preachers teach that since Islam is in a state of of war against the globe, any Muslim is allowed to destroy the sanctity of the five rights that every human are otherwise granted under Islam: life, wealth, land, mind, and belief. In Dar al-Harb, anything goes, including the treachery and cowardice of attacking civilians.
An interesting observation made by R. C. Sproul on the audio tape listed below is that historically the more a society has used the Quran as a source of law, the more oppressive the state becomes. But the more a society has used the Bible as a source of law, the more freedom the society has demonstrated.
One commonly hears in the press that Islam is a religion of peace. This is true only in one sense—peace will come when all competing religions have been brought into submission to Islam (Sura 9:29). Muslims who say Islam is a religion of peace, can only say so by ignoring or rationalizing away its violent commands.
These issues explain why Muslim leaders around the world were so subdued in their condemnation of the 9/11/01 attack on America. Even in America, the common response was, "Yes, the attack was wrong, but....." It is what follows the "but" that is important in understanding their real views.
Muslims are taught that the Old Testament is like grade school; the New Testament is like high school; and the Quran is like college. Islam claims to be the final, most perfect religion. If so, why does it seem to revert back to unjustified violence even worse than the Old Testament? Sadly, Islam has a dark side, and there is no way to explain it away by appealing to context.
Links:
Here is a link to an article about one example of how and what children are taught in a mosque in Britain: Mosque Children.
Here is an article that goes into more depth comparing the violence of the Bible and the Quran: Religious Violence.
Here is a video of a former jihadist that compares Islam and Christianity. One is a religion of hate, the other of love. One is a religion of bondage, the other of freedom. One requires the follower to sacrifice for God; in the other God sacrificed for his followers. See Kamal Saleem.
Here are excellent websites that go into more depth on such topics as jihad, current events, history, etc.: Religion of Peace, Jihad Watch.
Muslims who commit aggressive acts of violence are acting consistently with fundamentalist Islam. Christians who might commit aggressive acts of violence are acting contrarily to fundamentalist Christianity.
Treatment of Women
In Islam, a man can have up to four wives at the same time (Sura 4:3). In addition, a man is given the right to beat his disobedient wife until she obeys (Sura 4:34, Bukhari 8:68). According the the Quran, "Men are in charge of women, because Allah has made some of them to excel others...and (as to) those on whose part you fear rebellion, admonish them, and leave them alone in beds apart, and beat them." Note that in one popular English translation of the Quran the term "lightly" is placed after "beat them." But "lightly" is not in the Arabic. Here are six translations of Sura 4:34.
An example of Muhammad himself beating his wife is documented in the Sahih Muslim Hadith, number 2127. (Note, the Arabic word for beat is the same word as how you would treat a slave or a camel.)
Muhammad himself actually had thirteen wives, two concubines/slaves, and four women of uncertain relationships. Of note, a Sura conveniently appeared to give Muhammad an exception to the 4-wife rule (Sura 33:50). One of his wives was six years old when he married her, but nine years old when he consumated his marriage with her. (See Aisha.) This relationship with Aisha could be the basis for charges of paedophilia in Muslim cultures. See this link:
Islam and Paedophilia
Also of interest, Muhammad married his daughter-in-law Zainab (Bukhari 9:516-518). He arranged for his adopted son Zaid to divorce Zainab so he could marry her. The divorce was prompted by the prophet's admiration for Zainab's beauty. Faced with the refusal of Zaid to dissolve his marriage, Muhammad had another convenient revelation from Allah, which not only commanded Zaid to give up his wife to Muhammad, but also decreed that there was no evil in a father-in-law taking his daughter-in-law away from his own adopted son (Sura 33:36-38).
Sura 2:223 explains that "Your wives are your fields, so go into your fields whichever way you like." (Again, some translations cover up the clear implication of this passage.) Is this how husbands should think of their wives? Is this an example of the perfect divinely inspired revealed truth dictated from Allah to Muhammad?
Men are superior to women in Islamic teaching. (See Suras 2:228, 4:34. Note: English translations vary considerably here. For example, in 4:34 some use the term "superior," while others say that men are "maintainers" or "guardians" of women.) In Islamic law, a woman's testimony is worth half that of men because the female mind is considered deficient (Sura 2:282, Bukhari 3:826). Women are only entitled to inherit half of what men do (Sura 4:11).
Prostitution is common in some Muslim countries, especially Africa. Some Muslims justify prostitution by marrying the woman for the night, which seems to be okay as long as they stay within the limit of four wives at one time. Prostitution may be partly a result of the attitude in Muslim societies that men can do whatever they want, while women have limited rights.
Genital mutilation of women is a widespread practice in Muslim countries. In some countries 90% of women are so mutilated. (See the link at the bottom of the article entitled "Islamic Sexuality."
The Quran and hadiths teach that it is morally acceptable to force women to have sex with their captors (Suras 4:24, 70:29-30; also Bukhari 8:600; 9:506; also Muslim Hadiths numbers 3371 and 3433). According to a reliable witness we personally know who grew up in Pakistan, rape is not prosecuted even today in the Muslim world in some circumstances, especially if the victim is a non-Muslim. Apparently at least some Muslims consider these passages as giving permission to rape. See oraganized gang rape.
Interestingly, Islam teaches that the majority of people in hell are women (Bukhari 1:28, 1:301, and 2:161). According to the prophet of Islam, "I looked at Paradise and found poor people forming the majority of its inhabitants; and I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women." This is an abominable idea to Christians.
Fundamentalist Christianity condones none of the above abuses of women. While Old Testament figures had multiple wives, this is seen as sinful behavior. Jesus insisted on the sanctity of marriage with one woman (Mark 10:5-12).
Two books of the Old Testament are named for (and are about) women. Women play an even more venerated and prominent role in the New Testament, especially in view of the low status afforded women in the culture in which Jesus lived (Matthew 5:32; 1 Corinthians 11:11-12; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 5:25-33.) There are 21 notable women mentioned favorably in the New Testament. While the Bible teaches different roles for women than for men, the New Testament elevates women in many ways. It teaches, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."
Carrying out this teaching, Christianity throughout history has enhanced and protected women. For more on the cultural impact that Christianity has had on women, see Women.
The Nature of God
Islam is set up to specifically oppose Christianity on every important doctrine. For example, Christianity teaches that God is a Trinity—one God revealed in three persons (or manifestations). Islam, however, vehemently denies the Trinity as blasphemy (Suras 4:171, 5:17, 5:72-75). Accepting the Christian view of God is the only unpardonable sin in Islam, and condemns one to hell. While Islam has a high view of Jesus, it denies his divinity or that Jesus was the Son of God (Suras 9:30, 10:68, 19:35, 43:81-83).
There is a law of logic called the "Law of Non-Contradiction," which says that two contradictory things cannot both be true. At least one of them has to be false. This point of tension regarding the nature of God between the two religions is so great that it is clear that at least one of them must be false. Either the Trinity is a correct description of God as Christianity proclaims, or it is a false description of God as the Quran proclaims.
Muslims, as well as others, who have not studied the evidence for the deity of Christ find it understandably hard to accept Jesus as both 100% man and 100% God. While we will not take the time to present the evidence in this article, the Geisler/Saleeb book (from the list below) has an outstanding discussion of the Trinity and the deity of Christ. We also have articles on our website that include discussions about the deity of Christ and about Jesus being God). Information can also be viewed about the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity on our website.
Christians do not take the belief in the deity of Christ on blind faith. The evidence itself has convinced many a skeptic. Simon Greenleaf, a professor of law at Harvard in the 1800's—a man who is considered the greatest authority on legal evidences in history—became a Christian after a thorough examination of the evidence.
Anyone truly interested in religion should examine the evidence for yourself. The evidence demands a verdict. If Jesus is truly who he claimed to be, we are under judgment.
It should be said here that Muslims hold some mistaken views of Christian doctrine. Contrary to several passages in the Quran, Christians do not hold to three Gods! The Bible makes it very clear that there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; Mark 12:29; 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6). Rather, there are three aspects to God's nature—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Also, Muslims think that the Christian term "Son of God" means that God the Father had carnal sexual relations with Mary, producing Jesus. That is incorrect. The term Son of God is a symbolic term only, implying the unique relationship Jesus has to God.
There are other differences between the two religions as to the nature of God. To Muslims, God is distant and unknowable. His relationship to man is that of master/slave. He is not the personal God that Christians know and trust.
The God of the Bible is described as being love itself (1 John 4:7-21). The God of the Bible goes out of his way to find a single lost sheep (Matthew 18:10-14). And the God of the Bible opens his arms to offer comfort and assurance (Deuteronomy 1:31; Hosea 11:1-4; Isaiah 40:11; Matthew 11:25-30), as a father would for his children. This concept of God is absent in Islam.
Islamic theology holds that God is good because he causes good. But goodness is not part of his essence.
Another very important difference is that the God of the Bible is holy—that is perfect in all respects. He is perfectly moral, perfectly just, perfectly faithful, perfectly loving, all-knowing, etc. Another synonym for holy is pure (Hebrews 7:26).
But the God of the Quran does not always come across as holy. He changes his mind, changes his promises, and does not offer assurance of salvation. Allah is arbitrary (Suras 4:116, 5:18, 9:15, 25:51). Also, Allah deceives people (Bukhari 8:577 and 9:532). Compare this to the God of the Bible—with whom it is impossible to lie (Hebrews 6:18) or to treat people unfairly. The God of the Bible is not arbitrary, but rather is perfect in his justice. If you do a search of the words holiness or holy (bible.gospelcom.net/) as applied to God, you will see how dominant this concept is in Scripture.
Muslims today say that Allah is merely the Arabic word for God. While this is true, it is not the whole story. There is substantial evidence that Allah has roots in pre-Islamic paganism. There were 360 idols (gods) worshipped in Mecca at the time of Muhammad. The supreme god of the Quraish tribe (from which Muhammad came) was Allah. Muhammad's father's name was Abd-Allah, which means "slave of Allah." This supports the notion that the concept of Allah has its roots in pagan gods.
While not substantiated, some people say that Allah has elements of the pagan moon god, a dominant deity in pagan Arabia. To this day, the crescent moon is a symbol of Islam, and Muslims use a lunar calendar. (For more information search this website: www.answering-islam.org.)
The Quraish tribe had a custom of praying five times a day to Mecca, had pilgrimages to Mecca, and had a sacred month. These things are an integral part of modern Islam. Such practices also tie Islam to pre-Islamic paganism. Actually, Islam appears to be an amalgamation of paganism, Judaism, Christianity, other world religions, and a healthy dose of power politics.
In the modern world, Muslims recognize that Allah is not the God of the Bible. The evidence for that is the continual persecution of Christians in Muslim countries. Countries such as Malaysia have decreed that Christians may not even use "Allah" in their Bibles, books, or hymns. They often confiscate non-Muslim literature that uses the word "Allah." Why would Muslims take such a harsh view of Christianity if they thought they worshipped the same God as Christians?
Those who say that Christians and Muslims worship the same God are incorrect. In the two religions, God is defined differently and has different and contradictory attributes. The views of God between the two religions are incompatible.
The Nature of Man
Christianity insists that man is fallen—that we are "dead in our sins"—that we are in fact incapable of standing up to a holy and righteous God. Islam, on the other hand, says that humankind is weak and forgetful but not fallen. Islam teaches that man is capable of righteousness—all he has to do is just do it. This marks a defining difference between Islam and Christianity. The difference has far-reaching implications.
First, examine the evidence. All of history is a testimony to the sinfulness of man. Examining ourselves, we only do good if it suits our mood. We certainly do not always love God above everything else, nor love our neighbor as ourselves. None of us keeps all of the Ten Commandments all the time. Parents do not need to teach a child to be bad (selfish or mean); it comes quite naturally, thank you. Everyone has a conscience, and if we are honest we must acknowledge how far short we fall of God's perfect standard. As a result, we must face the judgment of a holy God.
The Bible says that whoever stumbles at just one point of the law is guilty of breaking all of it (James 2:10). An agnostic friend of ours, who considers himself to be a moral person once expressed doubt about his own sinfulness. We asked him this question, "If someone goes into a store a hundred times without stealing anything, but one time does steal something, is he guilty or innocent?" "Guilty!" he exclaimed.
So it is. We are all guilty and deserve punishment. But we are not just guilty once. We are all guilty all the time!
We never have perfect love, justice, or acceptance. We often live as if God does not matter. Our faith is continually subject to wavering. We constantly are inclined to trust ourselves rather than God. We are always subject to feelings of revenge, lust, hatred, jealousy, and covetousness. Selfishness dominates our daily lives. We stubbornly deny truth in favor of what we wish were true.
Hypocrisy is such an obvious problem that it is a common complaint toward even religious people. Our narrow-minded attitude is a perpetual trap for prejudice and indifference. While we are perhaps not as bad as we could be, sin touches every aspect of our lives. Sin is exceedingly sinful!
Interestingly, while Muslim doctrine denies man's sinful nature, the Quran agrees with Christian doctrine at least in one place, Sura 12:53: "And I call not myself sinless; surely [man's] self is wont to command evil, except those on whom my Lord has mercy." It sounds an awfully like the Bible, but Muslims seem to put no weight on this passage. Instead, they insist that Muslims gravitate toward the good.
Jerry Rassmamni, author of From Jiahd to Jesus, asks, "If Islam gravitates toward good, as the Muslims claim, then why is it that in Pakistan, a Muslim country of 140 million, only one million file their tax returns annually? Why are the 'basically good' tax evaders prodding Pakistan's government into near bankrupticy and depriving Pakistan's poor of basic government programs? And why do the majority of refugees in the world spill out of Muslim countries? The perceived goodness of Muslims is an illusion."
In addition to its theological implications, the variant views on the nature of man have significant sociopolitical implications. As expressed by Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship ministries, "The Islamic worldview denies the sinfulness of man, which gives rise to utopian visions: If man is corrupted by society, then those who come to power can create the perfect society by strictly enforcing Islamic law."
Ironically, the Muslim view of man is not unlike communism, which is based on the notion that man is basically good, or at least can be perfected by government. But nation states based on such utopian concepts have always been failures and are particularly oppressive to its citizens.
The difference between Islam and Christianity on the nature of man is not trivial. If Christianity is correct on this point, the practices of Muslims are futile because their efforts will not get them into heaven. Only an acceptance of Christ's finished work on the cross as a substitutionary payment for our sins will get us to heavan. If Islam is correct, the whole purpose of Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection was a useless sham.
Salvation
Islam, in Christian eyes, has an incomplete view of both the holiness of God and the sinfulness of mankind. Given man's sinful nature and the gap it creates between us and a holy God, Christianity teaches that man cannot earn salvation. God cannot just wink at sin. We need a savior who will bridge the gap and who will pay the penalty for us. Salvation is only in Christ's finished work on the cross that God considers our blemishes healed. This is what Christianity is all about.
As it says in the Bible, in the sight of a holy God all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:5-7). But God demonstrated his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). What wonderful good news!
But Islam denies all of this. It even denies that Jesus died on the cross at all (Sura 4:157)—this in spite of overwhelming evidence both from the Bible and from historical sources outside the Bible. It denies that Jesus conquered death by his bodily resurrection—an historical event acknowledged by rigorous critical scholarship (www.faithfacts.org/easter.html). Islam must deny these things because the religion is based on the idea that you can earn your way to heaven.
Christianity teaches that our salvation is a free gift through faith alone in Jesus Christ—and specifically not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:1-3; Titus 3:5-7; 1 Corinthians 1:29). Islam teaches that one gains entrance into heaven by your works in addition to faith (but not faith in Christ). These are clearly opposing positions.
Christianity insists that belief in Christ is the only way to heaven. Rejection of Christ dooms us to the eternal punishment we deserve as rebellious sinners. (Mark 16:16; John 3:16-18, 36; John 10:7-10; John 12:48; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Galatians 1:6-9; Philippians 2:9-11; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 2:22-23; 1 John 5:12-13.) While this may seem unfair in one sense, in another sense it is the ultimate in fairness. God provided a way for sinful man—who otherwise falls helplessly short—to be forgiven and to come into communion with him!
Because the Christian doctrine of salvation through Christ alone so often draws accusations of intolerance from non-Christians, it may be helpful to say a bit more about it. One thing that this doctrine does not say, is that those who have never heard of Christ are automatically doomed. It is also clear that it is not Christians who can judge, but only God. God alone can know the heart of each individual. God loves everyone, including non-Christians, and he wants everyone to come to the knowledge of a saving faith (1 Timothy 2:4). But it also clear through this doctrine that anyone who consciously rejects Christ is rejecting God's offer of reconciliation. In this case, one gets what he wants, an eternity without God.
Islam is equally exclusive in its claims, as it teaches that only Muslims will go to heaven (Bukhari 4:297, etc). Islam similarly insists that anyone who rejects their Allah and his apostles (that is, Muhammad) is condemned to hell. So, again, the two religions are at loggerheads.
While Christians believe that salvation is assured through faith, Muslims never have assurance of salvation (except probably through martyrdom in a jihad—Sura 9:20-22, etc). Islam teaches that at the end of your life, Allah weighs your good works against your bad works on a scale. In general, if your good works are adequate, you get to heaven (Sura 23:103). But even then it is not assured because Allah can let anyone in he chooses (Sura 9:15, 27). Muhammad himself expressed doubts about his own salvation (Bukhari 5:266, 9:131).
Man is sinful. As put by Jerry Rassamni, author of From Jihad to Jesus, "Although the [Islamic] law is verbose and enslaving, it is powerless to justify a person before the Almighty. No matter how many times a beast washes in the river, it remains a beast, and no matter how long a log soaks in the water, it will never become a crocodile. In the same manner, no matter what humankind does in its own strength, they remain sinners in the sight of a holy God."
Only Christianity offers a solution. God sent his only son Jesus to live the perfect life for us, and to suffer the punishment for man's sin. There had to be a sacrifice—punishment—for sins in some way, even though mankind proved his inablility to satisfy God's demands adequately. In this way God reconciled his demands for obedience while exercising his mercy toward sinful men. Only the Messiah, whom the Quran called perfect (Surah 19:19) is righteous enough to take away the sin of the world.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son—that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; and he who does not believe the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36).
To our Muslim friends we ask, How do you deal with your guilt? Through our conscience and the law we all know we are guilty before God. Do you really think that your Five Pillars will be sufficient before an all-powerful God to get you to heaven? External obedience to the law does not make a person spiritually clean.
If the Bible is correct, the only conclusion is that belief in the teachings of Islam does not lead to heaven but to hell.

Heaven
There is a difference between the two religions as to what heaven is like. The Muslim concept of paradise is a carnal, sensual place. Muslims in paradise will live in gorgeous palaces and will wear silk clothes. While alcohol is forbidden on earth, they will drink from rivers of wine, milk, and honey in paradise! Men will also make love to dozens of virgins devoted to sensuous enjoyments. (It is not clear what women get!!) See Suras 2:25, 4:57, 13:35, 36:55-57, 37:39-48, 47:15, 52:20-23, 55:46-78, 56:12-40, and 76:5-22. Also see Bukhari 4:466. See this link about the origin of the famous 72 virgins in heaven concept:
72 Virgins and Boys
This picture seems strange to Christians, who believe in a heaven unmarred by carnal things. The Bible says that the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking (Romans 14:17). In heaven people will not be married, but will be like angels (Matthew 22:30). And in heaven we will have resurrected perfect bodies—the pain and tears will be gone (Revelation 21:4). This perfect place of happiness is for men, women, and children equally.

Jesus and Muhammad
There is a significant difference between the founders of the two religions. Muhammad was a sinner. In Suras 40:55, 47:19, and 48:1-2, Allah tells Muhammad to ask for forgiveness for his sins (translated frailties in some translations.) Certain sins of his are mentioned in Bukhari 1:234 and 8:794-796, which include cutting off people's limbs, burning out their eyes, and making them die of thirst. Other mention of his sins are found in Bukhari 1:19, 711, 781, 3:582, 4:319, 7:1, 8:319.
Arthur Jeffery summarizes the biography of the prophet Muhammad by Ibn Ishaq as follows: "He organizes assassinations and wholesale massacres. His career as tyrant of Medina is that of a robber chief, whose political economy consists in securing and dividing plunder."
Jerry Rassamni, author of From Jihad to Jesus, asks a reasonable question to Muslims—"If Islam's prophet, who is purported to be the model of purity for Muslims, was not in a perfect state of perfection [mutma'inaah], then what hope do other Muslims have in achieving the stage of perfection?" He further asks, "Shouldn't the fruits of a prophet of the Almighty be mercy, benevolence, and brotherhood instead of cold-blooded murder?"
Jesus, on the other hand was without sin (Acts 10:38; 1 Peter 1:19, 2:21-24; 1 John 2:1, 3:5). Even his enemies, those who betrayed and crucified him, acknowledged his perfect life (Matthew 27:3-4; Luke 23:14-15). This is an important theme in the Bible, but as we have previously mentioned, it is also confirmed in Islamic teaching (Bukhari 4:506).
Jesus lived the perfect life for us all. This gives meaning to his claim to divinity since no one else has ever achieved perfection. And his sacrificial death for our sins becomes even more poignant. The Bible says that Jesus gave his life that others may live in a very spiritual and real sense.
Modern Islam is generally considered to be free of racism. However Muhammad himself owned slaves, including a black slave named Anjasha (Bukhari 3:711, 6:435, 8:182, 8:221, 9:368, etc.). For more information, see www.answering-islam.org and search for "slaves." Of note, the only place where slavery is practiced today is in Islamic countries.
Slavery was common practice in the ancient world. Indeed, the Bible seems to acknowledge it as common practice. But Christianity teaches that all people are created equal (Genesis 1:27; Galatians 3:28). And the Bible specifically condemns the slave trade (1 Timothy 1:9-11).
Consider Jesus, the sinless prophet. In contrast to Muhammad,
Jesus:
* was never forgiven because he had no sin, * killed no travelers in cold blood, * never told us to kill anybody, * was not prejudiced against classes of people, * did not own slaves, * did not succumb to the devil and was not bewitched (Matthew 4; Luke 4) * had high moral standards (never said forcible sex was OK), * promised to pay the penalty for your sins, * suffered and died for you and me, * has no tomb for he rose from the dead, and * is the Prince of Peace. * Muhammad by his own admission was merely a mortal man (Sura 18:110), and never performed a single miracle (Suras 3:183-184, 17:90-95, Bukhari 6:504, 9:379). The Quran itself acknowledges that Muhammad's opponents challenged him with, "Why is not an angel sent down to him?" to settle the matter of his prophethood (Sura 6:8-9). But Muhammad could not deliver. Yet Jesus performed numerous miracles before many witnesses (Mark 7:37; John 10:38, et. al.) Jesus' miracles are even confirmed in the Quran (Sura 5:110-113). * Muhammad said of himself that he could do nothing for you (Sura 11:31), but only Jesus can forgive your sins (1 John 2:1-2). (For more on miracle claims, see Geisler/Saleeb, indexed on page 335). * In addition to being powerful, Muhammad was wealthy (Bukhari 3:495), which brings into question his true motive. But Jesus was a lowly itinerant rabbi whose motive is not in question. Jesus' status is important because he could relate to the common person of any time: * He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering...Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows...He was pierced for our transgression, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed...We all like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53). * We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15). * esus' influence came not from wealth or political power, but from his words and actions that challenged people's very concept of truth (Mark 1:27; John 18:38). He said, * I am the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6) * Let's consider further the subject of prophecies. One thing that has convinced many of the true identity of Jesus is the evidence from fulfilled prophecies. Jesus fulfilled over 200 prophecies and implications, many made hundreds of years before his birth. While some of the prophecies are subtle, many are precise—including his place of birth, and the details of his life and death. We have listed a few of these on our website. Jesus even predicted his own death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21; Acts 10:40, etc.)! * The interested reader may want to take the time to look up these prophecies and the details of their fulfillment. It is hard to get the color and richness of Christianity without understanding this aspect of it. * Abdul Saleeb, who converted to Christianity from Islam, says the two primary things that convinced him that Jesus is more than just a prophet were first, the character of Jesus, and second, Jesus' amazing fulfillment of prophecy. This element of prophecy, which is such an important part of Christianity, has no parallel in any other religion. Jesus is the focus and fulcrum of all of history. * Finally, Muhammad had quite a number of phobias revealed in the hadiths. * Why would you be a follower of Muhammad—or anyone else—when you could be a follower of Jesus, the Savior of the World? * Top of page Summary * It is clear that fundamental Christianity and fundamental Islam are incompatible worldviews. If either one is right, the other must be wrong. The evidence demands a verdict. * Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the anti-christ—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also...I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. (1 John 2:22-23, 26) * Top of page Invitation * Speaking especially to our Muslim readers, we invite you to consider the Christian faith. The Christian faith offers assurance of salvation. It also offers love and intimacy with God. Consider especially the person of Jesus—his beauty and gentleness. May your hopes and dreams be fulfilled. For further information, visit our website.

http://www.faithfacts.org/world-religions-and-theology/christianity-vs.-islam
-------------------------------------------------

Transcendentalism
In his 1794 book The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine advanced a religious philosophy called Deism that struck at the tenets of organized religions, particularly Calvinism as it was practiced by the Puritans. Paine claimed that churches were “set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” These thoughts were shocking to Americans who were imbued with a strong religious tradition. At the same time, Paine’s ideas appealed to many Americans who were likewise steeped in the rationality of the Enlightenment period and who had difficulty aligning Calvinist doctrine with reason.
Calvinism held that the essential nature of infants was evil. This belief was called “infant damnation.” Calvinism also subscribed to a belief that there were only a certain few who were “elect” by God from the beginning to be saved. All others were doomed after death regardless of their beliefs or actions in life. Many people objected to the ideas of infant damnation and the powerlessness of the individual to achieve salvation.
Paine’s Deism, by contrast, claimed that human nature was essentially good and that salvation was within reach of every person through faith and good works. Deists believed in a “clockwork” universe. They felt that God had created the world and all the laws that governed it, and then He allowed events to play themselves out as they would without further divine intervention. Deists believed that the laws of the world are knowable to humanity by the application of logic and reason. This contrasted with the Calvinist idea that true knowledge is only obtained by divine revelation as expressed in the Bible. A number of the Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, became Deists.
A new Protestant sect, the Unitarians, formally expressed the philosophy of Deism. Unitarians believed in a single divine deity, the Supreme Being, as opposed to the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit worshipped by most Christians. They also believed in free will, salvation through good works, and the intrinsically moral nature of human beings, including infants and children. The Unitarian creed was rational, optimistic, and non-dogmatic. Unitarianism appealed to many intellectuals and free thinkers of the day.
Others who were unhappy with the Puritan religion chose to return to the Episcopal faith, which was associated with the Anglican Church of England. The Irish and Scots in the United States were already largely Presbyterian. A similar religious group, the Congregationalists, often merged with the Presbyterians in small communities since they differed little in creed. In these ways the religious landscape was changing in the early 1800s, especially among the established, educated people of New England. But the pace of change across the country was soon to quicken.
The Romantic Movement at the turn of the nineteenth century gave expression to a growing conviction throughout Europe and America that there was more to experiencing the world than could be inferred by logic and more to living than could be satisfied by the acquisition of material things. People felt a need to balance reason and calculation with emotion and spirit. The German philosopher Immanuel Kant first framed doubts over rationality as a cure-all for human problems and needs in his Critique of Pure Reason, published in 1781. Sympathetic poets and authors transmuted his ideas into literary works that were meant to be as much apprehended by the soul as understood by the intellect. In England, writers such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, and Tennyson, to name a few, breathed life into Romanticism through their poetry. The Romantics revered nature and felt that contemplation of natural scenes would lead to realization of fundamental truths.
In America, Emerson and Thoreau helped formalize the Romantic Movement into Transcendentalism, a philosophy that reads almost like a faith. The Transcendentalists infused the Romantic impulse with mysticism, a belief in the possibility of direct communion with God and knowledge of ultimate reality through spiritual insight. In part, this was fueled by newly translated Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic texts, which contained elements of mysticism. A thread of the mystic also ran through American Puritanism and in the Quaker faith even more so. Quaker doctrine subscribed to a belief in an Inner Light, which was a gift of God’s grace. The Inner Light expressed itself as divine intuition or knowledge unaccountable by ordinary derivations of thought.
For Transcendentalists, truth is beyond, or transcends, what can be discovered using evidence acquired by the senses. Like the Quakers, Transcendentalists believed that every person possesses an Inner Light that can illuminate the highest truth and put a person in touch with God, whom they called the Oversoul. Since this sort of knowledge of truth is a personal matter, Transcendentalism was committed to development of the self and had little regard for dogma or authority.
Ralph Waldo Emerson took up the Transcendentalist banner after studying at Harvard to be a Unitarian minister. He left what he called the “cold and cheerless” Unitarian pulpit to travel in Europe and talk to Romantic writers and philosophers, including Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Thomas Carlyle. Returning to America, he lived in Concord, Massachusetts, near Boston, where he composed poetry and wrote essays. He supported himself through annual lecture tours and was a very popular speaker.
In 1837 at Harvard, Emerson delivered his influential “American Scholar” lecture that exhorted Americans in the arts to stop turning to Europe for inspiration and instruction and begin developing an American literary and artistic tradition. Emerson preached the philosophy of the Oversoul and the organic, ever-changing nature of the universe, stressing self-reliance, individualism, optimism, and freedom. Though not inclined toward political activism, by the eve of the Civil War, Emerson became an ardent abolitionist.
Another Transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau, wrote essays that have had a profound effect on modern thought. His philosophy of individualism and conscious nonconformism is expressed in his book Walden: Or Life in the Woods (1854) where he describes living a full emotional and intellectual life for two years while residing in a tiny cabin he made himself and existing in every other way at a barely subsistence level. His other work of note is the essay On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. Thoreau was against Texas joining the Union because it would be a slave state. He felt that the United States had involved itself in the Mexican War on behalf of Texas and, therefore, he refused to pay a tax that he felt would support the war effort. For this he was briefly jailed. Thoreau’s tactic of passive resistance was later emulated by Mahatma Gandhi in India in his resistance to British rule and by Martin Luther King, Jr. in his non-violent approach to gaining civil rights.
Romanticism encouraged writing literature of remarkable emotional effects. In the early nineteenth century, Washington Irving (Legend of Sleepy Hollow), James Fenimore Cooper (Last of the Mohicans), and Edgar Allen Poe (The Pit and the Pendulum) made their marks as gifted authors. In the early 1850s, however, in addition to Thoreau’s Walden, American writers produced a dazzling set of classic works inaugurating a golden age in American literature. In this time frame, Nathaniel Hawthorne published The Scarlet Letter and the House of the Seven Gables, Herman Melville produced Moby-Dick, and Walt Whitman composed Leaves of Grass. These were a new breed of distinctly American authors, writing on American subjects and from a uniquely American perspective steeped in native Transcendentalism. Until this time American literature was considered second rate if it was considered at all. In the wake of these contributions, Europe began to look to America for thought and inspiration of true quality.
The Second Great Awakening
At the turn of the nineteenth century, America was still a devotedly church-going nation. Most Americans felt a traditional religious faith to be the foundation of moral character, and many worried that over time the religious imperative would wane into token gestures and empty social structures. These concerns increased with news of the cruelties and excesses of the French Revolution done in the name of reason.
In 1795, Timothy Dwight became president of Yale College, described as a “hotbed of infidelity.” Determined to counter the secular trend in American thinking, Dwight sponsored a series of religious revivals that fired the collective soul of the Yale student body and spread across New England, igniting a religious movement called the Second Great Awakening. The sermons preached from the pulpits of this great revival did not attempt like the old-time Puritans to pressure a captive congregation with dire predictions of a vengeful God’s omniscient power and arbitrary judgments. Rather, they spoke of a benevolent Father whose most passionate desire was the salvation of every one of His children down to the most lost sinner.
At a religious assembly, a person could be saved by faith alone during a conversion experience. Unusual behaviors such as “speaking in tongues” or convulsive fits of religious ecstasy sometimes accompanied these experiences. The only absolute requisite to salvation, however, was an acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice as atonement for one’s sins. All people were free to accept this gift or not. But the fires of everlasting hell, described in lush and vivid imagery, awaited those who turned their backs.
The Second Great Awakening soon spread to the frontier. Beginning in the South and moving northward along the frontier to the Old Northwest, a new institution, the camp meeting, ignited a spiritual fervor that converted thousands and altered the religious landscape of America forever. Many traditional churches were swept away in this new awakening. Others reformed to counter the firestorm of the evangelical preacher.
Camp meetings were generally held in the fall after harvest but before the rigors of winter. For the participants who often traveled considerable distances, religious revivals probably combined the attractions of a retreat, a camp-out, and a much-earned vacation. As many as 25,000 people gathered at revival meetings to hear the gospel preached by charismatic orators who “rode the circuit” from camp to camp.
Besides the spiritual message, revival meetings offered entertainment in an age when other diversions for the average person were either of the homegrown variety or of a quiet, literary nature. A free-wheeling, fire-and-brimstone revival provided an acceptable emotional and social outlet for people of the frontier who were mostly engaged in farming and other rural, labor-intensive agricultural pursuits. Of particular importance, women could attend and participate in religious revivals at a time when many social outlets available to men, such as taverns and fraternal organizations, were neither considered appropriate nor allowed for women. This offered revival preachers a natural female constituency that contributed immeasurably to their success.
In the south, black slaves and freed men and women could also attend segregated, companion revivals. The emotional, spiritual, and social opportunity of such a gathering can scarcely be appreciated in the modern age for its intensity. These meetings gave rise to a rich and remarkable tradition of black preachers who provided not merely social and spiritual but political cohesion to much-beleaguered black communities in the difficult times to come.
Western New York hosted so many revival meetings patronized by the hellfire-and-brimstone variety of preacher that it came to be known as the “burned-over district.” With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, commerce and industry boomed, particularly around Utica in Oneida County. This attracted great numbers of people seeking a fresh start in life. Such seekers were prime subjects for conversion by revivalists because of the social nature of a revival. At a camp meeting, a person joined hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others on an essentially egalitarian basis. Though many were drawn to the meetings for the social aspect, they were easily caught up in the event and followed through with conversion.
The women of Utica were particularly concerned with the spiritual health of their community, and since women did not generally work outside the home they had the time to organize community activities. The Oneida County Female Missionary Society raised sufficient money to support the revival movement in the area for a number of years. The role of women in the Second Great Awakening can scarcely be over-emphasized. Women were converted in equal numbers with men, but once converted tended to be even more solid adherents to their church than their male counterparts. Viewed as the moral center of the family, a woman was responsible for her husband’s and children’s spiritual well being. Women took this responsibility seriously and sought to fulfill it through church participation and, later in the century, through organizing charitable and benevolent associations aimed at social reform.
Evangelists were aware that their power to make converts rested substantially in their influence with women. The new gospels emphasized the importance of the role of women in bringing their families to Christian life. They placed an equal value on the spiritual worth of men and women, in contrast to earlier religions that tended to minimize women’s importance in the spiritual as well as secular spheres. This gender egalitarianism in religious matters marked a break with the past and offered women the opportunity to acquire standing in the community without treading on the secular prerogatives of their husbands. Once this door was opened to them, women continued to play a crucial role in religious life and went on to become pioneers and crusaders in nineteenth century social reform.
Many prominent preachers frequented the pulpits of the burned-over-district. Among them, William Miller gained a following of around 100,000 with a Biblical interpretation of the Second Coming of Christ on October 22, 1844. Failure of the prophecy to materialize did not wholly quench the Millerite movement, which became known as Seventh Day Adventist.
Perhaps the greatest evangelist was the former lawyer Charles Grandison Finney, who conducted an intense, sustained revival in the burned-over-district from 1826 to 1831. Beginning in Utica, he made his way in stages to Rochester and New York City. Church membership grew by tens of thousands wherever he held revivals. A spellbinding orator, Finney preached a theology in pointed contrast to Puritan Calvinism. Salvation could be had by anyone through faith and good works, which he felt flowed from one another. People were the captains of their own fate, and since Judgment Day could come at any time, his hearers should take immediate action to ensure the redemption of themselves and their loved ones.
Finney was a master of showmanship and participatory psychology. His revival agenda included hymn singing and solicitation of personal testimonials from the congregation. He placed an “anxious bench” in the front of the assembly for those teetering on the brink of commitment to Christ. The moment of holy redemption for a bench-sitter became a dramatic event. Finney encouraged women to pray aloud and denounced alcohol and slavery from the pulpit. He felt that mass, public conversions were more effective than the old-style, solitary communion because they emphasized the fraternal nature of church membership. Finney later became president of Oberlin College in Ohio, the first U.S. college to admit women and blacks and a hotbed of abolitionism and evangelical zeal.
The crusading spirit of religious evangelism carried over into secular life and expressed itself in a number of reform movements. Temperance, suffrage, prison reform, and abolition all received an infusion of energy from evangelical vigor. In addition, the traveling preacher expanded the horizons of imagination beyond the local sphere and even beyond the borders of the nation. Supporting a mission in a foreign country or among Native Americans in the West became a binding cause for many churches. Reports from missionaries in such exotic places as Africa, India, or Hawaii were awaited with breathless expectation. As an enticement to listen to their religious message, missionaries often provided medical, technical, and educational benefits to the people in the locale of their mission. In these ways, the Second Great Awakening contributed to changing not just the nation, but the world.
Revivalism did not affect the wealthier, better-educated parts of society that gravitated to Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Unitarian churches as much as it did rural and frontier communities that tended to be Baptist or Methodist. The Baptist faith proved ideal for conditions on the frontier. Baptists believed in a literal reading of the Bible that required no authoritarian interpretation. They also subscribed to the concept of the possibility of any person obtaining salvation through his or her own free will. Above all, however, they believed that a church was its own highest authority and thus avoided the difficulties and delays of petitions to and approvals from a distant hierarchical organization.
A group of Baptists could form their own church on the spot and choose a preacher from among themselves. The Baptists were egalitarian in their creed, believing that all people were equal before God regardless of their economic, social, or educational standing. The simplest farmer in Kentucky was on par in native dignity with every other person in the Republic. These beliefs and the Baptists’ uncomplicated organization were highly appealing to small communities of self-sufficient, independent-minded people.
The Methodists, however, were most successful at reaping the benefits of religious revivalism of the early 1800s by establishing a system of itinerant preachers on horseback, or circuit riders. Francis Asbury began the practice when the frontier was scarcely west of the Appalachian Mountains. Hardy and fearless, Asbury rode the rugged backwoods trails and preached thousands of sermons to farmers, pioneers, and backwoodsmen and their families.
Peter Cartwright, the most famous of the Methodist frontier preachers, delivered his highly charged sermons for 50 years in the frontier region bordering the Ohio River. Uneducated himself, he along with other Methodist evangelists considered education a hindrance to converting souls since conversion is not a matter of the mind but of the spirit. Energy, sincerity, and a powerful message of faith and redemption were the necessary requisites for a Methodist circuit rider. Their approach seems justified since by 1850 the Methodist Church had more members than any other Protestant sect in the country.
Churches came to reflect deep divisions that paralleled sectional interests in the country far beyond issues of religious doctrine or socio-economic stratification. By 1845, both the Baptist and Methodist Churches split over slavery. Presbyterians suffered a similar schism in 1857. The Northern churches of these denominations believed in abolishing slavery while Southern congregations felt their economic well-being was bound to a slaveholding system. The conflict over human bondage thus broke first in the communities of religion, which served as heralds to the South’s secession from the Union and, ultimately, to the American Civil War.
Utopian Movements
A number of cooperative communities were launched in the 1800s as experiments in alternative social organizations and Christian living according to scriptural interpretations. This was not a new phenomenon in the New World. The Jamestown colonists, the Puritans, the Quakers, and others had all made the difficult and dangerous voyage across the sea in order to live by their own beliefs.
Reformers in the aftermath of the Second Great Awakening sought to get away from authoritarian power structures but still provide for all members of the group. Brook Farm, New Harmony, the Shaker and Amana communities, and Oneida Colony were typical trials of utopian communes. Generally socialistic, these communities failed to thrive in America’s capitalistic culture once the vision and dedication of the original founders was gone. Their histories as alternative patterns of living are valuable, however, for their insight into human relationships and social structures.
New Harmony, founded in 1825 in Indiana by wealthy Scottish textile manufacturer Robert Owen, ironically perished early from lack of harmony among its participants. The Amana communities in New York and Iowa were also short-lived, fading away by the end of the 1850s.
Brook Farm in Massachusetts, noted as a transcendental literary and intellectual haven, suffered from indebtedness, in part from a disastrous fire and in part from lack of incentive for the members to be productive, since the fruits of the labor of all were shared equally by all, regardless of contribution. Lasting only five years, the experiment in “plain living and high thinking” was forever memorialized as the basis for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Blithedale Romance.
The Shaker communities, founded by an Englishwoman, Ann Lee, who came to America in 1774, practiced strict sexual abstinence since they believed the Christian millennium was imminent and therefore saw no reason to perpetuate the human race. Ann Lee died in 1784, but the sect continued to prosper on the strength of its fervent and joyful religious life. The Shakers admired simplicity and made an art of designing buildings and furniture of distinctive, harmonious beauty. By the 1830s, there were 20 Shaker communities, and by 1840 the Shakers had a membership of some six thousand. Shaker communities existed for another 100 years, though dwindling slowly. Their rule of celibacy and communal holding of property discouraged new converts. Because of their high ideals and lack of controversial practices, the Shaker communities lived in harmony with their neighbors.
By contrast, the Oneida colony practiced free love, birth control, and eugenic selection of parents. These life-style anomalies proved unpalatable to most Americans and caused ongoing problems with the surrounding community. Founded in 1847 in Vermont by John Humphrey Noyes, the colony soon had to relocate to more-tolerant New York. Noyes’s doctrine of “Bible Communism” insisted selfishness was the root of unhappiness. Owning property and maintaining exclusive relationships encouraged selfishness and destructive covetousness of what others have. Therefore, the keys to happiness were communal ownership of property and what Noyes termed “complex marriage” where every woman was married to every man in the group.
The Oneidans shared work equally and supported their enterprise by manufacturing such things as steel traps, silk thread, and silverplate tableware. Yielding to external pressure, the Oneida colony gave up complex marriage in 1879, and communal ownership of property soon followed. The group eventually transformed itself into a joint-stock company manufacturing stainless steel knives and tableware. Thus Noyes’s communistic utopia ended as a capitalist corporation.
In New York in the 1820s, Joseph Smith was visited with a vision and claimed to have received golden plates that detailed a new religion he called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism. In 1831 Smith founded a small community in Ohio. The Mormon faith was cooperative in nature, which rankled the individualistic temper of the times. But the colony was efficient and successful, which attracted converts. Strife with the local inhabitants caused the colony to relocate to Missouri and then to Illinois, where in 1839 they founded the town of Nauvoo. Five years later Nauvoo was the largest town in the state. Rumors of polygamy and other social irregularities incensed the moral rectitude of neighboring non-Mormons. Smith and his brother Hyrum were arrested, and while in jail they were attacked by a mob and killed.
Leadership of the Mormons was taken up by Brigham Young who led the sect to the site of what is now Salt Lake City. The Mormons were highly successful in Utah, but so staunchly independent that they raised the ire of the United States government, which sent troops against them in 1857. The issue of polygamy delayed statehood for Utah until 1896. Though no longer communal in nature, Mormonism remains a dynamic influence in the state of Utah, and the Mormon faith is recognized as a major religion in the United States.
Subordination of the individual to the group seems to be the one common thread among the utopian experimental communities. Beyond that, their doctrines, practices, and fates make each group uniquely individual. They reflected the idealistic, reform-minded spirit of their age, and remain as monuments to human courage to live differently on the basis of principle and religious conviction.
Reform might be labeled the touchstone of the nineteenth century. The movements begun then often did not bear fruit until the twentieth century, and some are still in the process of becoming fully realized. Reforms such as prison reform, corporate reform, sanitation, and child labor were mostly accomplished through court cases. Women’s rights, the universal right to vote, and temperance from alcohol relied on grass-roots movements, consciousness raising in the form of parades, petitions, and lectures, and ultimately, legislation. But the test of the nation came over reform from the practice of slavery, which sparked a terrible war. The first reforms of the era were of religion and philosophy. When the hearts and minds of the people changed, social and political reform became an unstoppable force. http://www.apstudynotes.org/us-history/topics/transcendentalism-religion-and-utopian-movements/ -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Plato makes it clear, especially in his Apology of Socrates, that he was one of Socrates' devoted young followers. In that dialogue, Socrates is presented as mentioning Plato by name as one of those youths close enough to him to have been corrupted, if he were in fact guilty of corrupting the youth, and questioning why their fathers and brothers did not step forward to testify against him if he was indeed guilty of such a crime (33d-34a). Later, Plato is mentioned along with Crito, Critobolus, and Apollodorus as offering to pay a fine of 30 minas on Socrates' behalf, in lieu of the death penalty proposed by Meletus (38b). In the Phaedo, the title character lists those who were in attendance at the prison on Socrates' last day, explaining Plato's absence by saying, "Plato was ill" (Phaedo 59b).
The relationship between Plato and Socrates is not unproblematic, however. Aristotle, for example, attributes a different doctrine with respect to the ideas to Plato and Socrates (Metaphysics 987b1–11), but Plato never speaks in his own voice in his dialogues. In the Second Letter, it says, "no writing of Plato exists or ever will exist, but those now said to be his are those of a Socrates become beautiful and new" (341c); if the Letter is Plato's, the final qualification seems to call into question the dialogues' historical fidelity. In any case, Xenophon and Aristophanes seem to present a somewhat different portrait of Socrates than Plato paints. Leo Strauss calls attention to problem of taking Plato's Socrates to be his mouthpiece, given Socrates' reputation for irony.
The precise relationship between Plato and Socrates remains an area of contention among scholars.
Comparison chart</> Embed this chart | AristotleUser Rating (368): * 3.62/5 * 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 | PlatoUser Rating (278): * 3.62/5 * 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 | Notable ideas | The Golden mean, Reason, Logic, Biology, Passion | Platonic realism | Influenced | Alexander the Great, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Albertus Magnus, Maimonides Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Ptolemy, St. Thomas Aquinas, Ayn Rand, and most of Islamic philosophy, Christian philosophy, Western philosophy and Science in general | Aristotle, Augustine, Neoplatonism, Cicero, Plutarch, Stoicism, Anselm, Descartes, Hobbes, Leibniz, Mill, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Arendt, Gadamer, Russell and countless other western philosophers and theologians | Influenced by | Parmenides, Socrates, Plato, Heraclitus | Socrates, Homer, Hesiod, Aristophanes, Aesop, Protagoras, Parmenides, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Orphism | Main interests | Politics, Metaphysics, Science, Logic, Ethics | Rhetoric, Art, Literature, Epistemology, Justice, Virtue, Politics, Education, Family, Militarism | School / Philosophical Tradition | Inspired the Peripatetic school and tradition of Aristotelianism | Platonism | Date of Birth | 384 BC | 424-423 BC | Place of Birth | Stageira, Chalcidice | Athens | Date of Death | 322 BC | 347-348 BC |
-------------------------------------------------

Understanding the Relationship between Christianity Judaism and Islam
By: Ify Nwigwe * Published: August 30, 2007

Ify Nwigwe's image for:
"Understanding the Relationship between Christianity Judaism and Islam"
Caption:
Location:
Image by:
©

As both Christianity and Islam originated from Judaism, many of their teachings and beliefs are similar to that of Judaism. All three religions are similar in their description of the relationship with God, and yet there are also distinct differences in their view of God. Each of these three religions holds a monotheistic tradition, which is characterized by their belief in the existence of only one God. All three possess an essential need to believe in the existence of a higher force or supreme being and they all place importance on the fact that it is this God who created the heavens and the earth and that there is no other God to be worshiped but him.
In Judaism, which is the root for both Christianity and Islam, God is portrayed as a transcendent Creator, without origins, gender or form, a being utterly different from what has been created" (Fisher, 2005). From the story of creation we are introduced to a powerful God who has created the universe in six days and had a relationship with the humans he also created until they disobeyed him and were sent out of the Garden of Eden.
The Jews also believe that they have a very special relationship with this God and are bound by a covenant between God and them. According to this covenant, absolute obedience was expected of them and in return, God would fulfill all their desires and answer their prayers. "The paradigm for this special relationship is the covenant between God and Abraham on behalf of the Jewish people" (Fisher). The covenant was symbolized by the act of circumcision as a way of setting themselves apart from other peoples.
Following the history of the Jews, their relationship with God was perceived in many ways; sometimes as a ruler in close relationship with the people, and at other times, when the people go astray and worship other gods, God is viewed as a jealous lover who has been betrayed and is ready to pour out his wrath on the people.
However, no matter how many times the Jews strayed from their God, He always found his way back to them when they called out to him and he defended them with signs and wonders, letting the other peoples around that they were his chosen people. In the midst of their oppression, God promised them a Messiah that would come and liberate them and free them from all their suffering. The Christians believe this to be Jesus Christ. The Jews believe that Messiah is yet to come.
Traditionally, Jews often perceive God as a loving father even though he is majestic and divine (Fisher, 2005). According to their beliefs, he is an all-powerful God, who intervenes and rewards the righteous, and punishes the unjust. Yet, in so doing, he is doing what is best for the people even when they cannot understand his ways. This is similar to the perception of God in Christianity.
According to Christian beliefs and traditions, God is the all-knowing God, the all-present God, the protector who takes care of human needs as a generous parent would. To Christians, Jesus Christ represents the new covenant between God and the people and in this new covenant, everyone was included as long as they believed in the coming of Jesus Christ and acknowledge him as the Son of God, sent to demonstrate God's love for all peoples and not only the Jews.
The Holy Trinity is the cornerstone of the beliefs in Christianity. The Holy Trinity, according to Christians, is a mystery that cannot be fully explained or understood God, the invisible, the transcendent, came to earth in the form of a baby as the Son and they are also accompanied by the presence of the Holy Spirit (Fisher, 2005). There have been attempts to demystify this belief and Christians have defended themselves against accusations that they do not worship one God, but three Gods. The Holy Trinity has been likened by some to an egg, which possesses three distinct parts the shell, the yolk and the albumen and yet, it remains one egg, none existing without the other. There has also been some confusion about the place of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Catholics have explained that Mary is honored and not worshiped.
This concept should be an easy one for Muslims to understand as they also declare that Mohammad is God's last prophet and that he is not worshiped but revered just as the other prophets of God are honored and not worshiped. In Islam God (Allah) is only one God, and the one true God (Fisher, 2005). When a child is born into the Muslim tradition, there is usually a chant called the Shahadah, which proclaims that "there is no god but God, and Mohammad is the Messenger of God" (Fisher, 2005).
The Islamic tradition is steeped in the idea of this monotheism and it is estimated that "over ninety percent of Muslim theology deals the implications of Unity" (Fisher, 2005). Allah, in Islam, has up to ninety names and various attributes, but is not seen as anything else but One God. It is actually seen as one of two of the major human sins against God to associate anything else with divinity apart from God.
In Muslim belief, God is also all-knowing, like in Christianity. The conflict in beliefs here is that Muslims do not believe that Jesus has the right to forgive and atone for sins. That responsibility is solely God's and it is seen as blasphemy for anyone to assume that responsibility.
It is undeniable, though, that despite the differences in the three religions, they all have their roots in Abraham, as he is seen as the father of all three faiths. These three are still in the forefront when talking about religions that are monotheistic.
References
Fisher, M.P. (2005). Living religions. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Pearson Education, Inc.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
First published Mon Jul 12, 1999; substantive revision Wed Sep 30, 2009
Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) lived at a critical juncture of western culture when the arrival of the Aristotelian corpus in Latin translation reopened the question of the relation between faith and reason, calling into question the modus vivendi that had obtained for centuries. This crisis flared up just as universities were being founded. Thomas, after early studies at Montecassino, moved on to the University of Naples, where he met members of the new Dominican Order. It was at Naples too that Thomas had his first extended contact with the new learning. When he joined the Dominican Order he went north to study with Albertus Magnus, author of a paraphrase of the Aristotelian corpus. Thomas completed his studies at the University of Paris, which had been formed out of the monastic schools on the Left Bank and the cathedral school at Notre Dame. In two stints as a regent master Thomas defended the mendicant orders and, of greater historical importance, countered both the Averroistic interpretations of Aristotle and the Franciscan tendency to reject Greek philosophy. The result was a new modus vivendi between faith and philosophy which survived until the rise of the new physics. The Catholic Church has over the centuries regularly and consistently reaffirmed the central importance of Thomas's work for understanding its teachings concerning the Christian revelation, and his close textual commentaries on Aristotle represent a cultural resource which is now receiving increased recognition. The following account concentrates on Thomas the philosopher. * 1. Life and Works * 1.1 Vita Brevis * 1.2 Education * 1.3 Writings * 2. Philosophy and Theology * 3. Christian Philosophy * 4. Thomas and Aristotle * 5. The Order of Philosophical Inquiry * 6. Composition of Physical Objects * 6.1 Matter and Form * 6.2 Substantial Change * 7. Perception and Thought * 8. Body and Soul * 9. Beyond Physics * 10. Philosophical and Scriptural Theology * 10.1 God * 10.2 Analogous Names * 10.3 Essence and Existence * 11. Moral Doctrine * 11.1 Natural Law * 12. Thomism * Bibliography * Primary Literature * Life and Works * Introductions * Secondary Literature * Thomism * Electronic Databases

1. Life and Works
1.1 Vita Brevis
Thomas was born in 1225 at Roccasecca, a hilltop castle from which the great Benedictine abbey of Montecassino is not quite visible, midway between Rome and Naples. At the age of five, he was entered at Montecassino where his studies began. When the monastery became a battle site—not for the last time—Thomas was transferred by his family to the University of Naples. It was here that he came into contact with the “new” Aristotle and with the Order of Preachers or Dominicans, a recently founded mendicant order. He became a Dominican over the protests of his family and eventually went north to study, perhaps first briefly at Paris, then at Cologne with Albert the Great, whose interest in Aristotle strengthened Thomas's own predilections. Returned to Paris, he completed his studies, became a Master and for three years occupied one of the Dominican chairs in the Faculty of Theology. The next ten years were spent in various places in Italy, with the mobile papal court, at various Dominican houses, and eventually in Rome. From there he was called back to Paris to confront the controversy variously called Latin Averroism and Heterodox Aristotelianism. After this second three year stint, he was assigned to Naples. In 1274, on his way to the Council of Lyon, he fell ill and died on March 7 in the Cistercian abbey at Fossanova, which is perhaps twenty kilometers from Roccasecca.
1.2 Education
Little is known of Thomas's studies at Montecassino, but much is known of the shape that the monastic schools had taken. They were one of the principal conduits of the liberal arts tradition which stretches back to Cassiodorus Senator in the 6th century. The arts of the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, logic) and those of the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy) were fragments preserved against the ruinous loss of classical knowledge. They constituted the secular education that complemented sacred doctrine as learned from the Bible. When Thomas transferred to Naples, his education in the arts continued. Here it would have been impressed upon him that the liberal arts were no longer adequate categories of secular learning: the new translations of Aristotle spelled the end of the liberal arts tradition, although the universities effected a transition rather than a breach.
Taking Thomas's alma mater Paris as reference point, the Faculty of Arts provided the point of entry to teen-aged boys. With the attainment of the Master of Arts at about the age of 20, one could go on to study in a higher faculty, law, medicine or theology. The theological program Thomas entered in Paris was a grueling one, with the master's typically attained in the early thirties. Extensive and progressively more intensive study of the scriptures, Old and New Testament, and of the summary of Christian doctrine called the Sentences which was compiled by the twelfth century Bishop of Paris, Peter Lombard. These close textual studies were complemented by public disputations and the even more unruly quodlibetal questions. With the faculty modeled more or less on the guilds, the student served a long apprenticeship, established his competence in stages, and eventually after a public examination was named a master and then gave his inaugural lecture.
1.3 Writings
Thomas's writings by and large show their provenance in his teaching duties. His commentary on the Sentences put the seal on his student days and many of his very early commentaries on Scripture have come down to us. But from the very beginning Thomas produces writings which would not have emerged from the usual tasks of the theological master. On Being and Essence and The Principles of Nature date from his first stay at Paris, and unlike his commentaries on Boethius' On the Trinity and De hebdomadibus, are quite obviously philosophical works. Some of his disputed questions date from his first stint as regius master at Paris. When he returned to Italy his productivity increased. He finished the Summa contra gentiles, wrote various disputed questions and began the Summa theologiae. In 1268, at Rome, he began the work of commenting on Aristotle with On the Soul, and during the next five or six years commented on eleven more (not all of these are complete). During this time he was caught up in magisterial duties of unusual scope and was writing such polemical works as On the Eternity of the World and On There Being Only One Intellect.
At Naples, he was given the task of elevating the status of the Dominican House of Studies. His writing continued until he had a mystical experience which made him think of all he had done as “mere straw.” At the time of his death in 1274 he was under a cloud in Paris and in 1277, 219 propositions were condemned by a commission appointed by the Bishop of Paris, among them tenets of Thomas. This was soon lifted, he was canonized and eventually was given the title of Common Doctor of the Church. But the subtle and delicate assimilation of Aristotle that characterized his work in both philosophy and theology did not survive his death, outside the Dominican Order, and has experienced ups and downs ever since.
2. Philosophy and Theology
Many contemporary philosophers are unsure how to read Thomas. He was in his primary and official profession a theologian. Nonetheless, we find among his writings works anyone would recognize as philosophical and the dozen commentaries on Aristotle increasingly enjoy the respect and interest of Aristotelian scholars. Even within theological works as such there are extended discussions that are easily read as possessing a philosophical character. So his best known work, the Summa theologiae, is often cited by philosophers when Thomas's position on this or that issue is sought. How can a theological work provide grist for philosophical mills? How did Thomas distinguish between philosophy and theology?
Sometimes Thomas puts the difference this way: “… the believer and the philosopher consider creatures differently. The philosopher considers what belongs to their proper natures, while the believer considers only what is true of creatures insofar as they are related to God, for example, that they are created by God and are subject to him, and the like.” (Summa contra gentiles,bk II, chap. 4) Since the philosopher too, according to Thomas, considers things as they relate to God, this statement does not put the difference in a formal light.
The first and major formal difference between philosophy and theology is found in their principles, that is, starting points. The presuppositions of the philosopher, that to which his discussions and arguments are ultimately driven back, are in the public domain. They are things that everyone can know upon reflection; they are where disagreement between us must come to an end. These principles are not themselves the products of proof—which does not of course mean that they are immune to rational analysis and inquiry—and thus they are said to be known by themselves (per se, as opposed to per alia). This is proportionately true of each of the sciences, where the most common principles just alluded to are in the background and the proper principles or starting points of the particular science function regionally as the common principles do across the whole terrain of thought and being.
By contrast, the discourse of the theologian is ultimately driven back to starting points or principles that are held to be true on the basis of faith, that is, the truths that are authoritatively conveyed by Revelation as revealed by God. Some believers reflect on these truths and see other truths implied by them, spell out their interrelations and defend them against the accusation of being nonsense. Theological discourse looks like any other discourse and is, needless to say, governed by the common principles of thought and being, but it is characterized formally by the fact that its arguments and analyses are taken to be truth-bearing only for one who accepts Scriptural revelation as true.
This provides a formal test for deciding whether a piece of discourse is philosophical or theological. If it relies only on truths anyone can be expected upon reflection to know about the world, and if it offers to lead to new truths on the basis of such truths, and only on that basis, then it is philosophical discourse. On the other hand, discourse whose cogency—not formal, but substantive—depends upon our accepting as true such claims as that there are three persons in one divine nature, that our salvation was effected by the sacrifice of Jesus, that Jesus is one person but two natures, one human, one divine, and the like, is theological discourse. Any appeal to an authoritative scriptural source as the necessary nexus in an argument is thereby other than philosophical discourse.
More will be said of this contrast later, but this is the essential difference Thomas recognizes between philosophy and theology. I will conclude this paragraph with a passage in which Thomas summarizes his position. He is confronting an objection to there being any need for theological discourse. Whatever can be the object of inquiry will qualify as a being of one sort or another; but the philosophical disciplines seem to cover every kind of being, indeed there is even a part of it which Aristotle calls theology. So what need is there for discourse beyond philosophical discourse?
… it should be noted that different ways of knowing (ratio cognoscibilis) give us different sciences. The astronomer and the natural philosopher both conclude that the earth is round, but the astronomer does this through a mathematical middle that is abstracted from matter, whereas the natural philosopher considers a middle lodged in matter. Thus there is nothing to prevent another science from treating in the light of divine revelation what the philosophical disciplines treat as knowable in the light of human reason. (Summa theologiae, Ia, q. 1, a., ad 2)
For Thomas theological discourse begins with what God has revealed about Himself and His action in creating and redeeming the world, and the world is understood in that light. Philosophical discourse begins with knowledge of the world, and if it speaks of God, what it says is conditioned by what is known of the world. But even given the distinction between the two, Aquinas suggests here that there are in fact elements of what God has revealed that are formally speaking philosophical and subject to philosophical discussion--though revealed they can be known and investigated without the precondition of faith. In other words, even something as a matter of fact revealed is subject to philosophical analysis, if religious faith is not necessary to know it and accept it as true. So it may happen that concerning certain subjects, as for example the nature of God, the nature of the human person, what is necessary for a human being to be good and to fulfill his or her destiny, and so on, there can be both a theological and a philosophical discussion of those subjects, providing for a fruitful engagement between the theological and the philosophical. And for this reason, Thomas' theological works are very often paradigms of that engagement between theological and philosophical reflection, and provide some of his very best philosophical reflection.
3. Christian Philosophy
It will be observed that the formal distinction between philosophical and theological discourse leaves untouched what has often been the mark of one who is at once a believer and a philosopher. It is not simply that he might on one occasion produce an argument that is philosophical and at another time one that is theological; his religious beliefs are clearly not put in escrow but are very much in evidence when he functions as a philosopher. Many of the questions that can be raised philosophically are such that the believer already has answers to them -- from his religious faith. How then can he be thought to be ready to follow the argument whither it listeth, as an objector might put it? Furthermore, the inquiries in which the believer who philosophizes engages will often indicate his religious interests.
When such observations turn into objections, perhaps into the accusation that a believer cannot be a proper philosopher, there is often an unexamined notion of what a proper philosopher looks like. The proper philosopher may be thought to be someone—perhaps merely some mind—without antecedents or history who first comes to consciousness posing a philosophical question the answer to which is pursued without prejudice. But of course no human being and thus no philosopher is pure reason, mind alone, without previous history as he embarks on the task of philosophizing. One has necessarily knocked about in the world for a long time before he signs up for Philosophy 101. He has at hand or rattling around in his mind all kinds of ready responses to situations and questions. He very likely engaged in some kind of inquiry about whether or not to begin the formal study of philosophy in the first place. This may be acknowledged, but with the proviso that step one in the pursuit of philosophy is to rid the mind of all such antecedents. They must be put in the dock, put in brackets, placed in doubt, regarded with suspicion. Only after appropriate epistemological cleansing is the mind equipped to make its first warranted knowledge claim. Knowledge thus becomes a deliverance of philosophy, a product of philosophizing. Outside of philosophy there is no knowledge.
The preceding paragraph has been meant to capture the salient note of much modern philosophy since Descartes. Philosophy is first of all a search for defensible knowledge claims, and for the method according to which it will be found. As opposed to what?
As opposed to the view of philosophy described in paragraph 2, Thomas understands philosophizing to depend upon antecedent knowledge, to proceed from it, and to be unintelligible unless, in its sophisticated modes, it can be traced back to the common truths known to all. But this tracing back will pass through very different terrains, depending on the upbringing, culture and other vagaries and accidents of a given person's experience. The pre-philosophical—I refer to the formal study of philosophy—outlook of the believer will be characterizable in a given way, a way suggested above. It is more difficult to characterize the pre-philosophical attitudes and beliefs out of which the non-believer philosophizes. Let us imagine that he holds in a more or less unexamined way that all events, including thinking, are physical events. If he should, as a philosopher, take up the question of the immortality of the soul, he is going to regard with suspicion those classical proofs which rely on an analysis of thinking as a non-physical process. The Christian, on the other hand, will be well-disposed towards efforts to prove the immortality of the human soul and will accordingly approach descriptions of thinking as non-physical sympathetically. He is unlikely to view with equanimity any claim that for human beings death is the utter end.
The importance of this is that a believer runs the risk of accepting bad proofs of the immateriality of thinking and thus of the human soul. On the other hand, a committed materialist may be too quick to accept a bad proof that thinking is just a material process. Such antecedent stances are often the reason why philosophical agreement is so hard to reach. Does it make it impossible? Do such considerations destroy any hope of philosophical objectivity on either side? Surely not, in principle. Believers and non-believers should be able to agree on what counts as a good proof in a given area even if they expect different results from such a proof. Thinking either is or is not merely a physical process and antecedent expectations do not settle the question, however they influence the pursuit of that objective resolution. But the important point is that antecedent dispositions and expectations are the common condition of philosophers, believers and unbelievers alike. Of course, believers hold that they have an advantage here, since the antecedents that influence them are revealed truths, not just hearsay, received opinion, the zeitgeist or prejudice.
4. Thomas and Aristotle
Given the distinction between philosophy and theology, one can then distinguish between philosophical and theological sources and influences in Aquinas' work. And as a philosopher, Thomas is emphatically Aristotelian. His interest in and perceptive understanding of the Stagyrite is present from his earliest years and certainly did not await the period toward the end of his life when he wrote his close textual commentaries on Aristotle. When Thomas referred to Aristotle as the Philosopher, he was not merely adopting a façon de parler of the time. He adopted Aristotle's analysis of physical objects, his view of place, time and motion, his proof of the prime mover, his cosmology. He made his own Aristotle's account of sense perception and intellectual knowledge. His moral philosophy is closely based on what he learned from Aristotle and in his commentary on the Metaphysics he provides a cogent and coherent account of what is going on in those difficult pages. But to acknowledge the primary role of Aristotle in Thomas's philosophy is not to deny other philosophical influences. Augustine is a massively important presence. Boethius, Pseudo-Dionysius and Proclus were conduits through which he learned Neo-platonism. There is nothing more obviously Aristotelian about Thomas than his assumption that there is something to be learned from any author, if only mistakes to be avoided. But he adopted many features from non-Aristotelian sources.
This has led some to suggest that what is called Thomistic philosophy is an eclectic hodgepodge, not a set of coherent disciplines. Others, struck by the prominence in Thomas of such Platonic notions as participation, have argued that his thought is fundamentally Platonic, not Aristotelian. Still others argue that that there is a radically original Thomistic philosophy which cannot be characterized by anything it shares with earlier thinkers, particularly Aristotle.
The recognition that Thomas is fundamentally an Aristotelian is not equivalent to the claim that Aristotle is the only influence on him. It is the claim that whatever Thomas takes on from other sources is held to be compatible with what he already holds in common with Aristotle. And, of course, to draw attention to the sources of Thomas's philosophy is not to say that everything he holds philosophically can be parsed back into historical antecedents, or that he never disagrees with his sources, Aristotle in particular.
5. The Order of Philosophical Inquiry
Thomas takes “philosophy” to be an umbrella term which covers an ordered set of sciences. Philosophical thinking is characterized by its argumentative structure and a science is taken to be principally the discovery of the properties of kinds of things. But thinking is sometimes theoretical and sometimes practical. The practical use of the mind has as its object the guidance of some activity other than thinking—choosing in the case of moral action, some product in the case of art. The theoretical use of the mind has truth as its object: it seeks not to change the world but to understand it. Like Aristotle, Thomas holds that there is a plurality of both theoretical and practical sciences. Ethics, economics and politics are the practical sciences, while physics, mathematics and metaphysics are the theoretical sciences.
That is one way to lay out the various philosophical disciplines. But there is another that has to do with the appropriate order in which they should be studied. That order of learning is as follows: logic, mathematics, natural philosophy, moral philosophy, metaphysics. The primacy of logic stems from the fact that we have to know what knowledge is so we will recognize that we have met its demands in a particular case. The study of mathematics comes early because little experience of the world is required to master it. But when we turn to knowledge of the physical world, there is an ever increasing dependence upon a wide and deep experience of things. Moral philosophy requires not only experience, but good upbringing and the ordering of the passions. Metaphysics or wisdom, is the culminating and defining goal of philosophical inquiry: it is such knowledge as we can achieve of the divine, the first cause of all else.
Thomas commented on two logical works of Aristotle: On Interpretation (incomplete) and Posterior Analytics. On mathematics, there are only glancing allusions in Thomas's writings. Thomas describes logic as dealing with “second intentions,” that is, with formal relations which attach to concepts expressive of the natures of existent things, first intentions. This means that logic rides piggy-back on direct knowledge of the world and thus incorporates the view that what is primary in our knowledge is the things of which we first form concepts. Mathematical entities are idealizations made by way of abstraction from our knowledge of sensible things. It is knowledge of sensible things which is primary and thus prior to the “order of learning” the philosophical sciences.
This epistemological primacy of knowledge of what we grasp by our senses is the basis for the primacy of the sensible in our language. Language is expressive of knowledge and thus what is first and most easily knowable by us will be what our language first expresses. That is the rule. It is interesting to see its application in the development of the philosophy of nature.
6. Composition of Physical Objects
The concern of natural science is of course natural things, physical objects, which may be described as “what come to be as the result of a change and undergo change.” The first task of natural philosophy, accordingly, is to define and analyze physical objects.
The first thing to notice about this is the assumption that we begin our study of the natural world, not with the presumed ultimate alphabet with which macrocosmic things are spelled, but with a vague and comprehensive concept which encompasses whatever has come to be as the result of a change and undergoes change. The reader of Aquinas becomes familiar with this assumption. Thomas learned it from the beginning of Aristotle's Physics.
The natural way of doing this is to start from the things which are more knowable and clear to us and to proceed towards those which are clearer and more knowable by nature; for the same things are not knowable relatively to us and knowable without qualification. So we must follow this method and advance from what is more obscure by nature, but clearer to us, towards what is more clear and more knowable by nature.
Now what is to us plain and clear at first is rather confused masses, the elements and principles of which become known to us later by analysis. Thus we must advance from universals to particulars; for it is a whole that is more knowable to sense-perception, and a universal is a kind of whole, comprehending many things within it, like parts. Much the same thing happens in the relation of the name to the formula. A name, e.g. ‘Circle’, means vaguely a sort of whole: its definition analyses this into particulars. Similarly a child begins by calling all men father, and all women mother, but later on distinguishes each of them. (Physics, 1, 1.)
Thomas calls the movement from the more to the less general in a science the “order of determination” or specification of the subject matter. The first purchase on natural things is via “physical object” or “natural thing.” The “order of demonstration” involves finding the properties of things as known through this general concept. Then, specifying the subject further, one seeks properties of things known through the less common concepts. For example, in plane geometry, one would begin with plane figure and discover what belongs to it as such. Then one would turn to, say, triangle and seek its properties, after which one would go on to scalene and isosceles. So one will, having determined what is true of things insofar as they are physical objects, go on to seek the properties of things which are physical objects of this kind or that, for example, living and non-living bodies.
Thomas emphasizes those passages in the Aristotelian natural writings which speak of the order of determination, that is, of what considerations come first and are presupposed to those that come later. In several places, Thomas takes great pains to array the Aristotelian natural writings according to this Aristotelian principle, most notably perhaps at the outset of his commentary on Sense and sensibilia. The Physics is the first step in the study of the natural world and exhibits the rule that what is first and most easily known by us are generalities. The language used to express knowledge of such generalities will have, as we shall emphasize, a long career in subsequent inquiries, both in natural philosophy and beyond. What is sometimes thought of as a technical vocabulary, perhaps even as Aristotelian jargon, is seen by Thomas Aquinas as exemplifying the rule that we name things as we know them and that we come to know more difficult things after the easier things and extend the language used to speak of the easier, adjusting it to an ever expanding set of referents.
6.1 Matter and Form
Although natural things are first thought of and analyzed in the most general of terms, there are not of course any general physical objects, only particular ones. Thus, in seeking to discern what is true of anything that has come to be as a result of a change and is subject to change until it ceases to be, Aristotle had to begin with a particular example of change, one so obvious that we would not be distracted by any difficulties in accepting it as such. “A man becomes musical.” Someone acquires a skill he did not previously have. Thomas pores over the analysis Aristotle provides of this instance of change and its product.
The change may be expressed in three ways: 1. A man becomes musical. 2. What is not-musical becomes musical. 3. A not-musical man becomes musical.
These are three different expressions of the same change and they all exhibit the form A becomes B. But change can also be expressed as From A, B comes to be. Could 1, 2 and 3 be restated in that second form? To say “From the not-musical the musical comes to be” and “From a not-musical man the musical comes to be” seem acceptable alternatives, but “From a man musical comes to be” would give us pause. Why? Unlike “A becomes B” the form “From A, B comes to be” suggests that in order for B to emerge, A must cease to be. This grounds the distinction between the grammatical subject of the sentence expressing a change and the subject of the change. The definition of the subject of the change is “that to which the change is attributed and which survives the change.” The grammatical subjects of 2 and 3 do not express the subject of the change, only in 1 is the grammatical subject expressive of the subject of the change.
This makes clear that the different expressions of the change involve two things other than the subject of the change: the characteristics of the subject before (not-musical) and after (musical) the change. These elements of the change get the names that stick from another example, whittling wood. The term for wood in Greek is hyle and the term for shape, the external contours of a thing, is morphe. In English, form, a synonym of shape, is used to express the characteristic that the subject acquires as the result of the change, e.g. musical. The characterization of the subject prior to the change as not having the form is called privation. Using this language as canonical, Aristotle speaks of the subject of the change as its hyle or matter, the character it gains as its morphe or form, and its prior lack of the form as its privation. Any change will involve these three elements: matter, form and privation. The product of a change involves two things: matter and form.
Change takes place in the categories of quality, quantity and place, but in all cases the terminology of matter, form and privation comes to be used. So the terms applied in these different categories will be used analogously. The terms bind together similar but different kinds of change—a subject changing temperature is like a subject changing place or size.
6.2 Substantial Change
The analysis of change and the product of change begins with surface changes. Some enduring thing changes place or quality or quantity. But enduring things like men and trees and horses and the like have also come into being and are destined some day to cease to be. Such things are called substances. It is a given that there are substances and that they come to be and pass away. The question is: Can the analysis of surface change be adjusted and applied to substantial change? What would its subject be? The subject of substantial change is known on an analogy with the subject of incidental or surface change. That is, if substances come to be as the result of a change, and if our analysis of change can apply, there must be a subject of the change. The subject of a surface or incidental change is a substance. The subject of a substantial change cannot be a substance; if it were, the result would be a modification of that substance, that is, an incidental change. But we are trying to understand how a substance itself comes into being as the result of a change. There must be a matter or subject but it cannot be matter in the sense of a substance. In order to signal this, we can call the matter prime matter, first matter. But it is important to recognize that this prime matter is not a substance, and does not exist apart from any particular substance. It is always the matter of some substance that exists.
When the discussion moves on from what may be said of all physical objects as such to an inquiry into living physical things, the analyses build upon those already completed. Thus, “soul”will be defined as the substantial form of living bodies. The peculiar activities of living things will be grouped under headings like nutrition and growth, sense perception and knowing and willing. Since a living thing sometimes manifests an instance of such activities and sometimes does not, they relate to it in the manner of the incidental forms of any physical object. But they are not incidental in the way that we might think of the shade of color of one's skin at any particular time, or the particular height or weight of an individual, since as activities the ability or power to engage in them proceeds from what the substance in question is. Aquinas at times will call them necessary accidents, thus using accident in a sense different from more recent philosophy. While the abilities need not be exercised at any particular time, or may be impeded from exercise by some condition, the substance nonetheless possesses them as long as it exists.
The form such a subject takes on as the result of the change cannot be an incidental form like size or location or temperature. Substances do not become or cease to be substances as a result of changes in these incidental features. As the analysis of incidental change makes clear, the substance previously existed without the form it acquires in the change and it could lose it and still be itself. In a substantial change, the substance itself simply comes to be, or ceases to be. The form in a substantial change must be that which makes the substance to be what it is. Call it substantial form.
The thing to notice about this analysis is that substantial change is spoken of on an analogy with incidental change. The analysis of incidental change is presupposed and regulative. Moreover, the language used to speak of the elements of incidental change are extended to substantial change and altered in meaning so as to avoid equivocation. The philosophical vocabulary arises out of analysis of what is most obvious to us and is then progressively extended to more and more things insofar as the later is made known by appeal to the prior. Thus we can see that matter and form apply in an analogous way to the various kinds of incidental change and then to substantial change. The analysis of form and matter provides a rule for knowing and naming that will characterize Thomas's use of Latin in philosophy and in theology as well.
7. Perception and Thought
Focusing specifically upon perception—that is, seeing, feeling, hearing, and the like—how can we best analyze it? In continuity with what has gone before, the questions are put in this form: How best to analyze coming to see, coming to feel, coming to hear, and the like. Seeing these on the analogy of change as already analyzed, we look for a subject, a privation and a form. The sensing subject is, say, the animal, but the proximate subjects to which they are attributed are the powers of sight, touch, hearing, and the like. An instance of seeing is describable as the power's moving from not seeing to seeing. Since the object of seeing is color, the change from not seeing to seeing issues in the power having the form of color.
Consider an ordinary physical change, a substance acquiring a color. Coming to see a color is not the same kind of physical change as a substance acquiring a color. To be sure, while there are physical changes involved in sensation—the organs are altered in the way physical bodies are—that is not the change involved in perception as such. Consider again, in feeling a body my hand's own temperature is altered by the contact. But feeling cannot be just that, since any two physical bodies that come into contact would undergo a similar alteration of temperature. But not all physical bodies feel the temperature. Feeling the temperature, becoming aware of it, is another sort of change, however much it involves a contemporaneous change in the organs of sense similar to ordinary physical change. Having the color or temperature in this further sense is thus made known and named by reference to physical change. The fundamental difference between the two ways of acquiring a form is this: in a physical change of color, the change produces a new numerical instance of the color. In grasping or sensing a color, a numerically new instance of color does not result.
We have here the basis for talk of immateriality in perception. If the acquiring of a form by matter in physical change results in a new instance of the form and this is not the case with perception, we can make the point that acquiring the form in sensation is not identical to the acquiring of the form by matter in the primary sense.Thus, we both want to speak of the subject of sensation on an analogy with physical change and to distinguish the former from the latter. This is done by speaking of the immaterial reception of a form. Nonetheless, the sense power is implemented in a physical organ, and thus matter for the change of form in sensation in an analogous sense. Because in sensation the sense organ is physically altered and the matter of sensation in this analogous sense, we can say that actual sensation is in some respects physical, and in another not.
But it is important to pay attention again to the order of learning and naming, and what we are justified in saying at this point about the use of the words involved in describing this change. Specifically, the use of ‘immaterial’ is introduced simply to mark the inadequacy of any analysis of sensation confined solely to the physical terms that are fully adequate for analyzing ordinary physical change that does not involve sensation. ‘Immaterial’ means ‘not-material’. But the mere applicability of such a negative term (what Aristotle calls a “negative infinite” term) does not justify us in thinking we have discovered a new property that would be referred to by the term ‘immateriality’—it does not pick out and name a particular kind of property—any more than the mere applicability of ‘not-human’ justifies us in thinking we have discovered a new particular kind of substance.
Now, in his interpretation of Aristotle's De anima Thomas defends a view that was as contested in his own time as it is almost an orphan in our own. Among the tenets of so-called Latin Averroism was the view, first held by Averroes, that the move from perceptive acts to intellection is not one from a lower to a higher set of capacities or faculties of the human soul. Aristotle contrasts intellection with perception and argues that the former does not employ a sense organ because it displays none of the characteristics of perception which does employ an organ. Thus insofar as sensation can be said to be in some respects material and in others immaterial, intellection is said to be completely immaterial. But on the Latin-Averroistic view, Aristotle is not thus referring to another capacity of the human soul, the intellect, but, rather, referring to a separate entity thanks to whose action human beings engage in what we call thinking. But the cause of this, the agent intellect, is not a faculty of the soul. (Aristotle distinguished two intellects, a passive and an active.) The proof for immortality which results from a wholly immaterial activity is therefore a statement about the incorruptibility of this separate entity, not a basis for arguing that each human soul is immortal because it has the capacity to perform immaterial activities. The Latin-Averroists consequently denied that Aristotle taught personal immortality.
Given this consequence, Thomas's adoption of the opposite interpretation—viz. that the agent intellect is, like the passive intellect, a faculty of the human soul—may seem merely an interested desire to enlist Aristotle's support for a position in harmony with Christian belief. Thomas is frequently said to have baptized Aristotle, which seems to mean that he fitted him to the Procrustean bed of Christian doctrine. Of course, the full Christian view is not simply that the soul survives death but that it will be reunited with body, and Thomas nowhere suggests that there is any intimation of this in Aristotle. Oddly enough, it is often friends of St. Thomas who suggest that he used Aristotle and was not chiefly concerned with what Aristotle might actually have intended.
But this is an extraordinary approach to reading Thomas. It would be less of an accusation to say that he got a passage wrong than that he pretended it meant something he knew it did not. However, the important point, all these centuries later, is whether Thomas's reading is or is not supported by the text. When he commented on the De anima, he seems not to be concerned with the flare up in Paris over Latin Averroism. This is the basis for dating the commentary in 1268, before Thomas returned to Paris. The commentary, accordingly, cannot be read as though it were prompted by the controversy. Of course, some might still say that Thomas had long term interests in taming Aristotle to behave in a Christian way. On the contrary, as it happens, during the second Parisian period, in the thick of the Latin-Averroist controversy, Thomas wrote an opusculum dedicated to the question: what did Aristotle actually teach? The work is called in the Latin, De unitate intellectus contra averroistas, On there being only oneintellect contra the Averroists. This little work is absolutely essential for assessing the nature of Thomas's Aristotelianism. He provides us with an extended textual analysis to show that the rival interpretation cannot be sustained by the text and that the only coherent reading of the De anima must view the agent and passive intellects as faculties of the human soul. His interpretation may be right or wrong, but the matter must be decided on the basis of textual interpretation, not vague remarks about Thomas's intentions.
8. Body and Soul
Philosophers nowadays will want to know how this account of substance places Aquinas on the question of the relation of body and soul with respect to Dualism and Physicalism. Not easily. Aquinas maintains that the soul is capable of existing apart from the living body after the death of the body. This might suggest that he is a kind of Substance Dualist, the soul being one substance and the body another, with the soul “interacting” as it were with the other substance, the body. However this picture fails to recognize the Aristotelian terms of the account that Aquinas provides of soul and body.
The soul is indeed capable of existence apart from the body death. This capacity is because the actualities of understanding and willing are not the actualities of any bodily organ, but of the human animal as such distinguished by the rational form. However, Aquinas merely concludes from this that the soul is a subsistent after the death of the body. A subsistent is something capable of existing on its own, not in another. But that capacity to exist on its own is not distinctive of a substance. A chair subsists. But on Aquinas' account, it is not a substance. A hand that has been detached from a living body is also a subsistent. (Summa Theologiae Ia75.2 ad1) It is not properly speaking a human hand any longer, because it cannot do the sorts of things that human hands do. Whatever it is, it can exist apart from the substance of which it was formerly a part.
A substance, on the other hand, is something that is both subsistent and complete in a nature—a nature being an intrinsic principle of movement and change in the subject. A detached human hand, while subsistent, is not a substance because it is not complete in a nature. A human hand is defined functionally as part of a human substance. A detached human hand is the remains of a human hand properly speaking, and is only called human analogously. So it is subsistent but not a substance. Similarly, a human soul is a constitutive element of the nature of a human substance. It is the formal principle of a human substance. It is what is specified when we say what the substance is. But it is incomplete. What it is for it to be is to be the formal part of some substance. In that sense it is a principle of a substance, ‘principle’ being a technical term that refers back to the first entry in Aristotle's philosophical lexicon in the Metaphysics, and Aquinas commentary on it, as well as Aquinas On the Principles of Nature. As the principle of a nature, its nature is to be the formal element of a complete substance. Consequently, it is not a substance in its own right, even if it is capable of subsisting apart from the living body. It is because it is naturally incomplete as subsisting apart from the body that Aquinas sees this state as unnatural for it, and an intimation of, but not an argument for, the resurrection of the body.
However, that a principle of a substance should be capable of subsistence while not itself being a substance is no surprise for Aquinas in this account of substance. The body that remains after death is itself subsistent at least for a time. But it is not a substance. It is the material remains of a substance. And so the soul can be called ‘substance’ by analogy, insofar as it is the formal principle of a substance. In English it might be better to call it “substantial” rather than “substance.” And in that regard, it cannot be considered as forming the basis for a kind of substance dualism in Aquinas.
All of this comes out clearly in Aquinas' understanding of the mode of human activity as acting knowingly and willingly. Such acting knowingly and willing is expressed as the rational activity of an animal, that is, as animal activity distinguished formally as rational. Rationality is the distinctive form that intelligence takes in human beings as animals. Rationality involves the back and forth of argument moving from one thing known to another, and advancing in knowledge by such movement. This movement in understanding is necessary for human beings because as animals they only ever have a partial grasp of the natures of things, insofar as their knowledge depends upon always incomplete and partial sensible experience of the world. But it is sense experience, as well as the self movement that springs from it, that places human beings within the genus animal. So human understanding and willing is intrinsically bound up with the activity of an animal, sensation; as a result, rational is the form that it takes in that animal.
One might be tempted then to think that the intellectual principle of the human being is something distinct from the substantial form of the animal, since, as we have seen, thought or intellect does not employ a bodily organ. Aquinas raises this very question in the Summa Theologiae (Ia.76.1), namely, whether the intellectual principle is identical with the substantial form or soul of the human animal. He argues that it is identical. This is an important result, for it establishes that the intellectual principle of human life does not interact with the animal body, as if an efficient cause making the body act in certain ways. On the contrary, the intellectual principle is the substantial form of the activities of the animal body. Elsewhere, echoing Aristotle, Aquinas will say that the soul is not other than the body, but simply one with it as its form, one as act to potency are one. So according to Aquinas, while it is true that the activities of intellect and will are not the actualities of any physical organs, they are nonetheless the activities of the living human animal. It is Socrates the animal who knows and wills, not his mind interacting with his body.
This point comes out clearly in Aquinas' nearly unique position in the so called Plurality of Forms argument that animated the 13th century. (See Summa Theologiae Ia.76.3–4) The so called Pluralists maintained some element of multiplicity in the formal aspects of the human animal, at the very least a form of corporeity for the body and a rational form in addition to it, with a kind of fissure between the rational life of the human animal, and the bodily features of the animal as such. Aquinas says that the Pluralists' position would be correct if the soul were related to the body as the Platonists held, namely, as something other than the body moving it like an efficient cause. But Aquinas has already rejected this position on the soul. So he rejects any such plurality, reaffirming that the intellectual principle of human life just is the substantial form of the body with no intermediaries between soul and body. So again, it follows from his position that rationality is the form that intelligence takes in the life of an animal, and, consequently, that while both angels and God are intelligent beings they are not rational beings. Thus reason is not an activity distinct from animal activity, and related to it as a kind of efficient cause interacting with the body. Rational is the proper formal description of the human animal activity. Reason does not cause eating as something separate from it, and as an efficient cause; on the contrary, human eating is not adequately described formally unless it is described as rational eating. To fail to eat rationally is not a failure in its cause, but in the eating itself. And the human animal is not adequately described except as a rational animal, rational providing not another substance or expression of a fissure between soul or mind and body, but the fully adequate description of the human substance. Reason does not distinguish us from animals; it distinguishes us as animals.
One consequence of this insistence on Aquinas' part is that it is inadequate and inaccurate to speak of activities we share in common with other kinds of creatures. We've already seen that applying ‘intellect’ to human beings and to angels is by analogy. And to be sure, there are descriptions that apply equally to what we do and what other animals do, for example the description “eating” or the description “reproducing.” But these are generic descriptions that do not adequately capture the human act as opposed to the act of a horse or dog, until they are specified formally as rational. So the goods that are the objects of human powers are not specified adequately by such generic descriptions as pursuing eating, reproducing, friendship, etc., as if human beings and other animals pursue the same goods, only humans bring reason to bear upon those same goods.
All of this might lead one to think then that, not being a dualist, Aquinas must be a physicalist, there being only two broad possible positions. Now, the difficulties of providing an adequate account of just what Physicalism is are well known. But suppose we take a minimal characterization of Physicalism as involving the claim that there is some privileged physical science or set of physical sciences, using the term ‘physical’ merely nominally and sociologically as we use it of certain sciences today, that ideally will provide a fully adequate account of all that exists and the fundamental characteristics of reality. Then Aquinas cannot be understood to be a physicalist, since the result of his analysis of perception and thought was to say that these activities are “immaterial,” which was to say, not adequately captured by the kinds of physical descriptions that do adequately account for much of the being and change we observe in the world. There are actually many variations on Dualism and Physicalism in play in recent philosophy. However, the difficulty of placing Aquinas in the broad outlines of that setting ought now to be clear.
9. Beyond Physics
When Aristotle rejected the Platonic Ideas or Forms, accepting some of the arguments against them that Plato himself had devised in the Parmenides, he did not thereby reject the notion that the telos of philosophical enquiry is a wisdom which turns on what man can know of God. The magnificent panorama provided at the beginning of the Metaphysics as gloss on the claim that all men naturally desire to know rises to and culminates in the conception of wisdom as knowledge of all things in their ultimate or first causes.
For much of the twentieth century, Aristotelian studies have been conducted under the influence of Werner Jaeger's (1934) evolutionary hypothesis. On this view, Aristotle began as an ardent Platonist for whom the really real lay beyond sensible reality. With maturity, however, came the sober Macedonian empiricism which trained its attention on the things of this world and eschewed all efforts to transcend it. As for the Metaphysics, Jaeger saw it as an amalgam of both theories. The passage just alluded to at the beginning of the work is ascribed to the Platonic phase. Other passages have a far more modest understanding of the range and point of a science over and above natural philosophy and mathematics. Platonice loquendo, there are entities which exist separately from sensible things and they constitute the object of the higher science. The more sober view finds a role for a science beyond natural philosophy and mathematics, but it will deal with things those particular sciences leave unattended, e.g. defense of the first principle of reasoning. But these tasks do not call for, and do not imply, a range of beings over and above sensible things.
Jaeger (1934) found both these conceptions of metaphysics juxtaposed in a crucial passage of Book Six.
One might indeed raise the question whether first philosophy is universal, or deals with one genus, i.e. some one kind of being; for not even the mathematical sciences are all alike in this respect,—geometry and astronomy deal with a certain particular kind of thing, while universal mathematics applies alike to all. We answer that if there is no substance other than those which are formed by nature, natural science will be the first science; but if there is an immovable substance, the science of this must be prior and must be first philosophy, and universal in this way, because it is first. And it will belong to this to consider being qua being—both what it is and the attributes which belong to it qua being. (1025a24–33)
Jaeger invites us to see here a monument to a lost hope and an abiding reluctance to bid it a definitive farewell. Aristotle mentions the possibility of an immovable substance, something existing apart from the natural realm. Without such a separate substance, natural philosophy will be first philosophy. If there is such a substance, it will be a kind of being different from material being. The science that studies it will bear on a certain kind of being, immovable substance, immaterial being, not on being as being. It will be a special, not a universal, science. Jaeger sees Aristotle seeking to glue on to the special science the tasks that belong to a universal science, to make a theology into an ontology.
Jaeger's hypothesis dominated interpretations of the Metaphysics until very recently. Giovanni Reale's book (1961) had to await English translation before it could have any impact in English circles of interpretation. By that time, people were turning from Jaeger's account and toward a more direct reading of Aristotle. When we reconsider Thomas as a commentator on the Metaphysics, it becomes clear that his reading is in stark opposition to Jaeger's claims.
But let us first lay out Thomas's view of metaphysics. His question is Aristotle's: is there any science beyond natural science and mathematics? If to be and to be material are identical, then the science of being as being will be identical with the science of material being. That is what Aristotle rejects in the passage just quoted. It is in the course of doing natural philosophy that one gains certain knowledge that not everything that is is material. At the end of the Physics, Aristotle argues from the nature of moved movers that they require a first unmoved mover. If successful, this proof establishes that there is a first mover of all moved movers which is not itself material. Furthermore, the discussion of intellect in On the Soul III to which we alluded in the preceding paragraph, points beyond the material world. If the activity of intellect provides a basis for saying that, while the human soul is the substantial form of the body, it can exist apart from the body, that is, survive death, it is an immaterial existent. The Prime Mover and the immortal souls of human beings entail that to be and to be material are not identical. Since these are acquisitions at the limit of natural philosophy, they represent possible objects of inquiry in their own right. This is pre-eminently the case with the Prime Mover. It seems inevitable that there should be a discipline whose principal aim is to know more about the divine. How can it be described?
By common consent, Thomas's early discussion of the way theoretical sciences are distinguished from one another in the course of his exposition of the tractate of Boethius On the Trinity is masterful. The text speaks of three kinds of theoretical science, physics, mathematics and theology, and Thomas invokes the methodology of the Posterior Analytics. A scientia is constituted by a demonstrative syllogism. From a formal point of view, a conclusion follows necessarily from the premises in a well-formed syllogism. Still the conclusion may state a merely contingent truth. What is needed in a demonstrative syllogism is not just the necessity of the consequence but a necessary consequent, and this requires that the premises express necessary truths. That which is necessary cannot be otherwise than as it is; it cannot change. Science thus requires that it bear on immobile things. There is another requirement of the object of speculative or theoretical knowledge which stems from intellection. The activity of the mind, as has been mentioned, is not a material event; it is immaterial. Since it is the mind that knows, science is a mode of its knowing, and will share its nature. Thomas thus states two essential characteristics of the object of speculation, the speculabile: it must be removed both from matter and from motion. If that is the case then insofar as there are formally different ways in which speculabilia can be removed from matter and motion, there will be formally different speculative sciences.
By this analysis, Thomas has provided the necessary background for understanding the text of Boethius but also more importantly that of Aristotle as it is developed in the chapter from which Werner Jaeger quoted in order to display the failure of the Aristotelian project. “Now we must not fail to notice the nature of the essence and of its formula, for, without this, inquiry is but idle. Of things defined, i.e. of essences, some are like snub, and some like concave. And these differ because snub is bound up with matter (for what is snub is a concave nose), while concavity is independent of perceptible matter.” (1025a28–32) The objects of natural philosophy are defined like ‘snub’ and the objects of mathematics like ‘concave’. This makes it clear that the way in which natural things are separated from sensible matter is the way in which the definition common to many things abstracts from the singular characteristics of each. But it is the matter as singular that is the principle of change in things, so the common definition has the requisite necessity for science. This or that man comes to be, but what-it-is-to-be-a-man does not come to be or pass away.
Mathematical things, on the analogy of ‘concave’, do not have sensible matter in their definitions. Lines, points, numbers, triangles—these do not have sensible qualities whether stated universally or singularly. The fact that we define mathematicals without sensible matter does not commit us to the view that mathematicals actually exist apart from sensible matter.
In the commentary on Boethius to which reference has been made, Thomas has early on recalled another fundamental aspect of Aristotle's thought. The objects of thought are either simple or complex, where complex means that one thing is affirmed or denied of another. Knowledge of simples is expressed in a definition, that of the complex in a proposition. Thinking of human nature without thinking of singular characters of this man or that is a matter of definition, not of assertion, as if one were denying that human nature is found in singular matter. So too defining mathematicals without sensible matter is not tantamount to the judgment that mathematicals exist apart from sensible matter. These are both instances of abstraction, where abstraction means to think apart what does not exist apart. Thus it is that the question of metaphysics turns on what Thomas calls separatio. To separate differs from abstraction in this that separation is expressed in a negative judgment, an asserted proposition: this is not that, that this exists apart from that. The relevant separation for metaphysics is the negative judgment that to be and to be material are not the same. That is, there are things which exist apart from matter and motion—not just are defined without, but exist without matter and motion.
What then is the subject of metaphysics? “Subject” here means the subject of the conclusion of the demonstrative syllogism. The discussion of definition in effect bore on the middle terms of demonstrative syllogisms. The suggestion is that formally different modes of defining, with respect to removal from matter and motion, ground the formal difference between types of theoretical science. The subject of a demonstration in natural philosophy is defined without singular but with common or universal sensible matter; the subject of a mathematical demonstration is defined without any sensible matter. How can the subject of metaphysics be expressed? The possibility of the science depends on our knowing that some things exist apart from matter and motion. Mathematics does not presuppose the separate existence of its objects; metaphysics does. Why not then say that metaphysics deals with things separated from matter and motion, that is with a particular kind of being? But that is the not the subject ever assigned to this effort by Aristotle. The methodological reasons can be found in chapter 17 of Book Seven of the Metaphysics: the subject of a science must always be a complex entity. That is why the subject of this discipline is being as being.
Why should we say that, in our desire to learn more about separate substances, we should take as our subject all the things that are? The short answer is this: in order to be a theology, metaphysics must first be an ontology. Separate substance, divine being, is not directly accessible for our inspection or study. We come upon our first secure knowledge of God in the proof of the Prime Mover. Tantalizingly, once seen as a necessary requirement for there being any moved movers, the Prime Mover does not become a thematic object of inquiry in natural philosophy. One obvious reason for this is that such an entity is not an instance of the things which fall under the scope of the science. Knowledge of it comes about obliquely and indirectly. The same restriction is operative when the philosopher turns his culminating attention to the deity. How can he know more about the first cause of things? If the Prime Mover is known through moved movers as his effects, any further knowledge of him must be through his effects. It is by describing the effect as widely as possible that one seeks to come to a knowledge of the first cause unrestricted by the characteristics of mobile things. That characterization is being as being. The subject of metaphysics is being in all its amplitude in order to acquire a knowledge of the cause of being that will be correspondingly unbounded.
10. Philosophical and Scriptural Theology
Earlier we indicated the difference between philosophy and theology in the writings of St. Thomas. That distinction takes theology to mean discourse that takes its rise from the revealed truths of the Bible. But there is also a theology which constitutes the defining telos of philosophical inquiry. In the following passage, Thomas contrasts the two theologies in a way which throws light on what was said in the preceding paragraph.
Thus it is that divine science or theology is of two kinds, one in which divine things are considered not as the subject of the science but as principles of the subject and this is the theology that the philosophers pursue, also called metaphysics. The other considers divine things in themselves as the subject of the science, and this is the theology which is treated in Sacred Scripture. They are both concerned with things which exist separately from matter and motion, but differently, insofar as they are two ways in which something can exist separately from matter and motion: first, such that it is of the definition of the things said to be separate, that they can never exist in matter in motion, as God and the angels are said to be separate from matter and motion; second, such that it is not part of their definition that they exist in matter and motion, because they can exist apart from matter and motion, although sometimes they are found in matter and motion, for example, substance, potency and act are separate from matter and motion because they do not require matter in order to exist as mathematicals do, although they can be understood without sensible matter. Philosophical theology treats of things separate in the second way as its subjects and of things separate in the first way as the principles of its subject. But the theology of Sacred Scripture treats of things separate in the first way as its subjects, although in it some things which exist in matter and motion are considered insofar as they are needed to make the divine manifest. (Exposition of Boethius' On the Trinity, q. 5, a. 4)
Philosophical theology is not some science distinct from metaphysics; it is simply the name that can be given to metaphysics because it appeals to God as the cause of its subject. This may make it seem that knowledge of God is merely a bonus, a tangential consideration; on the contrary, it is the chief aim of the science. But the divine can only be known indirectly, through its effects. For this reason, metaphysics can be viewed as an extended effort to examine substance in order to come to knowledge of the first cause. And given the principle that we name things as we know them (ST Ia.13.1), this can be regarded as a prolonged effort to develop the language with which we speak of God.
10.1 God
Aquinas says that the truth of the proposition God exists is knowable in itself, because the predicate is included in the essence of the subject. But it is not knowable to us, because the essence of God is unknowable to us. He also says that the essence of God is His existence, that he is ipsum esse subsistens, and yet that we cannot know His essence. How is any of this coherent? Mustn't one know what one is talking about to deny anything of it, in particular to deny that it is knowable to us? How can he simultaneously assert what the essence of God is and deny that we know it?
In order to understand why his claims about the existence and essence of God are not incoherent, we need to place them within the context of Aristotle's Posterior Analytics. According to Aristotle, one mode of per se predication is that in which the predicate of the proposition is included within the definition of the subject. So if one knew the essential definition of the subject, one would immediately know that a particular proposition is per se true simply by knowing that its predicate is included within that essential definition. This account provides the basis for the notion of “knowable in itself” as a kind of conditional: if one knows the essential definition of some subject, then any proposition in which the predicate is included in the essential definition of the subject is knowable in itself. For instance, Aquinas thinks that that anyone who knows the language will know the truth of a proposition like a whole consists of the sum of its parts. Because the terms are related in this fashion and so fundamental in the language, no special knowledge is necessary to grasp its truth. Such a proposition is thus knowable in itself and to us.
However, clearly this conditional account leaves open the possibility of subjects in which the essential definition is either unknown or even unknowable. For instance, if we suppose that H2O is the essential definition of water, we have to recognize that there will be many who will not know it. It will not be immediately “known to us,” but require learning. No doubt we can still refer to water in statements about it because the term ‘water’ has a nominal definition, clear-potable-odorless etc., used by the community to refer to what is in fact H2O. So that water is H2O will be knowable in itself, even if unknowable to us, until we engage in Chemistry. Consider the mind. Clearly we use the term 'mind' meaningfully in any number of sentences. But perhaps, as Colin McGinn has argued, the actual nature of mind is incomprehensible to limited minds such as ours. In that case it might be knowable in itself, and yet strictly unknowable to us. Thus the distinction between what is knowable in itself and what is knowable to us is not incoherent. It is based upon the difference between the nominal definition of the meaning of a term used in language, and the real or essential definition of a subject referred to by that term, as well as the ease with which an essential definition may be known.
What of the claims that the essence of God is not just unknown to us, but unknowable to us, that the essence of God is His existence, and that He is ipsum esse subsistens? Don't these remain jointly inconsistent and thus incoherent, even if the underlying distinction is not. No. In claiming that the essence of God is not knowable to us, Aquinas is talking about its accessibility to philosophical inquiry. The human mind of itself is proportioned to knowing material things. It can only know immaterial things insofar as causal arguments can be made to posit the existence of such things as necessary to the explanation of material things--causes that are only appealed to when one has excluded the possibility of a material explanation of the phenomenon. But we've already seen that to claim that something is immaterial is not to know any property of it, much less its essence. Still, it remains available to Aquinas to claim that while the knowledge of the essence of God is unknowable to philosophy, it is known to us by Revelation. Indeed, he appeals to God's revelation to Moses on Sinai to establish the claim that God's essence is ipsum esse subsistens. And Christians believe that God further discloses His essence as consisting of three divine persons who are one being. Here, in knowing the essence of God we have an example of something that is known only through Revelation. It is not something that can be known by both Revelation and Philosophy. So the essence of God is knowable in itself, and also to the learned. But the learned are not the philosophers. Rather they are all those who know it by faith in God's revelation.
So, can the existence of God be philosophically demonstrated? If God's essence is His existence, and His essence remains in principle philosophically unknowable to us, how could it be demonstrated? In fact, Aquinas claims that it can be demonstrated that there is a god, and that there is only one god. That God's essence remains in principle philosophically unknowable to us is the basis for Aquinas' denial that the existence of God can be demonstrated a priori. And any reliance upon knowledge of the essence that is only known to us by faith would by that fact cease to be properly philosophical. However, we have seen that Aquinas relies upon the distinction between nominal definitions of terms and essential definitions of the subjects referred to by those terms. To demonstrate the existence of a god one may use nominal definitions that appeal to a god as the cause of various phenomena. This is to argue a posteriori. The appeal to these nominal definitions forms the basis for Aquinas' Five Ways (Summa Theologiae, Ia.2.3) all of which end with some claim about how the term ‘god’ is used.
Again, some will claim that Aquinas isn't really interested in proving the existence of God in these Five Ways. After all, he already knows the existence of God by faith, and he is writing a theological work for beginners. What need is there of proving the existence of something he already knows exists? The Ways are very sketchy, and don't even necessarily conclude to a single being, much less God or the Christian God. In addition, Aquinas claims that God's essence is his existence and that we cannot know His essence, so we cannot know His existence. Aquinas must really intend the Five Ways as less than proofs; they are more like incomplete propaedeutic considerations for thinking adequately about God in Sacred Theology. In effect, Aquinas doesn't think philosophy can in fact demonstrate the existence of God.
But as elsewhere these claims are ambiguous and suffer at the hands of Aquinas' own texts. In the first place, the objection that he already knows by faith that God exists has some merit in it, if we understand it as directed at a reading of Aquinas that would have him attempting a foundational enterprise of grounding religious faith in what is rationally demonstrable by philosophy. But that reading is anachronistic, and does not attend to the context of Summa Theologiae. There is no reason to think that Aquinas thinks the proofs are necessary for the rationality of religious faith. They are part of the enterprise of showing that Sacra Doctrina meets the condition of a science as described by Aristotle in the Posterior Analytics, an issue that is different from the question of the broad rationality of religious faith.
In addition, the objections end up denying what Aquinas writes immediately before the Five Ways—that the existence of a god is“demonstrable.” (Summa Theologiae, Ia.2.2) And his introduction of the Five Ways begins by saying that the existence of a god can be “proved” in Five Ways. To counter the objection that he must mean something informal here by“demonstrate” and “prove”, one need only recognize the explicit use of Aristotle's Posterior Analyticsto sort through the question. He cites Aristotle's distinction between demonstrating the existence of some subject, and going on to demonstrate properties of that subject by appeal to the essence of the subject as cause of those properties. The first kind of demonstration is called demonstration quia, the second demonstration propter quid. In order to have any science at all, the subject matter must exist. So demonstration quiamust precede demonstration propter quid. If you want to have a science of unicorns, you have to show me that there is at least one unicorn to be studied. There is no science of what does not exist. So there are two demonstrative stages in any science, the demonstration of the existence of the subject (quia), and the demonstration of the properties of the subject through its essence (propter quid). Aquinas' denial that the essence of God can be known philosophically is a denial that one can have propter quidscientific understanding of God through philosophy. It is not a denial that there can be demonstration quia of the existence of a god. There is no reason to deny that Aquinas thinks the Five Ways are proofs or demonstrations in the most robust sense, namely that which he appeals to as set out by Aristotle in thePosterior Analytics.
Notice however the back and forth between the use of ‘God’ as a proper name and the use of ‘god’ as a common noun. One source of the ambiguity in the objections come about because it is claimed that Aquinas does not think one can demonstrate the existence of God. But in terms of the Posterior Analytics one cannot demonstrate the existence of anything under a proper name. One can point at Socrates, and say “see, Socrates is alive.” One cannot do that with God. In addition, one cannot give a formal argument for Socrates existence using ‘Socrates’. One can only demonstrate in the relevant sense using common nouns, since such nouns are the only ones that have definitions, either nominal or essential. So strictly speaking it is true that Aquinas doesn't think one can demonstrate the existence of God in the Five Ways. But he doesn't claim that one can. He recognizes the difference between ‘God’ used as a proper noun, and ‘god’ used as a common noun. (Summa Theologiae Ia.13.9) The ambiguity is pronounced in Latin which lacks the indefinite article ‘a’, where in English we can disambiguate between ‘God’ and ‘a god’. The situation is exacerbated by translations that simply translate ‘deus’ in the Ways as ‘God’ in English. In the Five Ways, he does not use ‘god’as a proper name, but as a common noun having five different nominal definitions. So each of the ways concludes that there is “a god.” So it is also true that the Five Ways do not as such prove that there is only one god. But it is for that reason that Aquinas himself thinks one must actually argue additionally that a god must be utterly unique, and thus that there can be only one, which he does several questions after the Five Ways(Summa Theologiae Ia.11). Of course, once the utter uniqueness of a god has been shown, one can begin to use “God” as a proper name to refer to that utterly unique being.
It is the utter uniqueness and singularity of a god that undermines the objection that whatever the philosophical arguments terminate in, it is not the god of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, who is only known by faith. That is simply to deny Aquinas claim that the god Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe in can be known, but only partially by philosophical analysis. If the demonstrations work, as Aquinas thinks they do, what other god would the Jew, Christians, and Muslims believe in?
Finally, the sketchy character of the Ways reflects the fact that they are directed at beginning students. However the audience of beginners that Aquinas has in mind are not beginners in Philosophy. They are beginners in Sacra Doctrina. As we have seen, in the medieval educational setting such beginners would be thoroughly steeped in the philosophical disciplines before ever being allowed to study Sacra Doctrina. So Aquinas could expect his readers to know the much more extensive and complete arguments he was gesturing at with the Five Ways, arguments to be found in detail in other figures like Aristotle, Avicenna, and so on, as well as in other works of his own, the Summa Contra Gentiles for example. In short, even if the Five Ways are judged to be unsound demonstrations, a judgment that requires close analysis and examination of the filled out arguments, there is no reason to suggest that Thomas took them any less seriously as demonstrations or proofs in the fullest sense.
Now, even though there can be no demonstration propter quid of God's properties, this does not mean that philosophical theology is left with a bare knowledge of the existence of God, and nothing more. The second stage of science will go on, but it will go on in a mode deeply indebted to Pseudo-Dionysias and Neoplatonism with the approach often called the “via negativa.” Instead of arguing positively from the essence of God to His properties, one will argue from God's effects, particularly the perfections of creatures that do not of necessity involve material embodiment, to the affirmation that God possesses these perfections. However, recognizing that the way in which God possesses these perfections must be different from the way in which creatures possess them, one must deny that God has them in the creaturely mode. Instead He must possess them in a “super eminent” fashion that we cannot comprehend. So, while on the basis of effect to cause arguments we can say that God is just, wise, good, perfect, and so on, we do not know what it is for God to be just, wise, good, and perfect. We end up denying of God the creaturely mode of these perfections. In this way God is approached negatively by denying things of Him rather than by directly knowing what God is. This account relies heavily upon the use of analogous names in talking about God and creatures.
10.2 Analogous Names
Aristotle spoke of “things said in many ways”, a notable instance of which is “being.” One of the difficulties with assigning being, or being as being as the subject of a science is that a subject must be univocally common to the things that fall under it. But ‘being’ is not univocal, as it has a plurality of meanings. Aristotle solved this problem with his account of “things said in many ways,” by observing that while they have many meanings, these form an ordered set with one of the meanings as primary and regulative. Substance is being in the primary sense, which is why the science of being as being is effectively a science of substance. Thomas's term for such names is analogy: ‘being’ is an analogous term and its primary analogate is substance.
In the crucial middle books of the Metaphysics—Seven and Eight—we have an analysis of substance which takes off from material substance, which is a compound of matter and form, and arrives at a notion of substance as form alone. This definition does not fit material substance, of course, but it is devised in order to be able to apply the term substance to the immaterial things whose existence has been established in natural philosophy. This extension of names whose natural habitat is sensible things to God is another instance of analogous naming for Aquinas. Names common to God and creatures bring out another feature of our knowing. If we ask what the primary analogate of names common to God and creatures is, the answer is: the meaning of the term as it applies to creatures. The word must be refined before it can be applied to God and this means the formation of an extended meaning which leans on the primary meaning for its intelligibility.
Consider the example of ‘wise.’ Both men and God are said to be wise. What can we mean when we say that God is wise? Not the same thing as when we say that Socrates is wise. Socrates became wise and wisdom is a trait which with age and forgetfulness he could lose. Thus to be Socrates and to be wise are not the same thing. But in the case of God, ‘wise’ does not signify some incidental property He might or might not have. This is captured by noting that while we say God is wise, we also say he is wisdom. This suffices to indicate the way in which the meaning of the term as applied to God involves negating features of its meaning as it applies to men.
If God is thus named secondarily by the common name, so that the creature is primarily named by it, nonetheless God's wisdom is the cause and source of human wisdom. Ontologically, God is primary and the creature secondary. Names analogously common to God and creature thus underscore the way in which what comes to be known first for us is not first in reality, and what is first in reality is not first in our knowledge.
10.3 Essence and Existence
It is evident that material substances exist contingently. They come into being and they pass out of being. While they exist, their existing is not what they are. Thomas accepts from Boethius that it is self-evident that what a thing is and its existing differ (diversum est esse et id quod est). Material things depend upon causes to exist, both to become and to be. There is no need to dwell on this except insofar as it provides a springboard to speak of immaterial substance. Only in God is it the case that what he is and his existing are identical: God is existence. The phrase Thomas uses to express this is ipsum esse subsistens. Of course this is paradoxical. Existence is the actuality of a substance, not itself something subsistent. This is true with material substances. But when we ask what we mean by saying that God exists, we have to negate aspects of material existence in order to avoid speaking of Him as if he were a contingent being.
The problem that Thomas now faces is how to speak of the immaterial substances which are less than God although superior to material substances, that is, angels. For a material thing to exist is for its form actually to inhere in its matter. But what is it for a pure form to exist? Since immaterial substances less than God are dependent on the divine causality in order to exist, existing cannot be what they are, of their essence. In short, in angels too there is a distinction of essence and existence. Thomas notes that a created separate substance is what it is and not another thing: that is, it has the perfection it has, but not unlimited perfection. It is a being of a kind, not being as such. Gabriel is perfect as to his nature, but he lacks the perfection of being Raphael or Michael. Form thus operates as a restriction on existence as such. In God alone is there unrestricted existence; he is existence, ipsum esse subsistens. And here we have an argument for the fact that God's essence is his existence. And yet it remains true that while we know the fact, we do not know the why of the fact because the knowledge of God's essence remains unknown to us.
11. Moral Doctrine
When Aristotle sought to isolate the human good, he employed the so-called function argument. If one knows what a carpenter is or does he has the criteria for recognizing a good carpenter. So too with bank-tellers, golfers, brain surgeons and locksmiths. If then man as such has a function, we will have a basis for deciding whether someone is a good human being. But what could this function be? Just as we do not appraise carpenters on the basis of their golf game or golfers on the basis of their being able to pick locks, we will not want to appraise the human agent on an incidental basis. So too we do not appraise the carpenter in terms of his weight, the condition of his lungs or his taste buds. No more would we appraise a human being on the basis of activities similar to those engaged in by non-human animals. The activity that sets the human agent apart from all others is rational activity. The human agent acts knowingly and willingly. If this is the human function, the human being who performs it well will be a good person and be happy.
Now Aquinas distinguishes in the Summa Theologiae between the imperfect happiness of this life and the perfect happiness of the next life in beatitude or union with God. And on the basis of this distinction some will argue that Aquinas ultimately finds Aristotle's function argument unsatisfying, insofar as the result of the function argument is supposed to be the claim that happiness consists in a complete life lived in accord with reason and virtue. And here again it will be claimed that Aquinas in some sense rejects the fundamentals of the Aristotelian account. Insofar as he describes the life in accord with reason and virtue in this life as imperfect, he must be suggesting that is is in some sense faulty, not true or real happiness. Real happiness is something other.
But such an interpretation fails on a number of counts. In the first place it misunderstands Aquinas' use of ‘imperfect’ which does not mean “faulty” or “false”. It can mean “not as great” by comparison, as in the claim that human beings are imperfect with regard to the angels. This claim is not meant to suggest that human beings are faulty or false angels; it simply means that their perfection is not as great in the scale of being as that of the angels. It can also mean incomplete in the constitution of some overall good. So the pursuit of some limited good, say education, is imperfect because not the complete human good, even though it is partially constitutive of the human good. But it is certainly not a faulty or false human good.
In the second place, such a claim about Aquinas has to confront his own understanding of Aristotle. Aquinas claims that Aristotle understood that a complete life in accord with reason and virtue in this life is incomplete or imperfect happiness. (See his commentary on the Nichomachean Ethics, Book 1, lect. 16, #200–202). Indeed, Aristotle himself says that perfect happiness is to be associated with the divine. (Nichomachean Ethics, 1099b9–13) Thus Aquinas does not claim for himself the distinction between imperfect and perfect happiness, but attributes it to Aristotle. And so his use of it in the Summa Theologiae cannot be taken to be a rejection of the analysis Aristotle provides of the formal characteristics of happiness.
Obviously, one may fault Aquinas for his understanding of Aristotle. But the claim that he misinterprets Aristotle is no argument that he rejects Aristotle. In fact, his interpretation of Aristotle on imperfect and perfect happiness embodies the thesis he expresses in the Summa Theologiae that we saw above. The philosophers are capable of grasping some of the things that are constitutive of or necessary for perfect happiness in beatitude. Revelation concerning even those matters they can grasp is necessary, because what they have grasped takes a long time, is very difficult, and may be filled with errors. God in his mercy makes these things known in revelation in order that perfect happiness may be attained. And yet, Aquinas never abandons the fundamental affirmation of the human capacity to understand apart from revelation the nature of happiness in formal terms and what constitutes its imperfect status in this life, even as its perfect embodiment in the next remains unattainable to philosophy without the resources of faith.
Many have come to this point, pulse quickened by the possibilities of the function-argument, only to be gripped with doubt at this final application of it. Rational activity seems too unmanageable a description to permit a function-analysis of it. Of course Aristotle agrees, having made the point himself. Rational activity is said in many ways or, as Thomas would put it, it is an analogous term. It covers an ordered set of instances. There is the activity of reason as such, there is the activity of reason in its directive or practical capacity, and there are bodily movements and the like which are rational insofar as rational provides the adequate formal description of them. If the virtue of a function is to perform it well, the analogy of “rational activity” makes clear that there is a plurality of virtues. Moral virtues are habits of appetite brought about by the direction of reason. Temperance is to seek pleasure rationally, courage is to react to the threat of harm rationally. The virtues of practical intellect are art and prudence; the virtues of theoretical intellect are insight, science and wisdom.
All this and much more enters into Thomas's moral teaching. Thomas will distinguish acts of a man from human acts, the former being activities truly found in human agents but also found in other non-human agents too. For example, the act of a man might be as important as the beating of his heart or or as trivial as the nervous tapping of his fingers. The human act is one which proceeds from reason and will. Since the human act by definition is the pursuit of a known good, the question arises as to the relationship between the objects of the myriad acts that humans perform. Is there some over-all good sought by human agents? Is there an ultimate end of human action?
In commenting on chapter two of Book One of the Nicomachean Ethics where Aristotle argues for there being an ultimate end, Thomas points out that the argument is actually a series of reductiones ad absurdum. That is, the denial of an ultimate end of human action reduces to the claim that there is no end to human seeking at all, that it is pointless. This analysis has not gotten the attention it deserves: the implication is that it is self-evident that there is an ultimate end which is why denials of it must flounder in incoherence. The argument for an ultimate end that Thomas puts forth in the Summa theologiae is somewhat different. Any action aims at some good. A particular good by definition shares in and is not identical with goodness itself. What binds together all the acts that humans perform is the overarching goodness they seek in this, that and the other thing. That over arching goodness, what Thomas calls the ratio bonitatis, is the ultimate end. It follows that anything a human agent does is done for the sake of the ultimate end.
This dissatisfies because we feel we are owed a richer account of goodness. After all, human agents differ insofar as they have different notions of what goodness is. Fame, wealth, pleasure, power, and so on seem to function as the dominant purpose of different persons. Thomas could scarcely overlook this, let alone deny it. Can his earlier position on the unity of the ultimate end still stand? The fact that there are false or inadequate identifications of goodness does not mean that there is not a true and adequate account of what is perfecting or fulfilling of human agents. Everyone acts on the supposition that what he does will contribute to his overall good; one's overall good is the ultimate reason for doing anything. But not everything one does under this aegis actually contributes to one's overall good. Thus in one sense there is one and the same ultimate end for every human agent—the integral human good—and there are correct and mistaken notions of what actually constitutes this integral good.
This may seem like an empty claim, but it provides a basis on which to proceed. If indeed every human agent acts for the sake of his overall good, the discussion can turn to whether or not what he here and now pursues, or his general theory of what constitutes the overall good, can withstand scrutiny. It is not necessary to persuade anyone that he ought to pursue the ultimate end in the sense of his overall good. What else would he pursue? But if one is persuaded that what he pursues does not contribute to his overall good, he already has reasons for changing his ways.
11.1 Natural Law
Thomas's reading of Aristotle's argument for the ultimate end as a reductio and his own claim that in one sense of it everyone pursues the ultimate end since one chooses whatever he chooses sub ratione boni and as conducive to or a constituent of his fulfillment and perfection, tell us something important about Thomas's mode of procedure. We said earlier that philosophy begins from pre-philosophical principles already had by everyone. In the moral order, it is essential that one uncover the starting point, the latent presupposition of any action, clarify it and proceed from there. This procedure is equally manifest in Thomas's treatment of what he calls natural law.
What is natural law? One description of it is: the peculiarly human participation in the eternal law, in providence. All creatures are ordered to an end, have natures whose fulfillment is what it is because of those natures. It is not peculiar to man that he is fashioned so as to find his good in the fulfillment of his nature. That is true of anything. But other things are ordered to ends of which they themselves are not conscious. It is peculiar to man that he becomes aware of the good and freely directs himself to it. Of course man is not free to choose the good—any choice is a choice of the good. As to what is really as opposed to only apparently his good, he is not free to make that what it is. He is free to direct himself or not to his true end, however.
A second description of natural law is: the first principles or starting points of practical reasoning. To indicate what he means by this, Thomas invokes the analogy of the starting points of reasoning as such. We have already mentioned the distinction between knowledge of the simple and knowledge of the complex. The former is a concept and is expressed in a definition or description. The latter is an affirmation or negation of one thing of another. There is something which is first in each of these orders. That is, Thomas holds that there is a conception which is prior to and presupposed by all other conceptions and a judgment that is prior to and presupposed by all other judgments. Since knowledge is expressed by language, this seems to come down to the assertion that there is a first word that everyone utters and a first statement that would appear in everyone's baby book on the appropriate page. But surely that is false. So what does Thomas mean?
He says that our first conception is of being, of that which is, and our first judgment is that you cannot affirm and deny the same thing in the same sense simultaneously. Since few if any humans first utter‘being’ or its equivalent and no one fashions as his first enunciation the principle of contradiction, facts as known to Thomas as ourselves, his meaning must be more subtle. It is this. Whatever concept one first forms and expresses verbally—Mama, hot, whatever‘being’ is a specification or an instance of that which is. Aristotle has observed that children at first call all men father and all women mother. The terms then function as generic for any male or female. Even more basically, each presupposes that what is generically grasped is an instance of being. Being is prior not because it is grasped absolutely, without reference to this being or that. It is some particular being that is first of all grasped and however it is named it will mean minimally something that is.
So too with regard to the first judgment. Children express their recognition of this principle when they disagree over the location of some quite specific thing, say a baseball mitt. One accuses the other of taking it. You did. I didn't. You did. I didn't. A fundamental disagreement. But what they are agreed on is that if it were true that one did it could not simultaneously and in the same sense be true that he did not. The principle is latent in, implicit in, any concrete judgment just as being is involved in any other conception.
It is on an analogy with these starting points of thinking as such that Thomas develops what he means by natural law. In the practical order there is a first concept analogous to being in the theoretical order and it is the good. The good means what is sought as fulfilling of the seeker. The first practical judgment is: the good should be done and pursued and evil avoided. Any other practical judgment is a specification of this one and thus includes it. Natural Law consists of this first judgment and other most general ones that are beyond contest. These will be fashioned with reference to constituents of our complete good—existence, food, drink, sex and family, society, desire to know. We have natural inclinations to such goods. Natural law precepts concerning them refer the objects of natural inclinations to our overall or integral good, which they specify.
Most moral judgments are true, if true, only by and large. They express means to achieve our overall good. But because there is not a necessary connection between the means and end, they can hold only for the most part. Thus there are innumerable ways in which men lead their lives in keeping with the ultimate end. Not all means are necessarily related to the end. Moral philosophy reposes on natural law precepts as common presuppositions, but its advice will be true only in the main.
It might be noted that when Thomas, following Aristotle, says that man is by nature a social or political animal, he does not mean that each of us has a tendency to enter into social contracts or the like. The natural in this sense is what is not chosen, but given, and what is given about human life is that we are in the first place born into the community of the family, are dependent on it for years in order to survive, and that we flourish as human beings within various larger social and political communities. The moral consists in behaving well in these given settings.
12. Thomism
Thomas's teaching came under attack, largely by Franciscans, immediately after his death. Dominicans responded. This had the effect of making Dominicans Thomists and Franciscans non–Thomists—Bonaventurians, Scotists, Ockhamists. The Jesuits were founded after the Reformation and they tended to be Thomists, often with a Suarezian twist.
When in 1879 Leo XIII issued the encyclical Aeterni Patris calling for the revival of the study of Thomas Aquinas, he was not directing his readers to one school as opposed to others. Thomas was put forward as the paladin of philosophy in its true sense, as over and against the vagaries of modern thought since Descartes. The response to Leo's call was global and sustained. New journals and learned societies were founded, curricula were reshaped to benefit from the thought of Thomas and this not simply in seminaries and pontifical universities but throughout the world in colleges and universities. Such giants as Jacques Maritain and Etienne Gilson may be taken to symbolize the best of this Thomistic revival.
Vatican II, the ecumenical council that met from 1962–1965 drew this stage of the Thomistic Revival to a close. It was widely held that the Council had dethroned Thomas in favor of unnamed contemporary philosophers. (When they were named, quarrels began.) In the post-conciliar period, Catholics have adopted many contemporary philosophical trends with mixed results, as the speed with which such trends come and go has appeared to accelerate, without obvious lasting results. Now with the vogue of the notion that modernity has failed and the Enlightenment Project come a cropper, many, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, are turning to Thomas as a spur or foil for their thinking. In 1998 John Paul II issued an encyclical called Fides et Ratio. In its reaffirmation of the importance of Aquinas, it may be regarded as the charter of the Thomism of the third millennium. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aquinas/ --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/aquinas/context.html Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225–1274)
An indefatigable student, teacher, and writer, St. Thomas Aquinas was the greatest Christian theologian of the Middle Ages. He was born at Roccasecca, Italy, as the youngest son of Count Landolfo of Aquino and Countess Teodora of Teano. At age five, he began his studies at the Benedictine monastery in Monte Cassino. From there, he went on to study at the University of Naples and, over the objections of his family, became a Dominican friar in 1244. He continued his studies in philosophy and theology at Paris and then, from 1248 to 1252, at Cologne with Albert the Great. After further study and teaching at the University of Paris, he returned to Italy in 1259 and spent nearly ten years teaching and working at Dominican monasteries near Rome.
Back at the University of Paris in 1268, he became embroiled in arguments with clerics and theologians who opposed his philosophical positions. He returned to Italy in 1272 and taught for one year at the University of Naples before declining health forced him to quit teaching in 1273. While en route to a church council in Lyon, he fell gravely ill and died not far from the town of his birth early in 1274. He was declared a saint by Pope John XXII in 1323, pronounced the“Angelic Doctor” by Pope Pius V in 1567, and named Patron of Catholic Schools by Pope Leo XIII in 1879.
Aquinas was a prolific writer. His most extensive work is the Summa Theologica, which he probably wrote between 1265 and 1272 but left unfinished. This imposing set of tomes, which comprises thousands of pages of tightly-reasoned responses to an astonishing range of questions about church theology and doctrine, is not only the crown jewel of Scholasticism, that is, of medieval theology and philosophy, but one of the crown jewels of Western culture. His Summa contra Gentiles is remarkable as an attempt to demonstrate to nonbelievers the reasonableness of the Christian faith. In addition to these two most famous works, Aquinas also wrote commentaries on numerous treatises by Aristotle; various Bible commentaries; records of theological and philosophical disputes; and sundry treatises, letters, and notes. This prodigious output is especially impressive because Aquinas achieved it all within the span of about twenty years.
Aquinas lived during an age when the Catholic Church was the overwhelmingly dominant wielder of political and religious power in most of Europe. The Protestant Reformation, which established a rival alternative to the Catholic Church, was still some 250 years off when Aquinas was alive. Church and state were not separated and, in fact, were largely identical. There were no European nations in the modern sense of fully sovereign countries that determine their own economic, political, and social agendas.
Clerics, who were usually the only people who could read and write, possessed a monopoly on the world of learning. Education was necessarily Catholic learning and took place almost exclusively in monasteries. Very few universities existed, and most of these were institutions for the training of future clerics. For six years, candidates for a bachelor’s degree studied the seven liberal arts: geometry, grammar, logic, rhetoric, astronomy, music theory, and arithmetic. After completing this course of study, students could continue studying law, medicine, or theology for up to another twelve years in pursuit of a master’s degree or doctorate degree. Theology was the most difficult and prestigious field.
One of the distinctive features of universities in Aquinas’s day was the so-called scholastic method, which was embodied in the disputatio. The disputatio was a public debate among scholars on a particular topic or question and took place according to a strict procedural format. First, a teacher posed a previously announced question to an advanced student. This student then took a position with respect to the topic in question. Other teachers and students subsequently countered the advanced student’s responses with objections, which the advanced student then attempted to rebut. On a day soon afterward, the teacher summarized the various arguments for and against the debated question and rendered his own decision in the determinatio. This culture of spirited public debate led to the development of refined techniques of argumentation and rhetoric. Trained in this arena of intellectual jousting, Aquinas proved himself to be one of its foremost practitioners. The structure and topics of the Summa Theologica and the Summa Theologica contra Gentiles are derived directly from this tradition, and both works are essentially transcripts of debates conducted according to the rigid rules of the disputatio.
Aquinas’s greatest influence on intellectual history was his shifting attention from the works of Plato to those of Aristotle. Much of the history of Western philosophy involves the elaboration and development of ideas that are either explicit or implicit in the writings of these two great ancient Greek philosophers. Plato was particularly influential among thinkers in the church’s early history, and St. Augustine (A.D. 354–430), one of the church Fathers, derived many of his views from Plato’s writings. Plato had maintained that an unbridgeable divide separates the transient, illusory, material world that we perceive with our senses and the changeless, eternal world of transcendent reality. For Plato, the realm of eternal and perfect Forms is the only proper object of study, containing as it does the only true reality. St. Augustine saw Plato’s philosophy as profoundly congenial to Christianity in that Plato’s concept of two worlds, one eternally perfect and the other inherently imperfect, mirrors Christianity’s own postulation of two worlds, earthly and divine.
In contract, Aristotle had drifted into obscurity, if not outright oblivion, as far as the church was concerned, and it is thanks only to the efforts of Jewish and Arabic scholars that his writings survived at all until Aquinas came along. Thus, the teachings of Plato reigned supreme in church orthodoxy when Aquinas was studying. Aquinas bucked this tradition, recovering Aristotle for the West and virtually single-handedly assimilating him into Catholic orthodoxy.
Aquinas’s views are of more than merely philosophical interest, as they are official Catholic doctrine and thus represent a living set of traditions and beliefs. The Roman Catholic Church is one of the world’s most ancient, enduring, and powerful institutions, spanning nearly two thousand years and claiming some one billion adherents all over the globe. In 1879, Pope Leo XIII declared Aquinas’s teachings to be official church doctrine, cementing Aquinas’s status as one of the most influential philosophers and theologians ever. The question of whether Aquinas’s writings represent the achievement of human reason or the products of divine inspiration has been the subject of fierce debate, and one’s answer to that question is likely to depend on whether one accepts church teachings in the first place. Within the church, it is safe to say that Aquinas’s significance is inescapable.
Top of Form

Bottom of Form
Top of Form

Bottom of Form

NOTES:

4 FEB:
Linear cosmology: primarily at the basis of three western religions: * Judaism * Christianity * Muslim
All are quite similar with an “end of life” and “beginning or creation of all life”

Coptic was first religion
Year 0 – born a. Coptic b. Catholicism c. Greek d. Protestantism
Linear cosmology – Coptic/catholic
Zero – born in sin * Go to church * Do good things * State of grace * End of life of good person * Heaven with God at highest level
Theories:
* Muslim has Allah and believe they will end up in Garden (in life – desert) * Christianity was urban – believe they will end up in Garden also
Secular history of human history
Christian religions – beginning of humanity was at zero. The concept of linear history is from zero, small farm communities to today with cell phones.
Civilizations have risen and fallen over time; rise and fall of Greece, rise and fall of the Roman Empire.
The path is upwards; worth of life, living standards and technology = PROGRESS in all of human history!!**
Any time knowledge increases – progress is made.
Caveman to now – dystopia of a hard life (ooga booga the caveman) to a utopia now – we just do not realize that we ARE living in a utopian environment.
OPTIMISTIC – EVOLUTIONARY
PESSIMISTIC – DEVOLUTIONARY

11 FEB:
Conceptual/contextual
Utopianism themes and ancient Greece. They were the first to define the subject and took a conceptual leap.
Western culture and literature; the earliest source was the Greeks. Most utopian philosophers will argue that Greeks were first. There is a broad array of utopianist thought/writings well before the Greeks.
Thomas Moore – his opinion is he was NOT the first to describe utopians - he just created the word “utopia” to label the concept.
Historians – Plato and the Greeks. Took an anthropological point of view – * Neanderthals – believed in afterlife; buried their dead; female fertility icons, fertility gods – enhanced in the afterlife. A culture that honored death as an afterlife. Suggestion that they believed it was better than the material life. Imagined the future as part of their problem solving abilities. * Conceptionally imagined a better existence. * Human beings of at least two species were hard wired to imagine better places and the ability to visualize and recognize ideals. * Gestures and simple forms of art – and also sounds
Utopian ideas are a reflection of problem solving abilities of Homo sapiens and imaginary future. “IMAGINATION”
Problem solving involves imagination and the future is a tool or arena where imagination and the future/unknown unvisited places – a tool or arena where imagination can be manipulated
GREEKS – believed that Neanderthals had something of an imagination, but ancient Greeks brought formalized thinking. * Represented a major shift from the concept of the “golden age” – primordial ends of sissified desire or need; to imagining societies better than those that currently exist. In other words, utopias as exercised in political and social inquiry for rational reasons.
Examples:
HESIOD – wrote “works and days” about the history of the ‘five races of men’. Men lived like gods free from: * A paradiscial past from which humanity had fallen
HOMER – the odyssey – when Odysseus find the land of Phaecia – where the “fruit trees grown in summer and winter and the population is without a care”.
The idea of societies that have no cares and no troubles because nature provides humanity with everyone it needs or desires.
Experiencually – do you nave it to prove>?
The intrinsic character of humanities prevents this from occurring???

“Plato in fact comes in rather late, if we focus first on the world of classical antiquity. Utopian themes reach back to the earliest Greek writings. From Hesiod’s Works and Days, of the early seventh century BC, came the canonical depiction of the Golden Age, the bitterly-lamented vanished age of Kronos’ reign: when men ‘lived as if they were gods, their hearts free from all sorrow, and without hard work or pain;’ when ‘the fruitful earth yielded its abundant harvest to them of its own accord, and they lived in ease and peace upon their lands with many good things.’ Reworked by Virgil and Ovid as the lost age of Saturn (the Roman Kronos), the pastoral perfection in the Golden Age reappeared as the classic Arcadia, a time and place of rustic simplicity and felicity.”—Krishan Kumar
“If Arcadia showed man living within, and according to, nature, the Hellenic ideal city represented human mastery over nature, the triumph of reason and artifice over the amoral and chaotic realm of nature. Hence the importance, in the ideal city tradition, of those who gave the law and made the rational order of human society: the founders and framers of cities and constitutions, the philosopher-kings, the architect-planners. An early Greek tradition already venerated the semi-mythical figures of Solon of Athens and Lycurgus of Sparta as the founders and law-givers of their respective city-states. Their idealization, common throughout the classical period, was boosted by Plutarch’s Lives (first century AD), which made of Solon and Lycurgus virtually the creators of utopian societies. As received in Europe through various translations of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Lives, eked out with such celebrated set-pieces as Pericles’ funeral oration from Thucydides’ History, set before European thinkers two sharply contrasting utopian models. There was Athens: democratic, tolerant, boisterous, given over to a cultivated hedonism; and there was Sparta: authoritarian, ascetic, communistic. European utopian writers, along with most other kinds, were clearly fascinated by the alternative possibilities suggested by these two great exemplars of the ancient world. Right up to the French Revolution and beyond, one way of classifying utopias was as ‘Athenian’ or ‘Spartan,’ with Sparta predictably the favourite not simply for matching more closely the utopian preference for a tightly regulated communal order, but as much for its status as the putative model of the most admired ancient utopia, Plato’s Republic.”—Krishan Kumar
“[Thomas] More shows himself, and his Utopia, to the product of a new age. His Utopia has a rationalism and a realism that we associate typically with the classical revival of the Renaissance, and that are to be found equally in the architectural utopias of the fifteenth and sixteenth-century Italy. We should remember that Utopia was published less than three years after Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince (1513). More’s urbane and witty style, his profound sense of political realities, constantly evoke the relentlessly de-mystified world of Machiavelli’s notorious treatise (and, incidentally, remind us that utopia and anti-utopia [‘dystopia’] shadow each other very closely).”—Krishan Kumar
“The realm of utopia is wide but it is not boundless. Utopia is not some unchanging human archetype or universal human propensity. Distinctions have to be made and these must be largely historical. If utopia is not in one very obvious sense concerned with the here-and-now, for the most part it draws both its form and content from the contemporary reality. Whether or not we choose to call Plato’s Republic a utopia, or to accept the idea of a Christian utopia, we must recognize the fundamental difference of intention and concern between them, a reflection of the very different conditions that gave rise to them. Both classical and Christian utopianism persisted well into the modern age. They had—and have—a continuing influence on conceptions of utopia. This can make it difficult to see the even more important differences between these utopian “prefigurations” and the utopia proper, the modern utopia that was invented in Europe in the sixteenth century. The utopia of the ancient world is hierarchical, economically undeveloped and static. The modern utopia is egalitarian, affluent and dynamic. Such a conception emerged under unique historical conditions. As these changed so the content and even, to an extent, the form of utopia changed. So we should not be surprised to find ourselves dealing with utopias of many different kinds, and with many different purposes, in the more than four centuries since More’s Utopia. A strict definition of utopia would serve no useful purpose; as Nietzsche says, ‘only that which has not history can be defined.’”—Krishan Kumar
There was a “direct and dynamic connection between the idea of the American nation as utopia, and the foundations of scores of utopian communities that, dismissing this idea, still sought and found refuge on the American continent. We might borrow a term from the American philosopher Robert Nozick and consider America, in this aspect, as meta-utopia. In this conception, utopia is not one community, one vision of the good life, but a “framework for utopias,” a place which freely allows people to form and re-form themselves into utopian communities of diverse kinds. [….] Nineteenth-century America was this meta-utopia on a grander and more generous scale than ever before or since. The vast size of its still relatively unsettled territory, coupled with the utopian notions that accompanied its entire development as a nation, drew utopian groups to it as to a magnet. On both physical and ideological grounds, nineteenth-century America was the ideal framework for utopias in Nozick’s sense. It set up a dynamic counterpoint between the larger national experiment—America as utopia—and the host of small experimental communities, each pursuing its individual utopian vision. Meta-utopia, like utopia, produced a characteristic literature, the literature of the experimental community. There were the reports and survey of founders, sympathizers and observers, such as John Humphrey Noyes’s History of American Socialisms (1870), Charles Nordhoff’s The Communistic Societies of the United States (1875) and William Alfred Hinds’ American Communities (1878). Noyes founded Oneida; Hinds was a founding-member of it. There was also the autobiographies and memoirs of those who had actually been born or lived for much of their time in utopian communities, such Frederick Williams Evans’s Autobiography of a Shaker (1869), Robert Dale Owen’s Twenty-Seven Years of Autobiography (1874) and Pierrepont Noyes’s My Father’s House: An Oneida Boyhood (1937). All these combine, to a remarkable degree, personal involvement and sympathy with a wide-ranging outlook and refreshingly clear-sighted analysis.”—Krishan Kumar
“[T]here was probably more genuine communism practiced in nineteenth-century America than in any society, at any time, beyond the hunting and gathering stage. This certainly seemed self-evident to many Europeans. The young Friedrich Engels was among the many European socialists who were stirred by the reports of the American communities, and who first looked to them to provide the example and model for European communism. ‘The first people in America,’ wrote Engels, ‘and indeed in the world who brought into realization a society founded on the community of property were the so-called Shakers.’ The American communities, he confidently declared, had demonstrated that ‘communism, the social life and work based on the common possession of goods, is…not only possible but has actually been realized…and with the best result.’ The communities were themselves to a good extent the product of a wider movement of reform that enthusiastically embraced socialism. Socialism in mid-nineteenth-century America was far from being the ‘un-American’ thing it has now become.”—Krishan Kumar
“Gandhi’s fascination as a thinker lies in his inward battle between two opposing attitudes—the Tolstoyan socialist belief that the Kingdom of Heaven is attainable on earth and the Dostoevskian mystical conviction that it can never be materialized. The modern Hindu standpoint has generally been anti-utopian: Rama Rajya lies in the bygone Satya Yuga, and Kali Yuga is the age of unavoidable coercion. Gandhi began by challenging this view under the influence of Tolstoy, but he ended his life with more of a Dostoevskian pessimism. This does not mean that he abandoned either his imaginative, utopian, political vision or what he called his practical idealism embodied in concrete programs of immediate action. He did not feel that he was wrong to urge men to set themselves, as he did in his own life, seemingly impossible standards, but he came closer to seeing that it is wrong to expect them to do so. [….] ‘Euclidean’ models—of the satyagrahi, of a society based on satya and ahimsa, of Rama Rajya—are not without their value in political theory, but they must not be mistaken for definitely realizable concretions. [….] Gandhi’s concepts of satya, ahimsa and satyagraha, of tapas, and, above all, of the satyagrahi, are such ideal constructions—‘Euclidean’ models as he himself called them. They do involve a ‘momentous truth,’ but they are also deceptive representations, in a sense. In constructing these, Gandhi was in the oldest political tradition that goes back to classical Chinese and Indian thinkers, and to Plato in the West. They could serve in the serious task of civic education (paideia) provided they are not taken to represent precisely the political realities of the future.”—Raghavan Iyer
“Utopia has, for four centuries, accompanied that hope of progress and that striving for betterment. It has been itself a principle of expression of that belief and a potent agent of that impulse. It now struggles against a confused but widespread sense that this has been an illusion, or an impossible dream. A strong utopian current has persisted…. It may be that, once invented, the utopian idea can never entirely disappear—not, that is, so long as Western society itself continues. But utopia as a form of the social imagination has clearly weakened—whether fatally we cannot say. It has not in recent times found the power to instill its vision in the public consciousness. If it cannot do so again some time in the future, we should be aware of the seriousness of the failure. Karl Mannheim, who was as thoughtful a student of utopias as anyone, considered that the elimination of the ‘reality-transcending’ power of utopia would mean ‘the decay of the human will:’ The complete disappearance of the utopian element from human thought would mean that human nature and human development would take on a totally new character. The disappearance of utopia brings about a static state of affairs in which man himself becomes nor more than a thing. We would then be faced with the greatest paradox imaginable, namely, that man, who has achieved the highest degree of mastery of existence, left without any ideals, becomes a mere creature of impulses. Thus, after a long tortuous, but heroic development, just at the highest stage of awareness, when history is ceasing to be blind fate, and is becoming more and more man’s own creation, with the relinquishment of utopias, man would lose his will to shape history and therewith his ability to understand it.”—Mannheim qtd. in Krishan Kumar

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Claeys Gregory and Sargent, Lyman Tower (editors), The Utopia Reader, 1997, New York University Press, New York http://www.religiousleftlaw.com/2011/06/musings-on-utopia-historical-philosophical.html/ http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aquinas/- http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/aquinas/context.html http://www.apstudynotes.org/us-history/topics/transcendentalism-religion-and-utopian-movements/ http://www.faithfacts.org/world-religions-and-theology/christianity-vs.-islam http://www.religionfacts.com/a-z-religion-index/epicureanism.htm http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/119060/The-City-of-God --------------------------------------------
[ 1 ]. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/119060/The-City-of-God

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Fascism

...------------------------------------------------- FASCISM ------------------------------------------------- Etymology The term fascismo is derived from the Latin word fasces. The fasces, which consisted of a bundle of rods that were tied around an axe which symbolises strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break. Moreover, Fasces was an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrate. They were carried by his lictors and could be used for corporal and capital punishment at his command. The word fascismo also relates to political organizations in Italy known as fasci, groups similar to guilds or syndicates. Definition +"Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State" - Mussolini  +The only official definition of Fascism comes from Benito Mussolini, the founder of fascism, in which he outlines three principles of a fascist philosophy.  1."Everything in the state". The Government is supreme and the country is all-encompasing, and all within it must conform to the ruling body, often a dictator.  2."Nothing outside the state". The country must grow and the implied goal of any fascist nation is to rule the world, and have every human submit to the government.  3."Nothing against the state". Any type of questioning the government is not to be tolerated. If you do not see things our way, you are wrong. If you do not agree with the government, you cannot be allowed to live and...

Words: 3661 - Pages: 15

Premium Essay

Fascism

...Extended Project To what extent / How did Adolf Hitler's childhood affect and shape him later in life? Why was the rise of fascism in Europe so popular in the 1930’s? Assess did Hitler become the war mongering man he was due to his childhood or was it events leading up to World War II that made him bring the Nazi’s to power and become a dictator. Was Hitler’s intention to save Germany from the economic depression it was in through military power and expansion or was it more based on the ideology of the Aryan race and the deluded hatred he had towards the Jews? Or was it both? Be sure to talk about his ancestry, his parents and schooling. Anything leading up to World War II such as Hitler’s 9 month imprisonment Include how bitter he was after World War I and resented the new German government (Weimer Republic) Include how previous personal encounters with Jews made him hate them. Explain how not only the General German public hated the Jews because of propaganda but how most of the Western world resented the Jews in the early-mid 20th century. Include Austria and events that might have happened in Austria which could have affected Hitler as a child. Hitler: The man and his ideas Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in a little Austrian town called Braunau am Inn. His father was a customs official who Hitler did not get on well with. Also Hitler didn’t particularly excel at school and did not enjoy his schooling except for History lessons. In 1907......

Words: 779 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Fascism

...The appeal of fascism is often wondered about and discussed when looking at fascism. Because of the historically savage fascist regimes, people tend to believe that fascism cannot reoccur and often don’t understand how, for example, the people of Germany were so easily swayed by the “obvious” Nazi regime. These ignorant people are usually the most susceptible to the transition to a fascist lifestyle. They never see the rise of fascism in their daily lives until it is too late due; they cannot conceive of any such rise. Because of their doubt and prejudice to fascism they become blind to their own fascism and the good it does. The prejudice that because they are so opposed to it, they will never become that which they hate. Fascism’s appeal branches into several categories: strength, community loyalty, change, and hate. The appeal of overall strength and domination draw many in who believe their country to be weak or timid. The population sees their nation as one that does not stand up for itself, does not have a strong economy, or strong military. Due to overwhelming patriotism and nationalism for their country, the people rally around emerging leaders who show an intense desire to strengthen the country and to restore it to its previous greatness. This is mainly due to discontent with the nation’s current state or how its current leaders run the country. The community aspect of fascism appeals to those in the lower working classes. They see themselves as on the outskirts......

Words: 458 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Fascism

...How successful was Fascism in achieving its totalitarianism ambitions? The first time Mussolini used the term ‘totalitarian’ was in a speech at the Fascists Party’s fourth national congress in 1995*1 , he declared the ‘goal that is defined as our ferocious totalitarian will be pursued with even greater ferociousness’*1 . There is no doubt that Benito Mussolini was a very determined dictator. His aim was to create a long lasting Fascist Italy*1. In order to achieve his aim he required the total involvement and participation of every member of the state, in other words he needed to ‘Fascistize the masses’*1. Unfortunately Fascism was a very ambitious plan that failed to properly execute its aims*2. In order to delve deeper into the ways that Mussolini failed in his totalitarianism aims, we must first define what totalitarianism is. The essence of totalitarianism can be seen as a regime’s total control of the everyday life of its citizens, of its control, and more particularly of their thoughts and attitudes as well as their activities *3. A totalitarian dictatorship must have an elaborate ideology, a single mass party which is led by the ‘dictator’, a system of terror, near complete control over weapons of armed combat, control over all means of effective mass communication including the press, radio and cinema, and finally central control over the entire economy*3. While Mussolini dabbled in all of these areas he failed to execute them in an effective manner. It is......

Words: 3158 - Pages: 13

Free Essay

What Is Fascism?

...What is fascism? Fascism is a hard ideology to define because nearly every modern government or political movement has been called ‘fascist’ by somebody. (The writer has directly addressed the essay question in the topic sentence of the first paragraph, noting how it can be identified as being ambiguous, and how it is difficult to define.) I contend that fascism was a political movement unique to the early 20th century, especially in Europe, because its worldview was shaped by events and philosophical ideas from the late 19th century until the interwar period. (Evidence that the writer has considered the words meaning in terms of context and knowledge of what periods of time are referred as) Some people have called states like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq ‘fascist’, but I believe that there is a big difference between authoritarian dictatorship and genuine fascism. (Additional evidence of acquired knowledge, saying that it is the writer’s belief that there is a difference between the two terms ‘authoritarian dictatorship’ and ‘genuine fascism’.) So how did fascism originally develop? (There is a conversational tone, to the topic sentence of each paragraph, asking relevant key questions that the writer has considered. Note, how this afforded question is compatible with the main essay question. The conversational tone, is effective in portraying the fact that the writer has attempted to acquire and integrate knowledge. The first sentence of the second paragraph,......

Words: 1564 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Fascism in Portugal

...Fascism is defined as socialism with a capitalist veneer. It is centered around heritage, nationalism, militarism, corporatism, and anti-communism. Between the years of World War I and World War II, the concept of fascism became extremely popular; it was a global phenomenon and was demonstrated in countries worldwide. After facing a series of hardships in the early 1900’s, Portugal jumped on the bandwagon and turned towards fascism as a way to solve their problems. Between 1910 and 1926 Portugal had gone through eight presidents and forty-three ministries; the power was so unstable that the longest government of the republic lasted just slightly over a year. Around the same time, the country had faced extreme inflation and a massive devaluation in their currency…there needed to be a change. A coup d’état took place May 28, 1926. Led by General Manuel Gomes de Costa, a group of 15,000 men marched into the city of Lisbon with intent to demolish the country’s current republic. This national revolution was one of the main factors behind the initiation of dictatorship in Portugal. Antonio de Oliveira Salazar-a man recognized for his corporatism and nationalism-worked his way up from the country’s finance minister in 1928 to leading the Estado Nova in 1932, a right wing, authoritarian regime, known as the “New State” or “Second Republic” of Portugal. This authoritarian government was made up of a right-wing coalition. Moderates of almost every political current (with similar......

Words: 608 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Origin of Fascism

...Wiki Loves Africa: share African cultural fashion and adornment pictures with the world! Fascism From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia For the original version of the ideology developed in Italy, see Italian Fascism. For the book edited by Roger Griffin, see Fascism (book). "Fascist" redirects here. For the insult, see Fascist (insult). Part of a series on | Fascism | | Core tenets[show] | Topics[show] | Ideas[show] | People[show] | Literature[show] | Organizations[show] | History[show] | Lists[show] | Variants[show] | Related topics[show] | * Fascism portal * Politics portal | * v * t * e | Fascism /ˈfæʃɪzəm/ is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. Influenced by national syndicalism, fascism originated in Italy during World War I, in opposition to liberalism, Marxism, and anarchism. Fascism is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[3][4] Fascists saw World War I as a revolution. It brought revolutionary changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war.[5][6] The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines or provide......

Words: 17730 - Pages: 71

Premium Essay

Cause Of Fascism

...According to fascism, all the power is vested upon the government as the executive branch. Every other branch or institution is subject to the leader. Fascism is also in most cases in the need of an enemy, this is some specific group that people under this form of leadership focus and express their hatred and anger towards. In such a case such as the Germans focused their anger and hatred to the Jews and viewed them as an inferior race. Full control of the media is taken by the leadership as well as full power in arresting everyone who disagrees. This happens without any trial. Fascist states do whatever they want and the subjects are too afraid to resist the acts even if they are heinous. This happens with full control of the media, and this...

Words: 1710 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Fascism in the Twentieth Century

...Fascism in the Twentieth Century; Hitler and Nazism ‘Fascism’ is one of the most controversial political terms in modern history. The lack of a universally accepted definition for the term has meant that it can and has been applied to a wide variety of political contexts. Fascism developed from the destruction caused by the First World War. Its origins can be traced, however, to the intellectual revolt against liberalism in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. While there was a revolutionary reaction against the ideals of the French Revolution before 1914, it was the First World War which acted as a real catalyst for the emergence of fascism. The war swept away the Hohenzellern, Halsburg and Romanov dynasties in Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia respectively and sharpened class-consciousness (the idea of lower, middle and upper classes) and increased ethnic tensions, severely weakening the social fabric of many nations. Fascism, in part, was also the result of a reaction by the middle classes against the perceived communist threat caused by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917. Fascism was the most severe reaction to the post-war political, social and national crisis. The First World War also had a positive significance on the rise of fascism. The survivors of the ‘lost generation,’ (the survivors of the First World War) had become disillusioned and embittered, and were attracted to the direct-action approach of fascist paramilitary organisations. This......

Words: 2340 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Fascism Political Spectrum

...Fascism and The Political Spectrum In todays political world, most politicians and ideologues want to be as far removed from Fascism as is possible. Additionally, these same politicians often attempt to brand their opponents as fascists. This has resulted in fascism being used as more of a insult than an ideological identifier. This is not surprising given the unpopular nature of Fascism in modern society. That said, this name calling creates a great deal of confusion and can leave one wondering “Is Fascism Left or Right?” Fascism — a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism....

Words: 1042 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Positive Effects of Fascism

...The Positive Effects of Fascism Mussolini's march on Rome, the horrors of the Holocaust, Japanese extreme forms of nationalism, burning crosses and neo-Nazi skinheads; These moments are as haunting, and even fewer ideologies as malicious, as fascism. And yet, people are not aware of the progressive effects of fascism. There has never been a regime in history that has not had at least some positive effects to its credit, and fascism was no exception. Had it compiled only failures and crimes, it would have had to rest entirely on massive terror in order to stay in power, and this was clearly not the case. Fascism did in fact, satisfies certain needs and desires of wide sections of society and, at least in some respects, gained its support, respect, and even enthusiasm. Despite its violent ideals, people still attracted to fascism. It is known that fascism has a positive effect on the economy, a stronger nationality of people, and national safety and order Fascism is an ideological ideal in effect gave economic benefits to both the country and its citizens. A fascist government sets goals for consumer goods, capital formation, organizing production and determining income. Although a fascist government controls almost all aspects of the economy, there are many benefits to an economy that follows fascist policies. First of all, a fascist country faces no unemployment. All citizens in Italy during Benito Mussolini's rule had a job and an income. This made it easier for many......

Words: 1719 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Nazism vs Fascism

...Compare and contrast Nazi and Italian Fascist views on race and national identity Despite both pertaining to the political ideology of fascism and sharing many similar characteristics, the regimes of Nazi Germany and Italy under Mussolini can be seen to differ slightly. One aspect where this becomes apparent is views on race; the differences in attitudes and policy with regards to race for both examples must be discussed as it provides a key distinction between Nazism and Italy’s own brand of Facismo. With regards to national identity, it is possible to concede that both regimes share similar characteristics; however they attempt to achieve their goals of national identity in fundamentally different ways. The central thesis of this paper will contend that Italian Fascism’s views on race contradict that of the Nazi’s, and that while similar aspects and views of national identity are held, there are differing means of establishing national identity. Moreover, this paper will illustrate that Nazism and Italian Fascism are in fact unique phenomena. Examples and evaluative comment will be provided in order to provide a clear comparison and distinction. Firstly, comparison between Italian and Nazi views on race must be discussed at they provide notable differentiation. Racial theory proved to be of paramount importance to 19th century German science and academics which strongly influenced Nazi ideology, ‘Volkish theorists found a theory of race in the writings of Kant which was...

Words: 2048 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

The Famous Magic Trick: Fascism

...Amanda Kobner The Famous Magic Trick: Fascism Thomas Mann, a German novelist and author of Mario and the Magician, fled to Switzerland once the Nazis obtained power in 1933. Mann is known for his ironic and symbolic novels that analyze and criticize Europe. The government had led the people to believe that their country had been winning World War I, but many faced confusion and felt alienated when Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, fascism had risen in many European countries and seemed like the perfect solution to reinstate hope and encouragement back into the lives of the people. Mario and the Magician reflects the political state in Italy and Germany at this time, openly discussing the ideas behind a fascist government. Through the author’s use of figurative language, the reader can easily identify comparisons and contrasts of a fascist regime. Mario and the Magician is a story narrated by an individual who describes his family’s trip to Torre di Venere, Italy. From the onset of the story, the reader is exposed to similarities that exist between the narrator’s family and a fascist regime during the 1920s and 1930s. The narrator describes an ominous atmosphere in the town as his family feels unwelcome. He describes that the family feels uncomfortable from the beginning of their trip and “from the first moment the air of the place made [them] uneasy” (Mann 133). The Italian people are absorbed in nationalism and...

Words: 1439 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Rise of Fascism in Europe

...did not share their ideals. By 1922 Mussolini had enough power to demand representation in the actual government of the country. When this demand was turned down, Mussolini and his followers decided to make the challenge of force. On 28th October 1922 supporters of Mussolini converged on the city of Rome from various parts of the country, in what was to be called "La Marcia su Roma" (The March on Rome). King Victor Emanuel III and the army refused to resist them, and they enetered Rome unopposed. The King then asked Mussolini to form a government and assume the post of prime minister. This famous march on Rome heralded the rise of Fascism to importance in Italy. The fascist Party was formed in Milan by Mussolini in 1919 and its members were known as "camicie nere" (the Black Shirts), because of the black shirts they wore as uniforms. The word fascism is derived from the Latin "fasces", a bundle of rods round an axe which was carried before a magistrate in Ancient Rome, denoting authority, power and discipline. The term "fascio" was the Italian form of the word...

Words: 764 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Similarities and Differences Between Germany Nazism and Italy Fascism

...Similarities and Differences between Germany Nazism and Italy Fascism {Author’s name} {Institution Affiliation} {Due date} Similarities and Differences between Germany Nazism and Italy Fascism Introduction Fascism defined, implies an organization or acceptable rule of administration characterized by a government system led by a dictator who exercises harsh and strict control over the citizens, and the commons are mandated to comply with the government rule without resistance. Most authoritarian regimes rely on nationality or race to garner influence and support for a centralized autocratic government. The main aim of a fascist government is to enhance national unity and maintain a stable order in the society by exercising the element of fear among the citizens. Totalitarianism was able to exercise influence, by garnering devotion from regime loyalist. Its prominent execution was purported to collectively influence the success of a country. Supporters of the regime were rewarded by significant posts and incentives while non-loyalists were expected to remain silent without questioning the administrations motives. Use of violence was supported by the administration system to neutralize any emergent form of oppression. Fascism was a prominent governing system that was established during the early twentieth century, based on the need to respond to western influence and assert dictatorial states as new......

Words: 2882 - Pages: 12