Study "Religion / God / Theology" Essays 991-1000

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Hermeneutic Interpretation of Matthew 22 34 38 Research Paper

… ¶ … Hermeneutical Interpretation of Matthew 22:34-38

One of the biggest challenges of any reader of the Bible is having an appropriate understanding of what precisely one is reading. For although a plain reading of any scripture is satisfactory much… [read more]


Premodernism Is Defined as Possessed by Authority Term Paper

… Premodernism is defined as possessed by authority and dominated by tradition. The term is broken down as having two other meanings which include: defined as a spirit of truth; the truth is taught through religious institutions under the leadership of… [read more]


Theological, Interpersonal and Political Roots Term Paper

… Theological, Interpersonal and Political Roots of the Protestant Reformation and the Resulting Catholic Reformation

'a man cannot be justified by faith alone.' This notion of Martin Luther caused one of the most seismic shifts in the history of Western Europe. After Luther broke from the Catholic Church, human beings were no longer simply Christian -- they were either Protestant or Catholic. And the contrasting notions of Protestantism and Catholicism were far different than those controversies which had distinguished the schism of Eastern and Western Orthodoxy. Protestantism represented an entire shift in worldview, from a religion that was defined by a Church hierarchy to a portable religion that was 'of the book,' or defined by the individual's relationship and his or her personal sense of faith in God.

The Renaissance's emphasis on individuality can be at least partially to 'blame' for the growing dissatisfaction with the Church. Catholic rituals, with their emphasis on the external trappings of worship and the growing political influence of the Pope, bishops, and the clergy had caused many members of the newly empowered middle classes to chafe at the Church's domination of almost every facet of society. But because of its enforcement of orthodoxy of people's views, dissent seemed impossible, until an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther published his 95 Theses, critiquing the Church's theology and its practices.

Luther was particularly disgusted by indulgences, whereby individuals could buy (with money or with good deeds) a reprieve from the suffering of purgatory for themselves or their loved ones. Luther's primary objection to the selling of indulgences was not the crass materialism of the practice, but the fact that it forgave individual sinners for a deed through payment, and did nothing to change the soul of the believer. "Luther's Theses, which outlined his theological argument against the use of indulgences, were based on the notion that Christianity is fundamentally a phenomenon of the inner world of human beings and had little or nothing to do with the outer world, such as temporal punishments" (Hooker 1996).

For Luther, some of the most significant passages in the Bible were those written by the Apostle Paul, who was attempting to define Christianity as a religion in which believers did not need to engage in the practices of the Jewish nation to be Christians. Luther wrote that piety and an open heart was the source of justification. God gave grace to the believer, not as the result of payment with specific actions or importuning a saint, but because of God's inexplicable good will. "Luther understood righteousness as a gift of God's grace. He had discovered (or recovered) the doctrine of justification by grace alone," just as the persecutor Saul was struck by God and became redeemed in Jesus (Whitford 2005). Luther, while still a monk, was haunted by his sense of unworthiness. How could a believer 'prove' that he was worthy of God, in the face of God's spiritual perfection? His only solution was that God's "acceptance is based on who one… [read more]


Isaiah Delivered the Jubilee Message Essay

… Isaiah delivered the Jubilee message to the people of God who are now free from captivity, restored, and exalted, culminated in the message of Jesus. This message, delivered in Isaiah 61:1-11, gives hope to the oppressed, images of a new… [read more]


Voting Behavior Term Paper

… Voting Behavior

Religion has continued to play an important role in the politics and society in the contemporary world which is characterized by ideas that are interconnected. In fact secularization theories have been found to be wanting in comparison to… [read more]


Faith and Learning: Together Essay

… Faith and Learning: Together Again for a Foundation of Truth

In Foundations of Christian thought: Faith, learning, and the Christian worldview, Mark Cosgrove reiterates that the Christian worldview is predicated upon faith. He succinctly and aptly describes ethics as "Absolutes in right and wrong [that] come from the absolute character of God as revealed in the Bible and the person of Jesus Christ." (Cosgrove, 2006, p. 138). He further reminds us that the Christian worldview is not antithetical to learning. Rather, faith and learning are inextricably intertwined. Accordingly, through reading Cosgrove's words, I began to understand the process by which my own worldview had come into being. While I have always understood that without my faith in God, I would not attain real knowledge, morality, or reality. However, the world in which we live, constantly has places knowledge and learning in a competition with faith. Cosgrove's conclusion that faith and learning are compatible processes has always been a notion in which I pondered; however, I did not necessarily know if my instinct was correct. Indeed, Cosgrove's words have given me the courage to see faith as the underlying basis from which I can then attain knowledge, a sense of morality, and a true vision of reality. No longer do I have to give up faith to have learning as they are, in fact, not diametrically opposed forces.

In "An Exploration of Religious Knowledge" by Michael Gleghorn, Gleghorn explores the means by which we can attain true religious knowledge, even in the face of those whom seek to prove that there is no such thing as religious knowledge. According to evidentialists such as W.K. Clifford a belief is rational only if it meets one of two conditions: (1) the belief is basic; or, (2) the belief is based upon supporting evidence. According to well-known and respected theologian Dr. Alvin Plantinga, the belief in God is a basic belief; and, thus, the belief in God or faith in God is part of the very foundation of human knowledge. To Dr. Plantinga, we all have what John Calvin called sensus divinitatis which is that innate sense or feeling that a divinity exists. If you have this, then you have a basic belief and there is then no need for supporting evidence (Gleghorn, n.d.). In my experience, on numerous occasions, I have felt sensus divinitatis such as when a stranger holds a door open for a person in need or when a friend calls out of the blue to see how I am. To some, these moments might seem insignificant; however, to me they establish and reaffirm my belief in God and that God's hands as well as God's love are involved in our daily lives. If this provides what Dr. Plantinga says is the foundation of one's "basic belief" in God so as to make my belief turn into knowledge, then I would definitely assert that I have the knowledge based upon my faith that God does in fact exist.

Moral thinking and… [read more]


Longstanding Tradition of Hindu and Its Impact on Modern Cultural Elements of Indian Society Term Paper

… Longstanding tradition of Hindu and its impact on modern culture elements of Indian society.

The longstanding tradition of Hindu and its impact on modern cultural elements of Indian society

Basics of Hinduism

Hinduism is the world's oldest religion and the… [read more]


Death of Greek Polytheism in the Face of Christianity Term Paper

… Polytheism and Monotheism

Christianity and the Decline of Polytheism

Years ago, A.D. Nock wrote in his important book on conversion in the Greco-Roman world, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: the death of Socrates created the type of wisdom and virtue standing in heroic opposition to a world which can kill but which does not have the last word" (Nock 194). This statement illustrates the persuasive power of the image of sacrificial death for a cause. The Romans were tolerant polytheists. Yet they looked at Christianity with suspicion due to its refusal to make oaths and sacrifices to the emperor cult. This disrupted traditional pagan religion. The new emphasis on dedication to one God alone was subversive. The main argument of this paper is that the willingness of Christians to face martyrdom was a powerful symbol to polytheists of the monotheistic concept. It was the practical model of sacrifice that, when combined with other factors such as moral change, new social associations, and the ability to escape fate through belief in a single God, made monotheism appealing. Martyrdom was not the only factor, but this paper will show how the dynamics of challenging Roman "idolatry" through suffering created the conditions for the demise of paganism and the rise of Christian monotheism.

Polytheism was the thriving form of religion prior to Christian monotheism. In his exhaustive study of ancient Greek religion, Burkert shows the structure of polytheistic belief. He defines polytheism to mean that "many gods are worshipped not only at the same place and at the same time, but by the same community and by the same individual; only the totality of the gods constitutes the divine world" (Burkert 216). This belief in multiple divinities shows how without contradiction the Greek mind was able to conceive of supernatural power as multiple. They did not feel mental tension when faced with the thought of many gods. This polytheism expressed itself in various ways. For example, Burkert says that "at festivals of the gods, sacrifice is regularly made not to one god but to a whole series of gods" (Burkert 216). In addition, a sacred place usually belonged to one individual god, but statues of other gods could be erected in it as well and prayer was offered to many gods. People used magic, initiation, and purification ceremonies to different gods. There were families of gods and god pairs (e.g., Zeus-Hera). The gods interact and associate, each with special realms and powers. The various gods gave name to the calendar months based on major festivals. Burkert explicitly emphasizes these festivals as organizing the religious and communal life of ancient Greeks.

Roman religion during the formation of Christianity continued the pagan polytheistic tradition. Roman civilization had its temples to various gods with images of god and rituals. North writes, "Rituals marked all public events and celebrations" (North 44). People endowed nature (water, trees, etc.) with divine forces and lower gods. Mattingly says, "There are the Fortunes, Tuxai, Genii,… [read more]


Catholic Religion Second Vatican Council Roles for Women Research Paper

… ¶ … Second Vatican Council and the Role of Women

The second Vatican council of the Roman Catholic Church took place from 1962 -1965 and symbolized the church's readiness to make changes in accordance with the state of the modern world. This conference was attended by 2,600 bishops and is considered the most influential religious event of the twentieth century. The council discussed and ratified 16 doctrines including the "Dogmatic Constitution of the Church." This is considered one of the most important of the doctrines in modern Catholicism and "proclaimed the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of the Church." (H. Daniel -- Rops, 1962). It was defined by Pope John II in Apolstotic Letter Muliers Dignitatim, that the church considered motherhood and virginity to be major vocations of woman. Throughout the doctrines, the roles of the woman were clearly defined. In the council's outline it was noted that an alter girl would be permitted to collect offerings, proclaim scripture, except gospel, and lead congregational choirs. A woman may also play approved instruments and be seen as an usher throughout services. In addition to identifying woman's roles in the church, the council began to expand its role in communal affairs.

The council often referred to as Vatican II, called for a spiritual awakening which helped to include the affirmation of fundamental truths found in religions other than Catholicism. It also examined the different faces truth can be demonstrated through, for the common good of all. Diversity in practice and language, in an attempt to reach more people, was implemented and there was great emphasis placed on the duties of the different members of the clergy. This resulted in establishing the hierarchy of the modern church. The different positions and duties of parish officials were elaborated upon within the doctrines of the Vatican II. The council was a culminating event which took the church into the modern secular and religious world.

There are many positions found throughout the church parishes. The duties and responsibilities of each are specifically outlined and described as the following. A theological professor of a seminary is one who has a background in biblical studies, church history and philosophy. Secular universities have a very limited theology department, therefore studies in scripture and biblical authority are often found in seminaries.

The Parish Administrator is responsible for all clerical and bookkeeping work throughout the parish. They prepare appropriate financial statements, reports for the diocese and act as a liaison between the parish and outside groups. The Parish Administrator coordinates the calendar of events and reports and maintains communication for the vestry. This is generally a paid position and most parishes' require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a related field. Although this is still a male dominated field, in recent years some women have taken over this role in various parishes throughout the country.

A Parish Council member attends all meeting and trainings as a representative of the parish. They evaluate and recommend prospective programs to implement. They… [read more]


Holy Saturation Research Paper

… Holy Saturation

The traditional, or Orthodox view, is that the church is a necessary medium between the laity and God, and that without the church and the hierarchy of clergy, the congregation would be unable to attain the wisdom of… [read more]

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