Religion and Medieval Philosophy: Text Analysis 1
The following was written for a Religion and Medieval Philosophy course.
In Augustine’s The City of God, Augustine discusses what he thinks the City of God would be like. While there is no one particular page or passage that especially stuck out for me, I’m going focus on what Augustine says about other gods/religions and how that compares to what many people think in today’s society. For this analysis, I would like to show some of the reasons that I think this.
One of the first things that he discusses is how those who live by way of their body, of pleasing their senses, are doomed to a fate that is less then those living by way of faith in the spiritual, especially of faith in God. Augustine also points out that it cannot be any god in particular, but, rather one god, and we are to assume that he means the god in which he believes in. I think that this is still seen today, that is, that people of a certain faith hold their faith to be the way to the kingdom of the world after this one, typically the ‘Kingdom of God’.
In fact, Augustine even mentions other religions, specifically the religions of the ancient world – those believing in a multitude of gods – as being the wrong gods to worship. Perhaps one could even say that this applies to today, in that many branches of religions believe that the other branches do not worship the true god(s). The Roman Catholics do not usually believe that one can be saved by the Lutheran’s god, even though they are so similar.
Augustine goes on to say that one who practices one of the untrue religions cannot truly be called virtuous. So it would appear that even if two people, of different religions, were to act in the same way, a way that would be called virtuous by both of their religions, they would not be called virtuous in the other’s religion. That is, not only do you have to walk the walk, but you have to say that you get your ‘inspiration’ for performing your virtuous act from the ‘correct’ source. Personally, I find this to be a little hard to swallow, as it ought to be a matter of how one acts, not what one believes in. In today’s society, I believe many other people would go along with this as well. However, there are probably an equal amount of people that would disagree, and say that the god that one believes in is extremely important.
Augustine is also big on how the scripture that he has been given, the one of his religion, can be trust as much as one’s personal experiences, while the scriptures of other religions, it appears, cannot be trusted. The justification on why one religion is any better then another one is one that I do not personally feel was adequately covered, and I do not feel that even today it is adequately answered. So, while people still believe the above, even today they have not come up with a good explanation on why one is better then another.
Therefore, based upon the covered area, it is important to note that many of Augustine’s concerns are still applicable today. Of course, whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, such as in the case of the un-acceptance of other religions, is a valid question that few would like to answer. How does one prove that one’s religion is any more valid than any other’s?
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