Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fürst on two contributions of Christianity to Western civilization too often opposed

"Christianity recognizes, besides the practice of the love of neighbor, an additional important criterion of the authenticity of Church and Christian existence: truth. Orthopraxy and orthodoxy belong together. Unlike the ancient religions and cults, then, Christianity created a theology in which it reflected the faith and formulated what was to be believed and testified to in confessions and doctrines, 'dogmas'. Beside the ethic of the love of neighbor, the claim to truth is the second characteristic that distinguishes Christianity from ancient religiosity. The term 'dogma' arose characteristically out of the language of philosophy and politics, not the religious nomenclature of antiquity. The reason for this difference lies in this, that in Christianity, it is a question not of a ritually correct maintenance of the relation to God, but of the intellectual and existential truth of faith in God and of a way of life aligned therewith."

Alfons Fürst, "Der Einfluss des Christentums auf die Entwicklung der kulturellen Identität Europas in der Spätantike," Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum 43 (2000): 15 (5-24). Fürst's opening pages on the novelty of the love of neighbor are bolder still, and become the check in the light of which Christian intolerance (a corollary of this new commitment to "a single truth for all men" (16), but characteristic of the polythesists as well (18; cf. Hart's Atheist delusions)) is or should be tempered.  Cf. http://liberlocorumcommunium.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-beauty-of-inflexibility.html.

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