The True Religion
The True Religion
Augustine’s writings depict the worship of the Holy Trinity as the one true religion. To him, Christianity is an act of providence and an evidence of God’s mercy to man. Man should therefore modify his behavior to properly worship God. Augustine expounds that Christianity predates the coming of Christ, it existed even before God the Son came in the flesh. However, its name came into being only after Christ was resurrected. God’s favor is upon those who seek him fervently while He still blesses the sinners to lead them to a path of righteousness. Augustine posits that no sin is done in complete ignorance. A person exercises his free will to some extent. Baptizing regenerates an individual liberating them from past iniquities, from the involuntary sin inherent in humanity to those done with intent. Christianity remains the true religion even with the decrease of miracles. This is so to strengthen Christians’ faith. An emergent issue was God’s diverse strategies of touching the hearts of sinners from divine authority to logic.
The true religion is evidenced by nature. As such, one can employ reason to conclude logically the existence of an all-powerful Creator. As Platonists recognized the inconsistencies of worshipping multiple gods, those who are sincere convert on exposure to Christianity. The tenets of Plato and Christianity complement rather than contradict each other (Burleigh 223). God proved that sin is voluntary and can be overcome by assuming the human flesh and living a perfect life. For Plato, a man devoid of sin would only be possible if he had a divine nature free from human contamination. History is a process that will culminate in salvation for the righteous and damnation for the wicked. The saved man will be returned to his default state in which he used to commune with God on a regular basis.
God employs two main methods to elucidate his ways to the common person through reason and authority. In the latter, rather than God being diplomatic he utilizes his divine power. He illustrates miracles to convert the individual (Harwood 57). Conversely, he attempts to reveal the greater good to man. Man converts out of curiosity and admiration. He encourages them to perceive with they spiritual eyes not limiting them to the physical realm. While still trying to comprehend nature, man should be able to see the structure intrinsic of creation and acknowledge God’s supremacy. Pursuing tenets characteristic of God automatically alienates a person from vices such as carnal pursuits.
A righteous life can only be actualized through following the true religion. Apart from this route, no individual can access the truth. The different religions had multiple philosophers with conflicting notions about the nature of their gods (Harwood 56). These people elevated in their respective religions did not hesitate to air their opinions in public striving to convince as many as possible. However, they were in unison when going through the rituals. It follows that to them their religious practices were merely routines, as they did not believe in the premise on their actions. Divergent paths cannot lead to a sole truth.
The subscribers of the true religion unanimously agree on one way to righteousness, through the son of God. The proclaimed wisdom and intelligence of their philosophers was only surpassed by their superstitions (Burleigh 224). For the truth to be perceived man must liberate himself from lustful desires. The error inherent in man is bound to distort the truth such that the individual acquires a tainted version of the original. As such, people such look beyond the tangible world. Plato’s logic affirms that divine illumination is central to finding pure truth. Dependence on the human wits is capable of producing only faulty results. The truth is in form of God’s words that are intangible hence eternal; the physical is only temporary. The word is relevant in every situation and to each person. It can minister specifically to the proud, curious, the intellect, or the wealthy. For example, to the rich it advises them to store their treasure in heaven beyond the reach of decomposing agents and it will endure for eternity. Here the word implies that true wealth is not physical.
The wise men such as Plato lacked the courage to stand by their beliefs. In contrast, numerous martyrs died to spread the word, which they knew was destined to outlive them. The truth empowers its recipient to overlook momentary challenges and strive for the eternal (Harwood 45). Plato feared condemning the carnal depravity that was prevalent in his age for fear of repercussions, such as the ones his revolutionary predecessor, Socrates, had endured (Burleigh 225). It follows that he compromised his standards to accommodate the predominant ideals or lack thereof. The steadfastness of believers of the true religion made it flourish even in hostile lands. They rebelled from their barbaric norms to maintain chastity as the set standard. Once this logic is revealed to the intellects pursuing true knowledge there will immediately convert unless they had ulterior motives. For any wise man will aspire to change the world to live in the said ideal state.
Burleigh, John H. S. “trans. Augustine: Earlier Writings. Library of Christian Classics, Vol. VI.” MacMillan: New York. (1953). Print.
Harwood, Larry D. Denuded Devotion to Christ: The Ascetic Piety of Protestant True Religion in the Reformation. Vol. 191. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2013. Print.
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