Thomas Aquinas and the principles of the Just-war theory

Thomas Aquinas’ Divine Attributes of God

Saint Thomas Aquinas is held in very high regard in the Catholic Church. He is considered to be one of the greatest theologians and philosophers in history. After providing arguments for the existence of God with reason, he derived the many attributes of God also with reason. I’ll discuss two of these attributes in this essay.

God possesses many attributes that make Him “God.” Aquinas derives many of these attributes and uses reason to explain them. The two Divine Attributes I’ll discuss are God’s immateriality and His all-powerfulness.

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, God is Pure Actuality, basically meaning that He is absolutely perfect. In philosophy, potentiality and actuality are a pair of closely connected principles. Potentiality refers to the possibility of qualities or abilities being developed. Potentiality requires change. Actuality refers to the fulfillment of the said possibility. Actuality is the actual thing and not the potential thing. I know, it’s a little hard to grasp. Like I said, God is Pure Actuality. He does not change. He is Pure and Absolute Perfection. He always was and always will be and will never change. God is changeless because change involves the passage from potentiality to actuality, and God is only Pure Actuality. He cannot change. St. Thomas wrote that God is immaterial. He is not a material being. Matter is subject to change, and change involves moving from potency to act. Matter is always subject to change. Think of any material thing. Take a pencil, for example. That pencil will not stay the same forever. It may get shorter or maybe it will break. It is simply matter and matter changes.

Thomas Aquinas displays God as the unmoved Mover. He is the source of all things. He is the unchanging Changer. Aquinas stated that God is all-powerful. God is all-powerful because He is the source of everything. Aquinas reasons and argues this point by displaying the fact that God created the universe and gave it all of His qualities. “A cause cannot give what it does not have,” St. Thomas wrote. Therefore, God possesses all the qualities that He gave to the universe. You might ask, “Does that mean that God can possess any form of bad? Such as stupidity or blindness?” Evil is not a quality or attribute. It is simply the lack of good. Just like stupidity is the lack of intelligence. These things are not qualities themselves, they are the lack of qualities. Therefore, God only possesses all perfections, which makes Him all-good.

The main principles of just-war theory

The just-war theory is composed of several fundamental rules concerning war. Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas both contributed greatly to this doctrine concerning war. The just-war theory is typically considered a Christian invention. Augustine stated that in order for a war to be just, the injustice of the aggressor must be great. Both St. Thomas and Augustine stated that a just cause is required to make a war just. One of Aquinas’ conditions that he said must be met in order for a war to be considered just, is that those fighting the war must intend the advancement of good or avoidance of evil. The goal for those going to war should be to ensure peace. The just-war theory states that war should be fought as a last resort if negotiating with the other side fails. Many rules for war were established and developed during the middle ages. Women and children were not to be harmed. Churches were not to be destroyed. Those participating in the war were not to completely ravage and destroy, wherever they went.

Agustine’s view of Christianity in history

Saint Augustine. A Saint. A Philosopher. A master of words. A significant Father and Doctor of the Church. Saint Augustine is considered to be a very remarkable figure in the Catholic Church. He lived from 354 to 430. This Saint wrote a large number of outstanding and influential works. “The City of God” and “Confessions” are some of his most famous books. His books are considered to be some of the most popular and well-loved books in the Catholic Church.

Saint Augustine viewed Christianity to be of the utmost significance in both history and the future. He saw it as the thing that held western civilization together. Christianity is the truth, and often people are afraid of the truth. Even though being a Christian can, at times, be dangerous, it is the truth that we follow. So what do we have to fear? Christianity saves the soul. Christianity gives life to the soul, and in the long run, that’s more important than anything else. Saint Augustine wrote that the life of the soul was ultimately more important than the life of the body. He instructed us not to fear those who can kill the body. The body will die eventually. He told us to instead fear those who can kill the soul. The soul is of greater importance than the body. This was especially aimed at those undergoing persecution.

One of the main themes in the snippets of Augustine’s writings that I have read is the absolute sovereignty of God. Like all true Christians, Augustine truly believed that God was absolutely sovereign. God is sovereign over all. He is sovereign over history, the present, and the future. Saint Augustine greatly emphasized God’s power and sovereignty. He believed God was the creator of the whole universe. Thus, we are all entitled to obey His law. Saint Augustine stated that we, as sinners, are dependent on God. Those who follow God will receive the gift of eternal life. Those who follow themselves will receive the punishment of eternal death. As long as we follow God and do His will, what have we to fear? That question gave great strength to the Christian martyrs throughout history. The body can be destroyed, but as long as we rely on God and keep our faith strong, man cannot destroy the soul.

Augustine wrote a whole book on the topic of two cities: the City of God and the City of Man. The City of God includes those that follow God. The City of God is under God’s command. It is the City that will triumph. Those belonging to this City are destined to receive the reward of eternal salvation in Heaven. The City of Man is inhabited by those that follow the world. They follow themselves. This City is destined to eventually pass away, unlike the City of God, which will last forever.

Saint Augustine believed that Christianity played a very influential role in history. He completely believed that Christianity was the truth. He came to this revelation after many years of searching for the “truth.” Finally, at the age of 31, he realized that the truth he was searching for was indeed Christianity, his mother’s beloved religion. After his conversion, Saint Augustine took the greatest steps to defend Christianity and convert others. Like Augustine believed, Christianity did play a very big role in history. After his death, Christianity didn’t stop shaping the world. Even though Christians have endured persecutions throughout history (and will most likely keep enduring them), in the end, those following God will triumph.

The renaissance of the 12th century, the universities of the middle ages, and Saint Thomas Aquinas

Developments that occurred during the 12th-century renaissance

The 12th century was a time of growth and rebirth. Like the many others, the 12th-century renaissance was an era of revival of many things that had started to ebb away, along with developments of various kinds.

Latin and Greek literature were one of many things revived during the renaissance of the 12th century. During the centuries prior, the Latin and Greek classics had started to recede from European society, losing interest. However, during the 12th century, literature was revived and re-appreciated. A tremendous amount of translations of ancient Greek works took place during the 12th-century renaissance. Science and technology were greatly developed during this time. Paper, the magnetic compass, and the windmill are three examples of inventions created during the 12th-century renaissance. Along with literature, art was also greatly revived, as well as philosophy. Many famous philosophers and their works were reintroduced to Europe. The rebirth of Roman law was another significant happening during the 12th-century renaissance.

The universities of the middle ages

Around the 11th and 12th centuries, a hunger for knowledge grew. To fulfill this hunger, the university system became a very popular idea. Universities began to pop up all over Europe. The origin of the university system is somewhat unknown and unclear. There is some uncertainty as to who first established the idea of universities. However, the University of Bologna is thought to be the first university in the west, being established in 1088. Along with Bologna, some of the first and earliest universities of Europe include the University of Paris (1150), the University of Oxford (1167), the University of Cambridge (1209), and the University of Padua (1222). During the middle ages, there were no designated university buildings. Classes were taught wherever there was space, which proved to be churches the majority of the time. The Catholic Church played a big role in the growth and spread of the universities. The Popes of the Catholic Church established more universities than anyone else. Many Saints, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, taught or were students at various universities of the west.

Like today, the students who attended the universities of the middle ages studied and specialized in certain fields, and then received a degree for their major. Students attending these universities had many options for a degree, such as law, art, philosophy, medicine, and science. Students ranged in age, sometimes being as young as 12.

The universities of the middle ages were very significant and influenced our world greatly. Many aspects of the universities of the middle ages are still around today.

Saint Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) is one of the most important philosophers and theologians. This Saint is considered to be the greatest theologian of the Catholic Church. At age 19 he entered the Dominican order. His family of great wealth greatly disagreed with his choice. They didn’t offer any support of any kind and even went as far as imprisoning him for a year to try to change his mind. They failed to persuade him of his choice to join the Dominicans, however, even after imprisoning him for a year. After his release, St. Thomas Aquinas went to Cologne to study under Albert the Great. He then went on to study and teach all over Europe. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote a total of eight and a half million words over the course of his life. Many of his works were works of philosophy and theology, but he is also known to have written beautiful hymns as well. Aristotle was very important to St. Thomas and he held him in very high regard. He tried to show that Aristotle’s teachings were compatible with the teachings of the Church. Philosophy was very important to St. Thomas Aquinas. He wanted to show that faith and reason were not enemies but instead were in harmony. He even used reason to prove the existence of God. St. Thomas believed in three kinds of knowledge: knowledge by reason, knowledge by revelation, and knowledge by reason and revelation.

St. Thomas Aquinas was a very significant figure in History. St. Thomas Aquinas’ written works were of great influence on the Catholic Church and the world in general. Because of him, people have been able to better understand the Catholic faith and use that understanding to successfully debunk many non-Christian arguments.

The Albigensians, the mendicant orders, and the Magna Carta

The Albigensians’ beliefs

Around the 12th and 13th centuries, a heretical Christian sect flourished in Europe, particularly in France. This group was known as the Albigensians. The beliefs of the Albigensians, or so-called “Christians,” contradicted many Catholic beliefs. The Albigensian believed in two Gods: one good and one evil. According to their views, the good God was the God of spiritual things. The Albigensians, then, believed that the soul and all spiritual things were of the utmost good. The God of evil was the God of matter. Because of that, the Albigensians thought everything materialistic was evil as well. All matter and everything physical was unholy and bad. It was all the result of the evil God. Because the human body was a physical being, it too was evil. Pregnant women were condemned by the Albigensians. Because of the fact that the body was seen as evil, the Albigensians shamed pregnant women because she was bringing more “evil” into the world. The worst possible thing that could happen would be for a woman to die while pregnant. The Albigensians truly believed that. Honestly, I find that to be such an outlandish belief.

The Albigensians were made of two different sects: the Perfect and the Believers. The Perfect truly believed that matter was evil and lived by that belief. They did not engage in any physical pleasures of any kind and lived celibate lives. They ate the bare minimum and only a small variety. The Believers believed the same things that the Albigensians believed but didn’t live as rigorous as the Perfect.

The Mendicant Orders

A heretical Christian sect wasn’t the only thing that spread and flourished during the 12th and 13th centuries. Two Mendicant Orders also flourished during this time. These Orders are known as the Franciscan Order and the Dominican Order. Both of these Orders are still around today.

St. Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscan Orders around 1209. There are three Orders of Franciscans: the Order of Friars Minor, which was the first order St. Francis founded and is usually just known as the Franciscans; the Poor Clares, which was founded by both St. Francis and St. Clare is an order for women; and the Order of Laymen. The Franciscans lived lives of poverty. They relied on God to provide for them. The Order greatly emphasized charity, selflessness, prayer, faith in God, and service.

The Dominican Order was quite similar to the Franciscan Order. St. Dominic founded the Dominican Order around 1215. Many women joined the Dominicans as well as men. Devotion to the Virgin Mary was a very important aspect of this Order. Like the Franciscans, the Dominicans lived a life of poverty and charity.

Both of these Orders were very similar and both shaped the western world greatly.

The Magna Carta

The Magna Carta was a document that somewhat limited the power of the King. It was issued in 1215. It prevented the King from abusing his position of power. The King, as well as his subjects, were under the law of the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta was very significant. Some, believe it to be one of the most important documents in history. The Magna Carta established the principle that everyone was subject to the law, even the King. This document introduced many rights that are still around today, such as the individual’s rights and the right to justice. Many of our modern ideas of liberty and rights came from the Magna Carta.

The importance of the doctrine of Heaven and Hell to the martyrs

The martyrs of the Catholic Church showed momentous amounts of courage and strength. Many did not hesitate to defend the faith, even if it meant death. When reading about the Martyrs, I see time and time again that they faced death courageously and sometimes joyfully. Why was this? Why would they walk to their death without hesitation for their Christian religion? It was because they truly believed in what they died for. They were not willing to renounce Christ for the sake of their life. They were not willing to give up their faith. They were not even willing to say they gave up their faith for the sake of their life. I find that so inspiring. They were truly filled with the Holy Spirit in these instances. God gave them the strength they needed to stay strong and persevere in the times when the easy thing to do would have been to cower and cease spreading the faith. They didn’t do that. They died for their faith. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, I doubt they would have had the strength to accept death for their faith.

A huge reason for the martyrs’ determination, fearlessness, and heroic behavior, when facing their martyrdom, had to do with the doctrine of Heaven and Hell. The doctrine of Heaven and Hell was of utmost importance to the martyrs. If not for the sanctions of Heaven and Hell, I’m sure that many of God’s faithful soldiers would not have been so willing to face death. The martyrs held the view that their death, no matter how gruesome and painful it might be, would ultimately be worth it. If they stayed faithful to God, even unto the point of death, they would receive the ultimate reward, and that gave them strength. They had faith that they would enter paradise if they died for Christ and performed His will. When a person gives his or her life for Christ, Heaven is just about a guarantee. Hell is out of the question. That fact gave these Holy martyrs the strength they needed. When in the face of death, they thought to themselves, “would I rather endure a little pain and suffering or eternal pain and suffering?” I don’t know about you, but I would much rather take a little pain and suffering than eternal suffering in Hell. If that means suffering or even death, I can just hope God will give me the strength to persevere, like these martyrs. Giving their lives for Christ was absolutely worth it if it meant they would be rewarded with eternal life, was the view the martyrs of the Catholic Church held. There is no greater glory than to give your life for Christ. That’s what these martyrs kept at the forefront of their minds.

Even when trials upon trials are thrown at us, we can draw strength from the fact that these trials won’t last forever. This world isn’t our home; it’s our ship. We need to stay on the ship if we wish to arrive at our destination, however. We must persevere through the hardships of life if we want to enter a life free of them (Heaven). The Holy martyrs believed and understood that. They were so willing to give their lives for Christ because they knew Heaven awaited them. They knew God was pleased with them for following His will unto death, and that’s all that mattered to them. Their confidence in the reward of Heaven and their fear of Hell is what motivated the martyrs to give up their life for the Christian faith.

The Crusades

Common misconceptions about the Crusades

Throughout the middle ages, the Muslims took over and conquered place after place, ravaging and destroying as they went. About two-thirds of the Christian world had been taken over by the Muslims, including many significant Christian cities such as Nicaea, Antioch, and Ephesus. The Christians back in Europe knew they had to do something against these attacks. It was actually the Pope at the time, Pope Urban the 2nd, who put out a call, summoning Crusaders to take back the Holy Land. The Pope’s call proved to be very successful. The first of many Crusades took place from 1096 to 1099.

There are many misconceptions surrounding the Crusades. The following misconceptions are the most common.

  • Unprovoked aggression. Many people hold the belief that the Crusaders attacked the Muslims for no reason. This notion is false, however. By the time of the First Crusade, the Muslims had already taken over two-thirds of the Christian world. They had taken over and destroyed much of the Holy Land. The Muslims were rapidly spreading throughout the world, conquering as they went. How long would it be before they did the same to places like England or France? The Crusades were not an act of unprovoked aggression. The Crusaders wanted to take back their land and holy cities.
  • The Crusaders were fixated on wealth. Some believe that the reason for the Crusades, was because the Crusaders wanted to obtain money and wealth from the places they took back. This actually isn’t true. Many Crusaders were already very wealthy. They really had no need for more wealth. Additionally, the Crusades cost a lot of expenses. It was actually pretty expensive to go on the Crusades. And yet, many joined. Why would the Crusaders waste all this money to go on the Crusades with little chance of gaining wealth? The Crusaders truly believed in the cause. They wanted to take back the land the Muslims had conquered.
  • The Crusaders converted the Muslims by force. This is, for the most part, untrue. There may have been a few Crusaders who tried to convert the Muslims to Christianity by force, but when speaking about the Crusaders as a whole, they did no such thing. Besides, the Crusaders were basically always outnumbered by the Muslims.
  • The Crusades led to festering resentment among Muslims, which led to the terrorist attacks in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This is false. From the Muslim’s point of view, the Crusades were just a minor episode. The Crusades were quite insignificant in Islamic history. Moreover, many of the Crusades were unsuccessful. With that fact in mind, this misconception really doesn’t make sense.

The fourth Crusade

The fourth Crusade is described as an epic disaster and catastrophe. The fourth Crusade took place from 1201 to 1204 and was called for by Pope Innocent the 3rd. At the beginning of this Crusade, the Crusaders made an agreement with the people of Venice. The Crusaders needed ships for their Crusade and Venice had a large supply. Venice agreed to give them what they needed, but obviously not for free. Venice requested a certain amount of money in exchange. The Crusaders agreed, but were unable to pay the whole amount and ended up in debt. Despite this, the Venetians agreed to let the Crusaders use their ships but would need to pay them the remainder of the money after their first conquest. The Crusaders were filled with relief and agreed.

The Crusaders took a detour to Constantinople, however, which proved to be completely irrelevant and unimportant with regard to the Crusade. This detour was a huge waste of time and was no help to the Crusade. The crusaders ended up getting wrapped up in one Prince Alexius’ rise to the throne. The Crusaders made a deal with Alexius. They would help him secure his throne and he would give them the money they owed to the Venetians. The Pope wanted the Crusaders to have nothing to do with this whole affair. It had nothing to do with them. The Crusaders ignored the Pope’s warning and helped, what they thought to be, the rightful heir to secure the throne. Alexius did end up on the throne. He paid the Crusaders some of what he owned, but not all. He promised he would pay the rest, which proved to be a lie. Alexius refused to pay the remainder, after the Crusaders sent a messenger to his court, demanding he give what he owned. He was outraged at the disrespect the Crusaders showed with their demand. The Crusaders were furious and sacked Constantinople. Pope Innocent excommunicated that whole regiment. Their actions filled him with anger. The fourth Crusade ended in disaster and further divided the east and the west.

Speech 12: a good Samaritan retelling

I’m sorry for the background noises. Also, I realize I was talking kind of fast towards the end. That was because the phone I was using to record, was almost out of time and I didn’t want to be cut off.

ps. Can I just say that I don’t think I need Bradly Fish. I don’t need a 180 lesson course on how to make a good speech. All I need to do, is to watch Aragon give his amazing speeches. Katniss’ and Peeta’s speeches are also superb as well! They are all just the master of speeches! Ok, I’ll go now! Lol

St. Paul and Justin Martyr on God’s sovereignty

Both St. Paul and Justin Martyr were two very important figures in the early Church. They were both fearless when it came to sharing the Christian faith, and that attribute ended up costing them their lives. St. Paul died sometime in the 60s and Justin Martyr died in the year 165.

These two saints held very similar beliefs about God’s sovereignty, but there was also a small difference between their teachings on this subject.

St. Paul believed that God was all-powerful, just as Justin Martyr did. They similarly taught that God was a righteous, just, and loving God. However, where Paul’s beliefs differed from Justin Martyr’s, was St. Paul’s belief in the doctrine of predestination. St. Paul believed that everything that happened was predestined by God. Because God’s sovereignty is absolute, St. Paul believed that the fate of a person was already decided by God. He spoke of God like a potter who fashions us like clay (Romans 9:21). St. Paul taught that God decided a person’s destiny. The ultimate reward or ultimate punishment of an individual has already been determined by God before an individual has been born.

Justin Martyr held beliefs about God’s sovereignty that slightly differed from St. Paul’s. Justin Martyr did not believe that anything was predestined. He believed that the reward of Heaven or the punishment of Hell was determined by a person’s actions in life. The way a person lived their life was what decided their fate. God gave humanity the gift of free will. God gave us the freedom to choose. We can choose to do good and be rewarded with good, or we can choose to do bad and be rewarded with bad. Our actions in life all have consequences; good or bad. What would be the purpose of life, Justin asked, if a person were not responsible for their own actions?

While these two ideas may seem like polar opposites, when you really think about it and break them down, they aren’t that different. I agree with some aspects of what St. Paul taught. Similarly so, I also partly agree with Justin Martyr’s teachings. Both Justin and Paul believed that God was absolutely sovereign. It might seem like Paul doesn’t believe in free will at all, but I don’t think that is actually what the apostle Paul believed. From my perspective, I think that St. Paul was trying to emphasize how all-knowing God was. Like St. Paul, I believe that God does already know our future. He knows what path we will take in life. He already knows whether we will follow Him, or the enemy. I believe that He does know every single thing about our lives, even the things we don’t. Although, like Justin, I believe that God gave us free will. It’s up to us to choose what path to take in life. God gave us the gift to choose. No matter what path we choose to take, however, God already knows. Yes, we have free will, but God knows our choices. He knows everything. We are the ones that determine whether we will enter the kingdom of God and live in eternal joy or receive the ultimate punishment. It is up to us. We decide. God does have the last judgment, however. In the end, He decides where we will end up. But God is just. He is merciful. As long as we live a life that glorifies Him, we will join Him one day.

The Great Scism, sacraments, and indulgences

The Great Scism

In the year 1054, a very significant event took place, that altered the Christian Church greatly. It is a very noteworthy event in Church history. This event was known as the Great Scism. It was the separation between the Eastern Church (Byzantine Empire area) and the Western Church (Europe area). This event didn’t just happen all of a sudden, however. Many factors brought it about. Years before, many disputes took place between the Catholic Church in Rome and the Church in the city known as Constantinople. The cultures of these two cities were very different. The liturgy celebrated in the west and the east held many differences as well.

Constantinople was a very important city in the eyes of the Church. It was one of five major cities in the Christian world. The other four include Rome, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch. Out of all of these, however, Rome was considered the greatest. Rome is the city where Saint Peter, the first Pope, established the Catholic Church. It is where he is buried. That’s what made Rome so significant. The people of Constantinople thought their city was the better city and made attempts to increase and advance authority and dignity. The Church in Constantinople thought that they should be the “new Rome.” Rome disagreed. And so, the Eastern Church broke away from the Catholic Church. The Eastern Church, known as the Orthodox Church, declared it was no longer under the authority of the Pope. That is how it has remained until this day.

The sacraments in the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is full of so much beauty. One of the most beautiful things in Catholicism, in my opinion, is the sacraments. The sacraments are sensible signs of God’s grace. The sacraments convey invisible (but real) grace, given to us by God. The sacraments follow a Catholic throughout his or her life, starting when they are a baby, or when they enter the Catholic Church, and ending, hopefully, close to their death. In total, there are seven sacraments in the Catholic Church. Baptism is the first. Baptism washes away the stain of original sin. That is why most Catholics baptize their children when they are babies. As soon as you can get that original sin washed away, the better. The sacrament of Penance, also known as confession, is next. This sacrament involves the confession of our sins to a priest who acts in the person of Christ. It is not the priest who forgives your sins; it is really Christ. Children usually make their first confession around the age of seven. After the sacrament of confession, comes Holy Communion, which children receive, for the first time, shortly after their first confession. In this sacrament, we receive the body of Christ, in the form of bread. The Eucharist is our spiritual food. When Catholics receive the Eucharist, we are not simply just eating bread. The Eucharist is not a symbol. When we receive the body of Christ, we truly receive Christ. We house the body of our Savior in our bodies. In order to receive Jesus, however, our souls must be clean. All mortal sins must be confessed before we receive the Eucharist. It is actually a very grave sin to receive communion when in a state of mortal sin. Plus, Jesus does not deserve to be housed in a dirty soul. The fourth sacrament is Confirmation. In this sacrament, the Holy Spirit comes to a person, usually someone in their tweens or teens, in a special way and bestows special gifts and graces upon that person. Marriage or holy orders are next, depending on which path you choose. In the Catholic Church, marriage is considered a sacrament, like all others. I don’t think I need to go into that much detail about this sacrament, as I’m sure most know what it is. The sacrament of Holy orders is when a man is ordained as a priest. In the Catholic Church, priests live a single life. They do not marry, but instead, consecrate themselves to the Church. The last sacrament is known as the anointing of the sick. A person will receive this sacrament when they are either dying or gravely ill.

The sacraments are great gifts given to us by Christ. By receiving the sacraments, grace is bestowed unto us by God. It is really a great privilege to have easy access to the sacraments.

Indulgences

In Catholic belief, there are two forms of punishment for our sins: eternal punishment and temporal punishment. Temporal punishment is known as purgatory. When we confess our sins in confession, that cancels our eternal punishment. Indulgences reduce or eliminate temporal punishment. The concept of indulgences developed around the time of the Crusades. To enter Heaven, every sin must be purified, either here, on earth, or in purgatory. Praying certain prayers (the Rosary, Devine Mercy Chaplet, etc), doing various charitable works, or fasting can all act as an indulgence and lessen our time in purgatory. An indulgence can also be applied to others. You can offer indulgences for those already in purgatory as well. An indulgence is not valid, however, if a person does not first go to confession.

Zeus vs. Jesus

Zeus, the chief Greek god, and Jesus Christ, obviously, were very different. They both, however, had divine authority, but that is possibly their only similarity. Ethically and morally, they really had no similarity.

Zeus was considered the father and ruler of all the Greek gods in Greek mythology. However, unlike the Christian God, he was not the only god. Like I have said before, the Greek religion was a polytheistic one, meaning it involved the worship of more than one god. Zeus was not the only god, but he was the chief Greek deity in Greek mythology. He was the most powerful out of all the gods.

Even though Zeus was the ruler of the gods, he was far from perfect. He was much like a human, just… more powerful. Zeus is often displayed as a selfish, petty, and cruel being. Jesus is the opposite in all aspects. Christ is selfless and full of love. We see this in his sacrifice for us. Jesus is God. He is all-powerful. He could have avoided His death with ease. But he didn’t. He didn’t because His love is too powerful and incomprehensible. Jesus suffered the cruelest death known to man, all so that we might have the chance to enter the kingdom of God. Out of His love for us, He suffered death on the cross. Out of His love for us, by doing so, He redeemed the sins of the world. “Like a sheep, He was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb, before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth” (Acts 8: 32-33) Jesus willingly accepted His passion and death. Would Zeus be willing to do any of what I just wrote? Would he be willing to sacrifice his life for his people? Would he have that much love? without an ounce of hesitation, I can honestly say no.

The gods gave mankind laws and rules to live by, just as God did. They instructed men to offer sacrifices to them and to worship them. Unlike God’s laws, known as the ten commandments, the gods’ laws, for the most part, only benefited them. Zeus, as well as the other gods, were very self-centered. God’s commandments serve to benefit mankind. If we follow the commandments and remain faithful to Christ, we will receive the ultimate reward: Heaven. The gods’ laws, however, served the only purpose of keeping a particular person in their favor. Zeus did not offer a reward for following his laws. He did not offer eternal salvation like Jesus does. Positive sanctions might be inflicted upon that person. Or, maybe they would be punished. It was always hard to tell with the gods. One god might have one law and another might have a different one. I’m just glad I am not part of that religion!

Jesus was loving, merciful, just, humble, patient, generous, kind… basically every good adjective. He loved His disciples and people greatly. Jesus even cried when one of His friends died. Zeus did not love like that. He wasn’t even close to Jesus’ love. Christ’s teachings were very different from Zeus’. Jesus taught people to love and show kindness to one another, even if they didn’t receive anything in return. The Greek religion did not emphasize this at all. Jesus also taught that internal goodness was just as important as outward goodness. A person can’t just go about performing good works and performing the rituals corresponding to their religion. Their heart must also be in the particular act. If they pray all the prayers and perform all the religious rituals without a good heart, if they perform them only to perform them, their religion has become lukewarm. Yes, a person might not murder, but if in their heart they wish to murder, that’s just as bad. That person has murdered a person in their heart. Their soul has been damaged. The Greek religion was centered on rituals and practices. Those belonging to the religion sacrificed and prayed often, all to appease the gods. Zeus did not emphasize internal goodness. He did not really emphasize goodness at all. The Greek religion was all centered on the outward aspect of things. Worship and sacrifice to the gods, and you’ll be good. Don’t worry about goodness. The people of the Greek religion did not have a personal relationship with the gods. They had a relationship based on fear. The gods were very fearful deities. Their concept of morals and ethics were unclear and murky. They had no concept of good and evil. Cruelty, pettiness, selfishness, ruthlessness, jealousy, and quick temperedness are all some of Zeus’ attributes. Jesus, however, is kind, selfless, loving, generous, merciful, truthful, tender, humble, comforting… The list goes on and on. In just about every way, Jesus Christ and Zeus are exact opposites.

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