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Sophomore Theology Final

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By morganvalone
Words 2982
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Morgan Valone
Theology
May 6, 2012
B1
The Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God was the focus of Jesus’ mission and ministry, and what he lived and died for on Earth. The Kingdom of God can be defined as the vision of a world radically transformed in the image of God. The ideal Kingdom on Earth would be people all living free of government and politics and living in a communal style.
In the Apostolic Ages, this type of communal living was attempted with the householders and itinerant preachers. The householders were people who would open their homes to the itinerants, who were travelling preachers. These travelling preachers taught “The Way” of Jesus and a new way of living to many communities. While this went well for a while, it was not perfect to the way that Jesus would have wanted it to be. During the Common Meal in the communal societies, the wealthy people would eat more than they needed to. This alone demonstrates the fact that not only were the wealthy taking more than they needed and not living by only what they needed and sharing the rest, but it also shows that there were in fact wealthy people in the communes. Jesus was in direct opposition to the idea of wealth, and the intentions of having a commune were that when a person joined, all of their money and possessions were to be shared equally throughout the entire community. Even in the times directly following Jesus’s life, the Kingdom of God was not being lived ideally.
Throughout the Middle Ages, Christianity went through a very dark period in its history. People were living in ways that could be referred to as the polar opposite of how Jesus had intended for people to live. The poor and wealthy were very clearly divided among society, with the wealthy having excess possessions and the poor being treated atrociously and living on next to nothing. Throughout the Middle Ages, Christianity endured the Crusades, during which people literally killed other people for disagreeing with the ways of their religion (Christianity). The fact that they mass murdered innocent people just for having different opinions is the epitome of what was wrong with the Church of England and religion throughout the entire Middle Ages.
As far as the current church system, we are still so far from living out the Kingdom of God. The central point of Christianity is no longer the Kingdom of God, and could hardly be any further from it. The line between the rich and poor in society has never been more distinct, which alone shows us how far we are from ever living the way that the gospel teachings tell us to. The fact that Christianity no longer focuses so centrally on the Kingdom of God is not necessarily such a bad thing. In all honesty, the Kingdom would never work in our current society. If we were expected to change our entire outlook on everyone around us, our world would be uprooted. In the Kingdom, life should be dictated by need. In our eyes, what do we really need? If someone asked you, of course you would respond with, “Food, water, shelter, and my family.” But really, most people would consider a life with only these vital things not worth living. In the Kingdom of God, these are the only things your truly need. The concept of need in our modern society, which is mainly led by technology, is highly debatable. Along with concept of need comes the question of whether or not it’s fair that everybody receives the same treatment and has all of the rights to the same possessions. Some people work harder than others, and some tend to view this as unfair. Overall, I don’t think that the Kingdom of God is achievable at this point of human existence and society. I think that, possibly, if society had begun this way, and every person living on this earth was raised with these ideals engrained in their minds, then maybe the Kingdom of God would be effective on our earth. But, because it wasn’t, I view the Kingdom of God as the unattainable ultimate goal of Jesus.

Liberation Theology
Liberation Theology is defined as any theology which examines the suffering of a particular oppressed group and seeks to change or transform the structures and conditions that give rise to the suffering. The church believes that liberation theology is so very important because of the ways throughout the bible in which it is repeatedly enforced that the living God sides with the poor and oppressed people of the earth. Jesus, the son of God, came to earth and took on the oppression in order to set people free. In a way, working to help the poor and oppressed is one of the most important things that people can do.
Liberation theology in the Apostolic Church was apparent, but it was not the main focus. During the Apostolic Ages, many people were focusing only on a way of communal living. The way of communal living attempts to get rid of the division between poverty and wealth, but does so ineffectively. The Apostolic Ages could have been a time where poverty and oppression were completely eliminated. If you really think about it, there was never a time when people were more in touch than Jesus’s message than the period of time immediately after his death and following his resurrection. Jesus preached the Kingdom of God while he was alive, so after his death that was what so many people tried to focus on. Instead of looking into what needed to be done to achieve the Kingdom, people instead tried to immediately put the Kingdom into action without taking any prior initiative. Had the subject of poverty and oppression been directly addressed at that period in time, it is possible that it in itself would be completely eliminated by now.
Liberation theology basically halted throughout the dark times for Christianity throughout the Middle Ages. Oppression was foundational throughout the church in this period of time. The way that the kings made all of their money and maintained their kingdoms was through an immoral sort of “food chain” that kept the poor people in a state of poverty and completely prevented them and their families from being able to escape this maniacal system.
Currently, liberation theology is not at the point where it could possibly be. We have so many people who are working to develop material needs, such as various forms of technology, or new cars. If we could get just half of these people to work to invent and develop things to help people in the third world, every single country on earth could benefit from it. But along with people from our country working to develop these things, we would need the help of the other first world leaders and countries. If everyone could work together to aid the common cause, then maybe poverty could be completely eliminated in our world. It may not sound very realistic, but it is the closest thing that we could get to truly living a life of liberation theology.

Church Leadership
Throughout all of the years of the existing religion of Christianity, the way of “grass roots” communal living seems to have been the most effective. When the Holy Roman Empire formed, the church began to experience hierarchy. Since that period of time, there has been some form of hierarchy in the church system. Having a leader in control of people who are in control of other people is completely contrary to what Jesus taught when he came to earth. Jesus taught that every single human being is equal. A hierarchical system is the reverse side of Jesus’s teachings in that way. The fact that there is a pope who controls the Catholic religion is horrifying. Why should there have to be someone who controls a religion? In a way, it turns religion itself into a cult, with someone telling you your opinions. Not only does the pope have the right to tell you your opinions, but he also has the right to CHANGE them when there is a change in the interpretation of the bible or something to that effect. The thought alone of someone having to be the leader of a religion that has already been established is so far from what it should be that it is in fact frightening. During the times of the itinerants and householders, there was no specific leader and that worked just fine. Preachers travelled from place to place, asking only for people to have open minds to be told of new possibilities. During this time, there were householders who were willing to open their homes to these travelling priests who were telling them all of this new and confusing information about what they thought they knew about God. In our society today, imagine the average person’s reaction to a traveler who has clearly been on the road for a large portion of their life walking up to their door and telling them all about a new religion that they vehemently supported. Imagine this person’s reaction when the traveler tells them that everything that they have come to know and believe about their faith, what they believe, and where they will go after they die. Of course this person is going to be dismayed if not angry at the traveler who has made it his own burden to come and inform the person of their every opinion being wrong. Then, to take the already less than ideal situation even further, the traveler asks if the person will open their home to them and feed them and allow them to stay with their family. During the grass roots era immediately after Jesus’s death, this is how things would have worked, it would have been completely normal. But now, the average person would completely close their mind to any other person’s opinion and not even bother to take the time to listen and respect the other man’s beliefs and faith in their lives. The hierarchy we are either voluntarily or involuntarily a part of has changed the way that we are willing to accept new information that could either help or hurt us later in our lives. The way that only a political system within a church can change the way that so many cultural Christians live their lives is very scary fact, especially when considered that this system of hierarchy is not going away anytime soon, au contraire.

War
War is a very controversial subject in the Christian religion. Jesus taught the concept of loving one’s enemy, but how far does this love carry? Some may argue that there is such thing as a “Just War”. The just war theory is an attempt to outline under what conditions a military venture could be considered just and as such supported by Christians and the church. The first part of the just war theory is just cause. Just cause states that the reason for going to war needs to be just and cannot therefore be solely for recapturing things taken or punishing people who have done wrong. Innocent lives must be in imminent danger and intervention must be to protect life. The just cause statement is very logical from a Christian standpoint. While it is wrong to kill human beings, is it not just as wrong to let human beings BE killed when there is something that we could be doing? Is that not just as bad as killing them ourselves? The next part of the just war theory talks about comparative justice. While there may be rights and wrongs on all sides of a conflict, to overcome the resumption against the use of force, the injustice suffered by one party must significantly outweigh that suffered by the other. In all actuality, this part of the just war theory is somewhat logical. Each side of every argument (or even war) has made mistakes, but if both parties have suffered greatly, then there is no point in further devastating both sides with mass losses and stress. Next is competent authority, which basically states that we cannot have a genuine process of judging a just war within a system that represses the process of genuine justice. A just war must be initiated by a political authority within a political system that allows distinctions of justice. The person who initiates a war must be someone with morals who is thinking in the pursuit of justice. Along with this comes right intention, which states that force may be used only in a truly just cause and solely for that purpose-correcting a suffered wrong is considered a right intention, while material gain or maintain economies is not. While this is very self-explanatory, it is also very important. If people are going to be killed, then it must be for a very important reason that will aid everyone, not just the upper class of one country. In addition, probability of success states that arms may not be used in a futile cause or in a case where disproportionate measures are required to achieve success. In other words, there is no point in sending in an army that is sure to be killed for a lost cause. Also, proportionality describes how the anticipated benefits of waging a war must be proportionate to its expected evils or harms. This principle is also known as the principle of macro-proportionality, as to distinguish it from the just war theory of proportionality. Lastly, war should only be used as a last resort. Force may be used only after all peaceful and viable alternatives have been seriously tried and exhausted or are clearly not practical. It may be clear that the other side is using negotiations as a delaying tactic and will not make meaningful concessions. Overall, the subject of war can be very confusing for a Christian. Jesus was against all acts of violence, but during the time he lived it may have been more realistic to avoid wars than in our present day society now. I believe that there is such a thing as a just war and that they have occurred and will continue to occur, but the rationality is extensive and only applicable to very few wars. Though they are far and few, I believe just wars have taken place and that it is possible to be a Christian and support certain war efforts.

Faith
Rather than being a religious person, I am a spiritual person. I come from a home with parents who raised me to believe anything but doubt everything. Neither of my parents is religious, I would go far enough to say that both are rather atheistic. They raised me to be as respectful as humanly possible of every single other human being’s beliefs and opinions because there is no such thing as proof when it comes to religion in our world. I have not once in my life gone to church, and my first experiences of any type of mass were our school liturgies. I went to public school for the first eight years of my education, where any religious talk was completely avoided at all costs. Maybe it was the way I was raised, but I would say my faith is different than a lot of people my own ages may be. While my parents were not religious themselves, they have always encouraged me to be a sponge and soak up all of the information I can, but also to filter it to fine tune my own beliefs and be my own person. They taught me that it was never necessary to choose a specific religion, but that it was just as well if I did. Coming to Mercyhurst has been such a huge change for me, not only in my curriculum, but in the life and the people around me. I have seen adults at Mercyhurst living their lives in such devoted and helpful ways that it has shown me that religion doesn’t always have to be something to frown at. Seeing the way that they live out their faith has encouraged me to further develop mine. But, in all honesty, it does not call me to act any differently than I have being acting. As a person with my own set of morals, I can say that I believe that I live my life in an honest way. Many people my age have come to develop their faith based on what others have told them exclusively, not included an entire spectrum of knowledge. I truly believe that my parents have given me an advantage by allowing me to form my own opinions. I think that a person can be a good and faithful person even if every single thing they do does not call them to action in the world. Someone can be a good person even if they have a luxury car and a nice house in a subdivision. I do think that if they can, they should be willing to donate money or time or energy to whatever cause they find the most important, whether it be the poor or the oppressed or the sick. The way that a person treats other human beings is a huge part of whether or not they are a good person. If a person sees another human being in need, then they should of course help them. But it shouldn’t just be assumed that every single person should be willing to give up what they want and what they have dreamed of just to help other people. Helping other people does not have to be an entire life for someone, but it can be a very effective lifestyle. Helping others is important, but so is helping yourself.…...

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Theology

...relationship between inspiration and inerrancy is viewed that the Bible teaches that it is inspired/inerrant. GOD word is accurate (perfect) and reliable (true: pure). The Word of the Lord is without error and it is pure. It goes back to what Paul said in 2nd Timothy that “ALL SCRIPTURE” has been given by the inspiration of GOD”. Nothing in the Scripture is false or wrong. Based on the word being inspired by GOD, and the inerrancy of His word, I have no doubts about the Truth of GOD’s Word, or the accuracy of the scripture. I believe GOD wrote the Bible by Divine Inspiration and He had the Bible written just the way He wanted it written and without error or flaw. It took me a long time to figure out the significance of this class and Theology itself. After I had done some research I understood why. After the arrival of the Enlightenment during the Dark and Middle Ages the European Theologians started to view the Bible just as a Historical Document. After I read a little further I realized that they were discrediting the Authority, Inspiration and Inerrancy of the Bible, and then I became defensive. Then I realized the Purpose of it All. I will continue to learn and apply these principles to my life, and live my life the way GOD intended me to live it, ALL FOR HIM....

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