Essay, Research Paper: College Paper On Religion


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A Review of Revelation of Life Eternal Nicholas Arseniev was a professor of New
Testament and Apologetics at St. Vladimir’s He wrote over 174 articles and
books and died in 1977. His Revelation of Life Eternal is described as “an
introduction to the Christian message.” It pulls together many different
mystic perceptions and beliefs, and it is an excellent entry into the diverse
world of Christian Mysticism. The introduction quickly pulls the reader in by
asking several basic questions about why religion even exists at all. These
questions are first answered with broad answers, then Arseniev focuses on why
Christian Mysticism is the answer to these questions: “We have to believe in
God, because this is Truth--life-giving Truth His Reality is something very
earnest, very real: it is the only true Reality And He has to meet us, or rather
we have to meet Him, for He meets us at every step” (8). This book is
especially valuable to those of us who have little or no knowledge of Christian
mysticism. It is broken into two parts, and each part is divided into chapters.
Many of the chapters follow the pattern of the introduction by asking a broad
question first, then defining it within the terms of the beliefs of the mystics.
Basic Biblical stories are reviewed through easily comprehended but not
patronizing language, allowing the reader to learn the background information
for the beliefs of Christian Mysticism. The many sources consulted for the
information shared in this book allows the reader to have some faith in what is
being read. Many saints, religious books, and scholars are quoted, thus
supporting the theories posed. The first chapter “Principles of Religious
Cognition” explains why religion is indeed necessary and why humans are
naturally drawn to question things that religion alone can answer. From proving
this basic need for religion, Arseniev has a platform to prove his personal
religious beliefs--those of Christian Mysticism. A few chapters later some of
the problems in early and false religions are explored. As each different issue
is dismantled, he is able to set up the premise of Christian Mysticism, which
has lasted for hundreds of years--contrasting this with religions that have
fallen. Plato is explored, thus pulling in platonic and neoplatonic beliefs,
which have become integral part of contemporary mysticism and influenced many of
the sources with which Arseniev refers. Christ’s importance is explored in
chapters about the Transfiguration, Resurrection, and Atonement--three of the
basic supporting factors within Christian Mysticism. The book is wrapped up with
chapters about the importance of God’s humility and love, most importantly
God’s ultimate love for us. I enjoyed this book for many reasons. The language
is easy to understand, but it is beautiful and descriptive at the same time. I
had little knowledge of Christian Mysticism before reading this book, so I found
it to be an excellent introduction. As I read each chapter, the questions posed
persuaded me to continue reading, because I became very interested in the
answers to the questions. The questions were answered using reputable sources
and answers that appealed to common sense and experience. I was actually
surprised by how interested I became in the Orthodox church. This book appealed
to the knowledge I already had of different religious beliefs, thus pointing out
that Mysticism indeed could affect my life directly and keeping my interest high
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Orthodox
church but has little past experience with it. Nicholas Arseniev’s book
Revelation of Life Eternal is an excellent introduction to the basic beliefs
within Christian Mysticism. It gives the beliefs and the history of religion in
general before focusing on the development of Christian Mysticism. It is an
excellent source of information on Christian Mysticism for anyone who has little
or know knowledge of the subject beforehand.
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