Essay, Research Paper: Human And Divine

Religion

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1) Introduction Through out history, as man progressed from a primitive animal
to a "human being" capable of thought and reason, mankind has had to
throw questions about the meaning of our own existence to ourselves. Out of
those trail of thoughts appeared religion, art, and philosophy, the fundamental
process of questioning about existence. Who we are, how we came to be, where we
are going, what the most ideal state is....... All these questions had to be
asked and if not given a definite answer, then at least given some idea as to
how to begin to search for, as humans probed deeper and deeper into the riddle
that we were all born into. As time passed, the works of many thinkers and
artists added up and it became inevitable for the people who wanted to find some
answers to the ancient question, the question of existence, to trace back to the
times of the older thinkers to get an idea as to what we have been thinking
about as an important source for reaching the goal. Also, for the people who
want to study the ways of the people back in history, it is equally important to
make a study of the thinkers and artists of that time in order to define the
characteristics and personality of that age. So, as the goal of this report is
to find out what the people of ancient western world thought in view of the
concept and relationship between the human and the divine, it is inevitable for
us to also look into the thoughts and arts of that time. 2) Cicero and Virgil In
the works of Cicero, we see him asking questions about social responsibility,
about what it is that gives value to a human life. Cicero conveys to us his
belief that it is most natural for a person to show the most defined
characteristics such as magnanimity, and loftiness of the soul, and courtesy,
etc. , and that because of this, it is only true for a person to take on the
responsibilities of this world with this kind of attitude in tact. He tells us
why we must not live only for our own advantage; because it is against our
nature as humans to do so, because without the basis of this human
characteristics, the whole human society would fall apart. The qualities we
value most in our fellow human beings are the most natural to us because they
were endowed to us from the gods so that the race of human beings and the human
society could go on existing. We can know this from his words; "People who
argue like this subvert the whole basis of humans community itself - and when
that is gone, kind actions, generosity, goodness, and justice are annihilated.
And their annihilation is a sin against the immortal gods. For it was they who
established the society which such men are undermining." Cicero's belief in
the natural goodness of the human race was stead-fast because he believed that
it was endowed to us from the gods. In Virgil's "Pollio", which
christians believed to have prophesied the birth of Christ, we can see what he
thought of the conditions of the human race of his time and also of what he
thought the coming of god will do for the good of his people. Virgil percieved
the humans race as being in the "Iron Age" (In Ovid's
"Metamorphoses", we see the concept of humans becoming more and more
dirtied as they moved though time from the "Golden, Silver Ages", to
the " Bronze, Iron Ages"), the age of corruption which the coming of
"Pollio" will disinfect for us. He writes, "Time has concieved
and the great sequences of the Ages starts afresh. ...... With him, the Iron Age
shall end and the golden Man inherit all the world. ..... And it is in your
consulship, yours, Pollio, that this glorious Age will dawn and the Procession
of the of the great months begin. Under your leadership all traces that remain
in our iniquity will be effaced and, as they vanish, free the world from its
long night of horror." Through this, we can know that Virgil believed in
the power of "Pollio" to restore and to guide the human race to its
rightious state. In both Cicero and Virgil, it is obvious that they thought the
highest qualities of humans to be our most natural state because it was endowed
by the gods to be so, and that if there was corruption in the human world, the
divine powers would restore them because it is the will of the gods to form and
maintain the human race and society. Their belief in the human race came from
their faith in god. 3) Egyptian and Greek Art When we look at Egyptian
paintings, we see that the drawings do not quite describe objects as they
actually are. When a man is drawn, his face is turned sideways but his shoulders
and body are facing the front while the foot is turned sideways. This strange
way of drawing is called the "БёйјєАЗ
їшё( I'm sorry, I don't know what that is in English)".
What the Egyptians were trying to achieve through the use of this method was to
present the parts of the object which most clearly shows its characteristics.
For instance, the characteristics of a man's face is most distinctly shown when
it is turned sideways, and the body's when it is turned towards the front, and
so forth. The Egyptians don't seem to have been interested in drawing objects as
they actually were. When they drew, they analized the visual information of the
object so that they could present its most distinct characteristics in the form
of visual generalization. For them, the important thing was to catch the essence
of the object. In this sense, it can be said that for them, art was a form of
abstract vision. On the other hand, the Greek arts had a very different
personality. Their starting point was to realize actual beauty in art. That was
why they searched out the "golden proportion", in order to achieve the
most beautiful in art. They weren't just trying to describe how things looked
like; they were trying to present gods' greatness that went far beyond the
limits of humanity. In other words, while their art was earthly, it was only so
because they were trying to realize the best in the earthly things so that they
could be more close to the intentions of the divine powers. 4) Christian
Thoughts; The Hymn to Charity, and The Good Samaritan The "Hymn to
Charity" stresses on the importance of love. It tells us the personality of
love and why it is so important that we all cherish this in our ways of living.
Love is what brings out the most superior characteristics of human beings
because it is what brings us closer to the design of the Divine One. The
intentions of God is always good and honorable. If we bring ourselves to follow
that intention, then it is inevitable for us to act out the spirit of love
always. The "Good Samaritan" stresses on social responsibility and the
need of love, justice and magnanimity for the social responsibility to be
realized. When God made humans and the human society, it was not in his purpose
to let it go corrupt as it did. His intention was the realization of the Good
and the Truth. If the humans are to follow him, then we must make the best human
characteristics come out and let it aid us in making society as it was willed to
be. The good in us was put there by God to realize what He thought to be ideal
and therefore, it is out duty to use that goodness in us in order to follow his
ideal. These two examples taken from the Bible show us clearly what the early
christians thought as the relationship between the human and the divine. 5)
Conclusion As we have seen from the examples of Roman thinkers, Egyptian and
Greek art, and early christian thoughts, the early western thoughts and arts,
which became the founding steps of the western world, had its own particular way
of seeing the connection between the Divine and the Human. For them, the
qualities we most value in a human being was put in us by the divine powers so
that humans could live in accordance with God's original design. Therefore, the
good in us are perfectly natural and it is only right that we have it within us.
And also therefore, it is our duty to act out our goodness in the form of
"love" so that we can live in harmony with God's will.
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