Contrast and Comparison between Humanism and the Catholic Church

Contrastand Comparison between Humanism and the Catholic Church

Humanismis a progressivelifephilosophythataffirmsour responsibilityandabilityto leadour livesethically andto our personalfulfillmentwhileensuringthe greatergoodof&nbsptherestof humanity.Accordingto humanists,itwasnot importantforone to havea beliefin supernaturalbeingsto leada happylife(Bequette, 15).Aslongas one dedicatedthemselves to ensuringthewellness of others, theycould be contented with thelivestheywereliving.Someof thevaluesconsideredimportantunder humanism are self-worth,dignityandself-realization.Based on thesevalues,one could easilyshapetheir lifeandcharacterto generallyacceptablestandards. Accordingto earlyhumanists,itwasare-evaluationandrediscoveryof variousaspectsof theclassicalcivilization,RomeandancientGreece. Furthermore,theseaspectswereappliedto bothsocialandintellectualculture(Thomsett, 71).Theyembracedclassicalcultures,particularlytheLatin wayof lifeandwerekeenon learningLatin andembracingtheir secularattitudesandsocialvalues.One of themannersin which humanitywasexpressedbefore theRenaissanceperiodwasin theappreciationof pastartifacts. Thesewereviewedas custodiansof pastculturesandtheywerecarefullycollected.Theearlyhumanistswereableto drawa distinctionbetween Medieval Latin andclassicalantiquity,which ledto theemergenceof theterm,Renaissance.

Someof theassumptionsarisingdue to humanityweretheimportanceof theindividualexperiencesratherthan focusingon theafterlife.Theconstantrelianceon God andfaithweakened,andmostoccurrenceswereattributedto chance.Assuch,thecurrentworldceasedto be a preparationforone to eithergoto hellorheavenorbecomean endin itself. Humanistsfocusedon theaestheticvalueof itemsandthenaturalbeautyof itemsbeautywasdeemedto offera glimpseinto a transcendentalexistence(Bequette, 53).Acommonattitudeof thehumanistsbefore theRenaissanceperiodwastheir lackof concernregardingthesoul’seternaldestiny.Mostof their beliefswerebasedon beliefsandfacts.Suchas their reviewof Greek scientificliterature,theseprovideda moreacceptableandaccuratebodyof ideasandfactsthat wereusedas a referencepointby thehumanists. Thecontrastwith thebeliefsthat prevailedin Western Europe wasthebeliefin a supernaturalbeing.Whilehumanistsfocusedon an aestheticoutlooktowards life,Western Europe hada morein depthbeliefin lifewhich statedthateveryone has a purposein lifeandeveryoccurrencewasdeterminedby their belief.Western Europe waswellknownforChristianity, which wasthestatereligionandwasthussupportedby theEmperors. Acoreassumptionof thisbeliefwastheconceptof happinessupon one`sdemise.Theunifying factorinWestern Europe wastheRoman Catholic Church, andas such,manyfactorsin thesocietywereinfluencedby religion.Theentiresocietywasknownto havetwo majoraspects,thestateandthechurch.

Althoughthere werestronglinksbetween bothsetsof rulers,thechurchstateditwastheyhadresponsibilityforpeoples’souls,theythereforeclaimedto havemoreauthoritythan thestate.Due to this,there wasconstantconflictbetween theemperorandthepopeover theterritoryoccupiedby bothof them. Thesocietywasfocusedintownsandcenterswherereligiousbeliefswerethecorefactorsdeterminingthedailyactivitiesof thepeople.Thiswasknownas feudalism whereeachof thetownshada nobilityclasswhohadauthorityover thepoliticalandmilitaryaffairs. Based on thenatureof beliefsthat wereacknowledgedby thehumanists,itposeda challengeto thetraditionalworldview of theCatholic Church. Whilethehumanistsbelievedthateachpersoncould havethecapacitytoreasonanddecideto dowell,theCatholic Church hada worldviewthat wascenteredon God(Thomsett, 33).Furthermore,thehumanistsadvocatedforchangewithin theCatholic Church due to whatwasconsideredrampantcorruptionwithin thechurch.This was n addition toengagingin activitieswhich werefocusedon bringingrevenueto thechurchwhilenot cateringtothespiritualneedsof thepeople.Humanistsalsohatedthemannerin which thereligiousleadersabusedtheir powerssuchas pluralism andsimony. Severalleadersof thechurchsuchas Clement VII wereagainst thechangesproposedby theadvocates ofhumanism andsomeof thereformssuggestedwereonlyimplementedby Pope Paul II(Zimmermann, 45).WhiletheCatholic Church wantedthelivesof followersto revolvearound thechurch,humanistsbelievedthatlearningshould bot be restrictedto thechurch. In conclusion,there is a clearcontrastbetween theassumptionsandidealsthatwereadvocatedbyhumanism andtheCatholic Church. Thebeliefof theCatholic Church revolvedaround theexistenceof God andlifeafter death.However,humanism advocatedforthepersonas an individualbeingandtheycould,therefore, behavein an ethicalmannerout of their ownfreewill. Furthermore,bothhumanism andtheCatholic Church hadahugeimpacton livesandculturesof peoplebefore theRenaissanceperiod.

WorksCited

Bequette,John P. ChristianHumanism: Creation, Redemption, and Reintegration.Lanham, Md: University Press of America, 2007. Print.

Thomsett,Michael C. Heresyin the Roman Catholic Church: A History.Jefferson: McFarland &amp Co., Publishers, 2011. Internet resource.

Zimmermann,Jens. IncarnationalHumanism: A Philosophy of Culture for the Church in the World.Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012. Internet resource.

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