It is self-evident that an individual’s worldview affects their thought, behavior and action. One’s worldview is a major component of personality formation. Of the many parameters that constitute one’s worldview, belief in God is a crucial one. The worldview of a believer is sharply contrasted to that of a non-believer. Apostle Paul expounds on this point in his esteemed epistle addressed to the Romans. In Romans (1-8) he outlines how the worldview of a Christian is shaped with respect to the natural world, human identity, human relationships and culture. This essay will highlight St. Paul’s theological insights into each of these domains, as articulated in the Romans (1-8).
The Natural World
Paul believes how ‘justification’ of the penalty of sin is part of the divine order of things. He sees no marked difference between the divine mandate and the natural order of things. Paul informs the faithful . . . Read More
The nature and context of love in the chosen literary works is somewhat different. Each of these works belong to a different era and represent the sensibilities and customs of their times. At the same time, love is a universal human phenomenon, which transcends time and localized culture. To this extent there is unity within the diverse manifestations of love that the chosen works illustrate. The rest of this essay will highlight the various treatments of love in this set of five literary works.
In the classic 14th century book Decameron, the 100 tales of love are narrated by seven young women and three young men. Having isolated themselves from other humans during the devastating epidemic of Black Death, the ten secluded individuals give vent to their creative imagination through these tales. Love is expressed under a range of situations and characters. Some of the tales border on ribaldry while others are narratives of tragedy. There are numerous instances of adultery and . . . Read More
Jorge Luis Borges is famous for his short stories. The Gospel According to Mark is an allegorical take on the time-worn story of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It excels in all the essential features of good short fiction. In particular, as this essay will argue, its theme, symbolisms, tone and style showcase the Borges’ mastery of the form. These elements unite and complement one another to produce a cohesive and powerful piece of fiction.
The most powerful element in The Gospel is its theme. The writer draws upon an ancient and codified biblical theme of sacrifice. Just as Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for the salvation of his fellow brethren so does Espinosa end up being crucified. But in Espinosa’s case it was involuntary and much to his shock. This deviation from the original story comes to define the short story, for by transposing an eternal religious myth upon a real-life situation it questions the significance and meaning of the original . . . Read More
Frederick Douglass’ speech titled ‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July’ is a passionate oration on the plight of black slaves in pre Civil War America. Delivered in 1852 the speech is elaborate and rationale but also emotionally touching. It is fair to claim that this speech is a key piece of American historical literature. Sojourner Truth’s speech (whose verbatim accounts were never recorded), on the other hand, is most remarkable for its sense of humor and its ability to pick choice historical precedents. For instance, Truth peruses the New Testament and the story of the birth of Jesus Christ through Virgin Mary as a strong proof of the capacity and superiority of women when compared to men. Though she did not claim this superiority in such exact words, her general point is that women were treated highly even in the scriptures, whereas their status in real society is much diminished. This essay will argue that what is common between the two speeches . . . Read More
Buddhism and Christianity are two dominant world religions in contemporary times. They both converge at certain points, but largely their philosophical and theological underpinnings are divergent. The rest of the essay will provide supportive arguments in favor of this thesis.
Firstly, many Buddhist scholars would argue that Buddhism is not even a religion in the conventional sense in that it is more a philosophy/science of the mind. The Buddha or the Enlightened One did not claim to be the God or claim to possess supernatural powers. Instead, he told his disciples that he is simply ‘awake’ to the absolute reality of the cosmos. The Buddha’s teachings essentially pertain themselves with alleviation of human suffering. The chief focus is on adopting certain attitudes and principles in everyday life that would reduce individual suffering while simultaneously nurturing feelings of compassion toward other living things. This is the . . . Read More
Bishop Thomas Dexter Jakes is a popular religious leader for the black American community. He is known affectionately as the “shepherd to the shattered” for his humanitarian work and compassionate personality. He is the founder and pastor of Potter’s House, which is a rapidly rising Church in the country with more than 27,000 members. Bishop T.D. Jakes’ is also an acclaimed author with more than 2 dozen books to his credit. They cover a wide range of subjects including philanthropy, religion and business. His latest book titled ‘God’s Leading Lady: Out of the Shadows and into the Light is a work addressed to women. Bishop Jakes’ unique scholarship applies the distilled wisdom of the scriptures to contemporary problems and issues. Talking about the trust behind his books for women, Bishop Jakes notes
“The secret to being able to help people is to be a good listener. In the book, I serve as counselor, as a male best friend, as a big brother, and even . . . Read More
Written by Samuel Beckett originally in French in 1948, the translated English version was first enacted on stage in 1953. One of the masterpieces of the absurdist tradition, the play is infused with psychological, political and philosophical symbolism. The plot is outwardly quite simple, involving interactions between two friends Estragon and Vladimir as they both wait for another friend named Godot to arrive. Although Godot does not arrive during the course of the play, his anticipation sets up the context for the musings and conversations of Estragon and Vladimir. Author Samuel Beckett creatively exploits this open ended plot structure to ponder over important questions about the human condition. Given that it was published in the aftermath of the Holocaust, it asks deep and compelling questions of the state of human civilization and the nature of our species.
Such utterances from the two lead characters as “to hold the terrible silence at bay”, “Nothing to be . . . Read More
There are many Apostles and Saints who propagated the message of Christianity across the world. Among these St. Paul is one of the more prominent. Also referred to as Apostle Paul or Paul of Tarsus, this early missionary carried the message of Jesus Christ to unchartered geographies and its people. His contribution to the writing of New Testament is widely recognized. Though he started his life as a devout Jew, his acceptance of Jesus Christ as a messenger of God changed the course of not just his life but also Christianity. Indeed, during the time of his conversion, there was no established Christian doctrine and recognition of a unique Christian religion. It was early pioneers like St. Paul who helped consolidate the teachings of Jesus Christ into the Holy Bible. St. Paul’s moment of revelation played an important role in the birth of Christianity. During A.D. 30 Paul of Tarsus “had what he called an ‘apocalypse’ or, literally, a revelation. Having been a . . . Read More