The ratio of paganism and Christianity
More recently, leading theologians from different countries gathered in one American city. They thought about how the future of the church could develop in the next century. They spoke with concern about the fall of faith. They talked about how to reconcile religion, i.e. bring it closer to the feelings and needs of ordinary people. One of the speakers made a suggestion that at first seemed blasphemous: rock music could sound in the temple of the future. Moreover, there may even be a revival of pagan orgies. Unpredictable paths to faith.
Christian culture exists in Europe for more than two millennia. Why, then, did pagan, primordial? We will expose a seditious thought. Paganism, perhaps, is much closer to human nature than Christianity. After all, it refers to a barbarian who does not know the dictates of cultural standards. A person is perceived as he is, without any unthinkable demands. Christianity is another matter ...
An ancient Greek, indulging in delights, he himself determined the measure of his austerity, forbearance. Who could tell him the trait behind which the pleasure loses its naturalness? Only he himself. Otherwise, this situation looks like for a modern man. He has a certain knowledge, which seems to tell him what is to be regarded as the norm, and what is the deviation from it. From now on, a person turns not so much to his own experience, to spontaneously arising feelings, as to what science says or the system of limitations that has developed in society.
The beginnings of the most diverse manifestations of eros are in every person. Being chaste, he knows the tremors of passion. Devoting itself to God, experiencing the power of earthly glamor, shuddering from diabolical suggestions, finds itself in living love ...
Love feelings are archetypal, i.e. are initially the same. But culture, undoubtedly, has an effect on erotica. The prevailing standards of behavior determine the form of mass experiences. Austerity replaces orgiastic passions.
But why in history do these bloody orgies coexist with examples of sublime chastity, spiritualized love? Why do romantic platonic feelings give way to reverence for unbridled pleasures? Why even in one culture do we see the diversity of eros? In part, the answer is simple: all this is inherent in human nature.
What does a person think about love? Does he value his body? Does it perceive it as a sacred vessel or as a container of vile lusts? Does it feel the universality of the eros or only knows its one face? For example, in Greek philosophy and art, the nature of man, his appearance, his body - everything seemed to be the ideal of perfection and harmony.
As the son of nature was perceived as the pearl of creation, Greek art sought to reproduce, express the human body in a fit of spiritualized passion. The plasticity of Hellenistic art eloquently speaks of this. The inhabitants of Athens crowded in the street, watching Fidium sculpt the human body. Ancient philosophers spoke highly of the spirit of man. They talked about the dignity of man, about his high destiny. Love was accordingly perceived as a deep feeling, consecrated by the gods. At the head of the lovers rose Aphrodite, who blessed the convergence of bodies and spiritual attraction as the joy of life.
Gradually, in the consciousness of the ancient Greeks arose a difference of love carnal and spiritual. Sensual attraction reflects the idea of the beauty of the human body. Poetic experiences are increasingly individualized. Plato believed that the pleasure to which man seeks should be to some extent curbed. Aristotle, in contrast to him believed that the pleasure of the body is still good ...
However, love is not only a whirlwind of pleasures. By the end of the ancient era, the Hellenistic notion of man was replaced by another view. The Roman philosopher Seneca, for example, could not combine the moral standards of the Stoics with the reigning reverence for human nature and sensual pleasure. He rejected the idea of the goodness of the human being.
The belief that an individual is morally incapable of resisting an all-powerful vice, has led Seneca to the idea that in the person nonsense and sinfulness nest. Therefore, the body can be regarded only as a temporary storehouse of the soul. She must fight with the body, for the flesh brings only torments. The cult of the body gave way in the medieval culture to the glorification of the incorruptible soul, which was understood as pure and inviolable.
Love has as its source sexual sensuality. But it is not exhausted by it. There is something more in it: the union of souls, the self-discovery of the individual. Therefore, the ancient Greeks distinguished different forms of love. Allocated, for example, Eros - deified eros. Or love-passion, which was identified with recklessness. Or love as an attraction without fatal consequences. In general, human nature was understood as the unity of the mind, passions and will.
Christianity brought with it a radical rethinking of love. From now on, it began to be understood not only as a human passion, but also as the supreme basis of human existence. Fraternal love is a love for all people. It is no accident the main object of human love in the Old Testament - the poor, the stranger, the widow and the fatherless, and even someone who is a national enemy - Egyptian.
A person with Christianity bears the imprint of the absolute goodness of the Creator. It acquires some kind of self-worth. The real earthly person in all the uniqueness of the physical and mental traits inherent in him was estimated from now on as an enduring and undeniable value. The corporeality glorified by the ancient Hellenes is recognized in the Christian ideal only as a vessel of spirituality.
Love is perceived from now on as a sacred thing. A person captured by passion must cultivate feelings through which personal wealth is revealed. The love experience is not only unique. It is comprehensive, because the boundless objects of this feeling are God, the near, the distant ...
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