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Inner Reflections

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Introduction

Inner Reflections Dr. Harp 2 December 2004 As a person looks back at their life, a common concern is the legacy they leave in this world. Most people posses an earnest desire to make a difference in the world. Before any contribution can be made, be it great or small, it is important to understand one's own worldview. After constructing a coherent framework about the "basic makeup of this world" (James 16), it is possible to build on this foundation to create new ideas. In his work The Human Good, Thomas Aquinas is able to share his views on this world and thereby make valuable theological contributions to this world. Aquinas was born in Roccasecca, a town in southern Rome, and lived from 1225 to 1274 (Aquinas 145). Prominent thoughts during this medieval era included those of Augustine and Aristotle. Born into this critical time, Aquinas attempts to "reconcile the teachings of . . . Aristotle with Christian doctrine or Reason with Faith" (Aquinas 145). Aquinas is renowned as the "greatest theologian of the medieval Catholic church" and a "representative of scholasticism" (Aquinas 145). ...read more.

Middle

Since humans do not have a set path to follow to their end, a big portion of a person's life is spent in trying to determine their own end. Next, Aquinas goes on to prove that regardless of what end humans chose, it is for the sake of good. First of all, since humans tend toward some end, its logical to say that this end, whatever it may be, is towards something that is beneficial. From what can be observed, intelligent agents will flee "anything they apprehend as evil" (Aquinas 150), and to flee evil is to seek good. In other words, all humans seek to perfect themselves, or seek happiness by improving. Stating that every human acts for the sake of good may seem useless when considering that the definition of goodness is defined by the individual. Aquinas himself gives examples of goods around which people structure their lives: "riches, honor, physical pleasure, and so on" (Porter 77). However, establishing that every human being tends toward what is good provides more room to proceed. The next task would be to acquire a "correct concept of the human good" (Porter 72). ...read more.

Conclusion

Aquinas' contributions in theology and philosophy revolutionized Christian thought. His work combines Aristotelian logic with theology producing a revolutionary line of thought known as "Thomism" (Aquinas 145). Although not mentioned in The Human Good, earlier works by Aquinas use similar methods of logic to prove the existence of God. Aquinas' ideas on morality and man made them more compatible for people with non-Christian worldviews. Even though venturing so far away from divine revelation may be risky, his work helped introduce more people to Christianity. The popularity of Aquinas may have caused the rise of applying reason in more areas such as religion in the western world. The logical, cause-and-effect mindset of the western world may be attributed partly to this newly sparked popularity of Aristotelian thought. Being able to justify the one's position using logic is also useful when defending the Christian faith. Although a complicated work of theology, Aquinas was able to reflect his fundamental views on man and morality though The Human Good. He left a lasting legacy by gaining a wide audience with whom to share his ideas. Some leave legacies by their memorable actions or character. Others construct revolutionary ideas and alter the course of public thought forever. Whichever method is used, the worldview of the person shapes their actions and their thoughts. ...read more.

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