The aspect of religion where God is the superior Being has continued to diminish in contemporary culture. This modern culture is characterized by many technological developments in which man is the main innovator. The ability of a human being to influence creation has made him feel superior to the extent that God’s existence has lacked meaning. This situation where man regards his capability as higher than divine power is known as metaphysics and greatly contributes to this explanation. Persons who support religion have tried to influence contemporary society through evangelism. Still, it has failed to work since man is so indulged in innovations that he considers “more practical.”
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How issues concerning God are perceived in the contemporary world is different from the traditional view. Aquinas is a great contributor to contemporary views about God since he emphasizes their influence in the lives of modern man. Aquinas’ contributions emphasize an explanation of theological understanding that supports the aspect of faith. From contemporary culture’s point of view, there is great recognition of God’s revelation through faith which influences a situation where metaphysical works, as well as a reason, are consistent. These are explained as human aspects which are in accordance with God’s plan. Contemporary culture argues that religion develops a desire for knowledge regarding God. In this particular case, God is considered as something which exceeds, attracts, and uplifts the individual who gains knowledge. (Stump, 2003 pp 77-79)
Aquinas Position Concerning Integration of God within Contemporary Culture
Theological knowledge is one aspect of contemporary culture that is associated with God. The decision toward the progression of faith is highly regarded, and it greatly contributes to theological understanding. However, faith cannot work without the involvement desire for truth. “Knowledge of true God gets revived in an individual, and it is influenced by divine knowledge already contained in the person who has a destiny. Contemporary culture also considers the theological project as work performed by the brain, which is enriched by development. This development in religion is necessitated by God’s creation through faith that is founded on revealing the word”. (Turner, 2004 pp 39-41)
The explanation of theological knowledge leads to two different ways through which issues on contemporary culture and God relate to each other. The first one is the aspect of metaphysics constituted in contemporary culture where modern human beings fail to recognize the works of God, which are clearly depicted in His creation. His infinite nature is disregarded in man’s activities, and this is mainly influenced by a wide range of technical transformations in the industrial sector. “Man has been found to possess creative powers that are similar to those associated with God.
This creates a gap between him and God due to the fact that he is capable of doing most of the things. Educational processes present in the contemporary culture are considered as capable of adjusting human beings’ demands to the modern nature where God’s intervention is disregarded”. (Drilling, 2006 pp 25-27)
According to Stump (2003, pp 84-85), the second aspect is existentialism, which refers to the situation where man is considered as his own master and of the world, which also influences the relationship between God and contemporary culture. In this case, man forms part of objects found in the universe, and he is supposed to have control over other objects. The contemporary man tries to escape dehumanization and emptiness by restricting his feelings as well as beliefs to a specific reality.
This is achieved by getting subjected to contemporary advancements that limit the importance of God. In some cases, man courageously takes the anxiety and expresses it in contemporary culture. Great artistic works of contemporary culture, including literature, visual arts, and poetry, portray the level at which man has indulged in modernity to the point that he fails to recognize God.
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Divine issues have tried to influence contemporary culture by seeking to answer questions concerning man’s existence. This is mainly done through evangelism, where God is considered the answer to human existence and that it is God who provides human knowledge through which industrial development is achieved. God heals human beings’ which is of great importance to modern man since advancements in contemporary culture are accompanied by stressful situations. This healing promises success in life that is associated with the accomplishment of developments that are made possible by man.
The elements emphasized in both cases are faith, salvation as well as a revelation which are dependent on human beings’ philosophy where God’s involvement is not given much consideration. Contemporary culture only enables man to entertain two different areas of knowledge, the first one being the reception of the free existence of self and other human beings. The other one involves a situation where knowledge is objectified in such a way that it can be able to manipulate objects. In cases where this knowledge is applied to view God in the same manner, God is regarded and worshipped as a “thing,” otherwise known as idolatry. (Stump, 2003 pp 80-83)
It is clear that; contemporary culture has had adverse effects on the manner in which modern human beings view God. This is because; contemporary culture has provided man with an environment full of advancements in technology, necessitating a wide range of developments. Aquinas has made a considerable contribution to this area where he has tried to explain the influence of technological advancements. He mainly dwells on two aspects that are; metaphysics which are the disregard for God and His superiority. The other is existentialism, where faith and revelation dominate human beings’ minds making them lack recognition of God. (Drilling, 2006 pp 28-29)
Drilling P. Premodern Faith in a Postmodern Culture: A Contemporary Theology of the Trinity: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. pp25-29.
Stump E. Aquinas: Routledge, 2003 pp.77-85.
Turner D. Faith, reason, and the existence of God: Cambridge University Press, 2004 pp.39-41.