Faith In The Middle Ages

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The Middle Ages by no means should be considered a period of a “Dark Age”. It was a complex and diverse period which laid the foundation of different political, cultural and social developments, eventually leading to what we know today as “the Renaissance”. However, this period is often seen as an “era of stagnation”, a period of obduracy, a period when reason lost its value. Primarily, this idea comes due to meager secular legacy which was not connected with the religious issues. In other words, logic and faith were not as clearly divided as we see it today; they rather went hand in hand to each other to seek for the answers of most profound issues. This is why sometimes from our modern perspective it seems that most of The Middle Ages major…show more content…
Yet, those during the Medieval period were aiming to justify their religious belief claiming that the reason and faith cannot contradict with each other if they are well understood, thus everything which is a part of faith can be explained through reason. According to Augustine of Hippo, first you need faith, than by reasoning one can enhance faith which may allow you to understand the ultimate truth through illumination. However, later on, Augustine added a new player into the game, that of the authority. One should act upon the authority (church) a priori, before reasoning, in order to enhance your faith to god. In addition Augustine wrote that sometime war is necessary and this war is just when it meets three main conditions: It should have a just cause, legitimate authority (refer to previous sentence) and it should have the “right intentions”. These preconditions were already in place by the time when Pope Urban II called for the first crusade. The cause was the direct threat from Muslims who already occupied part of “Christendom” in the west of the shore of the Mediterranean and part of Byzantine Empire. The legitimate authority, the power “granted by god” was in place as the Pope and other religious leaders themselves were the ones leading the war. Also, the right intentions were to liberate the oppressed Christians and liberate the holy…show more content…
But, what did the Pope and other religious leaders benefited out of these events, except the religious merits? To begin with, there were many conflicts within the territory which produced social unrest while this was not in the benefit of the religious leaders nor to the nobility, both trying to gain more power. The Popes objectives were to create a common enemy and unite the people who consider themselves part of the Christendom. In other words, as we referred to during the block, the Pope managed to export the violence outside of the Christendom what gave him a central role in organizing the military, thus gain more political power. In addition, Crusades contributed in large scale in territorial expansion, which in turn produced more taxes. Controlling the Mediterranean Sea meant controlling the trading routes which provided additional economic power for the Pope and the Nobility. The rational being the actions taken by the Pope Urban II to my view can be traced in both directions: Spiritual side – serving god and god’s will, and pragmatic one – enhancing his power and placing himself as a center
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