By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why Christianity Is Culturally Different From Islam and even Judaism

And that difference has had profound effects in shaping Western culture and, by extension, the rest of the globe which is so influenced (and rightly not dominated) by Western culture.

We see this difference in the history of art, especially in Late Antiquity and in the classical revival we call the Renaissance.

While in Judaism and Islam, the commandment against graven images meant that the classical Greek and Roman heritage in art, especially in sculpture, was rejected, in Christianity, as early as the fourth century A.D., we see Christ himself depicted in a classical statue, in the pose of an ancient philosopher (see image below).

The incarnation--the conviction that the deity became flesh--made Christianity and the realism and naturalism of classical sculpture congenial to each other.

The result, in my opinion, is a Western tradition in which individual freedom, dignity, and self-fulfillment are central. The West was the vehicle for this fusion, but the results are for everyone sharing in the same human nature. Every human being of whatever continent shares in this common heritage, if he or she dares to claim it.

(Image under fair use doctrine and/or public domain)