Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What is “Contra Mundum?”

When I first began this blog, it was entitled "Contra Mundum," which I proceeded to explain. However, since then, this blog has gone well outside the bounds, in terms of posts, that I had originally intended and the name only captured part of what I was writing about (what am I writing about, anyway?). So I changed the title to the one you now see at the top of the page, "Foundational Thoughts," which is far more broad and (I believe) better captures the eclectic nature of the various topics I write on (when I write). Still, it is an interesting post, so enjoy.

First, let me state that I am not a Catholic of any kind, nor have I ever been, despite what the title of my blog may lead some of you to believe.
The title is taken from the expression “Athanasius contra mundum,” or “Athanasius against the world” used to describe Athanasius of Alexandria, who is best known for his opposition to Arianism in his everyday work, but specifically during the First Council of Nicaea in 325AD.

Arianism was the belief that there was a time when Jesus did not exist and that he had been created by God. In opposition to Arianism Athanasius wrote the Three Discourses Against the Arians in which he stressed that the Father's begetting of the Son, or uttering of the Word, was an eternal relationship between them, not an event that took place within time. In other words, that the Son was, is, and always will be eternal (is that redundant?) and was not created by the Father but has always existed as part of the Godhead.

Among Athanasius’ other works is Against the Gentiles – On the Incarnation which forcefully affirmed and explained that Jesus was both God and Man.

Because of his aggressive defense of the truth of Christianity Athanasius was banished, but later restored as many as seven separate times. This independent streak and hard-headedness concerning the truth of Jesus Christ lead his contemporaries to coin the phrase “Athanasius contra mundum.”

While he was a member of what is now the Roman Catholic Church, his defence of the truth of Christianity and the nature of Jesus Christ himself no matter who opposed him, makes Athanasius an admirable role-model for any aspiring Christian Apollogist/philosopher like myself.