Thursday, April 30, 2020

Thomas More The Hypocritical Martyr Essays - Anglican Saints

Thomas More: The Hypocritical Martyr Thomas More: The Hypocritical Martyr Thomas More should not be on the pedestal that people tend to put him. His stance against the divorce that King Henry VIII wanted does not make him righteous or even close to it. More felt that divorce would go against the principles of the Bible, yet his work, Utopia, also goes against the teachings of the Bible. Just as Henry wanted to create his own church to satisfy his own needs, More's Utopia is a society created to fit his needs. To begin, we must look at the utterly blasphemous comment that More makes relating his Utopian society to Christ. And I have no doubt that either self-interest, or the authority of our Saviour Christ ?would have led the whole world to adopt the Utopian system long ago (More 131). With this comment, More is saying that he knows what is best over Christ, his God. He is in the same boat with King Henry, who created his own church feeling that he knew better than God that divorce was correct. The only way More could prove his bold claim is to align his society with the teachings of the Bible. The only problem is that he fails to do this. More's first attempt to making his claim correct was close to the teachings of the Bible. When writing through the character Raphael, he claims that the Utopians view that, happiness is the summum bonum towards which we're naturally impelled by virtue- which in their definition means following one's natural impulses, as God meant us to do (More 91). This is true when you consider the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were given all of the needs and desires of their hearts, before they turned their backs on God and ate from the tree of knowledge. This introduced sin into the world, which made man's natural impulse to follow his own way and sin against God. The footnote given in the text says that the quote is an Epicurean view. Epicureans were pleasure seekers who were fully devoted to sensual pleasure. Christ would not have accepted this behavior. The Bible states in Col 2:23: Such [basic principles of the world] indeed have an appearance of wisdom? but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. It teaches that the senses, which are naturally in all humans, should be controlled. Jesus himself was tempted for 40 days and nights straight, but did not give in to seeking pleasure in those temptations. The Utopians could be free to seek pleasure anywhere if sin was not in the world, but it is. Christ knew this, and therefore would not subscribe to the society's beliefs. More again tries to make his society closely related with the teachings of Christ in the way Utopia tries to rid itself of greediness. He felt that social organization was to blame for greediness: No living creature is naturally greedy, except from fear of want? but there's no scope for that sort of thing in Utopia (More 80). Again, this is not true according to the Bible. Eve was greedy by eating the fruit of knowledge so that she would have the wisdom of God. Since Eve was the first woman in creation according to the Bible (which Thomas More himself embraced) and she was greedy, it is safe to say that all humans are naturally greedy. By More saying that no living creature is naturally greedy, he is saying that there is some good in us, which is not true according to the Bible. Romans 3:12 says, All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. More has a point that greed is wrong and we should not be greedy, but to think that we begin in life with some amount of good is against the teachings of the Bible, and therefore would not prompt Christ to accept this perfect society. Towards the end of the book, Utopia becomes somewhat of a heaven on earth as it begins to sit on the judgement seat of God in a sense. Utopia does not believe in war and will do anything they can to get