Although unfinished, the Summa is “one of the classics of the history of philosophy and one of the most influential works of Western literature.” It was intended as an instructional guide for theology students, including seminarians and the literate laity. It was a compendium of all of the main theological teachings of the Catholic Church. It presents the reasoning for almost all points of Christian theology in the West. The Summa‘s topics follow a cycle: the existence of God; Creation, Man; Man’s purpose; Christ; the Sacraments; and back to God.
The Summa is Aquinas’ “most perfect work, the fruit of his mature years, in which the thought of his whole life is condensed”. Among non-scholars, the Summa is perhaps most famous for its five arguments for the existence of God, which are known as the “five ways” (Latin: quinque viae). The five ways, however, occupy under two pages of the Summa’s approximately 3,500 pages.
Throughout the Summa, Aquinas cites Christian, Muslim, Hebrew, and Pagan sources including but not limited to Christian Sacred Scripture, Aristotle, Augustine of Hippo, Avicenna, Averroes, Al-Ghazali, Boethius, John of Damascus, Paul the Apostle, Dionysius the Areopagite, Maimonides, Anselm, Plato, Cicero, and Eriugena.
The Summa is a more structured and expanded version of Aquinas’s earlier Summa contra Gentiles, though these works were written for different purposes, the Summa Theologiae to explain the Christian faith to beginning theology students, and the Summa contra Gentiles to explain the Christian faith and defend it in hostile situations, with arguments adapted to the intended circumstances of its use, each article refuting a certain belief or a specific heresy.
Why this is here (REC)
Our century, perhaps in the future, will be remembered by terrorism and eventually if they do not come to their senses, a clash between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, in a war which if it happens will be a very good test for the pretensions of mankind of being an intelligent species.
Leaving out that both are a disaster from mistaken ideas, being Trump a mixture of the flaws of democratic ideas and communications technology and Jong-un a Planet of Apes version of Fidel Castro mixed with I hope the last equivocation from Marx’s ideas, the bottom line is that this is a consequence of abandoning the idea of God as having a noble purpose for His creation, which boils down to:
Please, hold on! I am not advocating the existence of God or trying to do proselytism on any religion!
Personally I have no standing and to my best knowledge, for the culture I am in, Christianism with a very good dose of Nietzsche is enough and it doesn’t really matter if you believe or not in God, as Nietzsche implied, God is dead, but the problem left with us when this happens!
In the environment and at the time when he lived, in the 19th century, Europe did not need God as source of morality, values or order in the universe, because it was thought that science and philosophy were able to supply this.
Nietzsche insight, and one that Christian religions do not recognize is that we killed God in our desire to better understand our world.
Nietzsche did not like this idea because he did not see it as a good thing. Without God, the basic belief system in Western Europe was in danger and, in the Twilight of the Idols, he declares:
“When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet… Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands. Christianity presupposes that man does not know, cannot know, what is good for him, what evil: he believes in God, who alone knows it… it has truth only if God is the truth — it stands and falls with faith in God.”
Unfortunately, the hopes and expectations which killed God in the 19th century didn’t bring about with philosophy and science anything which can do what Christianism did, quite the contrary!
This bring us back to the Summa Theologica, which should be the starting point of any serious atheist and if it is too burdensome, take a good luck and try to understand what Dante had in mind which is widely recognizes as what Thomism deals with.
Next perspective: Dante and the Italian language
Make sure you saw The Existence of God