With the memory of the Crusades not far in the past and the conflicts of his present day

, Nicolas would agree that the principal cause and reason behind most conflict has its roots in religion. Differences of religion divide people on a universal scale, resulting in hatred, death and often war. “All who either inflict or suffer this persecution are motivated only from their belief that such [action or passion] is expedient for salvation and is pleasing to their Creator” (Cusa, On the Peaceful Unity of Faith, FYP Handbook, 153). Nicolas’ goal is to unite everyone under a single religion, not by force or violence but through the revelation that “there is only one religion in a variety of rites” (151). By drawing from the similarities and differences between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, a single Christian-based religion can not only be determined but is already presupposed. There is “not a faith that is other, but a faith that is one” (153). Everyone believes in the same God, but disagree on how He should be worshipped. The first challenge is in how “all the diverse religions will be led unto one orthodox faith” (152). The Greek philosopher argues that “[each nation] will have difficulty accepting…a faith that is other” (153). The solution, as all philosophers would say, begins with wisdom. Despite their different cultures, each of these philosophers has the common belief “that wisdom exists” (153). Furthermore, “[n]one of [them] doubts that there is one Wisdom…simple and undivided” (154). With the agreement that wisdom is one, they all presuppose that wisdom is eternal, that wisdom is the beginning and therefore that “Wisdom is the one, simple, eternal God, the Beginning of all things” (155). Though they may have different names for God, they all believe in the same God. There is “not a faith that is other” (153) because all lovers of Wisdom presuppose “the religion of one God” (156). Several problems arise from this argument. One problem is that this proof does not address “men…who do not love Wisdom” (156). For if men do not believe in Wisdom, then that would mean that they don’t presuppose the one God. The Arab addresses this problem by claiming “that all men by nature desire Wisdom” (156). Every man has an intellect and therefore requires wisdom because the intellect cannot exist without it (156). Just as the body requires food


to exist, likewise the intellect needs wisdom. Therefore “all men…presuppose…the one God” (156). How then are “the worshippers of [many gods] in agreement with…the one God?” (156). All polytheists presuppose the one God through their worship of many gods (156). “For just as there are no white things if whiteness does not exist…he who says there [are many gods] says [implicitly] that there is…one Beginning of them all” (156-157). Many gods cannot exist without the one God, “[f]or no race ever…believed [many gods were all] the universe’s First Cause, Beginning and Creator” (157). If polytheists were informed that they already indirectly worship the one God, “they would…seek salvation in Him” (157). With the one God accepted, the philosophers now turn to the Christian belief of the Trinity. They cannot bring their minds to wrap around the concept that “God is trine and one” (159). The Word proves that God is one and trine through various examples of the universe (159), the soul (162) and power (167). This proof expels the common notion that accepting the Trinity means belief in a plurality of gods. Based on this explanation, the Jews and the Arabs can both accept the Trinity on the grounds that they already presuppose it in the Koran and Old Testament (163). The problem of the Trinity exists not because men question the possibility of the Trinity—for “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26)—but because they question the reasoning behind it. If God is one, then why is He also trine? The ultimate answer for this is that no “creature [can] comprehend… the concept” (151). If people can just accept the proof that there is a Trinity and that “to confess the Trinity is to deny a plurality…of gods” (162), then the majority of people will be satisfied. The minority of people that question the concept and demand to know the reasoning behind it can petition God. Through the Trinity comes the question of Christ, which stems to whether or not He was Jesus. On one hand, the Arabs “still [confess] Christ resurrected the dead...[and] many other things which they expressly confess Jesus Christ …to have done” (170). And on the other hand,


“the Jews do not expressly admit anything regarding Christ” (170). Throughout the Old Testament the Jews “have…[teachings] regarding Christ…and refuse to understand” their meanings. It is impossible to teach someone who refuses to learn, so it is impossible to teach the Jews that Jesus is Christ. Throughout the Old Testament are many prophecies regarding the Christ, most of which can easily be connected with the story of Jesus in the New Testament. To answer the question of Jesus as Christ is a debate that has been going on for over two thousand years. The evidence is there, but to believe or deny Jesus is ultimately up to the individual. Either way, all religions presuppose that there is a Christ, though they may disagree if He has come. Since it has already been determined that everyone has faith in the same God, why then are there different religions? If religion can be seen as a set of beliefs and practices, and everyone already has the same belief in the one God, diversity can be directly linked to the practices. How then did it come about that there are many different practices? The answer to this question is in the messages of different prophets. If everyone believes in the same God, everyone must then presuppose that all prophets, like wisdom, come from the same God. “[T]o various nations [God] sent various prophets and teachers—some at one time, others at another” (150). If all the prophets were from God, why then did they give different messages or commandments? “The Jews say that they have His commandments through Moses, the Arabs…through Muhammad, and the Christians through Jesus” (181). The problem is fundamentally in the prophets’ interpretation of God. Instead of focusing on the question of which prophet is correct, the main idea behind each prophet’s command should be seen: love God. The purpose of any commandment is to please God, showing man’s love for Him. “Therefore, love is the fulfillment of God’s law” (181). Despite this truth, many of the wise men in the De Pace Fidei are still hung-up “about the rites” (181) of Christian religion.


The philosophers have trouble agreeing with the rites of circumcision, baptism and the Eucharist. Most of the philosophers have trouble in grasping the correct concept of these rites. The erroneous mindset of those who question these rites is that they are “necessary for salvation” (182). Paul explains to them that these rites are purely symbols of faith and are “nothing other than a confession of that faith” (182). For circumcision, Paul repeats his argument in his Epistle to the Romans (2:28-29) and affirms that “circumcision does not save; rather, there is salvation without it” (181). In the De Pace Fidei, Paul says, “[Since] circumcision is not necessary…the minority [or cultures that practice circumcision] should conform itself to the majority…[to be] united in faith” (181). This would be the easiest way to have harmony on the issue. In terms of Baptism, Paul affirms that, like circumcision, it is only a symbol and is not necessary for salvation. However, he does state that, “If someone did not want to confess his faith…by whatever signs…he would not be a believer” (182). If all religions presuppose the Trinity, they all presuppose Christ and therefore all presuppose “whatever signs were instituted by Christ” (182). If a person therefore believes in Christ, why would he not confess his faith through the signs instituted by Christ? If people cannot accept the rite of baptism, that is okay. If they believe in Christ they have already been baptized “with the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 3:11). The Eucharist, like the others, is only a symbol of faith and is not necessary for salvation. “[I]f someone who has faith judges himself to be unworthy to approach…the table of [God], this humility…[will be] praised” (184). Faith is enough for salvation. It is made clear to the philosophers that unity does not mean the expulsion of diversity. In fact, “diversity may make for an increase of devotion” (151). It is not the goal to conform everyone to every rite that is considered Christian because not only is it impossible, it is unnecessary. “For to seek exact conformity in all respect [will] disturb the peace” (185). When there are disagreements about the rites “nations are entitled to their own devotions and


ceremonies” (185). The goal of one faith is unity, and through unity peace. If everyone believed that we’re really all after the same thing, our differences could be forgotten and we could all work together towards God.

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