The Reformed tradition today often carries a reputation for narrowness and dogmatism, rather than breadth and diversity. But it was not always so. In the early modern era, the Reformed family of churches boasted not merely a host of theological luminaries of the highest rank, but a remarkable diversity of viewpoints on church polity, ethics, sacraments, and even matters like atonement theology. At their best, they charitably debated these differences within a shared confessional framework, offering examples for Protestants today of how to pursue the maxim, “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” The essays in this volume offer an introduction to the theological rigor and surprising breadth of the early Reformed tradition.
Among many reasons that make it unsafe to follow traditions blindly is that some activities, rituals and customs prescribed by some traditions are baseless. These customs end up depriving people their happiness and others make people live a stressful lifestyle as their traditions prescribe. Others like cults capitalize on the people’s ignorance and fear to oppress them. This should raise a warning alarm to people who are so much attached to awkward traditions that they do not understand their origins. They should at least make inquiries from the people who passed on the traditions to them and if found unnecessary, they discard some of them. Following these propositions, it can be generally inferred that it is unwise and insecure to follow traditions blindly.
As a matter of fact, with the explosion of modern culture, this is getting atypical and frequently becoming lesser. It is getting more influence from other cultures like American. American culture continues to shape Mexican way of living and eroding the traditions which are hitherto getting outdated. Over the past few decades, these typecasts have began to significantly fade with time. Men have the characteristics of machismo boasting with pride and self-belief in front of their families. Mexican family way of living is displayed by the various dealings that the men engage themselves in.
Yet while he disavows authority, he admits that he presents this portrait of himself in the hopes that others may learn from it (“Of practice”). Thus the end of essaying himself is simultaneously private and public. Montaigne desires to know himself, and to cultivate his judgment, and yet at the same time he seeks to offer his ways of life as salutary alternatives to those around him.
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Just as Montaigne presents his ways of life in the ethical and political spheres as alternatives to the ways common among his contemporaries, so he presents his ways of behaving in the intellectual sphere as alternatives to the common ways of thinking found among the learned. He consistently challenges the Aristotelian authority that governed the universities of his day, emphasizing the particular over the universal, the concrete over the abstract, and experience over reason. Rejecting the form as well as the content of academic philosophy, he abandons the rigid style of the medieval quaestio for the meandering and disordered style of the essay. Moreover, he devalues the faculty of memory, so cultivated by renaissance orators and educators, and places good judgment in its stead as the most important intellectual faculty. Finally, Montaigne emphasizes the personal nature of philosophy, and the value of self-knowledge over metaphysics. His concern is always with the present, the concrete, and the human.
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The stated purposes of Montaigne’s essays are almost as diverse as their contents. In addition to the pursuit of self-knowledge, Montaigne also identifies the cultivation of his judgment and the presentation of a new ethical and philosophical figure to the reading public as fundamental goals of his project. There are two components to Montaigne’s pursuit of self-knowledge. The first is the attempt to understand the human condition in general. This involves reflecting on the beliefs, values, and behavior of human beings as represented both in literary, historical, and philosophical texts, and in his own experience. The second is to understand himself as a particular human being. This involves recording and reflecting upon his own idiosyncratic tastes, habits, and dispositions. Thus in the Essays one finds a great deal of historical and autobiographical content, some of which seems arbitrary and insignificant. Yet for Montaigne, there is no detail that is insignificant when it comes to understanding ourselves: “each particle, each occupation, of a man betrays and reveals him just as well as any other” (F 220).
With regret, Ferdinand Tönnies anticipated the dissolution of the Gemeinschaft, which, he thought, would inevitably give way to less stringent ideals and more permissive attitudes of the Gesellschaft. When the saga of the Corleones begins, the family is immersed in the culture of the Old World, which binds them. To celebrate Connie Corleone’s marriage to Carlo Rizzi, Italian musicians perform traditional songs and the guests themselves sing and dance. The food is also customary fare, much of it prepared in the homes of friends and relatives; the neighborhood baker, Nazorine, has donated the wedding cake in exchange for favors, past and present, that Don Corelone has bestowed. In addition, the local police and the F.B.I. are kept at bay; Sonny insults them. Most of the judges and politicians with whom the Don does business have politely declined his invitation, though all have sent gifts. Those few who do attend the reception have come in rented cars, the license numbers of which cannot be traced to them.
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With a diverse population existing in the United States today, our country is a melting pot of different cultures, each one unique in its own respect. Culture, distinguishing one societal group from another, includes beliefs, behaviors, language, traditions, art, fashion styles, food, religion, politics, and economic systems. Through lifelong and ever changing processes of learning, creativity, and sharing, culture shapes our patterns of behavior and thinking. A culture’s significance is so profound that it touches almost every aspect of who and what we are. “Culture becomes the lens through which we perceive and evaluate what is going on around us” (Henslin, 1993).