The main conflict in the eleventh century is between those who see theology as little more than Bible commentary and those who feel that rational analysis and argument was needed. The first group argued that God was such a mystery, so intellectually inaccessible, that we could hope to talk about him at all only in the symbolic language he himself had graciously given us for that purpose. Nor could we expect to get beyond that language, to infer other truths from it by reason. On the contrast we have a second division of this time that sees God as friendly and sensible and believes there must be reason and rational behind faith. During this time period we see the development of Neoplato ...view middle of the document...
Anselm argues that it all happened because it was the only logical decision to make, given the divine powers of omnipotence and justice. God had to redeem humankind or else the eternal purposes for this it had been created would have been thwarted and God's omnipotence would have been compromised; yet humankind also had to be punished for the fall or else God's justice would have been compromised
Anselm is best known for being a reformer inside the monastic communities and clergy. I believe that he took Christianity in which many people believed in blindly and began to explain through his own answers the thought behind the faith. This attributes to the new age of reasonable thinking in faith. Anselm is also know for his position of the slave trade and eventually passed a resolution banning the sale. His ideas are seen as the beginning of a new rational faith period.
Al-Ghazali is a very similar man to St. Anselm save the fact he practiced Islam. Al-Ghazali believed in the exactness of math and science, he trusted in rationalism and reason. Al-Ghazali however believed that there should be limitations on excessive rationalism. One of his biggest contributions is defining the philosophies of Neoplatonic rationalism and religion as finite and infinite, respectively. This is essential because it keeps the emphasis on religion over reason, but yet does not eliminate reason.
Most of this man's life was been devoted to teaching reason behind the Moslem practices and beliefs. He was known for tailoring his lessons to his students, offering spiritual guidance to logicians, and teaching rhetoric to mystics. Al-Ghazali thought it was imperative that a true Moslem not lose sight of the reasons for his practice. Sufism, at its root, concerns one's own relationship with Allah, and he wanted to communicate his belief that the restrictions and practices of Islam were next to meaningless without a proper understanding of their meaning. Like Anselm he too brought his own ideas to the table on certain topics that were not clear. He gave his followers reason behind the truths they followed.
Another issue that Al-Ghazali influenced was Sufism. At the time Sufism was becoming overly emphasized on petty issues and not properly reflecting between the Moslem and Allah. This caused a reestablishment of the authority and orthodox of the religion. Al-Ghazali was sure to express that sincere Sufism is the true way to the truth.
Al-Ghazali is one of the major philosophers of the Islamic Religion, many of his writings are still taught today. He continued the road of reason in the religion mostly in explaining and shedding light on issues and practices of the religion. Giving authority both to reason and religion Al-Ghazali follows in the age of Neoplatonic Philosophies.