Essay, 3 pages (550 words)

Modern world

Harris Kamran Sociology Review Paper 4 July Modern World According to Paul Trenchard, a secular saint is one who does not officially subscribe to any religious group or order, but through his acts, works, and life in general, proves to be spiritual and saintly. Keeping this definition in view, and reinforcing it by inspiration drawn from characters in movies like “ It’s a wonderful life” and “ Miracle on 34th street”, this paper attempts at analyzing the lives of personalities like Simone Weil, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa, in order to examine the elements in their lives that make them secular saints. None of the personalities under discussion vowed to any religious disciplines, and even if they are now thought to belong to orders like Catholicism, as is the case with Mother Teresa and Simone Weil (The Baptism 1), what should be noted is that they never advocated or preached any religious ideologies, but remained strictly outside of the religious circle and concentrated merely on the humanitarian, spiritual, and cultural endeavors. This is the most compelling element of their secularity, and renders arguments such as whether or not Simone Weil was baptized (The Baptism 2) as irrelevant to the case. The humanitarian aspect of Weil’s ideology, and her political work for the trade unions (Bergery); the founding of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta by Mother Teresa (Mother Teresa); and the activist efforts of Martin Luther King against the mistreatment of black sanitation workers in Memphis (Dowd), all are ample proofs of the saintly endeavors of these humanitarians, and establishes them beyond doubt as secular saints. The concept of justice in the Greek philosophy, as perceived by Plato but opposed by Socrates is that those in power decide what is just according to what favors them (Hooker). By observing the lives and works of these saints, it can easily be inferred that their concept of justice was rooted in this aspect of Greek philosophy, and thus viewing the world in the light of this concept, they set about to rectify it. This is especially true of Weil’s ideology, as she herself proclaims that “ Plato is the most perfect representative of this tradition” (Bergery). Her efforts for the factory workers and her dialogue with Trotsky (Bergery) clearly demonstrate that she viewed workers as powerless, even as slaves, and hoped to empower them against the ruling class, which held the position and hence justice, by fighting for their rights (Bergery). Similarly, Mother Teresa worked for the poorest and the most down-trodden in an effort to alleviate their sufferings and provide them with some manner of dignity, even as they were dying (Mother Teresa), demonstrating a fight against injustice, the victims of which belonged to the powerless and the lowest social stratum. The champion of the rights of the black population, Martin Luther King was inadvertently the embodiment of this clause of the Greek philosophy, in that he stood against the ruling class in favor of the black slaves and workers (Dowd), in effect bringing justice, or power, to the oppressed. Works Cited “ Baptism of Simone Weil.” SunyPress, n. d. Web. 4 Jul. 2011. Bergery, Benjamin. “ Simone Weil.” Simone Weil, n. d. Web. 4 Jul. 2011. Dowd, Vincent. “ Seeking Answers on King’s Killer.” BBC News, 4 Apr. 2008. Web. 4 Jul. 2011. Hooker, Richard. “ Plato.” Greek Philosophy, 6 Jun. 1999. Web. 4 Jul. 2011. “ Mother Teresa- The Path of Love.” Comcast, 20 Nov. 2006. Web. 4 Jul. 2011. Trenchard, Paul. “ St Gengulphus: A “ Secular” Saint.” Gengulphus, 19 Apr. 2011. Web. 4 Jul. 2011.

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