I was wanting to discuss about the attitudes of the Early church to those of today. I use the word “pessimistic” in the title, although I am not sure that is the word I am looking for. To use some examples of what I mean:
Many Early Church fathers & Saints (Augustine comes to mind) were extremely anti-sex, even so far as to say that even in marriage any form of sexual union was sinful no matter what. Today meanwhile such a negative view has been disowned by the church
Many Early Church fathers & Saints in the past on how they believed that extremely few people would be saved (romancatholicism.org/jansenism/fathers-fewness.htm) Today the Church of course still teaches the idea of Hell, although it would seem today we more take the attitude God does the most he can to try and bring people to him
Many Early Church fathers & Saints would hate anybody of any dissent (romancatholicism.org/jansenism/original-sin-ignorance.htm)), encouraging authorities to do anything necessary, even death, to those who deviated from the their idea of Catholicism, much less those of another religion (Hypatia of Alexandria as one example) Also one Pope wrote a bull on how since the American Indians were non-Catholic, that it was just to enslave them (romancatholicism.org/popes-slavery.htm)). In today’s time we believe in religious liberty, Ecumenism, and while we still proclaim our Church to be the sole recipient of truth from God, we still hope that others come to our Church through free will, and if not then we hope that others may be saved through invincible ignorance and Grace from God
Many Early Church fathers & Saints said that unbaptized children go straight to Hell, and that it was God’s intention that souls who had no choice in the matter would still suffer regardless (romancatholicism.org/jansenism/limbo-pelagianism.htm) Today we still accept the idea of Baptism as a necessity though we also know believe that God judges according to our understanding and that he also can prescribes Grace if he so wishes
So here is what I am wondering about: What were the cultural and social conditions at the time that caused many of the Church fathers and some Saints to have what today would be considered very harsh and legalistic viewpoints? Some Traditionalists today would argue that we have become “soft” and committed heresies by no longer having the attitude that those in the past did: Would you agree with that, or would you say that we have become more wise, or perhaps that both their viewpoints in their day and age are just as valid as ours? Also while it would seem from writings from those times that viewpoints like these were common among the Church doctors, were such viewpoints common among the normal citizens like us? After all it is not like they had as much easy access to writings like we do today, and I doubt even many Bishops back then were capable of reading writings written by the early church doctors and saints.