The impelling motives are many: intellectual pride or exaggerated reliance on one's own insight; the illusions of religious zeal ; the allurements of political or ecclesiastical power; the ties of material interests and personal status; and perhaps others more dishonourable.
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Privation of faith is therefore the greatest evil, and deliberate rejection of faith is the greatest sin. But infidelity does this more than any other sin, for the infidel (unbeliever) is without the true knowledge of God : his false knowledge does not bring him help, for what he opines is not God : manifestly, then, the sin of unbelief ( infidelitas ) is the greatest sin in the whole range of perversity." And he adds: "Although the Gentiles err in more things than the Jews, and although the Jews are farther removed from true faith than heretics, yet the unbelief of the Jews is a more grievous sin than that of the Gentiles, because they corrupt the Gospel itself after having adopted and professed the same. That unity exists in the Catholic Church, and is preserved by the function of her teaching body: these are two facts which anyone can verify for himself. Arius appeared on the scene when theologians were endeavouring to harmonize the apparently contradictory doctrines of the unity of God and the Divinity of Christ.
In the constitution of the Church there is no room for private judgment sorting essentials from non-essentials: any such selection disturbs the unity, and challenges the Divine authority, of the Church ; it strikes at the very source of faith. Instead of unravelling the knot, he simply cut it by bluntly asserting that Christ was not God like the Father, but a creature made in time.
The undoing of faith infused and fostered by God Himself is possible on account of the human element in it, namely man's free will. He had friends among the other bishops of Asia and even among the bishops, priests, and nuns of the Alexandrian province.
The will determines the act of faith freely because its moral dispositions move it to obey God, whilst the non-cogency of the motives of credibility allows it to withhold its consent and leaves room for doubt and even denial. He gained the favour of Constantia, the emperor's sister, and he disseminated his doctrine among the people by means of his notorious book which he called thaleia or 'Entertainment' and by songs adapted for sailors, millers, and travellers.
It is not for man, but for Him who searcheth the mind and heart, to sit in judgment on the guilt which attaches to an heretical conscience. The apostate a fide abandons wholly the faith of Christ either by embracing Judaism, Islamism, Paganism, or simply by falling into naturalism and complete neglect of religion; the heretic always retains faith in Christ. The unity of the Church consists in the connection of its members with each other and of all the members with the head.