Most individuals see Christianity and Stoicism being polar opposites. However, belief systems overlap in various ways. Though there are more differences than similarities that exist between Christianity and Stoicism, individuals should not let this preclude them from thinking about what school of philosophy provides as ultimate answers to a perennial question “how should we really live?”
Stoicism, the Greek way of thinking and philosophy framed in Athens, discovered its following when the Greek world was in disorder. Alexander the Great died at a young age after the entirety of his victories, and Greece was left fumbling. Offering peace, harmony, and security amid savagery and violence, Stoics know that they can find real happiness by depending on their internal identity or what they call as inner self. They believed that virtue, the highest good, depends on information and that the shrewd can live amicability with the perfect and most divine reason which permeates nature.
Christianity, in view of the lessons of Jesus of Nazareth, teaches empathy, love, charity, forgiveness, and compassion. Like Stoicism, it rose during times of chaos and offered a security and harmony that could prompt joy. The connection has its deep foundation in Jesus as God’s physical manifestation. According to Christianity, it is just through Jesus that individuals can get eternal salvation. People spare themselves by means of grace rather than works, while forgiveness of their sins is through faith alone.
Stoicism and Christianity – Similarities
Logos is the Greek term for words. About 500 years before the birth of Jesus, Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, utilized logos to clarify what he saw as the all-inclusive power of reason that is considered to govern everything. He reveals that all words occur based on the Logos. This conviction turned as Stoicism’s great foundation. Jews that speak Greek came to see the Logos as a power sent by God. In John’s Gospel, Jesus is recognized as the Word, and this was made flesh and has dwelt among people. He is also the powerful driving force sent by God.
Between Christianity and Stoicism, both are said to be monotheistic. Stoicism is known to follow Heraclitus and has faith in a Logos; Christianity is known to follow Jesus and expects followers to have faith in a true God and ensure not to have other except Him. Also, both Christianity and Stoicism serve the Logos/God’s will. They teach people that they can free themselves from anxiety and fear by means of submitting to Divine’s will.
Also, both Christianity and Stoicism raise a question like, “what or who does an individual serving? “All of them rely on the correct answer. Instead of being a slave or captive to other people, both Christianity and Stoicism include evolving from concentrating on the self to a self-established one serving God. Matthew 6:24 reveals that it is difficult to worship two divine beings at once. Reverence for one feeds hatred for the other. Therefore, one can’t worship money and God or God and individuals’ feelings and opinions. Serving oneself is more focused on external appearance; serving God within is expected to break the chains of subjugation to public opinions and empowers followers to look only for good.
At long last, both Christianity and Stoicism look for simplicity in faith and in worship. If worship tends to be showy, it might mean an individual needs other people to notice him, which serves the outside self instead of inner God. Matthew 6:6 says, “If you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your unseen Father. Then your dad, who sees what has been done in secret, will reward you.
Stoicism and Christianity – Differences
As for the contrasts between Christianity and Stoicism, Stoicism at certain extent easier than the last since it has no trinity or demons and holy angels. Besides, in Stoicism, the Logos is a mysterious power while, in Christianity, the Word (Logos) was made flesh and has dwelt among individuals. For the Stoics, an association with the Logos is intellectual, distant, and dependent on ideas of prudence and duty. In Christianity, the relationship with Logos is considerably more personal. It teaches and encourages that God needs their praise, love, and adoration and are even more willing to die for it.
Another huge difference between the two is Christians seek God to ask for assistance, while the Stoics look for help from within. Through the petition, Christians request to be discharged from affliction, healed from illness and consoled when in sorrow and distress. On the other hand, Stoicism tells individuals that in the event that if they want good, they have to get it themselves. No soul will assuage them from torments.
Christianity and Stoicism have contending views about human instinct and nature too. For the Stoics, nature has imparted individuals with the ability to reason, which they can practice to live out upright, obedient lives. On the other hand, Christians believed that individuals are brought into the world with a unique sin, which has tainted their inner moral compass. It is just by the finesse of God that individuals are improved and spared. On the other side, the Stoics saw the rational handicap as damaged, while in Christianity, they are seen as children of God deserving of respect and love.
Christianity and stoicism likewise have separating perspectives about the afterlife. In Christianity, the world is viewed as a sad remnant of the world yet to come. Toward the end of time, the dead will rise, Christ will come back to separate the goats from the sheep, and the Kingdom of God will be set up on Earth.
On the other hand, the Stoics made little notice of afterlife and were skeptic about what, in the event that anything lies past the grave. For Stoics, what makes a difference isn’t so much of what could conceivably occur after death, yet how individuals utilize the time, they have now.
How Stoicism Really Influenced Christianity
Before Christianity, it can not be denied that Stoicism, an ancient and unique Greek philosophy with tenets such as monotheism, already exists and believes in a rational plan for the Universe. It is predicted in different forms by Christian theology.
Philo of Alexandria is known to be born in 20 BC and died in AD 50—so the life of Jesus Christ was covered by his period. Philo is a fascinating figure, a Jew having a Greek name, and part of the “Hellenized” Judaism world.
He studied philosophies and also studied more about Plato and Aristotle and, obviously, a faithful and committed student of the Old Testament. In his writings and compositions, there has been an attempt to incorporate methodically the idea of the real Greek logicians and philosophers as well as scriptural truths of the Old Testament.
To become a Hellenized Jew at the time of Jesus Christ’s life is actually among the different considerations to become a scholar-somebody who has maybe gone to Athens, yet who in any case has respected the thoughts being imparted and taught deeply in Athens as the pinnacle of philosophical intelligence or wisdom.
Indeed, even in Philo ‘s time, Athens remained the most brilliant spot on each scholar’s guide map. Once there, visiting scholars see not just classical architecture and statues. Similarly, one inhales the vapors and feels the echo of that beloved, long past time now.
Schools in Athens are still the best. Alexandria has an incredible library, and it’s basically a good center for research, much less a living and long discussion about life in Athens at that very time.
At present, when the early Jewish Christian begins to develop what will be known as Christianity, their interests lie within a thoughtfully focused setting that incorporates Stoicism at its core.
Establishment of the Christian Faith
St. Paul sends his letters to individuals in the vast Roman empire as he travels from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It will confront not only individuals whose practices differ widely, whose own theological convictions and local or native ideas are sorts that could never have been found in Athens or even in Rome, but also individuals who have created and refined knowledge and philosophic modernity at the present time through the study of Athens.
It is not surprising, then, that the one attribute of early Christian teaching is its clear desire to set up articles of faith, as these were the lessons of the “genuine religion” on the basis that it is mentally fulfilling, intellectually rich, and very persuasive.
It is not shocking, therefore, that in Paul’s own works one would discover thoughts taken from Stoic teaching. It was clearly presented to him in his local Tarsus, and it was expressed without attribution to his common natural world as well as its order. Throughout this way, Stoic ‘s views are clear throughout his view of someone’s faith and conviction that God is natural instinct and conviction, unlike the theory of stoic affinities.
In reality, the fact that Stoicism was perceived as perhaps the most worthy enemy is evident from the quarrels of the early Church leaders and fathers against such thoughts as the physicality of God. The ongoing struggle against pagan notions will bring out a portion of discerning components in the early Christian way of thinking and philosophy, as expressed by certain figures such as Origen and Tertullian, formerly referring to Zeno and Cleanses positively.
Stoicism – Bridging Philosophy and Faith
Debates and debts have been productive and inevitable. The early Fathers of the Congregation or of the Church had to reconcile the teachings of the Church, the message contained in the life of Christ himself, with philosophy valued and accepted as one of the greatest accomplishments of human thought, regardless of whether it was a pagan thought.
There should therefore be no unbreakable separation between the lessons of philosophy and the lessons of faith, and these two are desperately incompatible. And there is a great deal of intellectual capital devoted to seeing philosophic light as a positive influence on the strength of faith. In view of the genuine historical context in which such changes are taking place, it is a stoic way of thinking that must at least offer the bridge or the essential planks of the bridge, which leads to the fundamental tenets of Christianity.
Consider, then, a portion of the features of Stoicism that may have been proclaimed at the time of the Jewish Christians, as they may be consolidated in the writings of Philo and others, seeing a mission like the one that Philo had set for himself. Today, there are obvious aspects of overlap, but in addition, there are areas that need to be handled.
To begin with, the Stoics and for the Stoics, regardless, what may be known as the Lord of the Stoics is anything but an individual is worried about human welfare in that capacity, however, an amazing “divine fire,” working through material and physical methods or modes of operations. Nevertheless, this power or force is normal in its fundamental nature and tends to be immortal. Presently, in this record, the defining highlight of the universe’s creative power is its rationality and inexhaustibility.
Stoicism provides undeniably proof of this-just consider the legitimacy of the cosmos itself. In Stoic teaching , especially later Stoic teachings, and the knowledge of this kind of divine influence is one of the very predetermined inclinations of a rational individual.