Stoicism vs. Christianity

A REVIEW OF STOICISM

Stoicism gained popularity in Paul's time and he was at odds with its teaching because of its antithetical principles opposite of Christianity and the authority of God. Stoics believed that such things as greed, lust, ambition, etc. were diseases of the mind that could be remedied by "right thinking" education and reason (Hubbard, M., 2012 &2016). This doctrine was pushed by Zeno (early 3rd C.), heavily influenced by Socrates. Paul, of course, acknowledged that while the mind was the epicenter of moral deficiency he contested that the only remedy for erroneous behavior or ideology was through the power of the Holy Spirit residing within the believer (Hubbard, 2012 & 2016).

The Stoics taught that, “the wise person is self-sufficient” (Hubbard, 2012 & 2016) and that love is a dangerous trait that results in treacherous emotional attachments and endangered self-sufficiency (Hubbard, 2012 & 2016). There are around 100 occurrences of the use of love in Paul's letters and was presented as a "paramount virtue" (Hubbard, 2012 & 2016) in the Christian's life. Paul's teaching and a letter to the Romans indicates the truth and would certainly have frustrated a devoted Stoic. Paul's truth-telling is reinforced by Romans 7:6 says, "but now we have been released from the law, because we have died to that by which we were bound, so that we may serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter of the law"(Lexham English Bible, 2012).

References
Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Rom. 7:6). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Hubbard, M. (2012, 2016). Paul and the Stoics. In Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Have you ever heard of Stoicism? What is your opinion of their abrasive position of morality?
 

bobinfaith

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Hello Sam;

Yes, I studied Stoicism briefly, but not to the extent of deeper knowledge. From the Greek scholars and philosophers, their findings, review and support on the topic of Stoics I personally find the information overwhelming to consider embracing it as our own will to be happy, self controlling, to pleasure and prosperity whether good or bad intertwined with Scripture.

It was good to be opened to this worldly teaching and I found this, along with other philosophies of the world another contrary to the Word of God which is Truth, Godly virtue and a much lighter burden to carry.

In your own words, brother, please share what this means to you and how would we use this to witness to the community?

God bless you, Sam and your family.
 
The post above is in my own words, brother. I was just going through some philosophies in Logos and came across the reference to Stoicism and thought it may be interesting to consider being that some people today suggest that with the right "education" we should be able to affect happiness outside spirituality. I figured it would be well placed in Bible study for conversation and consideration.
 
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bobinfaith

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The post above is in my own words, brother. I was just going through some philosophies in Logos and came across the reference to Stoicism and thought it may be interesting to consider being that some people today suggest that with the right "education" we should be able to affect happiness outside spirituality. I figured it would be well placed in Bible study for conversation and consideration.

Thank you, Sam. I understand. You mentioned Logos. I own that software application and boy was it expensive. Do you use it extensively?

I learned later that there are other Bible resource applications that are alot less expensive or free, but to be honest, Logos covers a lot!

Back to Stoicism, it is a deep subject with many branches of thought and information, but as I red-lighted, in these times people may be searching for shortcut gratification instead of trusting in God.

Most Christians that endure suffering know that God is guiding us through it all, and find its worth it to stand firm with Him.

God bless you, brother.
 
Thank you, Sam. I understand. You mentioned Logos. I own that software application and boy was it expensive. Do you use it extensively?

I learned later that there are other Bible resource applications that are alot less expensive or free, but to be honest, Logos covers a lot!

Back to Stoicism, it is a deep subject with many branches of thought and information, but as I red-lighted, in these times people may be searching for shortcut gratification instead of trusting in God.

Most Christians that endure suffering know that God is guiding us through it all, and find its worth it to stand firm with Him.

God bless you, brother.
Absolutely, I couldn't agree more. Any shortcut in life is assuredly a gamble due to the innate gamble of anything outside tried-and-true. I have seen time and time again that following the well-worn path with God's Word is far better and we are guaranteed a positive end result. I have tried doing it on my own and "working" on me but I find that I do not have the stamina to adhere to a self-guided improvement regimen. I am fully content in leaning on Jesus Christ and if I have a fault then He will bring it to the surface and enable me to confront it via His strength.

As for study assistance, I primarily use Logos, Strong's, and a study Bible. What free programs are available that you like?
 
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A REVIEW OF STOICISM

Stoicism gained popularity in Paul's time and he was at odds with its teaching because of its antithetical principles opposite of Christianity and the authority of God. Stoics believed that such things as greed, lust, ambition, etc. were diseases of the mind that could be remedied by "right thinking" education and reason (Hubbard, M., 2012 &2016). This doctrine was pushed by Zeno (early 3rd C.), heavily influenced by Socrates. Paul, of course, acknowledged that while the mind was the epicenter of moral deficiency he contested that the only remedy for erroneous behavior or ideology was through the power of the Holy Spirit residing within the believer (Hubbard, 2012 & 2016).

The Stoics taught that, “the wise person is self-sufficient” (Hubbard, 2012 & 2016) and that love is a dangerous trait that results in treacherous emotional attachments and endangered self-sufficiency (Hubbard, 2012 & 2016). There are around 100 occurrences of the use of love in Paul's letters and was presented as a "paramount virtue" (Hubbard, 2012 & 2016) in the Christian's life. Paul's teaching and a letter to the Romans indicates the truth and would certainly have frustrated a devoted Stoic. Paul's truth-telling is reinforced by Romans 7:6 says, "but now we have been released from the law, because we have died to that by which we were bound, so that we may serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter of the law"(Lexham English Bible, 2012).

References
Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Rom. 7:6). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Hubbard, M. (2012, 2016). Paul and the Stoics. In Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Have you ever heard of Stoicism? What is your opinion of their abrasive position of morality?

The book of Acts I believe has something to offer as an example .I am using Epicurean with Stoicks in one sence they canot be seperated.

The leaven of the Pharisees and of or mixed with that of the Sadducees is made up of two different schools of philosophy both under a hierarchy of men as a law of the fathers, kings, and princes. They put aside their denominational differences and came together to attack all things written in the law and the prophets (sola scriptura) which they called heresy.(Acts24) It as it is written is law (sola scriptura) It provided no way for mankind to believe God was served by corrupted human hands in any way shape or form .It as witnessed in Isaiah 29 turned the Potter’s work upside down as if our new understanding came from mankind seen and not our unseen Holy God as if he has no understanding .Rather than doctrines of God inspired from heaven coming down as rain. . Earthly inspired of the fathers of lies who must turn things upside down as if again God was served by human hands

Isaiah 29:16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?


Note . . . Epicureans (Pharisees), with the Stoicks ( Sadducees) The whole spectrum of philosophy.

Verse 25, one of the keys that seems to destroy philosophy . . . all schools.

Acts 17:8 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, (Pharisees), and of the Stoicks, ( Sadducees) encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

There is a parable in the old testement using the historical true advent to help aid in the understaning in so much that would seem to teach. The Holy Spirit who works in mankind to both will and empower them to do His good pleasure is not served by corrupted human hands as a will . . living in a earthen body of death. That parable is also enlightened as a cerimoinal law to help protect the integrity of His word .
 

CPerkins

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I think a Christian's brain can be rotted by investing too much in more knowledge. The fallacy of excess is that it is destructive but many desire it. The more I knew outside of a deeper relationship with Jesus only made me Pharisaical and arrogant. In life I have said less is more and in a spiritual life more of Jesus is more of everything.

I honestly don't believe that it is the knowledge itself that causes harm, but the purpose of obtaining it. There are many wrong reasons for seeking more knowledge. Knowledge can puff us up.

Especially if we are seeking knowledge simply for knowledge sake rather than to have understanding that can be applied and made use of.

How does it puff us up?

One way is to make us start to feel overly important, better than others simply because we have been blessed with greater understanding. If our intention was to assume a lofty position or to lord over others then seeking this knowledge has brought harm and not good.


Also I would ask what kind of knowledge might puff us up?

If we are seeking better understanding of God's word so that we can better apply it in our lives and know better how to love others. God does tell us seek and you shall find.

Worldly knowledge is often mixed with evil and good. Sometimes that evil is hard to spot and can be like leavening, Starting out small but nagging at us to walk in a different direction than what God has in mind.

cp
 
I honestly don't believe that it is the knowledge itself that causes harm, but the purpose of obtaining it. There are many wrong reasons for seeking more knowledge. Knowledge can puff us up.

Especially if we are seeking knowledge simply for knowledge sake rather than to have understanding that can be applied and made use of.

How does it puff us up?

One way is to make us start to feel overly important, better than others simply because we have been blessed with greater understanding. If our intention was to assume a lofty position or to lord over others then seeking this knowledge has brought harm and not good.


Also I would ask what kind of knowledge might puff us up?

If we are seeking better understanding of God's word so that we can better apply it in our lives and know better how to love others. God does tell us seek and you shall find.

Worldly knowledge is often mixed with evil and good. Sometimes that evil is hard to spot and can be like leavening, Starting out small but nagging at us to walk in a different direction than what God has in mind.

cp
Very, very well said. I think of I Corinthians 13 in this instance. Specifically, v. 2, which says, "If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing" (NASB). Christ is Love and having all the gifts without Love is wasted insight.
 

CPerkins

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Very, very well said. I think of I Corinthians 13 in this instance. Specifically, v. 2, which says, "If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing" (NASB). Christ is Love and having all the gifts without Love is wasted insight.

Amen.

We can find so many answers in God's word. Acting on that knowledge is about acting in faith and love.

cp
 
Jan 18, 2021
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I think a Christian's brain can be rotted by investing too much in more knowledge. The fallacy of excess is that it is destructive but many desire it. The more I knew outside of a deeper relationship with Jesus only made me Pharisaical and arrogant. In life I have said less is more and in a spiritual life more of Jesus is more of everything.
I would think more knwolegde could puff up one if they would attribute it to themeslves and not as it is written .His word should keep us humble.

What does the parable (mystery revealer) below teach us in regard to faith as it is written?

1 Corinthians 4:6-7 King James Version (KJV) .And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?