Epicureans and Stoicks

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salamander, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. Salamander

    Salamander
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    Has anyone some input of the trouble they were trying to cause Paul in Acts 17?
     
  2. JackRUS

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    I suppost that since Satan ruled both false systems, he had his children stir up trouble at Paul's giving of the Gospel.

    •STOICS a sect of Greek philosophers at Athens, so called from the Greek word stoa i.e., a “porch” or “portico,” where they have been called “the Pharisees of Greek paganism.” The founder of the Stoics was Zeno, who
    flourished about B.C. 300. He taught his disciples that a man’s happiness consisted in bringing himself into harmony with the course of the universe.
    They were trained to bear evils with indifference, and so to be independent of externals. Materialism, pantheism, fatalism, and pride were the leading features of this philosophy.

    •EPICUREANS followers of Epicurus (who died at Athens B.C. 270), or adherents of the Epicurean philosophy (<441718>Acts 17:18). This philosophy
    was a system of atheism, and taught men to seek as their highest aim a pleasant and smooth life. They have been called the “Sadducees” of Greek
    paganism. They, with the Stoics, ridiculed the teaching of Paul (<441718>Acts 17:18). They appear to have been greatly esteemed at Athens.
     
  3. Filmproducer

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    Many of the ancient philosophical schools of thought were based out of Athens, and they spread quickly throughout the Greek world. Stoicism and Epicureanism were two of the more popular schools of thought at the time. Both centered on a type of moral/social philosophy. They were not giving Paul a hard time as much as they were questioning his ethics and morality, and his God. As evidenced by Acts 17:32-34. Remember Athens was the "birthplace" of the Sophists, who were specifically trained in rhetorical skills, no doubt something that was passed on to others schools of thought throughout the Greek world.

    The main goal of the stoics was to be in accord or agreement with nature at the end of one's life, or rather to lack all dissatisfaction with anything about the world and at the same time remaining conscious and intelligent about the world. Now they did not believe that any human was capable of satisfying all their desires, but rather that we must set our desires so that they are in line with the way the external world actually is. They believed the cosmos to be a determined finite pattern, and they sought to determine that pattern. No doubt Paul's Christianity was to be questioned in their minds.

    The Epicureans, on the other hand, were atomists. They differ from the stoics in that they do not view the world as patterned, but as chaos. Atoms colliding, rebounding, and entangling in the void. Epicurean's goal was to find a state of being in which the physical and mental were free from pain. they were not hedonists because they taught against overindulgence in anything. They most likely had problems with Paul's Christianity because it has to reconcile evil with a perfect God. in other words they questioned why a perfectly good God would create a world in which evil existed.

    Yes, Paul was mocked, as were most likely all philosophers, by some school of thought, or another. Many different schools of thought existed, and they did not all agree, and they let each other know why they did not agree.
     
  4. Salamander

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    What comparisons can be made to present day philosophers and how are these same spirits affecting Christianity?
     
  5. Marcia

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    The description of Stoicism reminds me of a mixture of Taoism (being in harmony with the Tao, the "way" of the universe) and Zen Buddhism (being detached from self and desires). Zen itself is a result of some Taoist beliefs mixed with buddhism and confucianism.
     
  6. Marcia

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    Forgot to add that you can find many Zen Buddhist and other Buddhist attitudes and techniques being taught in the Contemplative Prayer movement. In fact, some of the CP teachers cite buddhist teachers and teachings. One of the first gatherings for the beginning of the modern CP movement included a Zen Buddhist "master" who gave a week long seminar to the Christians.
    See my article on this at
    http://cana.userworld.com/cana_ContemplativePrayer1.html

    The CP movement was first among Catholics but has now moved into evangelical circles via Richard Foster and others.

    These teachings emphasize experience over words and certain techniques to bring about a closeness with God over true day-to-day growing in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. I recognize a lot of Zen teachings in books by Foster and others who promote CP. I used to read books on Zen and followed some Zen Buddhist teachings and meditation for man years. While some things Foster and others say are biblical, those are mixed in with a lot of teachings that are not. I am not the only Christian who sees these problems but I won't go into that here.
     
  7. Salamander

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    Isn't there a parallel to the teachings by the charismatics in the sense of relying solely upon a philosophical look at the scriptures and what one "feels"?

    I see the charismatic movement as an infiltration inot Christianity by the philosophies of Stoicism. While Epicureanism is not altogether different, it also has its influences regarding thought above natural reason and also against clear teachings of scripture by taking things from out of their context and forming dogmas contrary to sound doctrine.
     
  8. Filmproducer

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    :confused: Not sure what you are saying here. If you are examining the scriptures philosophically, you are by nature studying the system of belief, and the basic concepts behind it. It has nothing to do with "feelings". Philosophy, in and of itself, is the study of a system of thought. I would think that more Christians should take a "philosophical" approach to studying scripture. In other words, studying their faith and beliefs for themselves, and not just taking someone's word for it. Pastors are there to teach us, not spoonfeed us. We need to take what we have been taught and study it for ourselves.

    Please give a more detailed explanation on how stoicism correlates to the charismatic movement. Also how exactly does epicureanism influence thought above natural reason? In fact, please explain in more detail the entire second paragraph, so that I can intelligently respond. I'm just not sure what you are getting at.
     

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