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Christianity and Philosophy - Was it a good mix?
Hi Pele, welcome to the forum!
I agreed with a previous poster. Philosophies of all kind have crept into our thinking. There's no reason to believe it was different in the first century when the Greek scriptures were written. The scriptures may represent some of the philosophical thoughts of the time, but that doesn't mean it's contrary to God's standards.
David it may be that Paul and Plato arrived at certain truths independently one through rational thinking the other perhaps through Jewish morality and divine revelation.
But reading Paul's letters one sees that some of his ideas are close to or identical to those of ancient Greek philosophers.
Thanks! What do you think about this issue? (Judging by your nickname you understand different viewpoints on the question) .
Thanks for your greetings portuguese... Você fala em português?
I agree with you, it is everywhere, even in innocent terms like philosophy of life, logic and line of reasoning.
They that say a good stoic is a christian...anyway, where do you see cynism in gospels and Plato in Hebrews?
Nobody, I feel, can escape philosophy.
If you read the New Testament with some philosophical background you can detect influences everywhere. From Platonism in Hebrews, from Stoicism in Paul, from Cynicism in the Synoptic Gospels...
Nice to meet you.
Strictly speaking, they are in search for wisdom and not truth, some of them (philosopher) does not believe that it is possible to know truth. Anyway I enjoyed you analogy, a lot of answers for the same subject when you speak about God.
Hello serendipity (loved your nickname),
I believe not all philosophy are that bad, in my humble opinion Paul had objected some philosophical systems in its days (like epicureans or even platonism) but this systems evolved after apostles (for bad and good).
While the general spirit in philosophy still exists (i.e. speculative thinking, polemicism, skepticism sometimes and critical attitude over subjects) we can't deny the progress and contribution of the field for mankind for instance in LOGIC a part of philosophy that witness are suppose to use or even in cartesian views of the world or even Scientific methodology (episthemology), not to mention ethics (another thing vindicated for witness when they deal with patient rights questions).
Thats why I have been trying to understand some philosophical systems these days besides every advices contrary. P erhaps the main concern of witness about this has to do with critical reasoning, educated people that try to adopt a "socratic" or "dialetic" way to evaluate some of our polemic teachings simply are rejected as a critic or apostate and this is too bad.
Unfortunatly Jehovah's witnesses often loose some good thinkers and more important devoted and aproved by God that would contribute to improve theirs own coletive views in a free and dialetic atmosphere (thesis-antithesis-sinthesis), a better aproach than to have a monopoly of disagreement between some uneducated or naive brothers among a governing body.
Fiquei alguns anos em congregaçôes portuguesas em França e fui desassociado numa delas, jà faz uns 20 anos.
(Translation, just to spare Ozzie's blood pressure: I spent a few years in Portuguese congregations in France and I was df'd in one of them, about 20 years ago.)
There is much resemblance between Cynicism and the teaching and activity of the "itinerant radicals" which are one primary source for the Synoptic Gospels and the picture of Jesus as a wandering unconventional teacher, as has been acknowledged by a number of NT scholars (F.G. Downing, B. Mack, J.D. Crossan, etc.).
As for Hebrews, the whole concept of earthly things (as the temple, priesthood and service) being figures and shades of a heavenly ideal pattern reflects a popular version of Platonism, which is also echoed by Philo of Alexandria. Any introduction to the book of Hebrews won't fail to point out that.
the bible doesn't seems to put philosophy in a good view,
I believe that all of the scriptures you cited are attributed to Paul. IMO his letters generally have an angry, moralizing tone to them, so I don't really put much stock in them. I don't think Jesus ever said anything about philosophy.
Here is a a little something I picked up from my ex psych-major girl. she came home one day, telling me about Socrates. He was considered one of the wisest men who ever lived, and was killed by the powerful people of his city. She told me his big saying was "People consider me wise, only because I realize the extent of my own ignorance." That stuck with me, and I kept that mindset searching the scriptures. I was going crazy trying to figure out why he was such a threat to the powers that were. In my research, I am left with a theory.....He was highly revered and respected, and the other inferior "teachers" of his time were making alot of money selling their "knowledge". Yet he was giving his away for free. Beyond that even , it would be pretty hard to control and lead a poor population of "Socrates', who are wiser than you are. Seems they got what they needed from him, and got rid of him, so they could bend it, twist it how they wanted with no interference. Am I warm yet? Seems he was in good company too. Now, what would happen today, if someone started doing that? Be kind of like the magician who gave away all the secrets awhile back. remember that? Why did he risk his neck like that? Was he paid a bunch of money for it? What would be someones motivation for doing that? Money seems silly as you probably won't be around to spend it. Anyone have any ideas?