• Dermot Griffin
    96
    It is foolish to do away with what is good in other systems of thinking. As a Christian I believe that Christ is the fulfillment of truth. However, I really believe that there are other systems of thought that predate the church can pull one towards Christ if the individual lets himself. What follows is a brief list:

    Heraclitus
    Platonism
    Pythagoreanism
    Aristotelianism
    Stoicism
    Confucianism
    Daoism
    Buddhism
    Vedantism
    Nyaya
    Zoroastrianism
    Sapiential Books of the Bible (Psalms, Proverbs, Sirach, Wisdom, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes)
    Hillel the Elder

    And editions to this list would be interesting to hear.
  • emancipate
    446
    Please explain how Buddhism can pull one towards Christ. Genuinely curious and not trying to start a quibble. I just don't see it.
  • Moses
    137
    Perhaps Judaism (I'm exploring this question now) but it's interesting how you mention Hillel who's a famous Jewish thinker but not Judaism/the OT itself. Modern Judaism awaits the messiah. I've never heard Hillel described as a Christian apologist but my knowledge of the man is limited.

    I think other books outside the ones you mention could potentially pull towards Christianity. Book of Daniel for instance references a "son of man" but the translation is of course contentious. Christians sometimes cite Jeremiah as referencing the coming of Christ. I believe Jeremiah 31:31.

    Interesting how Sirach didn't make the cut for the Jewish canon. I haven't read it but I'd be interested to see how it compares to Proverbs.
  • Ciceronianus
    2.4k


    Christianity was influenced by and borrowed extensively from virtually every philosophy and religion popular in the Roman Empire. I would think Neo-Platonism influenced it more than Platonism at least early on, and would add some Cynicism to the mix, as well as some of the beliefs of the Gnostic sects and the Hermetic tradition.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "pull one towards Christ."
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    I'm not sure what you mean by "pull one towards Christ."Ciceronianus

    Proselytizing thread.
  • Hanover
    8.3k
    I'm not sure what you mean by "pull one towards Christ."Ciceronianus

    That all roads lead to Christ I suppose. Shouldn't be a shocking conclusion based upon:

    As a Christian I believe that Christ is the fulfillment of truth.Dermot Griffin
  • Ciceronianus
    2.4k


    I guess the "pull" may be a reference to "fishers of men" but if so, I don't think of the systems of thought listed as being in the nature of bait for that purpose.
  • Dermot Griffin
    96


    Primarily through the ethical teachings. The Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path provide a similar moral framework to that of Christianity. I am also going to point to the figure of Maitreya, the Buddhist messiah. Who’s to say it isn’t Christ? Again, just my opinion.
  • Jackson
    1.6k


    Just curious: Why would you come to a philosophy forum to preach your religion?
  • Rocco Rosano
    24
    RE: Gateway-philosophies to Christianity
    SUBTOPIC:
    ※→ emancipate; et al,

    I agree. Most of the time, the Westerners don't understand it at all.



    Depending on who you listen to, you might get a story like this:

    {EXCERPT} t is significant of the degree of their ignorance that the story of the Buddha filtered through in such a garbled form that the founder of Buddhism was believed to be two godly persons, Barlaam and Joasaph, who were duly canonized as saints in the Eastern Church and were venerated as such.
    SOURCE: Encyclopedia of World Religions, © 1974 BPC Publishing Company 30 North Terrace, Kent, Australia

    The idea "probably" being that if you follow the Saints (canonized) you come closer to the ascended.
    Most Respectfully,
    R
  • Dermot Griffin
    96


    Not “preaching” anything. Simply interested in exploring the connections between classical philosophy and Christianity is all. Idc what religion anyone is.
  • Dermot Griffin
    96


    Wasn’t thinking of an analogy like that but it’s interesting. In short I think that the concept of Logos applied to God becoming Jesus, in a Kierkegaardian sense, is interesting. That’s why I see all the aforementioned schools of thought as pointers to Christianity but that’s just an opinion. One could study Stoicism and become Buddhist. One could study Platonism and find himself a practicing Hindu and so on.
  • skyblack
    460
    If all roads "lead to Rome" then it must be a static fixed dead place. Not a location that is so dynamic and fluid that, it changes by the time you perceive it.

    If all roads point to Rome then its quite possible Rome is pointing to these roads.

    Therefore it shouldn't be hard to see one can discard the location and the roads, can one do it? Break the box? The God box or the Atheist Box? Let's say the box of any/all beliefs?
  • Cuthbert
    785
    However, I really believe that there are other systems of thought that predate the church can pull one towards Christ if the individual lets himself.Dermot Griffin

    That is true. Socrates could be seen as a pre-Christian martyr, for example. But let's not get carried away. Early Christian thought and theology was heavily influenced by texts and philosophies that already existed. It's perhaps not surprising that the New Testament is packed with fulfillments of ancient prophecies. Christianity is not alone in this. Newton stood on the shoulders of giants. It's not so amazing that Copernicus and Kepler foreshadowed Newton or that Archimedes came within a whisker of inventing calculus, missing the mark by only a couple of thousand years.
  • Jackson
    1.6k


    Preach on brother.
  • skyblack
    460
    Just curious: Why would you come to a philosophy forum to preach your religion?Jackson

    Not “preaching” anything. Simply interested in exploring the connections between classical philosophy and Christianity is all. Idc what religion anyone is.Dermot Griffin

    Preach on brother.Jackson

    Disguising pejoratives by calling it "curiosity" doesn't make it any less evident. Anything wrong with your attitude here? Who the heck are you to question his intents or his right to post here or any other forum he so pleases. For a 5 month old account you talk big. How many accounts you have in this forum? Where does your authority to talk to him like this or to censor him come from? And how did you come to the conclusion one cannot include religion in discussions of philosophy? Perhaps you might consider working on releasing whatever is stuck inside you, or chances are someone may take it out for you.
  • Ciceronianus
    2.4k
    In short I think that the concept of Logos applied to God becoming Jesus, in a Kierkegaardian sense, is interesting. That’s why I see all the aforementioned schools of thought as pointers to Christianity but that’s just an opinion. One could study Stoicism and become Buddhist. One could study Platonism and find himself a practicing Hindu and so on.Dermot Griffin

    With the exception of the short mention of the Logos at the beginning of the Gospel ascribed to John, the last Gospel written, there's nothing connecting the Logos as defined by the ancient pagan philosophers with Jesus (I confess I haven't read Kierkegaard, who has always struck me as too distraught for my taste). I think it's likely its mention in that Gospel is part of a later development in the history of Christianity, along with its claim that belief in Christ is the exclusive means by which we can approach God.
  • Jackson
    1.6k
    Why do people come to a philosophy forum to discuss religion?
  • Tom Storm
    4.3k
    Early Christian thought and theology was heavily influenced by texts and philosophies that already existed. It's perhaps not surprising that the New Testament is packed with fulfillments of ancient prophecies.Cuthbert

    No question. And another way some people look at this is to see Christianity as a derivative belief system that has cannibalized and borrowed from other religions and mystery cults to manufacture yet another faith system.
  • Paine
    519

    As I understand it, the exclusion of other views of the divine characterizes the Pauline version of Christianity.
    So, the question of what might be seen as included has the problem of being cast out at the beginning..
  • Wayfarer
    16.1k
    I really believe that there are other systems of thought that predate the church can pull one towards Christ if the individual lets himself.Dermot Griffin

    I don't believe that Buddhists would agree there would be any soteriological benefit to them in revering Christ. In this verse from the Pali scriptures, the Buddha, after the Awakening, wonders to whom he owes 'reverence or deference'. However, he reflects, it would be 'for the sake of perfecting and unperfected aggregate of virtue' (rather an awkward translation, I admit) that he would revere or defer to another. But he sees no other brahman or contemplative 'more consummate in virtue', so concludes that the only thing which deserves reverence is 'this very dhamma' to which he has fully awakened.

    I have heard that on one occasion, when the Blessed One [the Buddha] was newly Self-awakened, he was staying at Uruvela on the bank of the Nerañjara River, at the foot of the Goatherd's Banyan Tree. Then, while he was alone and in seclusion, this line of thinking arose in his awareness: "One suffers if dwelling without reverence or deference. Now on what brahman or contemplative can I dwell in dependence, honoring and respecting him?"

    Then the thought occurred to him: "It would be for the sake of perfecting an unperfected aggregate of virtue that I would dwell in dependence on another brahman or contemplative, honoring and respecting him. However, in this world with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, in this generation with its brahmans and contemplatives, its royalty and common-folk, I do not see another brahman or contemplative more consummate in virtue than I, on whom I could dwell in dependence, honoring and respecting him. ...

    ..."What if I were to dwell in dependence on this very Dhamma to which I have fully awakened, honoring and respecting it?"
    Garava Sutta: Reverence
  • Banno
    17.4k
    Christianity was influenced by and borrowed extensively from virtually every philosophy and religion popular in the Roman Empire.Ciceronianus

    That's pretty generous.

    Christianity actively demolished the philosophical schools of Athens and Alexandria, destroyed philosophical texts and persecuted teachers of philosophy. The detrimental impact of the Christin hegemony on intellectual life was not reversed for a thousand years. The classical texts were so utterly destroyed in Europe that they had to be "rediscovered" in the east, mostly from Islamic sources.

    It is foolish to do away with what is good in other systems of thinking.Dermot Griffin

    Indeed.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10k
    Christianity actively demolished the philosophical schools of Athens and Alexandria, destroyed philosophical texts and persecuted teachers of philosophy. The detrimental impact of the Christin hegemony on intellectual life was not reversed for a thousand years. The classical texts were so utterly destroyed in Europe that they had to be "rediscovered" in the east, mostly from Islamic sources.Banno

    Trashing that shit and corruption was for the good of humanity. Look at how much further we are ahead today, in our knowledge, than if we would have kept up the ancient Greek traditions.
  • Dermot Griffin
    96


    I appreciate the defense. I think it’s crucial to examine connections between philosophy and religion (hence why I posted this topic in the “Philosophy of religion” section). It’s evident that “proselytizing” is not something that I’m for. In fact, I’m openly against. There’s a verse in the Old Testament regarding this (I think in Exodus and this gets restated again in the Prophets but I’ll have to look back). The morality behind proselytizing is a whole other discussion, though.

    And personally I don’t know of all roads lead to Rome. When Christianity entered China one could say it was a union between Jerusalem and Khanbaliq (or rather “Beijing”). When it entered India there was a union between Jerusalem and Magadha. What’s interesting about Christianity is that it adopts whatever culture it mixes with, not destroying what is good.
  • Moses
    137
    Christianity actively demolished the philosophical schools of Athens and Alexandria, destroyed philosophical texts and persecuted teachers of philosophy.Banno


    Longing for the good old days of pervasive ableism, classism, misogyny, and pederasty? Those evil Christians! /s

    If you ain't doing your basics right then you will get what is coming to you.

    :100:
  • Ciceronianus
    2.4k
    If you ain't doing your basics right then you will get what is coming to you.Moses

    Yes, things haven't changed much since the fifth century C.E. monk Shenoute said "There is no crime for those who have Christ." Better get your mind right.

    The absence of any appreciation of irony is impressive.
  • Ciceronianus
    2.4k
    What’s interesting about Christianity is that it adopts whatever culture it mixes with, not destroying what is good.Dermot Griffin

    Just ask any of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. But perhaps there was nothing good there before the Christians arrived.
  • 180 Proof
    8.7k
    Heraclitus
    Platonism
    Pythagoreanism
    Aristotelianism
    Stoicism
    Confucianism
    Daoism
    Buddhism
    Vedantism
    Nyaya
    Zoroastrianism
    Sapiential Books of the Bible (Psalms, Proverbs, Sirach, Wisdom, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes)
    Hillel the Elder
    Dermot Griffin
    Funny thing though, Dermot, almost every ex-Christian I've ever met or read was, by their own accounts, "pulled away" – liberated – from the Christianity of their upbringing / education by several of the pre-Christian traditions on your list. Some of my liberators (in the 10th-11th years of my 12 years of excellent Parochial school education) are indicated in bold above.
  • Ciceronianus
    2.4k
    Christianity actively demolished the philosophical schools of Athens and Alexandria, destroyed philosophical texts and persecuted teachers of philosophy. The detrimental impact of the Christin hegemony on intellectual life was not reversed for a thousand years. The classical texts were so utterly destroyed in Europe that they had to be "rediscovered" in the east, mostly from Islamic sources.Banno

    Yes, though the schools weren't formally closed by edict until Justinian. But things became especially bad for pagans--and of course Christians deemed to be heretics--starting with the reign of the first Theodosius.

    I think that the Latin western part of the Empire and the Roman successor states there, and the medieval kingdoms of Western Europe, were especially "cleansed" of pagan knowledge and culture. I attribute that in large part to Augustine, who, after some waffling, condemned the pagan philosophers though they couldn't have known of Christ, and of course popularized the notion of original sin.
  • Moses
    137


    I'm not a Christian. I'm not here to defend all things Christian, but the more I look into ancient Greek culture and philosophy and literature the grosser it becomes.

    It's like the opposite of the Judeo-Christian tradition; the Greeks on their surface look decent but dive in a little deeper and it's a hard pass. The bible looks terrible on its surface but dive in a little deeper and it becomes more palatable.
  • skyblack
    460
    What’s interesting about Christianity is that it adopts whatever culture it mixes with, not destroying what is good.Dermot Griffin

    I'm not sure what you are saying is supported by history. But as you might know i have no skin in the religion-anti religion game so i will leave this subject alone. My concern is something else and i have mentioned it in the last para of my initial post.
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