Before an analysis of the relationship between Christianity and Stoicism can occur, an understanding of the fundamental values of Stoicism is necessary. Principally, Stoics believed that “every event that occurs in the cosmos- from the most important to the most trivial- was fated to occur, and determined to occur” (Brennan, 235). Stoics, as a whole, tended to view the physical and intellectual world in analytical and logical terms. In Stoicism and its Influence, R. M. Wenley makes the point that “the Stoics attempted to frame a theory of the physical universe, of the individual man as he finds himself under compulsion in this universe and, combining the two, to formulate a rule of life in conformity with Reason” (75). Stoics wanted to achieve an other worldly understanding of the physical and intellectual world they resided in. Furthermore, another contribution to their central argument was that the highest good lies in virtue, and that the final purpose for man is to achieve happiness.
To achieve the highest good, many Stoics, like Plato, believed in a set, careful process primarily focused in education and meditation. Marcus Aurelius, a Roman Emperor and Stoic, believed that through “following after the things produced according to nature”, one could begin to develop a virtuous soul, as shown in his Meditations (Book III: 2). This is a fundamental principle of Stoicism, also discussed in The Republic in which Plato developed a set process, kno...
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... impersonal relationship central to Stoic philosophy prevents its followers from obtaining their full potential in the after life. Unlike the Stoics, Christians' personal relationship with their monotheistic God not only endows them with the instructions necessary to daily life, but also eliminates all mystery regarding the after life. Christians know without a single shred of doubt that their eternal life with their monotheistic God will be full of peace and bliss.
The Bible. New York: Chelsea House, 2006. Print.
Brennan, Tad. The Stoic Life: Emotions, Duties, and Fate. Oxford: Clarendon, 2006. Print.
Marcus, Aurelius, Martin Hammond, and Diskin Clay. Meditations. London: Penguin, 2006. Print.
Rist, John M. Stoic Philosophy. London: Cambridge U.P., 1969. Print.
Wenley, R. M. Stoicism and Its Influence. [Whitefish, MT.]: Kessinger, 2007. Print.
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