Tuesday, March 06, 2007

PLATO AND CHRISTIANITY

One of my closest friends is into philosophy in all kinds of ways. And he's started getting me into the discipline.

I'm preparing a study looking at the history of the idea of Christian love. It's quite interesting. I don't believe there is such a subject in theology that has been as neglected as love. It is rarely studied - only assumed to be understood.

So, I'm starting with Plato, who lived over 400 years before the development of Christianity. His view dominated the Hellenistic world in which the New Testament comes out.

It's amazing how philosophy so greatly influences religion. I'm starting to read more and Plato and looking at Platonic views in Christianity - they're there and are very obvious when you look for them.

I used to think "why does Plato matter? he has nothing to do with the Bible!" I was completely wrong. Platonic philosophy dominated the Hellenistic world and it is important to understand its thinking if we are to fully grasp what the NT writers were talking about with respect to love, for example.

3 comments:

tony said...

i think im burnt out on school work, i dont care anymore i am sooo tired! :-( come and read for me and tell me what it means!

Allen said...

It makes sense how philosophy and religion work so closely together, since a lot of times their subject matter overlaps... especially with existentialism. Existentialists were the ones that said the old questions (what is truth? what is beautiful? what is right? what is real?) didn't really matter because there was no answer to them, rather we should focus on "what is our purpose?" which is a very religious question. Hence people such as Kierkegaard who hold discussions on topics and tend to meander between religion and philosophy with almost no change.

Also philosophy and religion are the means that we humans try to answer questions that science cannot. Science can tell us about our material world, but science cannot detect our soul, hence the philosophical question of dualism and the religion discussion of "the immortality of the soul". Science cannot answer what is "good" or "moral" so philosophers try to find ethical standards, and religion gives ethical standards. Where science can not go, humans run with philosophy and religion.

Allen said...

love the quote under your blog title