If someone is ill, it’s because of bad thinking or bad habits.In some ways, I think this is a more helpful attitude from a therapeutic perspective – if someone has depression or anxiety or hears voices, it will just freak them out even more if you say ‘this is the Devil trying to drag you to Hell for eternity’.Compare Cleanthes’ Hymn to one of David’s Psalms, or indeed to the passionate and weepy conversion experience of St Augustine, and you get a sense of the difference. Just to elaborate on the point above – Christianity is far more emotional, it seems to me, than Greek philosophy – full of sobs, and groans, and wails of anger or despair, as well as exultation and ecstasy.
’ There is barely a reference to demonic possession in Greek philosophy.
For the Stoics, it’s rather like the relationship between an aristocratic English (or aristocratic Roman) father and their son – rather distant, intellectual, and based on cold ideas of duty and virtue.
In Judeo-Christianity it’s much more, well, – loud, emotional, needy, constantly bursting into arguments, constant back-and-forth, with God just as needy as humans.
Here are some initial thoughts, please chime in with your own thoughts too. If you make money your god, then you will have to dance to that tune, and bend and twist in accordance with your master.
1) Serving God / the Logos I think one of the main similarities, one of the ways in which Stoicism anticipated Christianity, is the idea of serving the will of God. Another important idea in both Stoicism and Christianity is the question of what is the most important thing in your life. One of the things I think I have been searching for in life is something or someone to serve. And in a way, my career initially involved serving a succession of bad masters.