stoicism

What’s the church’s view on stoics and their ethics and morals?

Not a favorable view to say the least, but I like a lot of stoic philosophy.

Stoicism seeks apathy as to the events of life, Christianity would seek joy and love as a response, to embrace God’s will in everything.

Erasmus criticized stoicism for its upsetting of the balance between man’s intellect and emotions. He said both were needed:

ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/erasmus/folly2.htm

First of all, it’s admitted that all the emotions belong to Folly, and this is what marks the wise man off-from the fool; he is ruled by reason, the fool by his emotions. That is why the stoics segregate all passions from the wise man, as if they were diseases. But in fact these emotions not only act as guides to those hastening towards the haven of wisdom, but also wherever virtue is put into practice they are always present to act like spurs and goads as incentives towards good, deeds. Yet this is hotly denied by that double-dyed stoic Seneca who strips his wise man of every emotion. In doing so he leaves nothing at all of the man, and has to ‘fabricate’ in his place a new sort of god who never was and never will be in existence anywhere. Indeed, if I may be frank, what he created was a kind of marble statue of a man, devoid of sense and any sort of human feeling. Well, if that’s what they like, they can enjoy their wise man, love him without a rival, live with him in Plato’s Republic or in the kingdom of Ideas, if they prefer, or else in the gardens of Tantalus. Who wouldn’t flee in terror from a man like that as a monstrous apparition, deaf as he is to all natural feelings, and no more moved by love or pity or any emotions

than if hard flint or Parian crag stands fixed?

Two books about Roman stoicism were written in Shakespeare’s day. His was response was Julius Caesar.
Both Caesar and Brutus were stoics. In contrast, Marc Anthony was a fun loving guy. As a result, Anthony was in touch with the people, turned the mob against Brutus and defeated Brutus. ( But, in Anthony and Cleopatra, Anthony is a slave to his passions and this leads to his downfall. He abandoned his reason, the opposite of stoicism. Balance is the key. )

I think certain aspects of stoicism can be in tune with Christian thought. The Christian Stoicism in the 19th century could be an example.

artofmanliness.com/2012/11/06/honor-during-victorian-era/

Headings from that article:

What Were the Tenets of the Stoic-Christian Code of Honor?

Rebellion against the values of the aristocracy.

Revival in evangelical Christianity.

Nostalgia.
Expanding Democracy.

The Rise of the Self-Made Man.

This is not stoicism. It’s economic/political/social leanings.

Stoicism is about the balance between intellect and emotions. Stoics want to deny emotions.

The author of that article coined the phrase Christian-stoicism to make himself famous. It’s an old trick with these intellectuals.

Here’s what I personally believe. I do not deny emotions in my philosophy but accept them for what they are. They just happen. I don’t know I would put any trust in them though. Outside forces can manipulate your emotion. But I believe we are to be unmoved when something happens out of our control. Wether it’s directly god’s will or not I don’t know so I don’t judge. When a spouse leaves (in the world) that happens. When a persons child dies. That happens there will be grief as expected but this might be caused by attachments to the changing. Some say it’s not right for a parent to outlive their child. I say “Where’s that a rule”.

Here’s what I personally believe. I do not deny emotions in my philosophy but accept them for what they are. They just happen. I don’t know I would put any trust in them though. Outside forces can manipulate your emotion. But I believe we are to be unmoved when something happens out of our control. Wether it’s directly god’s will or not I don’t know so I don’t judge. When a spouse leaves (in the world) that happens. When a persons child dies. That happens there will be grief as expected but this might be caused by attachments to the changing. Some say it’s not right for a parent to outlive their child. I say “Where’s that a rule”.

That’s all fine, but you’re talking about reactions to uncontrollable events.

Stoicism is not only about being brave in the face of adversities. It’s about how a person makes choices.

Brutus depended on his intellect alone to decide to assassinate Caesar and prevent him from becoming a dictator, although what Caesar would have become is unknown. Brutus denied his own emotion of being loyal to his old friend. The result was civil war, the end of the Roman Republic, and a string of dictatorial emperors that lasted for centuries.

In another Shakesperean play, The Merchant of Venice, a major theme is balancing justice with mercy. Shylock wants his pound of flesh. Justice demands he get it. Portia argues that “The quality of mercy is not [con]strained”, that is, the judges could if they wish base their decisions on emotion and give the defendent a break. ( Portia later wins the case on a technicality, but that’s besides the point. It is Shylock who fails to be merciful and that’s his downfall. )

Shakespeare’s purpose in Julius Caesar was to examine what kind of man to be.
In Macbeth, he has Macbeth say at one point, “I dare do all that becomes a man. Who dares to more is none.” But Macbeth fails to live up to his own words. He falls slave to his own emotional desire to become king, overruling his intellect which should have told him he could not become king by assassination and get away with it. He also knew he’d be damned for it: “mine eternal jewel given to the common enemy of man.”

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