The Greeks In The History Of Christianity

. It was Plato that who deals with the relations between man and divinity. Speaking about the divinity, he does not have in view a being of cult, but the idea of well. Plato syllogism is Well equal with Supreme Virtue. I did not mention Plato accidentally; he is considered to be the first systematic theologian, with the mention that he does not invite us to belief but to dialog.

Hellenism did not disappeared yet. We, the Europeans, are its products. Greek culture separated the humanist Europe from tyrannical Asia. (Only the Russian communism tried to mix them, without success.) Asia was tyrannical in politics, while Europe humanist in culture. Unfortunately, politics rarely had something in common with culture, so that there is not so much difference between East and West.

Unlike the myth of perpetual returning of the Greeks, the Christianity brings the history, and gives it a sense: the salvation. (Mircea Eliade analyses very well these ideas in one of his books, entitled just "The Myth of the Eternal Return".) Unhappily, Christianity cancels any evolution after the Final Judgement that will put it an end. "When Messiah will come, mankind will be saved once for ever, and history will cease to exist". This seems to come back to the condition of primitive man, for which time does not exist, without speaking about the evolution, or history. The primitive man, like the animal, lives the moment in a perpetual continuum. Christianity seems to suggest a returning to the "lost paradise of the animal".

Oriental faiths, looked from Europe, seem to be more inclined to philosophy, while the Christianity pays much attention to small stories. And still, the great modern philosophies belong to Europe. Yes, but only after the Rationalism overcame the Christianity. Or maybe just Christianity stimulated the birth of the Rationalism, due to its exaggerations.

Socrates was the one who discovered the Rationalism. People from the old times used to have many gods, half-gods, heroes, etc. From this reason, they were more responsive, more ready to accept alternative possibilities. They had larger conception. After several centuries of the black religious Middle Age, the whole European cultural evolution was under the Rationalism sign, culminating with Descartes, Leibnitz, Newton, etc. But Rationalism has its limits. I am not the first saying it. Jose Ortega y Gasset has shown it repeatedly. Communism is also an exaggeration of democratic ideas, as democracy has its limits too.

The idea of a good divinity was not just new. The Greeks advanced it long time ago, and it would have been impossible for Jewish to not knowing it. The Apostle Paul himself was a Jew from Greece of that time (Tars of nowadays Turkey), and it was him who first made great efforts in his epistles to the Romans in showing that God is for all the people, not only for Jews. As for a good-hearted divinity, the Greek philosophers prepared people for it. If we study attentively the Mythology, beyond the stories, we shall find a humanist doctrine. Gods used to be like people, with human qualities and defects. They were only some more powerful ones. In the meantime, some Greek philosophers had risen against the gods' exaggerate power, wanting a more kind-hearted divinity. So was Aeschylus in his "Prometheus (Bound, Unbound and Fire-Bringer" and "Oresteia", and many others, long before Jesus Christ. The idea of a loving-people divinity used to be already present. "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom". It is not me who say this. It is written in 1 Corinthians 1:22.

Rationalism preserved the idea of history, with its way to the progress, but ignoring the end of Christian theology. Progress seems to be infinite. Unhappily, between a previous future and a later one, we seem to be a tiny infinite. And still something remains: the hope. The ancient people named it better: soul, which is going to be up-to-dated as spirit. Man never accepted that he is only a decaying body, so always sought for something transcendental, surviving him, so all our aspirations have in view something eternal, if possible.

. Willing or not, any religion has implications in morale. For those who are not quite bigots, the morale is just the main purpose of any religion. Thinking in this way, the Christianity is that which gave us the dignity. We are no more some offal fall from the Universe, as it happens in oriental faiths, a kind of wrecks, but God's children. Besides, we are equal in front of God, therefore equal one another. This is the beginning of the real democracy.

It is true that ancient Greeks invented this word, democracy, with the meaning of the government by the people, and they really did it, but not for all the people. Their society was a slave-owning one; people were divided in social classes, with different rights. The democracy used to be for the upper class. This mentality was in a perfect accord with their mythology, where gods, like people, were having different powers, accordingly with their position in the genealogical tree, starting with Uranus and Gaea, the first ones, and Zeus, the almightiness one (But not in front of women. Smile!).

As every religion has its Deluge, the Greek Mythology has one as well, but its final is a little differently. Zeus, being angry with people, decides to kill them, so that he unleashed the waters. But Prometheus, even chained on Mount Elbrus, used to have the gift of foreseeing, and he advised his son, Deucalion, to make a boat and row as far as the mount Parnassus, the highest. Deucalion took his wife, and did what his father had tough him. After water withdrawal, they were the single people on the earth, exactly like Noah from the Bible. Hence, all the people have them as ancestors. The difference is that, in the Greek Mythology, besides the Deucalion's heirs, there is another kind of people: accordingly with a dream, going down from the mountain, they threw back in their trace all the stones they met in the way; from every stone, immediately, a man rose. Consequently, there are two categories of people: the natural Deucalion's heirs and those born from stones.

As for the general idea of classifying in gods, heroes and people, this could be seen as a motivation for the monarchies.

 

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