To these turn this disease of thine with some advantage. Attack the silence of Pythagoras, and the Orphic beans, and the novel brag about "The Master said."Here we see that Christian philosophy is both polemical and apologetical.
Attack the ideas of Plato, and the transmigrations and courses of our souls, and the reminiscences, and the unlovely loves of the soul for lovely bodies.
Attack the atheism of Epicurus, and his atoms, and his unphilosophic pleasure; or Aristotle's petty Providence, and his artificial system, and his discourses about the mortality of the soul, and the humanitarianism of his doctrine.
Attack the superciliousness of the Stoa, or the greed and vulgarity of the Cynic.
Attack the "Void and Full" (what nonsense), and all the details about the gods and the sacrifices and the idols and demons, whether beneficent or malignant, and all the tricks that people play with divination, evoking of gods, or of souls, and the power of the stars. And if these things seem to you unworthy of discussion as petty and already often confuted, and you will keep to your line, and seek the satisfaction of your ambition in it; then here too I will provide you with broad paths.
Philosophize about the world or worlds; about matter; about soul; about natures endowed with reason, good or bad; about resurrection, about judgment, about reward, or the Sufferings of Christ. For in these subjects to hit the mark is not useless, and to miss it is not dangerous. But with God we shall have converse, in this life only in a small degree; but a little later, it may be, more perfectly, in the Same, our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Saint Gregory Nazianzus, Oration 27, 9
Friday, April 17, 2009
I was reading through some of the orations of St. Gregory of Nazianzus and came across a great passage where St. Gregory exhorts Christians to "take every thought captive" (2 Cor 10:5) by declaring war on the vain doctrines of the Pagan Philosophers. It's a great example of how early Christians were not afraid to interact with philosophy.