The Rise of Christianity

Cover of book The Rise of Christianity
Categories: Nonfiction

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PREPARATION FOR CHRISTIANITY IN GREEK PHILOSOPHY The chief import of Greek philosophy, as far as Christianity is concerned, is that it created the forms of thought in which the West could assimilate religious impulses and experiences. Monotheism, the fundamental feature of the Christian system, had its theological and ethical consequences so fully developed in Greek philosophy that it led directly to the dogmatic and ethic of the Church. The way had been well prepared for monotheism by the development of Greek philosophy. The rational craving for unity, to which philosophic speculation owes its rise, led inevitably to the monotheistic conception. Philosophic thought had, since the time of Thales of Miletus, regarded the natural world as a whole, and sought its supreme life-principle, its ground of existence. In the same way it conceived the spiritual world as a unity. To the deities of popular mythology it opposed the one God whom, in its abstract deduction of unity from plurality, it regarded as the essence of them all. The Greek philosophers are all monotheists, except those of the atomic school, who are concerned only with the scientific interpretation of nature ; they remain monotheists even when, in practical life, they declare the popular deities to be particular revelations of the one God. Since Xenophanes wrote in the sixth century of the one God, supreme above all gods and men, not to be compared to mortals either in shape or thought, all eye, all ear, all mind, the idea of God's unity became an essential part of Greek philosophy. However, this philosophic monotheism has to find some connecting link with the world. At first God himself is a cosmic power and phenomenon, the All-One, enclosing the world in himself as an eternal being or eternal bec...

The Rise of Christianity
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