Plato and Christianity

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by ExpectantlyIronic, Apr 2, 2010.

  1. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    In the works of Plato, Socrates speaks of a perfect and unchanging God, and states that people have immortal souls. He says those souls rise up to be with God if unburdened with sin, but descend into Hades if weighted down by sin. Mind you, Plato lived more than 300 years prior to Jesus, and Judaism contains no doctrine concerning souls or an afterlife. Such things have led some to say Plato must have been inspired by God, and others to say the writers of the New Testament must have been inspired by Plato. In fact, the early Christian church is said to have made Plato an "honorary Christian".

    The other obvious parallel between the writings of Plato and Christianity, lies in similarities between the life and death of Jesus and Socrates. Socrates went around questioning established beliefs and chastising the sinful, and was later put to death for being a heretic and "corrupting the youth". Socrates was also said by Plato to have gone willingly to his death, as Plato had offered to bribe Socrates' guards so he could escape. There are many points where the stories differ, but all the same, the parallels are intriguing.

    So whether we think Plato was a Christian prophet of a sort who predated Christ, or else an inspiration for Christianity, or something else; it seems quite interesting that an ancient Greek anticipated so much of the religion.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010

  2. Diederick

    Diederick Registered Member

    Christianity is stuffed with doctrines stolen/borrowed from older religions from that neighbourhood. It wouldn't surprise me if the early great minds were in it too.
  3. aramis

    aramis Registered Member

    Platonic "Science" (more properly, Platonic Philosophy) was widely accepted as the general truth by many Greek pagans, as well as a lot of Jews, most of the Roman elite, and large chunks of the Persian and Egyptian cultures. It was also consistent with Zoroastrian worldviews.

    The inclusion of Plato's philosophical strictures into the theology and worldviews of the peoples of Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian faiths is almost inevitable by simply having been the language of the educated. Some elements of it also find their way into Islam.

    In many ways, science leads to either atheism or monotheism; polytheism and pantheonism tend to not support a a stable coherent system of rules for the universe.
  4. Boredie

    Boredie In need of Entertainment

    That's not accurate. Judaism's belief of souls and afterlife are just different than Christianity's.
  5. aramis

    aramis Registered Member

    The Jewish belief in Sheol (the place where the dead rest until the Day of Judgment) are the basis for the Catholic Dogma of Purgatory.
  6. Ramman

    Ramman Registered Member

    GOD created all Human Beings and his Grace is TRUTH.

    Jesus is GOD.

    So if you take a look at what you have written - who really came first.

    Jesus , or Plato

  7. Boredie

    Boredie In need of Entertainment

    The only ones who rest there till the day of judgement are those who are considered "re'sha'im" - evil people. All others, even those who have sinned do not remain in sheol till the day of judgement they are either reincarnated or after a day they are sent to the afterlife.
  8. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    You're right that their are passages of the Hebrew Bible that allude to or make mention of an afterlife, and souls of a sort, though arguable in a non-metaphysical sense of the term "souls". I'm pretty confident, though, that the notion of an immortal soul that rises into heaven or descends into hell owes mainly to Plato/Socrates for its popularity, if the idea itself does not owe to them (Plato is the first I know of to commit it to writing, certainly).

    Plato. If nothing else, though, I suspect we can agree that Plato was born first.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
  9. quantumechanic

    quantumechanic Registered Member

    The Hebrew Bible doesn't constitute all of the Jewish faith. There are plenty of rabbinical scholars who discussed the notion of an afterlife and the existence of non-corporeal souls (such as Maimonides, for example).
    Read this: Jewish eschatology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    That point wasn't the one Boredie was contesting. You said that:
    ...which is untrue, and the point Boredie was contesting.

    Incidentally, while Plato may have been the first to commit the idea to text, the Hebrew Mishnah contains passages referring to a purgatory. It was redacted 220 BC, but contains oral traditions dating back about 300 years before that - approx. 200 years before Plato died.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
  10. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    I'm taking from your post that there's no strong evidence of a Jewish belief in metaphysical souls prior to Plato that you know of? In any case, I believe I admitted that Boredie was correct in my response to her, and find your response to me a little baffling and unnecessarily antagonistic. Really, you're just erecting a man of straw there.
    If it'll make you feel better, I'll say I was wrong concerning Jewish doctrine as it concerns an afterlife. It certainly wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong about something, and I'm sure it won't be the last.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010

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