Seeking God-Greek Philosophers

In the interests of my ongoing pursuit I’ve been considering some of the Greek philosophers who appear to have made some in-roads into the nature of God, or, god-likeness anyway.

Diogenes the Cynic maintained virtue as the true path to happiness. Living in poverty, reviling social constructs and the accumulation of wealth he assumed dog-likeness, living in the present without anxiety, a simple life of virtue depending on the kindness of others for his survival. The purity of his motives seem pretty god-like to me. Can dog-likeness be akin to God-likeness?

Chrysippus was a stoic philosopher who believed that, while one’s fate was pretty much set in stone if one controlled his soul crushing passions and adjusted his will to intersect with what was going to happen anyway, peace and tranquility were a real possibility. He also believed in the equality of all men (but, unfortunately, I’m not sure he meant women to be included in that generality). Still, he was certainly an honorable and virtuous man who deserves inclusion in any consideration of god-likeness.

Epicurus, founder of the Epicureans, expounded this very reasonable way of life based on moderation of desires and the seeking of a state of static pleasures which amounted to minimizing pain, anxiety and suffering. Among other things he believed the gods held little sway regarding the goings-on in the world and that the only true knowledge one could acquire came through the senses.

One of Epicurus’ chief disciples, Lucretius wrote a poem in which he goes to considerable lengths describing how the world formed within the infinite universe which had to do with the movements of tiny particles from which all things, wind, water, fire , earth and all that inhabit the world are composed. All things including the gods and men’s souls, Epicurus put forth, must expect a terminal existence, have a limited shelf-life, is subject to mortal demise over time.  Well, this did not sit well with the temple-goers. Despite the fact Epicurus was clearly an honorable person; celibate and a vegetarian to boot and clearly not a hedonist, his name became synonymous with heretic; he was persona non grata amongst the believers. He may not be God but if he was around today I’d definitely invite him to the ashram.

All three of these men point the way toward god-like qualities but omniscience is probably not among their attributes. I guess I can rule out omnipotency and omnipresence as well. Maybe perfection is an unreasonable assumption.

greek philosophers

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