A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Apologists #3: Justin Martyr, c. 100-165, part 1

It was Justin, who was martyred around AD 165, that presented Christianity as the best of the philosophies of the day. He told of how he studied many different philosophers without finding any satisfaction, until one day, a mysterious old man taught him about the Christian faith (Dialogue with Trypho, 8). Justin emphasized philosophy's continuity with Christianity and its Jewish roots. He taught that the philosophers received their best ideas by reading the Jewish Scriptures (First Apology, 44).

It is important to remember that since the apologists sought to defend Christianity against rumors and misunderstandings, one task that they inherited was to argue that Christians should not be persecuted by the authorities. In the First Apology, Justin states that it is reasonable to abandon these traditions which are not good. This is true because we should only love truth. Of course, Justin will argue that the authorities should abandon the persecution of Christians once they understand the truth concerning Christianity.

Justin urges those who will read The Apology to examine Christianity in the search for truth. Justin claims that his readers are wise philosophers. They should know that justice requires Christians not be condemned simply because of their name. The authorities must take into account what the name "Christian" means before condemning it (First Apology, 2, 4). Justin takes several chapters to refute the charge of atheism against Christians, since they worshiped a deity without human form. He does so by explaining what Christians believe about God and by challenging the Roman temple system of gods and goddesses (First Apology, 6, 9, 10).
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Previous Posts:

The Apologists #1: Introduction

The Apologists #2: Pagan Culture and Judaism

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