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Stoicism Hellenistic philosophy, was founded by Zeno of Citium (333-264 B.C.) in the early third century B.C. in ancient Greece. It sought to find a sense of divine justice and de-emphasized emotion and feelings, teaching that both pain and pleasure should be disregarded. Instead, cool-headed reason and logic should be used at all times and self-indulgence denied.

  • "We live in an age, and a milieu, where we are encouraged to indulge every inclination and urge. We are warned that denying these urges is unhealthy, even psychologically dangerous, but history and experience have demonstrated that many inclinations and urges (kleptomania, sexual predation, attractions to alcohol and drugs, pedophilia, etc.) ought to be resisted. Happiness is not achieved by satisfying urges. In fact, greatness is often achieved by resisting urges." Once we start redefining marriage, where do we stop? - Thomas M. Doran

Stoics believed that virtue is to maintain a willpower that should be in accordance with nature. This philosophy holds that self-control and fortitude are means of overcoming destructive emotions.

In addition to Zeno, Stoic philosophers included Epictetus (55 - 135 AD), Marcus Aurelius (121 - 180 AD) and Seneca (4 BC - 65 AD). The philosophical works of Seneca had an important role in the revival of Stoic ideas in the Renaissance.

"Sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy." Epictetus; In disgrace?, but what of it? a Stoic can still be virtuous.

Philosophy for a Stoic is an active process of constant practice, dialogs, meditation, reflection and training in abstinence, self-control and fortitude.

Justin the Martyr, an early Christian Martyr used stoic philosophy in his First Apology to defend the Christian faith. Drawing upon the stoic reliance on reason, Logos, and the idea in John's gospel that the word, Logos became flesh, he compared Christians to the wise, and sought to defend the faithful from persecution.

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