Are Christianity and Stoicism Compatible?

By Faith and Rain, 7 January, 2024
Two Christian scholars debating.

Many people view Christianity and stoicism as cold and hot, even when some beliefs are similar.

There are many differences than similarities with Christianity and stoicism.

However, this cannot stop people from debating whether the two are companionable.

Some people think the two are friendly, even with different beliefs and ideologies.

So, are there many differences between Christianity and stoicism that the two are incompatible, or can the two be friendly?

Is Stoicism compatible with Christianity?

According to various studies, stoicism and Christianity are compatible.

They are compatible because they both offer security and peace that leads to happiness.

There are many beliefs that are similar in both Christianity and stoicism.

For example, stoics believe they can find peace and happiness by relying on their inner self.

Christians believe you can find peace and happiness by relying on your inner self and following the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Another reason stoicism and Christianity are compatible is that both are monotheistic.

Stoics believe in one Logo and follow Heraclitus, while Christians believe in one God and follow Jesus Christ.

Christianity and stoicism serve the will of God/Logos.

They believe it can liberate us from anxiety and fear by submitting ourselves to the will of the Divine.

Also, Heraclitus, a Greek Philosopher said all things happen according to Logos.

Stoics believe Logos was a force sent by God.

The Gospel of John refers to Jesus as the word and Christians believe He is a force sent by God.

Both Christians and stoics search for easiness in worship. 

They also believe it is impossible to worship two gods at once; You can only follow and worship one God.

To them, one cannot worship God and money, or God and other people’s opinion.

And as Matthew 6:6 states - “If you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your unseen Father. Then, your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

They believe that worshiping God/Logo should be private.

However, there are some ancient Christians that believed stoicism is a pagan philosophy. 

Modern Christians have employed some concepts of stoicism.

Therefore, both Christianity and stoicism are compatible.

What is Stoicism?

According to Wikipedia, Stoicism is a philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens.

They formed it when the Greek world was in confusion.

At first, we knew stoicism as Zenonism; They named it after the founder, Zeno.

However, the name was changed from Zenonism to stoicism because some stoics did not think their founder was wise enough.

The word stoic refers to someone who is unmoved by joy, grief, pleasure, or pain.

According to the philosophy’s teachings, they find the path to happiness and blessedness when someone accepts the moment as it presents itself.

The desire for pleasure, pain, fear, or by using his or her mind to understand the world should control no one.

Everyone should treat others with just and fairness; They teach that virtue is sufficient for happiness and peace.

Stoics preach virtue ethics and believe external things such as wealth, health, and pleasure are good or bad, but have value.

The main cardinal virtues of stoic philosophy include wisdom, justice, courage, and temperature.

What are the key differences between Stoicism and Christianity?

Based on their philosophies, there are many differences between Stoicism and Christianity.

For instance, with stoicism, there are no demons, angles, or trinity; In addition, the Logos in stoicism are an unknown force.

But with Christianity, there are angels and demons.

Jesus Christ is the force in Christianity, and He is the son of God.

Stoic relationship with Logos is knowledgeable, distant, and based on the ideas of virtue.

On the other hand, the Christian relationship with God is more personal, where he sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for the believers.

The other difference between the two is that Christians seek help from God through prayers while stoics pursue help from within.

Christians pray to God to be healed when they are sick, to be released from sufferings, and to be comforted when they are in sorrow.

But stoics say when we need good things; we get them from our surroundings.

Stoicism Vs Christianity

We need no spirit to relieve us from pain, sickness, or sorrow.

Besides, Christians believe humans were born with the original sin that corrupted their morals.

It is only through the grace of God we can be saved.

On the other hand, stoics believe nature can corrupt or impart people with the capacity to reason.

They also view people who are mentally handicapped as defectives, while Christians view them as children of God who should be loved and respected like any other person.

With the afterlife, Christians believe there is life after death.

They believe this life is just a shadow of the world to come.

With Christianity, the dead will rise when Christ Jesus returns to separate the sheep from goats.

In addition, they will establish the kingdom of God on earth.

However, stoicism has a different opinion; They do not talk about the afterlife and they do not think there is life after the grave.

For the stoics, it does not matter what will or will not happen after death.

What matters is to make the best use of the time you have here on earth.

Last Thoughts

With the above differences and similarities, there are people who believe they are compatible, while others think they are incompatible.

They formed Stoicism to offer security and peace when the Greek world was facing violence and chaos.

They taught people how they could rely on their inner self to find peace and happiness.

On the other hand, Christianity teaches love, forgiveness, charity, and compassion through the teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Therefore, in both reigns, there are elements that every person can admire. They teach people how to live and find happiness and peace.