Stoicism: An influential philosophy in ancient Greece and in the Roman world that emphasized a person’s control over the emotions. Founded by Zeno of Citium (334-262 B.C.; not to be confused with Zeno the Eleatic, famous for his paradoxes), Stoicism evolved over time, with three periods usually distinguished: Early Stoicism, Middle Stoicism and Roman Stoicism. Most surviving Stoic writings come from the last period, with the slave Epictetus and the emperor Marcus Aurelius being two of the most famous Stoics. Stoicism was characterized by a conviction that the universe has a rational structure and that whatever happens does so with necessity. True virtue requires an acceptance of external events; the virtuous person lives in accordance with the reason that shapes the universe and gains contentment by an attitude of indifference to the external goods and evils that most people desire and fear.
Evans, C. Stephen (2010-04-28). Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (pp. 110-111). Intervarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
I frequently hear people say Christianity is intolerant. After all, it calls all people – no exceptions – to think and to act as God commands. It requires all people to bow to Jesus alone. Yet in that sense, all religions are intolerant. Every religion requires people to follow what it says is true and right.
“Believe like I do” is easy to spot as an intolerant or “exclusive” claim. But other statements sound more accepting, like “You have to let people believe what they want.” But you can put the plea for openness to this test: Ask yourself, “What does the person mean by ‘You must be open to everything’?” What it almost always means is, “You must be open to everything that I am open to an disagree with anything I disagree with.”
The person who sounds tolerant will never leave you free to believe as you wish. That’s intolerance – and the worst kind of intolerance, because it is intolerance that doesn’t admit it is being intolerant!
Ravi Zacharias and Kevin Johnson, Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Truth of the Christian Message, Youth edition (W Publishing Group, Nashville: Tennessee, 2000), 9.
Recently, I noticed that the presence of Jehovah’s Witnesses is getting thicker in my neighborhood. Just last week, a woman in her 70s rang the door bell in my house for what they are probably best known for. A group of women was knocking on door-to-door to distribute the literature. Upon opening the door for her while holding a baby in one arm, she handed me a tract and asks if I believed in resurrection.
Today I bumped into another woman in her late 60 in the office of Secretary of State. I had my child with me. She approached me with big smile. I thought she was smiling at my child, since little kids draw attention of most adults. As she was less than 10 inches closer to me, I knew now that she was not smiling at my cute child but faking that big smile to simply hand me the same tract that I received a week ago which read whether I believed in the resurrection. I was shocked and blown away by the fact that she was in her walker thus could not walk without the help of the walker. Yet, she was out there in the cold chilling day in the mall to hand out the tracts and spread her belief.
Are evangelicals really slacking when it comes to reach out in public? Yes. In this pluralistic society where truth is relative is not so unopposed to Christianity. The excuse of opposition, however, does not hold much water in its claim. Do not get me wrong, as I am not saying that we have to follow the exact example of those people that I have mentioned earlier. What I am saying is that we can reach out to people in our neighborhood and introduce ourselves. Handing the Gospel tract is not the only way to introduce Jesus to people. Your neighbor next door might not be far away in terms of geography but in a personal level, we can be way too distant from each other. We might not have been able to connect to each other or relate to because we see them someone different than “I”. Have we introduced ourselves to them? Do we have that sort of zeal to earn the name “Christian” just as early believers in Antioch had? If JWs can invest their so much time and effort to knock on door-to-door and mislead the souls away, can we, at least, commit to pray for our church and people who are working in the ground to bind the wounded souls and bring the healing through the Holy Spirit? Or how about inviting people who are broken to partake with you in your table? Or how about we extend our helping hands little bit to partner in the Gospel by taking the financial burden off of our missionary brothers and sisters? Why do we not become zealous to reach out our lost sisters and brothers with love of Jesus Christ?
What if we take the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) and the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) seriously and live it out?
Zoroastrianism: A religion from ancient Persia (Iran) that dominated that region prior to the coming of Islam but is today a small minority faith. Named for the prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra), whose dates are unknown, Zoroastrianism became the official religion of Persia from the third century B.C. until the seventh century A.D. It is characterized by a *dualism in which Ahura Mazda, the god of light and goodness, struggles to overcome a powerful evil spirit, although contemporary Zoroastrians claim that they are monotheists and do not necessarily see the physical world as bad, as in the ontological dualism of *Manichaeism.
Evans, C. Stephen (2010-04-28). Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (p. 125). Intervarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
When I began writing this book, I little dreamed of how difficult a task this was going to be. The difficulty has really not been in knowing what to say, but in knowing what not to say. We are living in a time when sensitivities are at the surface, often vented with cutting words. Philosophically, you can believe anything, so long as you do not claim it to be true. Morally, you can practice anything, so long as you do not claim that it is a “better” way. Religiously, you can hold to anything, so long as you do not bring Jesus Christ into it. If a spiritual idea is eastern, it is granted critical immunity; if western, it is thoroughly criticized. Thus, a journalist can walk into a church and mock its carryings on, but he or she dare not do the same if the ceremony is from the eastern fold. Such is the mood at the end of the twentieth century.
A mood can be a dangerous state of mind, because it can crush reason under the weight of feeling, But that is precisely what I believe postmodernism best represents-a mood.
Taken from: Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias