Marcus Aurelius: Thoughts on Death & Christians

Near the end of his life Marcus Aurelius (121-180 C.E.) wrote in Meditations about his thoughts on the readiness for death.

"How admirable is the soul which is ready to be released from the body at any requisite moment, either to be extinguished or to be scattered or to persist! But this readiness must come from a specific decision, not in accordance with a simple lining up, like the Christians, but after reflection and with dignity, and so as to convince others, without stage-heroics."

Translators, philosophers, and historians mostly agree that in his thoughts on readiness for death he is criticizing Christians on their being trained in their belief instead of coming to it by thought and examination. And for lining up for battle unarmed, ready to die, because they have been taught that the other side will be better. Also criticizing their stage-acting to convince others of their convictions.

Marcus' philosophic teachings had taught him to be a skeptic; he notes that some of his first teachings in philosophy was "to distrust the stories of miracle-workers and impostors about incantation and exorcism of spirits and such things." He was known to have called out a few public performing miracle-workers, including a few that were most likely Christian.

It seems that even in the early days of Christianity it was about showmanship, blind belief, and getting to the next life.

Aurelius, Marcus. Meditations. Edited by Gregory Hays. New York: Modern Library, a division of Random House, Inc, 2003.

Birley, Anthony R. Marcus Aurelius. London: Routledge, 2000.

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Unfortunately the great men of history seem to  get buried underneath the piles of BS slung by the theists. Wouldn't it have been great if all of this nonsense had been quashed back then. One could only imagine how far we could have developed by now.

I had the very same speculation.  We would probably be complaining about worshipers of the Gods then.


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