Stoicism, Faith and Theodicy: Part 3, Stoicism Over Christianity?

Okay, so we come to the point of these posts, the observation I had about stoicism, Christianity, and faith crises. 

To recap, modern believers are increasingly reactive in the face of death, to the point where death often triggers faith crises. 

Next, some of this reactivity could be addressed by reclaiming some of the stoical impulses within Christianity, impulses that had been the norm within Christianity until relatively recently. 

And again, Christianity is only partly stoical. Christianity doesn't approach death with full equanimity. As we see with Jesus when he faced the death of Lazarus: he wept. Likewise, Job is able to say "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord." But he's also free to scream toward the heavens demanding justice from God. 

All of which brings me to my point. Given our increased reactivity in the face of death I think it would be good to reclaim some of the mild stoicism we find in the Bible, to take a bit of the edge off our existential fragility. In the face of grief we should be able to pray "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord." We should be able weep with Jesus in the garden, but also be able to say, "Not my will, but Your will be done."

Trouble is, we're so emotionally reactive in the face of death that this suggestion of mine makes people irritated and prickly. Likely you felt prickly and irritated. Just a wee sprinkle of stoicism is considered to be beyond the pale. And so, in the face of death or pain, the full hurricane of emotional reactivity is kicked up, a storm unchecked by any stoical acceptance, and a faith crisis ensues.

And then, after the faith crisis, what happens? 

Amazingly, many of these former Christians end up opting for...wait for it...stoicism! 

In either its Eastern or Western forms, stoicism is rapidly growing in popularity in our post-Christian world, including among many former Christians. It's a strange phenomenon I've witnessed up close. As a Christian a person shows a complete antipathy toward anything remotely stoical in the faith, emotionally raging at any suggestion that "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away." It's an absolutely intolerable sentiment, triggering a departure from the faith. And toward what? Strangely, toward full blown stoicism. 

That is what has baffled me. Weirdly, what can't be tolerated in the smallest dose is now guzzled down by the gallon. A little bit of resignation is rejected as dysfunctional with complete resignation embraced as the cure.

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