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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Plato's Influence on Christianity

Many claims have been made that Christianity "borrowed" from other religions and philosophies, and many of these claims are easily refuted. A more persistent idea is that Plato influenced Christianity. This may seem reasonable at first glance, especially since platonic ideas were influential in areas where early Christianity was spreading.


Although Plato had some interesting ideas and similar ideas to what is taught in Christianity, but there are marked differences. The early church influenced platonic thinkers, and not the other way around.
Plato by Paolo Veronese, 1560
Plato influenced many people, including Christians, but the early church was setting platonic views to rights according to Scripture, and not the other way around. Also, there were some marked differences between Plato's ideas (some of which were not fully developed or reconciled) and what the Bible teaches, as well as some similarities. Plato had a view of creation, but did not hold to a personal Creator, for example. What should be most readily apparent is that Christianity has a direct Hebrew origin.
Plato is often termed the father of Western philosophy. His ideas have had a massive impact on the West, including on Christian thinkers, and continue to do so even today. But how indebted is Christianity to Plato? Did Christianity come from Plato’s philosophy? T.S. from Spain writes:
I´m a student and I´m trying to do a research of philosophy vs Christianity to do a project for my philosophy teacher. He said that Christianity came from Plato’s philosophy (theory of forms). I'm really not agree with that. I would like to know how to refute that. And what articles would be better to share with him from your website. Thank you and God bless.
CMI’s Shaun Doyle responds:
To read the response, click on "Plato and Christianity".

Although Plato had some interesting ideas and similar ideas to what is taught in Christianity, but there are marked differences. The early church influenced platonic thinkers, and not the other way around.

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