Athenagoras on Christians
November 24, 2011
I’m been reading Athenagoras’ "A Plea for the Christians" in my free time. It’s excellent. Athenagoras, who lived in around 133-190, is writing in defense of Christians who are under the hammer. Apparently at the time, even being called a Christian was enough to get you punished. He rejects the unfounded charges of cannibalism, atheism and sexual immorality. Among other things:
- He gives rational arguments for accepting Christianity, and rejecting paganism.
- He repeatedly espouses the trinity as basic Christian doctrine, even though the Nicene council would only convene some 200 years later.
But perhaps my favourite passage so far is the description he gives of Christians:
But among us you will find uneducated persons, and artisans, and old women, who, if they are unable in words to prove the benefit of our doctrine, yet by their deeds exhibit the benefit arising from their persuasion of its truth: they do not rehearse speeches, but exhibit good works; when struck, they do not strike again; when robbed, they do not go to law; they give to those that ask of them, and love their neighbours as themselves.