Mom Monday Week 38 – Athens and Jerusalem

What are you reading these days?

After finishing up Einstein and Music Lessons while we were at the beach last week, I started When Athens Met Jerusalem – an introduction to Classical and Christian thought.

Western civilization, founded on Greek, Roman and Christian thought, cannot truly be understood until one considers each of these underpinnings. Christianity owes much to Judaism, so one must start there. On the other hand, Roman thought and life built itself on Greece.

When Athens Met Jerusalem

The title spells out that Athens, as a metaphor for Greek philosophy, and Jerusalem, as a symbol of early Christianity, represent two major forces one must understand before truly grasping Christianity and Western culture.

When most people think of Athens and Greece, they think of philosophy and reason. After all, it is the pre-Socratic Greek philosophers who became the first scientists.

On the other hand, when people think of Jerusalem, they think of faith and belief in God. As such, Athens and Jerusalem might seem like opposites and, really, like enemies. 

This book posits that faith and reason can co-exist, that they are simply two dimensions of our human experience. Under the over-arching influence of revelation, divine revelation that is, both reason and faith work together to help us experience life the way God intended for us to do.

God gave us a free will because he wants us to use our minds to reason from cause to effect, to analyze facts and make decisions based on principles. God also gave us the opportunity to develop faith in His love and perfect character. Sometimes we have to make decisions based purely on faith – like when we feel called to homeschool.

I look forward to the rest of this book. It certainly teaches me a great deal about the human experience in the Western hemisphere.

(This post contains Amazon affiliate links.)


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