Updating Stoic Theology for the Twenty-First Century
Guest post by Eric Steinhart
Massimo Pigliucci is working on updating Stoicism for the twenty-first century. You can read about it on his excellent blog, How to be a Stoic. But one controversial aspect of his revival of Stoicism is its atheism -- Massimo aims to purify Stoicism of its religious and theological elements. I think removing the religious and theological elements of Stoicism mutilates it to the point where it really shouldn't be called Stoicism any more. It should just be called cognitive behavioral therapy (or something like that). It reduces Stoicism to just another self-help movement. Recent efforts to reduce Stoicism to modern atheism have been criticized here and here and here. You can read a good debate about it here. Mainly, I think this reduction to modern atheism is culturally unfortunate. Stoicism ought to be revived as a religious movement (I would not say it should be revived as a religion, since I think the very concept of a religion is essentially Abrahamic). We desperately need better religious options. Stoicism can be one of those.