Criticisms Of Christianity In Contra Celsum By Origen

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In Contra Celsum, Origen responds to the many criticisms presented by Celsus, an early opponent of Christianity. In Chapter 47, Origen highlights Celsus’ argument that Christianity and its beliefs, practices, and ideology, are no different than the prevailing beliefs of his time. Celsus goes on to describe Christian practices as derivative of pagan, Jewish, and other foreign cultures. Yet he further criticizes Christian practices as alien, and by extension, a threat to traditional Roman culture. Celsus believes that most of world cultures and religions have the same basic end goals and beliefs. Christianity, in his eyes, reinforces these beliefs yet subverts the traditions through its criticism of these beliefs and narcissism as perceived by …show more content…
Origen highlights Celsus’ criticisms on Christians supposedly ignoring and disrespecting the cultures and traditions of time. Celsus argues that there is “an obligation incumbent on all men to live according to their country 's customs, in which case they will escape censure” Celsus believes that all people, everywhere in the world, should follow their traditional customs and not challenge the status quo. Christians, he argues, have transgressed from the beliefs of their ancestors and disrespect other religions of lifestyles they do not agree with. Celsus also mentions that Christians are united as a nation, as almost any other group should be. Origen uses several Greco-Roman ideas to respond to these criticisms. Origen states that a true philosopher in the Greco-Roman tradition would never just blindly accept ideas simply because man made law says so. He argues a person who “were to become a philosopher, and still observe the laws of his country, he would be a ridiculous philosopher, acting very unphilosophically.” A philosopher should always challenge and question social norms of his time. Christians, Origen argues, challenge these norms through Scripture. By praying and believing in one God, who is transcendent and omnipotent, …show more content…
In Chapter 42 of Book VII, Celsus further uses Platonic ideas when argues that God is “unspeakable” and that His essence can never truly be known or understood. He attempts to prove his case when he quotes Plato saying “it is impossible to make Him known to all men” However, Origen points out that Celsus leaves out that Plato did not say God is unspeakable in the sense that no one can understand in the literal sense. Origen agrees that the divine cannot be seen literally with the eyes, or experienced by any of the senses, “but it is possible to see Him in the way thus referred to”. He mentions passages in Scripture which describe people seeing God, but emphasizes that this sight is “in the sense of the words of Him” These words refer to the idea or the essence of God being known to every person. Origen later discusses Jesus’ statement of “He who has seen Me has seen the Father who sent Me.” Here, Origen argues that in the literal sense, everyone saw Jesus in person, yet it would be impossible that they would’ve seen God, because they did not believe in his teachings. Thus, Origen disproves Celsus’ interpretation of Plato’s views on God. Origen stresses the difference between literally seeing God, which is impossible, and seeing in a more metaphorical sense, which is possible only for those who truly believe. By doing this, Origen is able to use Greco-Roman beliefs, the kind which

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