Dan Brown was right. In both The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, Brown mentions how Christians “borrowed” metaphors and representations of their beliefs from pagan religions. A good example was the Christians’ “visualization” of God. Brown pointed to the Ancient Greeks’ depiction of Zeus as an old man with a white beard (even though he changes his shape to various forms, like animals, a young man, etc.). Isn’t God portrayed throughout Christianity’s history as an old fatherly man? I though so. But then, I should know because I was once a Catholic myself. I’m an adult (a somewhat recent occurrence), so my “conversion” from being a “born and bred” Catholic to the semi-atheist that I am now was a slow, painful process influenced by discrepancies and injuries, mockeries and hypocrisy. It is by example that we learn. I have learned that God is deaf; that evil exists; that cynicism is true and real, for everyone has selfish motives for their choices and actions; that life is more that just “unfair”; and that death equalizes us because it comes to everyone; and death is more of a blessing that a curse. Platonism is admirable but it is highly idealistic, as admitted by Plato himself. Monotheism, morality, and the possibility of an afterlife are my anchors, despite the fact that my beliefs are wavering in the presence of all the injustice I’ve had to endure in my short life span. And it never stops. But I am drifting away from my topic…I have personally learned the similarities between Christianity and paganism, thanks to a book entitled The Meditations, written by a Roman Emperor named Marcus Aurelius. The Stoics were a philosophical group who had different conclusions from Plato’s philosophy and they were monotheistic, but they believed that the spirit of God is in every element of nature, including humans. I differ with the human part. Anyway, their symbol of God on earth is fire, pure and unchanging; at the end of the world fire will consume everything, and all things will go back to God. The Stoic’s goal was to attain perfection and lead a virtuous life. Early Christians anticipated the end of the world; they determined that it would end by fire. Sound familiar? The Stoics already existed long before Christ, and so did Plato. Christianity is certainly not an original religion, nor is it convincing…not when you hear old pagan thoughts channeling through the “true faith.” Not to mention that particular assertions are downright ridiculous (a topic for a future blog entry, perhaps?). Nevertheless, it is good to believe in something noble than in nothing at all (or something bad); I think I said as much before here on my blog. Morality can be your “anchor” even if you are an atheist. The real mystery is the purpose of life, of existence…which is easier, the path of the just man or the unjust man? Plato answered that question logically in The Republic, but a philosophical treatise is not exactly a reflection of reality.