Sunday Sermon on Tuesday – The Stoic Path – R. McNeil

A “sermon” in the broadest sense is a discourse on morality. And by morality I mean the rules of engagement in life – in other words the manual for living rightly (as opposed to wrongly). The incentive for living rightly – the carrot for following the rules in the manual – will of course be some sort of reward – heaven. The disincentive for disregarding the manual – living wrongly – will take the form of sort of punishment – hell. Virtue and vice represent the choices we face in approaching the rules. Virtue (following the rules) leads to heaven; and vice (disregarding the rules) leads to hell.

That’s also Stoicism in a nutshell. Follow the rules or suffer the consequences. Easy!

 Well it’s easy I suppose if the rules can be found between the pages of an anointed Holy Book (and we believe in the “divine” character of those rules), and if we accept the premise that all this rule following really does have a pay day, and if we have faith that the threat of some serious hell-time is more-or-less guaranteed for not sticking with this morality program. But what are the rules, and what is heaven, and where is hell?
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