Beware of Greeks bearing gifts
Among the gifts bestowed upon us by the ancient Greeks there are many that are without a doubt of priceless value, such as democracy. But there are others that were better left outside the gates, as the Trojan horse should have been.
Astrology is one. Yet the belief persists among many today that the sign of the zodiac under which we were born determines our personality and the course and outcome of our lives.
The second is the pseudo-science of the four temperaments, based on the idea that our moods, emotions and behaviours are caused by body fluids, or “humours”: blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. As expounded by its modern adherents, the theory seems to explain a lot about our behaviour. The problem is that it explains too much: we analyse our friends and put them into the proper pigeon-holes and interpret everything they say and do by the label on the pigeon-hole.
Psychology is the third. “Psyche” is the Greek word for soul. Psychology is the attempt to intellectually understand the workings of the soul and to bring healing to the troubled soul by therapeutic means.
The fourth and last is predestination. The belief that some cosmic force has predetermined the entire course of our life before we were born goes back as least as far as Zeno and Plato.
Do you see the common thread in all of this? The Greeks are trying to tell us “It’s not your fault!” You are not to blame for any of the things that have gone wrong in your life, it was all caused by the stars, the humours in your body, or some other cosmic force.
But if nothing is our fault, there is nothing we can ever do to make things different. We can’t repent of being born under the wrong star, or having the wrong temperament. But we can repent of making wrong choices and doing bad things. That is what the Bible tells us to do. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts that would lead us away from this truth.