On December 19th, I posted an overview on 1 Peter (if you want to go back to it). His first letter was about what was happening around the church, outside. This book is very different. Actually, I think it is written as a ‘Sermon’ to be used at their church (it ends in a doxology, rather than the standard ending). Peter, who died around 68AD at the hands of Nero (hung upsidedown on a cross), writes this letter/sermon because of teachings that were infiltrating the church. It is called: Epicurean. (Feel free to see how this is still taught today)
Epicurean belief teaches people to relax and enjoy life without worrying so much. They believed God or gods did exist, but they lived so far away from the affairs of man, in a permanent state of ataraxia, that they didn’t interfere with humans. They just sat up there in their world or Heaven.
There are two advantages (for them) having this mindset:
- First, there is no judgment after death; therefore, death shouldn’t be feared.
- Second, there is no judgment during life. There is no way to appease a god who doesn’t know you personally exist. Therefore, you are free to find fulfillment in life outside of religious rules and expectations.
They believe in the “golden mean.” The ‘golden mean’ means to maximize your pleasure without leading to negative consequences. Yup, that about sums up our world.
So, in true Epicureanism, the best life is characterized by sufficient food, a comfortable dwelling, peaceful relationships, and good friends. But, wait, it gets MORE relevant. They back it up by taking scriptures and applying them to their lives.
- “Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
- “Give us this day our daily bread.”
- “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Shall I go on? You get my point.