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Was Athanasius a Good Guy?


By heath - Posted on 01 February 2006

A friend of Courtney's asked a very good question about our son's middle name. Having read the Wikipedia article I liked to, she asked, "Was Athanasius really a good guy?" This was my resons:

The Wikipedia article is largely from a 20th century perspective. It doesn't really judge as sympathetically as I would. But then again, I think it is really important that he played a major role in shaping Christian doctrine during his life time. Judged in his context, I think he would come out more admirable.

Maybe I should have picked a different source to link to. It is just a generally recognized reference, and gives a brief overview of his life. I probably should have given this disclaimer for all of the articles. I pretty much read everything with a healthy dose of skepticism. This is especilly true of secular judgments of church history. Modern historians for the most part have a progressive view of history that everything gets better and better. While WWII changed some of that, there is still a strong influence. Many evangelicals (conservative Christians) think things are just getting worse and worse. I see things going up and down with no particular pattern with respect to time.

For a better view of how I view Athanasius, you could read the introduction to his On Incarnation by C.S. Lewis.

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I agree. It's good to read things with a healthy perspective of "that is how they view it", "I wonder how much overlap with the truth its presentation of the facts is...". As far as Wikipedia goes and as far as I'm aware, it's an open encyclopedia so you get whatever people put in. It's only form of correction is others writing corrections to whatever was posted. Like Healths view of progress (up and down) so goes the quality of articles presented. Some you find fairly well rounded and accurate. Some abysmal. Look out when wading in its waters...

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