Most people know the first part of the Serenity Prayer, “Give me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference,” but do you know the second part?
“Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Many atheists, in their ignorance of history and philosophy and their often naïve and aggressive attacks on traditional religions, particularly Christianity, have thrown out the baby with the bath water, dismissing the value of religious traditions. Many of these predate Christianity, have their origin in Greek humanist philosophy, and do not require a belief in a supreme being. Prayer is one such tradition. The following Serenity Prayer is attributed to the greatest American theologian of the twentieth century, Ronald Niebuhr, but Niebuhr was steeped in both ancient philosophy as well as Christian theology and was therefore well aware that his Serenity Prayer contained the core tenets of Stoicism:
“Give me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.”
The discourses of the former Greek slave and Stoic philosopher, Epictetus begins by explaining the Stoic view that…
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