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the Oriental mother goddess
was revitalized in the vener–
ation of the Virgin Mary. And
pagan temples were often trans–
formed into "Christian" houses
of worship.
Hellenistic dualism centered
around the concept of an im–
mortal soul; and an evil, cor–
rupt material creation loomed
large in post-apostolic thinking.
Augustine and Thomas Aquinas
also drew deeply from these
same philosophical wells. Augus–
tine was probably the staunch–
est advocate of Greek other–
wordly concepts since the
Stoics. Writing in
The City of
God,
he was quick to eulogize
ascetic ideals: " For that vision
of God is the beauty of a vision
The White Horse: False Religion
DEMONS
guard entrance to the
Buddhist Temple of the Dawn in
Bangkok, Thailand.
so great and is so infinitely de–
sirable that Plotinus does not
hesitate to say that he who en–
joys all other blessings in abun–
dance and has not this is
supremely miserable" (book X,
chapter 16).
Aquinas, for instance, took a
dim view of earthly pleasure. In
his monumental
Summa Theo–
logica,
he wrote: "The religious
state requires the removal of
whatever hinders man from de–
voting himself entirely to God's
service. Now the use of sexual
union hinders the mind from
giving itself wholly to the ser-