The success of Jesus and Socrates

Jesus and Socrates are standard examples of being counter-cultural, of teaching the unpalatable, of advocating unacceptable behaviour, of giving explanations which oppose those of their societies: “The Sabbath was made man, not man for the Sabbath”, “pray for those who hate you”, “no one sins knowingly”, “harming someone does them no actual damage, but rather damages the person doing the harming”.
Yet the facts that their teachings have survived, that many followed and follow them, show at the very least that there is an appetite for the ‘unacceptable’, even among those who do not put these teachings into practice. At the heart of ‘conventional’ attitudes is a place reserved for an alternative, respected but not practised.

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