Comparison of The Serenity Prayer and Plato’s Thoughts on Anger

Plato hijacked by Christian Theologian

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference…(full verse available at

–Reinhold Niebuhr


There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.–Plato

My Conclusion:

If you consider what these two statements are saying, you might come to the same conclusion as me. I think it is basically this: We ought to correct the things in our life that cause us some anxiety or anger if we are able, and if we are not able, then we should not carry the burden.

If in fact this is an accurate interpretation for both the Serenity Prayer and Plato’s thoughts concerning anger, then it would follow that the version written first must be the original.

It would seem to me that, the Christian theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr borrowed from Plato the thoughts he needed to inspire Christian believers. He could have just as easily used Plato’s shorter version rather than plagiarizing Plato to promote God without giving the ancient philosopher his due credit.

I wonder what the world would look like today if the past 2,000 years would have been spent studying Plato, Aristotle, and others as diligently as the Bible has been studied. I also wonder how much of Christian theology is derived from antiquity yet credited to their supposed God or the Prophets.


One thought on “Comparison of The Serenity Prayer and Plato’s Thoughts on Anger

  1. Pingback: Where did “The Serenity Prayer” come from? | Greg R. Taylor

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