Justin Martyr converted to Christianity in the 2nd century after unsatisfactory attempts to understand the world through philosophy. But he did not reject ancient thought and culture outright: “Socrates was a Christian before Christ,” he once wrote. Instead, Justin argued that the most virtuous elements of Stoicism, Pythagoreanism, Platonism, etc. actually derived from, and could be expanded by, the Word of God, which preceded Christianity as a concept.
Understanding this fact unlocked a better way of life. (At the very least, Justin hoped, it would convince Romans to stop killing Christians.) “After being persuaded by the Word,” he wrote in the First Apology, “those who once rejoiced in fornication now delight in self-control alone; those who made use of magic arts have dedicated themselves to the good and unbegotten God; we who once took most pleasure in the means of increasing our wealth and property now bring what we have into a common fund and share with everyone in need…”