A Cracker by Augustine

H/T clayboy

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.

— Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim

Wow, that’s a quote and a half. No idea how I missed that one when I used to argue with creationists.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “A Cracker by Augustine

  1. Sounds like something you would typically hear from a cleric. Many of those folks believe that the answers people are need are ones of the head when people mostly need the heart stuff.

  2. imarriedaxtian

    Wow, that’s a quote and a half. No idea how I missed that one when I used to argue with creationists.

    Why bother,Ian? In my experience, you have as much of a chance to shake them out of their belief in JC as you have of creationism. The two are inextricably linked in their minds. 😦

    And for most creationists, Augustine is a papist anyway. 🙂

  3. Just came across this quote that I think is an appropriate reply for Augustine:

    “How can an age which is so devoid of poetic imagination as ours be truly religious?’ Fundamentalists have at least one characteristic in common with most scientists. Neither can understand that poetic and religious imagination has a way of arriving at truth by giving a clue to the total meaning of things without being in any sense an analytic description of detailed facts.” – Reinhold Niebuhr

  4. Ian

    @imax – exactly my experience! though I think I helped some people understand that you don’t have to be antagonistic to belief if you’re a scientist.

    @bob – I think you’re right, on one level. But I think Augustine is saying exactly what you’re saying, so your first comment slightly confused me (seemed like you were being negative towards him). I think what he means is that: don’t try to engage with natural philosophers on natural philosophy – stick to the gospel.

    Which I agree with for many people – faith in Christ lives or dies on the experience of God, not on arguments or rationalization. But there are some people (among whom I consider myself) for whom the emotional, poetic side doesn’t hold sway.

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