Saturday, June 26, 2010

More from St. Augustine on Apologetics

So, I started to read the rest of the City of God not covered in my son's high school theology course.  I found this as I started to read Book 6 (this is from the preface).

"To be sure, those first five books are not enough to deal with all the extravagant folly and perversity of our opponents -- nor would any number of additional books suffice.  That is clear to all.  Stupidity glories in never yielding to the force of truth; that is how it effects the ruin of anyone who is under the dominion of this monstrous moral fault.  It is a disease proof against all efforts to treat it, not through any fault in the physician, but because the patient is himself incurable.  But those who understand what they read, who reflect upon it and weigh the arguments without any obstinate adherence to their old errors, or at least without excessive and exaggerated attachment to them -- such people will be ready to conclude that in the five books already completed our discussion has been more, not less, than the question demanded.  The ignorant try to bring odium to the Christian religion in connection with the disasters to which human life is subject, and the calamities and catastrophes that beset human affairs; and the learned not merely connive at this but even support those slanders, in defiance of their own conscience, possessed by a raging madness of blasphemy.  These judicious readers cannot doubt that such attempts are utterly devoid of any clear thinking or right reasoning and are composed of nothing but irresponsible frivolity and malignant spite."

Just a note here, for those who have never read or heard what the 'City of God' is about:  When he says, "The ignorant try to bring odium to the Christian religion in connection with the disasters to which human life is subject, and the calamities and catastrophes that beset human affairs..."  He is speaking of how the pagans were blaming the Christians for the fall of Rome in 410AD because many of the people of Rome had turned from their gods to the one true God of the Church founded by Christ.  In the first five books he speaks to the history of Rome and how it is full of disaster, full of calamities, full of double standards, and how Christianity is different from the old religion.  He speaks of how His Church has brought morality, civility, and humanity to Rome.

It seems an especially appropriate argument for the Church today.  Many, many opponents of His Church, those who call themselves Christian and the non-Christian alike, blame the Church for the splitting up of Christianity, for not preaching the truth, for violence in the world, for not making poverty disappear, for any number of odious happenings in the world.  St. Augustine's words are quite timeless, and timely.  The truth of Christianity has been preserved in and by His Church for 2,000 years.  "But those who understand what they read, who reflect upon it and weigh the arguments without any obstinate adherence to their old errors, or at least without excessive and exaggerated attachment to them -- such people will be ready to conclude that in the [Church's teachings] already completed our discussion has been more, not less, than the question[s] demanded."

2 comments:

  1. I just got the book myself, determined to finally read it all. In the past I've tried to read it all, but I got stuck on the first few books because they were so dry.

    Also, I and other folks have put together "Augustine was Catholic, not Protestant" posts:

    http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2010/02/st-augustine-was-catholic-not.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well cathmom5, another great posting from the great St. Augustine, a true and loyal Catholic.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

    ReplyDelete

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