Showing posts with label St. Augustine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St. Augustine. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

But to be fair, St. Augustine said it first...

Pat Robertson tells YEC Ken Hamm to shut up.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Augustine did not say "The Church is a whore but also my mother."

For folks who are still upset about the "Donation of Constantine," which was forged by Charlemagne supporters in the 9th Century, they are pretty easy-going about contemporary forgeries.

There is a bit of pseudo-knowledge going about where Augustine gets quoted as saying "The Church is a whore but also my mother." To anyone whose actually read Augustine, that doesn't sound like Augustine. No one can find a source for this putative quote.

Mark Shea called BS on the quote on his blog. Some internet research turned up progressive Evangelical Tony Campolo as the "patient zero" for the quote. One of Shea's intrepid readers actually emailed Campolo:

I did some work on this because it always bothered me too. I’m a protestant who has a MA in Historical Theology, and it never made sense to me that Augustine would use such a word to describe the church. The phrase smacks of modern protestant thought. The first protestant author who cited this in writing was Tony Campolo. I emailed him about it, and he replied that he didn’t have a reference, but that he had heard it from a English preacher who I could never track down. The short of it is that Augustine did NOT say it, nor did a later author quote him as saying it as far as I can tell. However, it is accepted in print for the time being.

And that's how BS pseudo-knowledge gets born.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Forged - New Atheists Fabricate Augustine.

If the New Atheists are the epitome of enlightened reason and virtue, why do they fabricate quotes?

Nick Peters at Deeper Waters writes:

I woke up this morning to find on my Facebook a request from a friend of mine concerning a debate she was in on the Unbelievable page asking if I would know the correct source for a quote an atheist had given. I’m going to use one as an example.

“There is another form of temptation, even more fraught with danger. This is the disease of curiosity. It is this which drives us to try and discover the secrets of nature, those secrets which are beyond our understanding, which can avail us nothing and which man should not wish to learn.”
— St. Augustine (354 – 430), one of the “great” church fathers, Confessions

Okay. Confessions is a big book. It has several chapters to it. It’s not feasible to just pick it up and start reading, so the best thing to do is to do a search for the quote, although one can go to google books and look for some quotes there. What I do in this case is to take the first sentence, go to google, put it in quotes, and search.

An even better approach these days is to run a word search through your Kindle to PC connection. If you do that you come up with the following:

Augustine wrote in Book X of the Confessions:

"There is still another temptation, one more fraught with danger. In addition to the concupiscence of the flesh, which lures us to indulge in the pleasures of all the senses, and brings disaster on its slaves who flee far from you,148 there is also concupiscence of the mind, a frivolous, avid curiosity. Though it works through these same senses it is a craving not for gratification of the flesh but for experience through the flesh. It masquerades as a zeal for knowledge and learning. Since it is rooted in a thirst for firsthand information about everything, and since the eyes are paramount among the senses in acquiring information, this inquisitive tendency is called in holy scripture concupiscence of the eyes."

St. Augustine (2007-04-01). The Confessions, Revised (The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, Vol. 1) (Kindle Locations 6627-6633). New City Press. Kindle Edition.
Confessions, Book X, 35, 54.

Augustine was not talking about "curiosity" as that which impels us to know. He certainly wouldn't disagree with Aristotle that "all men want to know," and he certainly would agree that the final cause of reason is truth.

Rather he was referring to a kind of vice that seeks out the novel as novel - the kind of "curiosity" that sparks a person's desire to see a dead rotting corpse just to see it.

"55. From this consideration the distinction more clearly emerges between two kinds of activity on the part of the senses: pleasure-seeking and curiosity; for sensuality pursues the beautiful, the melodious, the fragrant, the tasty and the silky, whereas curiosity seeks the opposite to all these, not because it wants to undergo discomfort but from lust to experience and find out. What sensual pleasure is to be had in viewing a mangled corpse which sickens you? Yet if there is one lying anywhere, people congregate in order to experience ashen-faced horror. At the same time they are frightened that it may give them nightmares! Anyone would think they had been forced to look at the thing while awake, or had been persuaded to do so by some rumor of its beauty."

St. Augustine (2007-04-01). The Confessions, Revised (The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, Vol. 1) (Kindle Locations 6639-6644). New City Press. Kindle Edition.

Augustine also disdained under the heading of "curiosity" the desire to seek out astrologers. So, all the New Atheists can take that and smoke it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

If these people would actually read something, they might avoid making some truly basic and embarrassing mistakes...

...but why would they, since they are "two thousand years smarter" than some of the greatest thinkers born of the human race?

Here is Benny Hinn debunking the Immaculate Conception by arguing that Jesus had no genetic connection with his mother -

So, Hinn is basically saying that Jesus is not Jewish.

He is, you know, because if Jesus was not genetically, and, therefore, "racially," related to his mother and his mother was a Jew, then Jesus was not a Jew, particularly since Judaism traces the Jewish lineage through the mother.

Hinn should have consulted with St. Augustine before engaging in this bit of bone-headed theology.  If he had he would have been offered this insight:

 "It was also a mark of the justice and goodness of God that the devil should be outdone by the same rational creature as he congratulated himself on outdoing, and outdone by one man issuing from that race, which he had held the whole of in his power because its origin had been vitiated by one man. 18,

23. God could of course have taken a man to himself from somewhere else, to be in him the mediator of God and men (1 Tm 2:5), not from the race of that Adam who had implicated the human race in his own sin, just as he did not create the one he first created from the race of another. In the same way, or any other way he wished, he could have created another one to conquer the conqueror of the first. But God judged it better to take a man to himself from the very race that had been conquered, in order through him to conquer the enemy of the human race; to take one however whose conception from a virgin was inaugurated by the spirit not the flesh, by faith not lust. There was no desire of the flesh involved, which the rest of men who contract original sin are begotten and conceived by; it was utterly absent when holy virginity conceived by believing not by embracing, so that what was there born of the stock of the first man would only derive from him a racial not a criminal origin."
Saint Augustine of Hippo; John E. Rotelle; Edmund Hill (2011-01-23). The Trinity (The Works of Saint Augustine) (pp. 364-365). New City Press. Kindle Edition.

In contrast, Hinn has God creating another human from a different race - not part of the race that was conquered by Satan.
And, yet, interestingly he affirms the insight that supports the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception - the mother of Jesus, the mother of God, was without sin.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Why evolution and much of science require faith...

...because humans suffer from a "poverty of imagination."

Although it may be a faith in reason, but then so is much of Christian faith a "faith in reason."

Michael Denton observes in "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis":

One of the strategems adopted by Darwin in the Origin and used by many evolutionary biologists since, when faced with the difficulty of envisaging transitional forms, is to allude to the poverty of human imagination and to the very surprising and curious adaptations and behaviour pattersn many organisms exhibit - the implications and being that had we not known of such bizarre adaptations we would never have believed them possible.
Id. at p. 227 - 228.

Interestingly, St. Augustine noted that this limitation - and its attendant consequences - are a feature of the human mind which understands by taking what it has experience of and adding or subtracting those things about which it also has experience. In "On the Trinity," Augustine wrote:

10, 17. But then if we only remember what we have sensed, and only think what we have remembered, how is it that we often think false things though we do not of course remember falsely what we have sensed?23 It must be that the will, which I have been at pains to present to the best of my ability as coupler and separator of this kind of thing, it must be that the will leads the thinking attention where it pleases through the stores of memory in order to be formed, and prompts it to take something from here out of the things we remember, something else from there, in order to think things we do not remember. All these assembled in one sight make something that is called false because it is not to be found outside in the nature of bodily things, or because it does not seem to have been derived from memory, since we do not remember ever having sensed such a thing. Has anyone ever seen a black swan? So no one remembers one. But is there anyone who cannot think of one? It is easy enough to suffuse that shape which we know from seeing it with the color black which we have seen no less in other bodies, and because we have sensed them both we remember them both. Nor do I remember a four-footed bird, because I have never seen one;24 but it is very easy for me to look at such a fancy when to some winged shape I have seen I add two more feet of a sort that I have also seen. So when we think of two things in combination which we remember having sensed one by one, we appear to think of something which we do not remember, though we do it under the limitations set by memory, from which we take all the things that we put together in many and various ways as we will.
Again, we cannot think of bodies of a size we have never seen without the aid of memory. We can extend the masses of any bodies when we think of them to the maximum extent of space that our gaze is accustomed to range over through the magnitude of the universe. Reason can go further, but fancy does not follow, inasmuch as reason declares an infinity of number, and this no thinking about bodily things can grasp with inner sight. The same reason teaches that even the smallest corpuscles can be divided to infinity; but when we reach the limits of minuteness or fineness that we remember having seen, we cannot now gaze on any slighter or minuter fancies, though reason does not stop proceeding to divide. So we do not think of any bodily things except what we remember or unless they are composed out of what we remember.
Saint Augustine of Hippo; John E. Rotelle; Edmund Hill (2011-01-23). The Trinity (The Works of Saint Augustine) (pp. 319-320). New City Press. Kindle Edition.

Reason can tell us that something exist in some sense - the concept of infinity, for example - but try as we might we are not going to be able to "imagine" - picture, understand, grasp - infinity because we don't have an experience of infinity, we only have an experience of finite things, and add as many finite things as you want, you still only have finity.

On the other hand, even Augustine could imagine a "black swan" because he had an experience of "swans" and "black" and by compounding the two ideas, he came up with an image  of a "black swan."

Evolution, black holes and the experience of travelling at the speed of light, but also God's infinity, omniscience and simplicity, are places where are reason can travel further than our imagination.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Augustine, On the Trinity - the nature of sin.

11, 16. For just as a snake does not walk with open strides but wriggles along by the tiny little movements of its scales, so the careless glide little by little along the slippery path of failure, and beginning from a distorted appetite for being like God they end up by becoming like beasts. So it is that stripped naked of their first robe48 they earned the skin garments of mortality.49 For man’s true honor is God’s image and likeness in him, but it can only be preserved when facing him50 from whom its impression is received. And so the less love he has for what is his very own the more closely can he cling to God. But out of greed to experience his own power he tumbled down at a nod from himself into himself as though down to the middle level. And then, while he wants to be like God under nobody, he is thrust down as a punishment from his own half-way level to the bottom, to the things in which the beasts find their pleasure. And thus, since his honor consists in being like God and his disgrace in being like an animal, man established in honor did not understand; he was matched with senseless cattle and became like them (Ps 49:12).

Saint Augustine of Hippo; John E. Rotelle; Edmund Hill (2011-01-23). The Trinity (The Works of Saint Augustine) (p. 334). New City Press. Kindle Edition.
So this channel of the mind is busy reasoning in a lively fashion about temporal and bodily things in its task of activity, and along comes that carnal or animal sense with a tempting suggestion for self-enjoyment, that is, for enjoying something as one’s very own private good and not as a public and common good which is what the unchangeable good is;

Saint Augustine of Hippo; John E. Rotelle; Edmund Hill (2011-01-23). The Trinity (The Works of Saint Augustine) (p. 335). New City Press. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Everyone is seeking some kind of god...

...even sinners when they sin.

Is there anything, after all, that does not bear a likeness to God after its own kind and fashion, seeing that God made all things very good for no other reason than that he himself is supremely good? Insofar then as anything that is is good, to that extent it bears some likeness, even though a very remote one, to the highest good, and if this is a natural likeness it is of course a right and well-ordered likeness; if it is faulty, then of course it is a sordid and perverted one. Even in their very sins, you see, souls are pursuing nothing but a kind of likeness to God with a proud and topsy-turvy and, if I may so put it, a slavish freedom. Thus our first parents could not have been persuaded to sin unless they had been told, You will be like gods (Gn 3:5).
Saint Augustine of Hippo; John E. Rotelle; Edmund Hill (2011-01-23). The Trinity (The Works of Saint Augustine) (p. 312). New City Press. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Gary Wills is an anomaly - shrill and unreflective as an observer of modern politics or modern Catholicism...

...but insightful and a beautiful prose stylist when it comes the past.

Wills' "Lincoln at Gettysburg" is a treasure for anyone interested in the power of a carefully crafted sentence.

Jean Bethke Elshtain at the American Conservative recommends Wills' "Augustine’s Confessions: A Biography":

Wills puts paid to much nonsense in this briskly written text, including the claim that Augustine was obsessed with sex. The record supports none of this: Wills points out (citing Augustine biographer, Peter Brown) that in the massive work The City of God out of 16 lines devoted to deliberate human sins, only two refer to sexuality. Augustine eludes his commentators and he stymies his most bitter critics. He was, Wills concludes, inventing a new form “and people try to read it as something other than the unique thing it is—as an autobiography, or as a treatise, or as an amalgam of different genres with different purposes.” And that is one reason so few read about the Trinity in the final books of the Confessions. Yet this, Wills insists, is key to the whole work: “It should be not be surprising that a long prayer should end in the presence of the God being prayed to.”
I've more or less ignored Wills' books on Augustine because one never knows when one is going to be sucked into the fever swamp of a leftist screed. This review encourages me to check them out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why there are so many Protestant denominations...

...because somebody notices something in the Bible, gets excited and runs away with a brand new doctrine, entirely innocent of the fact that their discovery has been considered "no big deal" for 2,000 years.

A case in point from Facebook -

I have been studying the old testament and I believe I have come to the conclusion that "The Angel of the Lord" is the third person in the trinity (pre-incarnated Jesus).

"The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give your forfathers. I said, 'I willo never break my covenant with you." Judges 2:1

The interesting thing here is that he speaks in the FIRST PERSON.

You see similar strange incidences in Genesis 16:7,9-11; 13; Genesis 31:11,13 and Exodus 3:2-6

What are your thoughts? Is this just an 'Angel' of the Lord or is it a person in the tTtrinity?
Various responses:

"Angels are messengers and agents of the divine will, so you could say it was both."

"my seminary president, Dr. Paige Patterson held this view. He believed the Angel of the LORD was a christophany theophany because Melchazisldek in the OT and in the Book of Hebrews."

"I believe that the Angel of the Lord was/is Jesus too. I was actually getting ready to write a series about this on my blog. I can send you a link once I have some of these articles up."

"The Arians/Unitarians try to claim that all of these theophanies are just "office of agency", perhaps some are but others are clearly not that."

"I think those were Christophanies, but you can't prove it."

"It would be a mistake to imagine that "the angel of the Lord" has to be "an angel," exactly. The word is "malach," a form of the same word used to designate a king. Hebrew does not have a rich vocabulary. The same word would refer to anything that's powerful and other-worldly -- a demon, and angel, a space alien, God Himself, or whatever. I think if the Lord appeared in any form, the Hebrews would have used "angel" to describe Him."
My response:


This is why you guys need to get away from "private interpretation."

Seriously, your discovery has been known for about 2,000 years, and thre has been an explanation during that time. Read Book 2 of St. Augustine's "On the Trinity" and note that St. Augustine recognizes that "angels of the Lord" speak as God:

"23. But when Moses was sent to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, it is written that the Lord appeared to him thus: Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is here also first called the Angel of the Lord, and then God. Was an angel, then, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?"

In Book 3, Augustine explains the quandary of an angel speaking in the first person as God (in the case of the burning bush to Moses) as follows:

23. But some one may say, Why then is it written, The Lord said to Moses; and not, rather, The angel said to Moses? Because, when the crier proclaims the words of the judge, it is not usually written in the record, so and so the crier said, but so and so the judge. In like manner also, when the holy prophet speaks, although we say, The prophet said, we mean nothing else to be understood than that the Lord said; and if we were to say, The Lord said, we should not put the prophet aside, but only intimate who spoke by him. And, indeed, these Scriptures often reveal the angel to be the Lord, of whose speaking it is from time to time said, the Lord said, as we have shown already. But on account of those who, since the Scripture in that place specifies an angel, will have the Son of God Himself and in Himself to be understood, because He is called an angel by the prophet, as announcing the will of His Father and of Himself; I have therefore thought fit to produce a plainer testimony from this epistle, where it is not said by an angel, but by angels.
I was honestly surprised to find that the so-called "theophany" of the Moses and burning bush involved an angel. St. Augustine actually suggests - tentatively - that all theophanies prior to Christ's incarnation - involved angelic appearances.

So, no reason to redefine the Trinity."
Who links to me?