6.21.2004

quote for today

This relates to the discussion on knowledge. Very nice. "Seek not to understand so that you may believe, but believe so that you may understand." --Augustine of Hippo and then there's this article

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alrighty. Lets just see where that line of thinking lead Augustine himself-

1. "There is another form of temptation, even more fraught with danger. This is the disease of curiosity (...) It is this which drives us on to try to discover the secrets of nature, those secrets which are beyond our understanding, which can avail us nothing and which men should not wish to learn (...) In this immense forest, full of pitfalls and perils, I have drawn myself back, and pulled myself away from these thorns. In the midst of all these things which float unceasingly around me in everyday life, I am never surprised at any of them, and never captivated by my genuine desire to study them (...) I no longer dream of the stars."
Augustine of Hippo (St. Augustine), whose death in 430 a.d., marks the beginning of the Dark Ages in Europe. (quoted in Sagan, Carl. "The Dragons of Eden", p247.)

2. "Women should not be enlightened or educated in any way. They should, in fact, be segregated as they are the cause of hideous and involuntary erections in holy men."

3. "It is indeed better (as no one ever could deny) that men should be led to worship God by teaching, than that they should be driven to it by fear of punishment or pain; but it does not follow that because the former course produces the better men, therefore those who do not yield to it should be neglected. For many have found advantage (as we have proved, and are daily proving by actual experiment), in being first compelled by fear or pain, so that they might afterwards be influenced by teaching, or might follow out in act what they had already learned in word." -- Augustine, Treatise on the Correction of the Donatists

Hmmm. Me thinks Augustine would have done much better with himself perhaps had he adhered to the wisdom - 'don't believe everything that you think'.

As far as the 'Wisdom of the Sadhu' goes... I believe CS Lewis did much better with his FICTIONAL book 'The Great Divorce'. Don't you?

6/21/2004 7:18 PM  
Blogger e said...

Annie,
Once again good comments, but I'm not being baited into a multi-week long discussion on them :-)

You're correct: Augustine was a sinner, through and through. He, and Luther, Calvin, Erasmus, Zwigli, George Bush, Jr., Michael Moore, Carl Sagan, Darwin, Peter, Paul, James, John, Steven J. Gould, Michael Behe, you, Jeff Cannell, me--every person that ever lived minus One--was just downright wrong on several things. Maybe even most things. And I'm really glad that we don't follow Augustine's finer doctrinal points today.

That doesn't, however, invalidate everything the man had to say. Just like your past and future errors don't invalidate everything you have to say.

And, yes, I prefer Lewis to just about anyone, but I thought this would be a valuable article (and quote) for the peeps to read and ruminate upon.

By the way, as an unrelated aside, Carl Sagan was always a better scientist than historian. The Dark Ages, a probable misnomer, had very little to do with the Catholic Church in general or Augustine in particular. In fact, before we broadly villify the medieval Church, we should remember that without dedicated monks from Ireland to Byzantium, what we know and love about pre-Christian Greece, Rome, N. Africa, and the Mid-East would have been lost, even to archaeologists, in the expansion of the Moors, Jutes, Saxons, Huns, Vandals, and various Teutonic groups during and following the collapse of Roman hedgemony. If we really examine history instead of relying fully upon Enlightenment prejudice, we'll find that the Church's love of learning, not its disdain for "curiosity", propelled nearly every significant intellectual advance for 1500 years. What's more, we have to recognize that the Christian mindset birthed the sciences of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Bacon, et. al., even if modern science has scorned its "mystic" roots.

6/22/2004 12:28 PM  
Blogger brad said...

You know, I just read somewhere a quote that attributed this saying to St. Anselm of Canterbury, who (I think??) was born in 1033, after the 'Dark Ages' and toward the start of the Classical Period.

6/23/2004 7:23 PM  
Blogger stu said...

e said- "If we really examine history instead of relying fully upon Enlightenment prejudice, we'll find that the Church's love of learning, not its disdain for "curiosity", propelled nearly every significant intellectual advance for 1500 years. What's more, we have to recognize that the Christian mindset birthed the sciences of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Bacon, et. al., even if modern science has scorned its "mystic" roots."

if you can, please try to extrapolate on this.. i'm probably better at grasping science than history myself, but as far as my knowledge takes me, i'm pretty sure there has always been a flux between religion helping and hurting science. that pretty much goes for all religions or external beliefs, not just xtianity. islam used to have a great science community, and a lot of muslim propaganda today is laced with understanding the science behind creation. probably even more so than christianity in fact. whens the last time you walked into a church like the vineyard and got a science lesson? but i digress.

6/23/2004 11:15 PM  

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