Monday, March 02, 2009

Augustine on Ignorant Christians

Here's an old but brilliant quotation from St Augustines Literal Commentary on Genesis (1.19.41):
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens and the other elements of this world, about the motions and orbits of the stars and even their sizes and relative positions… Now it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of the Holy Scriptures, 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.
Everyone who dabbles in science and religion should remember this.

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Jim S. said...

I love that quote. A recent translation of Augustine's writings on creation and Genesis, including The Literal Meaning of Genesis, is On Genesis, trans. Edmund Hill (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2002). I almost bought it, but then decided I should eat that month instead.

John Farrell said...

Indeed, it's always been one of my favorite quotes.

skyler david johnson said...

Interesting, I've been subscribed to your blog for a while (my economics professor told me about "God's Philosophers" a while back), and I keep noticing that you are reviewing/blogging the same things at the same time that I'm discovering them...I finished Anathem and then you wrote a review on it; I wrote a paper on Augustine and used that same quote in my paper...It's actually kind of creepy.

Anyways, I've been enjoying your posts, and yes I do love this quote. I do believe Kenneth Miller also quoted this in "Only a Theory," his book on the validity and dangers of ID...if not, he referred to it at least.