We, as mere humans, spend so much time debating over topics which the majority of us have difficulty understanding in the first place. Inevitably, the greatest minds of humanity will spend their lives studying certain philosophical subjects on an existential level: debating the very fabric of reality itself. Their lives are spent toiling through constant contemplation and study for understanding of the reality in which we have involuntarily been placed, and each come to very differing and mostly contradictory conclusions.
Even when you read authors you do not agree with, it opens your eyes to thoughts and perspectives you have not heard before. Of course, this can help you in nuancing your own views of things.
The issue of Faith and Reason has been an integral part of my thoughts and discussions since becoming a Christian. In fact, even prior to my conversion, one of the main issues keeping me away from religion in general was the idea that one had to believe in things they cannot outright prove. For many years, this aspect was a difficult pill for me to swallow.
Written By Victor Stanley Jr. In Book XII of St. Augustine’s autobiography Confessions, the Bishop of Hippo seeks to discuss Heaven and Earth. Specifically in chapters two through eight Augustine deals with the idea of God endowing what he calls ‘formless matter’ with form. Throughout this section he seems to borrow heavily from Plato’s ideas of what are known as The Forms; for Plato these ‘forms’ are eternally existing, they are independent of the mind, they are transcendent i.e. non-spatial and non-temporal, they are intelligible, and they are perfect.
Written By Victor Stanley Jr. In Book I of St. Augustine’s Confessions he addresses the idea of original sin, that is the doctrine that man is born in sin, and is thus inherently wicked, corrupt, sinful, depraved, or various other terms that describe a similar state. In Book I, 7, 11 Augustine makes the statement that, “The only innocent feature in babies is the weakness of their frames; the minds of infants are far from innocent.” This is a key doctrine in the Christian faith
Written by Victor Stanley Jr. In Confessions VIII, 8, 20 through VIII, 10, 22 St. Augustine wrestles with the dichotomy of man’s seemingly divided will. While he advocates for freewill, his thought processes, as presented in the text, strongly suggest a lack of freewill. This is evident in lines such as, “The mind commands the body and is instantly obeyed; the mind commands itself, and meets with resistance,” or “When the mind issues its command that the mind itself should will something, it fails to do so.”
Written by Victor Stanley Jr. Historical Criticism as an Apology for Christian Truth In Confessions VI, 5, 7 St. Augustine briefly addresses an epistemological issue dealing with truth. Augustine points out that some of the teachings of the Catholic Church “were not demonstrated rationally,” but makes the point that the Church did not practice the deceit of the Manicheans when it came to requiring belief in things that lacked substantial empirical evidence; for the Manicheans “promised knowledge and derided credulity, but then went on to demand belief in… absurd myths which certainly could not be demonstrated.” What follows this understanding is a great apology for accepting the claims of scripture,…