Foolish Christians

It would be most unfortunate to lose sight of one’s spiritual life and ultimate destiny because of paying too much attention to affairs of this world. Even so, the opposite extreme is sad, too: People who, out of a noble desire to focus on their spiritual lives, make the mistake of unduly disdaining knowledge of the world. History is full of examples of very knowledgeable people who were Christians, and one of them, who understood the dangers of both extremes, was Saint Augustine. In”Foolish Christians” (CUA Primer, pages  11–12), he discusses the problem of Christians who bring disrepute on their faith by defending mistaken ideas about the world. What are some areas today in which it is important that Christians seek to learn the best available knowledge about the world? How can learning about the world enhance one’s spiritual life?

Photo: “Use this Life Preserver in Case of Car in Water” by Patrick Dockens licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ethan Blanchard says:

    I had a good friend who was an ardent Creationist- he believed God created the world in 6 days as per the Bible. We would frequently discuss the subject. Something that I always noticed about the Creationist vs. Evolutionist debate is the notion that either God created us or Nature created us. The Truth lies somewhere in a compromise; God created Nature which in turn created us. I often pointed out that the Book of Genesis (and many other parts of the Bible) were not written to be literal scientific fact, but religious symbolism.

    God didn’t tell Moses about protons and electrons because it was too advanced for him & humanity at the time and because that knowledge contains no religious value. The Bible isn’t a scientific treatise nor is all of God’s relationship and revelation to mankind contained within its pages.

    Science is the study of God’s creation- the universe. Faith builds upon that science to fill in the gaps.

  2. Jaesen Evangelista says:

    St. Augustine really touches upon a philosophy that I hold dearly: everyone is right. And it’s true, whether someone believes that God created the world in 6 days or from evolution, one cannot say that one side is completely wrong. Both have their reasons to be believed and understood. The same goes for any other topic under the umbrella of science vs religion. One specific topic is the human genome. Are we all just chemical bases put together to sense the world around us, or do we have a deeper human soul? I choose to find both correct. We are, indeed, made of DNA, but we cannot say that this is all we are. There is a more emotional and transcendent part to all of us that cannot be explained through scientific terms, and even Dr. Francis Collins (one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project) agrees. Instead of viewing science vs religion, like it’s something you need to pick a side for, it’s better to see science AND religion. Both bring harmony to our understanding.

  3. Jordan Tibbs says:

    I love Augustine’s writtings. I recommend The Confessions if anyone’s interested. But, I like this excerpt because it reminds me of a book I read a few years ago. It’s called The Language of God and it discusses a religious scientist’s spiritual journey. This passage reminds me of a chapter that highlighted the debate between evolutionism and creationism. Basically it was challenging that both theories could be answered with one idea. That being relativism of perspectives. The notion that God’s time is not our own. So it could conceivably be true that God created the world in six days perhaps to him and yet to us it could’ve been billions of years. Or it could’ve been six days regardless. But I don’t know I wasn’t there when the Earth was created.

  4. Diego Amaya says:

    Learning about the world can give you different views about religions. Learning about different religions can enhance your spiritual life. This year I’ve learned about many religions that I had never learned about and each one has a connection to Christianity, I felt like I got a deeper connection with my religion and it has made me grow.

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