LITERATURE: Confessions – Belief

Augustine tells us of the reasoning for when he (and as he suggests, others) come to dwell on the Bible and the word of God, as opposed to avoidance even when a basis for belief is acknowledged.

I therefore decided to give attention to the holy scriptures and to find out what they were like.  And this is what met me: something neither open to the proud nor laid bare to mere children; a text lowly to the beginner but, on further reading, of mountainous difficulty enveloped in mysteries.  I was not in any state to be able to enter that, or bow my head to climb its steps.  What I am now saying did not then enter my mind when I gave my attention to the scripture.  It seemed to me unworthy in comparison with the dignity of Cicero. (III.9)

Simple truth rendered without eloquence, or the status of the poets and philosophers then, and not appealing to the mind of one taken by earthly measures.

It is sometimes difficult, as if repelling to the unready mind, to read Augustine’s intimate reflections as they are told to–not the reader, but–God.  One’s own belief is brought into focus as if a religious God is in question, then the narrator of this, Augustine, is in question too as to credibility. 

There are faiths that are so strong and daily fed at both ends of the spectrum.  Most, however, fall into an area that is taken for granted, never strengthened nor ever questioned.  Doubt is spurred by some great impetus; the media play of evolution, by death or near-death of self or someone loved.  The question of a God has been reckoned against the theory of evolution when resolution to the under-learned would be taken as an end to life of spirit as well as body.  There are other ways, however, aside from mere religion that could be explored beyond the mortal.  And God is just a name.

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2 Responses to LITERATURE: Confessions – Belief

  1. Creechman says:

    I’m a Christian and admit to really not understanding exactly what happened 2,000 years ago with Jesus Christ.

    But I believe that our understanding of nature, true forces, history, biology, etc – can never be confrontational with God. Evolution may be the way he worked it. In fact, that’s my strong belief.

    As for the resurrection and the literal interpretation of Paul’s writings, of course he was inspired. But I think it’s fair of us to continue to understand human institutions after Jesus Christ, have faith, because in the end – are we consigned to heaven or hell on how we choose to cast dice?

  2. susan says:

    In my either/or world, I failed to see the options available within a belief/fact arena. You’re right, of course, that there are still ways to accept science without discarding faith.

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