4th Century Bishop Argues Against Fundamentalism

The New York Times Book Review ran an intriguing review of Augustine a new biography by Robin Lane Fox of the Catholic saint Augustine. While this might seem of marginal interest to Thelemites, one might note that Aleister Crowley’s autohagiography was “re-antiChristened” Confessions, most likely after Augustine’s autobiography of the same name, a work with significant impact on the development of Western philosophy and religion; so Augustine was of interest to the Great Beast at least. Indeed, Augustine spent much of his youth and young-adulthood as an adherent of Hellenistic religion before converting to Manicheanism and thereafter to Roman Catholicism. So his Confessions is one of the few first hand accounts we have of this dualistic faith. Also interesting is his path towards his final conversion. While his mother Monica, had tried vainly for decades, to convince him to be convert and be baptized, he was finally won over by Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, who proposed “Think of the stories in it, he said, as allegories, not literal accounts of events. Who knows if creation took six days or 60 million years? The first chapter of Genesis is there only to provoke meditation on the goodness of the natural world God created and our place in it,” as the reviewer puts it.

Living in a time when religious Literalists of all denominations use snippets of scripture to support outrageous positions and insisting on the word-for-word veracity of the bits they extract one might hope that Ambrose’s message that Augustine embraced might be re-introduced to many who self-identify as Christians.



Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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