Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
"St. Augustine Asks the Hard Questions Atheists Don’t Ask"
[b]"The act of questioning is the point..."
".... And so on and so forth. Augustine is merciless with the text, probing it, comparing it against what we know of the world, searching for the deeper meaning, drawing on the science of the day to understand what it could all possibly mean. Sometimes he arrives at a settled answer, sometimes not. [i]H ...[text shortened]... eos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2012/08/st-augustine-asking-the-hard-questions-atheists-dont-ask/[/b]
August 15, 2012 By Thomas L. McDonald
"It’s fun to read or listen to super-duper-smart professional atheists (well, they think they’re smart) banging on about the book of Genesis. It’s a useful issue for them, because the primeval history in scripture is mysterious, complex, and rich in symbolism. So, naturally, Reason Warriors approach it with the childish literalism of a young-earth creationist. Perhaps this works for them because fundamentalism is ill-equipped to properly understand Genesis, which is why friends don’t let friends be fundamentalists. Atheists think Christians believe this is how things really happened.
One of their techniques is to throw out an endless litany of questions about the creation of the world and then demand instant answers, usually from some poor sap unequipped to respond knowledgeably. “Oh yeah, so God made light before he made the sun? He made plants before he made the sun needed for them to grow? Why are there two creation stories? Huh? HUH?!” And then they stand back in triumph, fold their arms across their chest, marvel at their own genius, and wait for the poor sap to fumble his way through a few pathetic replies.
This kind of low-hanging fruit is the bread-and-butter of the atheist combox troll and meme-maker, but the really hilarious thing is that their questions are all so pathetic. Because atheists believe they have the corner on reason and logic, they develop an inflated sense of their own intelligence. They gather for “Reason Rallies” as though reason was a wholly owned subsidiary of Atheism Inc., rather than something inherited from the centrality of Aristotelianism to Catholic theology, and thus to Western civilization. Their questions barely even skim the surface of the incredibly deep, profound, vexing, and glorious texts of Genesis 1 & 2.
Although I have not yet chosen the topic for my master’s thesis, one area I’m considering is the understanding of creation in Genesis, Augustine, and Ratzinger/Benedict. In my research, I’ve been reading Augustine’s massive body of work on the subject. He returned to it in three major works (On Genesis: A Refutation of the Manichees, Unfinished Literal Commentary on Genesis, and The Literal Meaning of Genesis), as well as at the end of Confessions and The City of God.
There is no more important theologian in the history of Christianity than Augustine. Both Protestants and Catholics claim him, although it must take serious mental gymnastics for Protestants to get past his extremely Catholic world-view. A major part of the liberal Christian project is trying minimize the influence of Augustine, because his conception of original sin (often wildly misunderstood) is considered destructive to a progressive concept of God.
Yet in spite of his influence, his Literal Meaning of Genesis is very hard to find. As a major statement of his belief, it ranks with City of God and de Trinitate in scope and importance, yet you won’t even find a complete copy of it online, and it was left out of the major collections of the writings of the fathers of the Church...." (2/4)
It's unlikely that either atheists or theists will concur with all of Thomas L. McDonald's conclusions. My purpose in presenting his paper is not to question atheism nor to promote theism; rather to focus on the basic "concept of God".