Intrenched Interpretation of
St. Augustine's a priori approach and his short way with dissenters quickly involve him in what most persons would regard as a denial of nature, or at any rate of appearances.In a sense he glories in this. He distinguishes the Christian view of life from that of natural man. He claims that if Adam had not fallen, we would all share the Christian perspective.He admits that in the world as we see it an intellectual tour de force, or a miracle of grace, is needed to bring anyone to adopt the Christian point of view; and that the latter is regarded by most men as an absurd, impractical, disingenuous, or stupid refusal to face facts, however heroic Christians may seem to one another.
Natural man, in each of us, sets himself to master his environment. i First, he wants knowledge, and assumes that he can get some, usually by bringing his rational faculty to bear upon sensational evidence.Second, he tends to identify "good" with satisfactions which are mostly but not exclusively material.Third, he wants power, and is willing to fight for it. He may be selfish or altruistic, radical or reactionary, rich or poor. He may be a scientist, a statesman, a humanitarian, an atheist, or a theologian. But in every case, his grand objective, acknowledged or unacknowledged, is to make the best of this world. He is not in sympathy with "God's fools." But his trust in worldly wisdom, wealth, and power dooms him to disillusionment and frustration.
Consider the first great illusion, that he can get knowledge by his own efforts. St. Augustine takes his own professional field, theology, and tries to show how far short of truth natural man falls in this test____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Christian Faith and the Interpretation of History:A Study of St. Augustine's Philosophy of History. Contributors: G. L. Keyes - Author. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 1966. Page number: 124.