Good morning, girls! Feel like a joke? I thought so: “How can you tell Jesus was Italian?”
“Because he lived at home until he was thirty, never had a real job … and his mother thought he walked on water!”
Hah! ROTFLMAO, right? Giggles.
So we started this God Project Dot Net a month ago describing the Celebrity Pagan Philosopher Death Match: Plato vs. Aristotle. I’m telling you, girls, this fight goes on to this day. It defines the terms in which we talk about God. Compliment a creation scientist: call her an Aristotelian.
With Anselm, we’re strictly Platonic. He was explicit in using reason alone to talk about God, which explains why he does not:
- cite a lot of scripture
- refer much to things he’s observed in the world
The first (1) is because he was trying to defend the rationality of Christianity. Citing scripture doesn’t help here, because it’s a source outside the mind. Same with (2), which he wouldn’t do anyway because he was a Platonist: he thought Truth was very, very tepidly represented down here on Earth. To see God, we have to look beyond the things that change, the flawed and the ugly, and everything that moves.
Which brings us – at last! – to Augustine. Quick fan moment: Augustine is the Man. He rocks and he rolls. Real is how he keeps it, day by day. Fan moment over.
His father was a pagan, his mother Monica a Christian helicopter parent. (Thus the joke above.) He lived six centuries before Anselm, around the year 400, and saw the end of the Roman Empire. Although he lived most of his life in present-day Algeria, he went to college in Italy and was a professor for a time in Milan.
It was in Milan he had the experience that reminds me so much of Anselm, who certainly knew his Augustine. This experience is described in Book VII of Augustine’s supersonic autobiography, “The Confessions.”
Now, can you tell I spent years failing to be a successful screenwriter? That I wrote action movies, horror films and TV pilot spec scripts that amounted to a hillock of unrecycled paper in a box? Most common comment: this story’s too convoluted, guy. Keep it simple; keep it moving.
Here’s, like, five times I promised I’d get to Augustine’s meditation on the Essence of God and where are we? Older.
It’s like life, right? Plans get made and broken; promises appear and disappear. Everything changes, and not always for the worse. I feel like God, if he exists, wouldn’t be so random, right? Less zig-zag; more stay-stay.
Hey! That’s what Augustine thought too. If we ever get there.