Tuesday, May 02, 2006

on religion and wisdom

"It is agreed upon, therefore, by the common consent of the whole human race that religion ought to be practiced. However, I must explain how the human race is in error on religious matters. God willed human nature to eagerly desire two things: religion and wisdom. But human beings make mistakes in this regard, because they either undertake religion without wisdom or study wisdom alone and leave out religion, when one without the other cannot be true. Therefore, because they disregard the wisdom that teaches them that there cannot be many gods, they fall into a multiplicity of religions that are false; or they study a wisdom that is false, because they neglect the religion of the Supreme God, who is able to instruct them in the knowledge of truth. People who have undertaken either of these courses follow a life that is devious and full of many errors, because human duty and all truth are included in these two inseparably united pursuits." (Lactantius, about 300 A.D.)
Source: Inheriting Wisdom: Readings for Today from Ancient Christian Writers by Everett Ferguson, p.179)