Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"City of God" III.20-21

Chapter 20:
Where were their gods when Hannibal destroyed Saguntum? If the gods did indeed preserve Rome from Hannibal's forces as we would be led to believe, why not this other city?
In fact, only Christianity can make sense of suffering in the world. After all, "if the population of Saguntum had been Christian, and had suffered as it did for the Christian faith... they would have suffered with that hope which springs from faith in Christ--the hope not of a brief temporal reward, but of unending and eternal bliss."
The pagan gods clearly have nothing to offer to individuals or the city in this life or the next. Only a life lived by faith in Christ can suffice to endure what the world has to throw at us.

Chapter 21:
At the moment of the Roman Republic's greatest triumph--following its victory in the Second Punic War-- when even the pagan historians admit that Rome was at its moral height, Rome cast out its greatest citizen and fell into luxury and vice. And if it's true (which Augustine thinks it is) that at this time Rome was at least a little bit more peaceful and prosperous that at other times in its history, what does it say that such peace and prosperity comes only with the destruction of others? If the best the world has to offer is a momentary peace brought about by mass slaughter, how can we ever hope to find what we truly need in the city of man?

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