I do not know what I do not know

Saint Augustine (Confessions, Book 11, Chapter XII) on the attitude all Believers as well as Skeptics should adopt:


How, then, shall I respond to him who asks, “What was God doing before he made heaven and earth?” I do not answer, as a certain one is reported to have done facetiously (shrugging off the force of the question). “He was preparing hell,” he said, “for those who pry too deep.” It is one thing to see the answer; it is another to laugh at the questioner — and for myself I do not answer these things thus. More willingly would I have answered, “I do not know what I do not know,” than cause one who asked a deep question to be ridiculed — and by such tactics gain praise for a worthless answer.

Too often Believers dismiss the questions of Skeptics as an affront to God, as even Augustine quoted a facetious believer 1600 years ago. One can believe that God delights in inquiry for it shows forth the wonders of the human being, created in His image and likeness.

On the other hand, too often Skeptics fall into mocking Believers and applaud themselves for being clever.

Regardless, mutual respect and humility go a long way.

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