Friday, September 5, 2008

St. Anselm's Proslogion: Say What?

According to my pals over at Wikipedia, Proslogion is a Latin word meaning "Discourse on the Existence of God." Don't ask me how they get six words out of one; I don't speak, think, or read Latin. In fact, about the only Latin that the all-knowing Cougar Abogado understands is veni, vidi, vici, which, ironically enough is part of tobacco giant Philip Morris' logo . . . go figure.

Anyway. If you're wondering why I decided to culture myself with this Early Christian/Medieval classic, I only had one book left to go on my "Great Works" list and Proslogion is only like 40 pages. So yes, Scott, I took the shameful road more traveled-by with one of the quickest reads that I could find and read as I wandered about the burgeoning confines of BYU campus.

Although an aspiring lawyer myself, I have to confess that most of the Medieval logic was lost on the all-knowing CA. If you're interested in the Fletchword-style synopsis keep reading:

Basically the essay, argument, piece, or what have you is set in the second person singular and sets out to prove that God does, in fact, exist. In my opinion, most of the arguments are somewhat confusing and left me furrowing my eyebrows as I drifted back and forth across campus. If you're interested in reading the actual text, here's a link: PROSLOGION.

Beyond what is in my opinion a nebulous argument for why God has to exist, the piece has some interesting tid-bits here and there and quotes some great scriptures. Admittedly, some of the additional arguments also seem rather hazy and contradictory, but hey, my man St. Anselm was, I presume, primarily a church official and not a philosopher.

Looking at the piece in the light of the Gospel helps to fill in the gaps here and there, especially in Anselm's explanation about how God can be just and merciful at the same time. The missing link is, of course, the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Ironic, I know. As the Fletchword and I were sipping orange juice and philosophizing a week ago, we each came to this conclusion about flawed or incorrect doctrines:

But whoso among you shall do more
or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall, and the gates of hell are ready open to receive them.

In essence, any "Gospel" which doesn't have Christ as its central explanation will not stand, because He must be at the center or there can be no reconciliation with God and therefore no eternal salvation. Everything else is, essentially, a sandy foundation.

If you're looking for the antithesis of most classics (a work that isn't 10,000 pages) I would highily recommend taking a look at this one.

No comments: