Current relevance of Saint Augustine’s critique to paganism in De Civitate Dei
Miguel Ángel Belmonte Sánchez
Espíritu: ISSN 0014-0716, Year 61, Isseu 144 (jul-dec), 2012, pages 313-328
The arguments used by Saint Augustine in his theoretical and practical discourse, against ancient paganism (especially against those arguments put forward by Celsus and Porphyry) are useful in part for the challenges nowadays embodied in the so-called neopaganism (and its leading intellectuals such as De Benoist or Augé). In this article a distinction is made in the Augustinian reaction between aspects relating to pagan cult and those relating to ‘dogmatic’ content. In the latter case, the multiform, inconsistent and unsystematic theology of ancient paganism reappears today as a pluralistic, sacralizing and superstitious attitude, tinged in some author’s writings as politically correct multiculturalism. In the former case, the pagan cult reappears in the form of cultural policies that are tolerant towards any apparently religious phenomena such as Satanism and Halloween. Saint Augustine’s message for the man of today and yesterday is clear: the syncretism which is latent in every pagan attitude or idea is wholly incompatible with the due reverence for faith in God the Creator.
Saint Augustine, De civitate Dei, paganism, neopaganism