„To those who have an active belief, reasoned proofs are needless and probably useless.“

Book IV, Chapter 17
From St. Athanasius' Life of St. Antony

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Antonio Abate11
abate e santo egiziano 251 - 357

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Contesto: Should a person lay claim to a cause and produce his proofs, then those who seek to repudiate him are required to produce proofs like unto his. If they succeed in doing so, his words will prove vain and they will prevail; otherwise neither his words will cease nor the proofs he hath set forth will become void. I admonish you, O ye who are invested with the Bayán, if ye would fain assert your ascendancy, confront not any soul unless ye give proofs similar to that which he hath adduced; for Truth shall be firmly established, while aught else besides it is sure to perish.

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Variant translation:
It is requisite that those who are willing to hear concerning the gods should have been well informed from their childhood, and not nourished with foolish opinions. It is likewise necessary that they should be naturally prudent and good, that they may receive, and properly understand, the discourses which they hear. The knowledge likewise of common conceptions is necessary; but common conceptions are such things as all men, when interrogated, acknowledge to be indubitably certain; such as, that every god is good, without passivity, and free from all mutation; for every thing which is changed, is either changed into something better or into something worse: and if into something worse, it will become depraved, but if into something better, it must have been evil in the beginning.
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Contesto: Those who wish to hear about the Gods should have been well guided from childhood, and not habituated to foolish beliefs. They should also be in disposition good and sensible, that they may properly attend to the teaching.
They ought also to know the common conceptions. Common conceptions are those to which all men agree as soon as they are asked; for instance, that all god [here and elsewhere, = godhood, divine nature] is good, free from passion, free from change. For whatever suffers change does so for the worse or the better; if for the worse, it is made bad; if for the better, it must have been bad at first.

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