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Saint Augustine (354 – 430) said Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. This is a clear contradiction of common sense, and it is strange that a man renowned in the Roman Empire for his good sense would make such a statement. Augustine’s mother was a devout Christian and presumably so was he when a child, but he was a practicing Manichean from adolescence until the summer of 386, when at the age of 32 he converted back to Christianity. Before becoming one of the founding fathers of Medieval-style Christianity he was a professor of rhetoric, and in the year 384 at age thirty, Augustine won the job of professor of rhetoric in the most visible academic position in the Latin world at the time. He was baptized in 387 in Milan, soon went back to Africa and later became Bishop of the city of Hippo. That was a post he held until his death in 430 at the age of 76.

Hypatia of Alexandria (370 – 415) was a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher in Roman Egypt. She was sixteen years younger than Augustine, and was raised as a scientist by the head of the Library of Alexandria. At age 45 she was murdered in a grisly flaying ritual on an Alexandrian church altar. The instigator of that horror was later created a saint by the church and is still revered as Saint Cyril. Her crime was that she had written some books on astronomy, and astronomy didn’t recover for a thousand years because astronomy books were burned. The essence of Hypatia’s crime was that she was basing her thoughts on observation of natural reality, and discounting Augustine’s ideas based of absolute belief created by authorities.

Ideas can kill people. When ideas are founded on beliefs that have no foundations in reality there are no limitations on what they are and thus who will be killed. The belief can be twisted by those in charge to encompass whomever they choose because they choose the beliefs that will maximize their personal political power. Thus to promulgate the concept “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe” sets in place a system that rewards submission to human authority and discounts natural reality, or published laws. After a thousand years of magical thinking the Europeans were still using roads built by the practical Romans, but the infrastructure of European society was in ruins.