Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love: Lesson 5, question 4

bdv4's picture

4. Augustine states that we should not see alms-giving as "buying off" God. Are there any other practices which we personally do which we see implicitly as "buying off" God? How could we modify our lives to exclude them?

lawrence_dicostanzo's picture

I think it is our nature.

I agree that it comes from our nature. I once learned that the ancient Romans viewed religion as trying to bind the gods to do something --- as in "I am sacrificing this bull so that you will give me what I want" or "I give to you so that you will give to me".

Nonetheless, one of the things that is attractive about Christianity is the promise of reward. God knows, I think, that we want "the prize". And St. Paul talks about running the race. I think that, in this area, God is very smart about us --- He's wise to us. But the special difference of Christianity is that the prize comes from accepting God and letting the Spirit in --- not from paying Him off or doing what I'm told the Romans did. It's remarkable.

Although I haven't absorbed everything you wrote, I think that your analogy with a parent and children is very good if only because God is our dear father. God bless you!