Truth is Like a Lion
“The truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it.
Let it loose; it will defend itself.”
Augustine (354-430) gets a bad rap, and for good reason given his obsessively prudish attitudes about sex and religious freedom. He did, however, essentially invent the philosophy of mind. His thoughts on learning, understanding, memory, and language are still relevant today, though he is too often ignored by scholars today who have prudish attitudes about religious people.
This quote by Augustine is often used to justify all manner of opinions that people wish are truths. It is a misuse of Augustine’s idea to think that you do not need to defend your position because you think it is true. Augustine was never shy about defending his positions and wrote copiously about his arguments in favor of them. I suspect this is what he meant be letting loose the truth–not being shy about expressing it and be willing to talk about it.
In other words, if you are sure your ideas are true, do not be afraid to openly discuss them and especially do not be afraid to have our ideas and beliefs examined and criticized. True and valuable ideas do not need subterfuge or evasion. True and valuable ideas can stand the light of day and open discussion.