Based on a specific case, it’s possible to think of a specific justification for ‘setting fire to everything on Brazil’s rainforest’, allowing us to think about the big topic about how a file is assimilated, or an author is reterritorialized, or to read an author in half.
In the ‘Treatises on the gospel of John’, Augustine says something like this: ‘Love God, if what you heard and praised had an effect on you. Make use of the world and don’t be fooled by the world’.
The expression ‘make use of the world’ opens the possiblity to interpret the world as a means to the human end. This reading sees the divine as someone who endorses humanity to use the world indiscriminately for itself.
The problem is that taking this sentence out of context allows it to serve as a justification for what is happening today in Brazil: in this reading, God would let the materiality of the world (nature, fauna and flora in the Amazon forest) serve as a means for man while end.
Can you ask yourself how anybody can know what God wants? This is where the authority argument introduces. Who better to know what God aims for humanity if not the doctor of Grace and Bishop of Hippo?
As a counterpoint, the effort that is perhaps most recommended is to go straight to the text.
If the world is to be used for a particular purpose, the question that is open is what is this end. Ahead Augustine points out that he enters the world as a journey destined to leave, implying this exit as the kingdom of god. The point is not material gain, because the purpose of man is to serve the divine and not human ends. The world has a passing status and everything that is mundane and mortal must serve in function of the afterlife.
On the other hand, however coherent the divine Augustinian may be, the criterion is still invariably anthropocentric, since the understanding of what God says moves to the ears of the subject worthy of hearing it. Hence, just think of the infinity of religious strands that claim to have the true reading.
This does not mean that there is a right way to appropriate an author or that it is a privilege of religious thought. But, depending on the point of view, some readings can be clearly more perverse than others.