In Book III of Confessions, his range of “rotten…ulcerous” sins expands from teenage pranks to attending public spectacles and reading tragedies. Augustine suspects that seeking truth might be more important than worldly success. In Book III he also stumbles upon the Manichees faith, which is a heretical version of Christianity. In this section much of this book is dedicated to attacking the Manichee faith. Augustine’s first criticism of the Manichee doctrines he believed concerned their dependence on an elaborate mythology. The sun and the moon were seenas divine beings and they tended to picture divinity in terms of “physical images” or “bodily shapes”. These images plagued Augustines mind almost until his conversion, which kept him from recognizing God as a “spiritual substance” rather than some sort of enormous physical mass. Augustine has 3 main criticisms for the Manichee belief. The first being that it challenged the concerns of nature and the source of evil. Second, it challenged the nature of God as a being and the idea of God as omnipotent and omnipresent. And thirdly, the rejection of the book of Genesis and much of the Old Testament.. Augustine concludes with a story of how
As this man was inspired to learn the truth, he read a book called Hortensius and soon after joined the Manicheans. These people had elements of Christianity and elements of Buddhism but believed that all creations including flesh were evil. They believed all sex; even marriage including the birth of children was evil and sinful. Manicheans felt that the world was evil material full of darkness trying to find the spiritual world of light, as some would say, the power between good and evil. While being associated with the Manicheans, Augustine had the conception that evil was capable of being touched, like a material substance. But as he spoke with others and further looked into what evil means to exist, he abandoned the notion that evil is something tangible. He realized that evil does not exist in the physical world and therefore moved away from the Manichean religion.
We begin Augustine’s attraction to Manichaeism with his travels to Carthage. His initial reaction to Carthage was shock, due to the citizen’s audacious affinity towards things which distracted them from God’s benevolence. One prominent example of this was their affinity towards theatre acts which depicted scenes of enjoying things irrelevant to how one should love God. Although this struck Augustine as quite odd, he nonetheless enjoyed these theatrical acts, often positively remarking about scenes of immense sadness and depression. He came to question whether or not pity, as shared by the citizens of Carthage, was meant as an indication to what his life should represent.
In Augustine’s article “Virtue and the Human Soul,” happiness is discussed in great detail. What makes a man happy? How do we obtain this happiness and where does
Augustine financial support for his education, he did not care how Augustine’s character would advance through his education. St. Augustine’s dad paid more than a richer man would pay for their son’s education because he wanted to provide Augustine with the proper education. (Confessions, II, 5). Unlike the attitude toward his father, St. Augustine showed a great deal of respect to his mother, Monica, since she was a practicing Christian (II,60). In spite of this, Augustine criticized his mother for holding him back from his sexual desire (II,8). But his father arranged his marriage and encouraged him to have children (II,6). Unlike Confucius’s teachings of remaining reverent to your parent, Augustine openly criticized his family’s wrong doings because God was his heart and only truth (II,5).
I agree with Augustine on his spiritual principles. It is essential in the Christian faith to study the scriptures to gain wisdom and knowledge on how one is to live life. I refer to scriptures from the Holy Bible; scriptures that encourage us to seek knowledge from God. In the book of James 5:1, we are told to seek wisdom from God, not from the books written by men. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him,” (Holy Bible) and here we are advised in the book of I Corinthians 3:19-20, “For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” (Holy Bible)
Young Augustine weeps for the woman who dies for her love, as an older Augustine weeps over his complete ignorance and incontinence. Young Augustine is ignorant of the presence of God in his life, and is compelled not to weep for his own spiritual distance from God, but instead for a tragedy that, in the mind of the older Augustine, is incomparable to the tragedy of being without God. The older Augustine is compelled by his advanced knowledge of the Lord’s proximity to lament his previous lack of control over his habits, proclaiming “I had no love for you and ‘committed fornication against you’ (Ps. 72:27); and in my fornications, I heard all round me the cries ‘Well done, well done’ (Ps. 34:21; 39:16) … I abandoned you to pursue the lowest things of your creation.” (Conf. 16). This reveals that Young Augustine lives an entirely habitual life, never thinking of God or his importance, instead concerned with material and worldly concerns such as reputation and honor. This state of pure habit does not leave space for Young Augustine to have continence, and leaves him to act out his life according to passion and emotions.
"We who carry our mortality about with us, carry the evidence of our sin and with it the proof that you thwart the proud." (Augustine 39) This quote from the first book of Saint Augustine's "The Confessions" is a reflection of how Augustine brought Pagan meaning to interpret Christianity as a part of his life. In fact, it has direct correlation to the Holy Bible in the first letter of Peter: "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (Peter 5:5) The parallel that lies between these two quotes is a manifestation of the parallel that lies between Augustine and Paul's theology. It is clear from readings that Augustine found Paul's theology to be a practical tool while examining his own life. Just as Augustine has utilized the
When one reads the word "confessions," one would not necessarily associate it with the word "narrative." Confessions seem to be more of something stated directly without any story-like element. They are also a more personal thing- one does not simply put them in a story form unless purposely intending to do so, because usually it is something that expresses guilt for something personal or is between the author and their conscience (or perhaps to themselves). However, there can always be an exception, like Augustine's Confessions. It is written as a form of a narrative, even though the original the main audience for whom it was written is God, yet it is also intended to be read by anyone, almost as a didactic piece that sets an example
Throughout his Confessions, Augustine's view of humans--our essential nature has interesting differences from the way in which others, in different time periods and in different civilizations, have seen humans.
I was tossed and spilled, floundering in the broiling sea of my fornication, and you said no word” (Conf. II.1). Augustine acted just as the prodigal son did by straying from God and being taken over by worldly pleasures. As in the story, Augustine does come back to God and devotes himself to Him more than ever. It can be reasonably inferred that God rejoices more in the people who were lost and then found their salvation than to always be faithful towards Him. This suggests that God wants people to try and do it on their own, making mistakes after mistakes, and then hitting rock bottom to perhaps humble one in order to get their full attention to be placed on Him; this is what a responsible self looks like. In this section, the theme
In the beginning, God created the world. He created the earth, air, stars, trees and mortal animals, heaven above, the angels, every spiritual being. God looked at these things and said that they were good. However, if all that God created was good, from where does un-good come? How did evil creep into the universal picture? In Book VII of his Confessions, St. Augustine reflects on the existence of evil and the theological problem it poses. For evil to exist, the Creator God must have granted it existence. This fundamentally contradicts the Christian confession that God is Good. Logically, this leads one to conclude evil does not exist in a created sense. Augustine arrives at the conclusion that evil itself is not a formal thing, but the
Faith, it is the complete trust or confidence in someone or something. We as humans can only define it as that because we cannot tangibly grasp faith, or even understand it as we do our emotions. It can be as overwhelming as love and yet there may not be a reason or an understanding to why we have it or put our faith into someone or something. The only way to describe it is through the claim faith and reason are compatible. This claim is examined in the stories, Genesis, as God creates human beings to live amongst his other creations but to have free reign over the land, the Romans & Corinthians, as even Jesus’ faith was to put to the test, and it is deeply explored in St. Augustine’s Confessions. Furthermore, the compatibility of faith and reason is seen in The Book of Matthew as Jesus travels the lands of Israel blessing them with his own faith. Faith and reason would not be attainable if it weren’t for our triune God subtly giving us the knowledge we need to make decisions on our own.
The first major milestone of St. Augustine’s conversion to the Christian faith was his realization during his adolescent years that his behavior was pointlessly reckless and rebellious and far from God’s design for his life. Born to St. Monica, St. Augustine was raised in a faith filled home. He was integrated into the church from a young age and was raised in Christian institutions during his