St Augustine And Manicheanism

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Augustine’s Confessions is a biographic of the life of St. Augustine. The biopic chronicles the life of Augustine as he tries to navigate his way through life and find his path as it relates to the Christian faith. Augustine discusses many of his struggles and issues while on the path to find himself and his place in God. One of the main issues he covers in his biopic are the struggles had with reconciling the existence of evil with the goodness of God. He struggled with this issue in particular due to his participation in the belief of Manicheanism. Manicheanism is a heretical version of Christianity, that was first introduced by the self-proclaimed prophet Mani. Augustine claims he fell victim to this belief system when he was at a vulnerable point in his journey and was seeking answers for certain question he has pertaining to faith. He fell into Manicheanism when he tried to look at the scriptures himself and interrupt them but to a rhetoric like himself the scriptures made no sense at the time, so he turned from them and to the well-worded faith of Manicheanism. Augustine considers that decision one of the biggest mistakes of his life, attributing his great difficulties in reconciling the existence of evil with God’s goodness to his belief in Manicheanism. In this paper I aim to explore the reason behind why Augustine felt his belief in Manicheanism was such a grave mistake. I also hope to explain how he tried to reconcile his issues concerning evil and God’s goodness, and if he was successful in this attempt. In order to do this we must first look deeper at Manicheanism to examine what the core values and beliefs of the faith are, so that we can understand why Augustine had such a hard time dealing with the issue of evil and... ... middle of paper ... ...icism that was laid out before him. I do indeed think Augustine did a successful job of clearly, and logically presenting a valid argument to reconcile the issues of the existence of evil and the goodness of God. On a personal level I can understand where Augustine is coming from, as someone who is a person of faith but also likes to think about things in a logical way I can understand his passion behind wanting to disprove this particular Manichean criticism for not only the doubters of God but for himself. This is definitely the type of question that could lead to several other doubts and questions, if it goes unanswered. As Augustine stated in the “Confessions” this was something he struggled with himself for many years. It is like the bible says “we overcome by the word of our testimonies” (Revelations 12:11), and I think that’s exactly what Augustine did here.

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