Using Teachings of Augustine to Examine Life

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"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 teachings of Paul to examine his life, I will utilize the teachings of Augustine as a framework for examining my life. Although much of my infancy has faded in memory, reading book I of Augustine's infancy and boyhood made me realize that humans are all born alike. We are not born sinless, free of greed or desire. This is a human condition that cannot be avoided because curiosity overpowers the concern for right and wrong at such an early age. We are all born selfish because our intrinsic desires constantly urge us to seek power and authority. We are not at this age capable of choosing how we are educated. Instead, a system of principles and goals are laid out before us to abide by. "Such were the moral standards of the world at whose threshold I lay, a wretched boy; this was the arena in which I was to struggle." (Augustine 59) This quote reflects how Augustine saw his infancy as that of a freedom-neglected one, chained down by the pre-determined morals and standards of a system of... ... middle of paper ... ...ork involving emotions and rational thinking. Even though this selfish, self-centered ego that once prevailed for so long in my life was nearly vanquished, it still appeared to be present at times. I no longer appeased my self-interest at the expense of innocent subjects whom I held empathy for. Instead, my selfish nature would appear spontaneously at indiscriminate times while the subjects of my deceitfulness remained unaware of the incident. In other words, I still set out to benefit myself but did so with the intent of having my victim be unaware of their loss. I realize now that this intrinsic nature that urged me to deceive people in order to assist myself was simply a part of who I am. Whether it would remain cruel and irrational or manifest itself slowly was completely arbitrary. However, the idea of it being with me forever was completely inevitable.
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