Saint Augustine (354-430 AD), also known as Augustine of Hippo created an image of himself through his writings and teachings. He was born in Tagaste, a town in North Africa, on November 13, 354 AD. He was born into a middle class family. Patricius, his father, was a pagan, but later converted to Christianity because of his wife, Monica, was a devout Christian. Augustine’s mother, who was devoted to the Roman Catholic church, constantly tried for her son's conversion.
Augustine was educated as a lecturer in the former North African cities of Tagaste, Madaura, and Carthage. The philosophical works of Marcus Tullius Cicero, a Roman speaker and politician, inspired Augustine to become a seeker after truth. Augustine engaged restlessly in philosophical studies, and passed from one phase of thought to another, unable to find satisfaction. From 373 until 382, in Carthage, he conformed to Manichaeism, a dualistic philosophy dealing with the conflict between good and evil. This seemed to be the answer to the confusion in his own heart. It solved the mysteries that confused him in his own experience. After realizing that this philosophy wouldn’t make a great ethical system, he abandoned this philosophy. After being educated throughout North Africa, he left Carthage and in 384 found himself in Milan where he would pursue his career of a professor in rhetoric. Also, in Milan he met and was influenced by the bishop, Ambrose. With this, Augustine was attracted again to Christianity and was baptized by Ambrose in 387. Augustine was also influenced by Platonism. He than returned to North Africa where he became the bishop of Hippo in 391, a title he held until he died.
This great “Father of the Church,” wrote a handbook on the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and love. The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, and Love was written in the year 420. It is a brief handbook on the proper mode of serving God, through faith, hope, and love. It is easy to say what one ought to believe, what to hope for, and what to love. But to defend our doctrines against the slander of those who think differently is a more difficult and detailed task. If one is to have this wisdom, it is not enough just to put an enchiridion in the hand. It is also necessary that a great eagerness be in the heart.
Saint Augustine says that God created all things good. In Chapter XI, ...
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...t evil is but the absence of good. I feel that God did make everything good, and it is the absence of good that causes evil. People choose the road they feel like taking throughout life. I think of it this way; God started us off on this world all consisting of good and it is we who choose to become evil. This follows through with Augustine’s next idea, which I also agree with, in that there can be no evil where there is no good.
This holds true because everybody consists of good, and evil is the absence of good, so that just concludes that in order for evil there must be good. Augustine also says that good and evil can exist at the same time, but evil cannot exist without good, however, good can exist without evil. I feel that one can embody good and evil, there are many humans like that now. It’s true that evil cannot exist without good because we are only evil when we aren’t good, but one can be good without being evil. I hope I have made it clear that there are some points that I agree with and there are some ideas of Augustine that I don’t agree with. As for the way to serve God, I believe that as long as you live your life to the best of your ability, you will succeed.
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