In a Nutshell: Augustine

Augustine

Augustine

            “Believe in order to understand.”

Augustine (born 358AD) was a young man and a brilliant teacher of rhetoric. At age 15 he read Cicero’s Hortensius, as well as other sacred texts of his mother’s religion of Christianity, but found them repulsive and contradictory. This led to a feud between Augustine and his Mother regarding their differences in belief. Augustine thought that the human emotions and interferences of the Christian God were inappropriate. The semi-Christian sect of the Manichees took in Augustine, where he used logic and rationality to become celibate. Manichaeism was a radical dualist organisation which rejected the primitive God told in the Old testament, which governed a lot of similarities to Augustine’s belief. The Manichees, as well as Augustine, promoted the self control of passion and instincts, and claimed that reason on the intellectual plane offered freedom. However, Augustine lost faith in the organisation because he believed that its Astrology made no sense, and embraced ancient scepticism to further pursue his career.

In Milan, Augustine became acquainted with Platonist Christians after meeting the country’s Bishop, where he was baptised (29 years). Platonists Christians had a non-literal understanding of Scripture yet maintained their Christian beliefs. During Augustine’s time, Western civilization commonly scrutinised the Christians because the common belief was held that Christian theology was no more than mythology. However, due to a shift in only allowing Christians to join the military, a sudden surge of people joined the Christian Church. Because of this, the level of piety in the Church was radically reduced and many pious Christians, including Augustine, started a Monastic movement in Egypt. Before the time of his death (430AD), Augustine abandoned his Philosophical aspirations and pursued the life of pastoral care as a Bishop of Hippo’s Church.

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