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st augustin paper

st augustin paper - Augustine the Catholic Churchs most...

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Augustine, the Catholic Church’s most venerated reformed saint, is most widely known for his insightful philosophies, and the life-changing events he uses as their basis. In his Confessions , he begins with the start of his life in which he makes his first assumption, that all humans are innately evil, even as children. He continues, remembering an event in which he stole a pear from a tree, and with that story justifies his assumption of the inherent evilness of human beings. He pleads in guilty hunger for the Lord’s feeding hands, for forgiveness and the strength to carry out God’s Will with his newfound knowledge. In doing so, he condemns all humans, in presupposition that these people, his former self included, live to thwart God, attempting to prove themselves greater than the Lord, creator of nature. He presents his argument using his own trivial story as a common base uniting all of humanity. His words invoke harsh images of presumptuous, self-pleasuring beings, as do they impose the idea of a wrathful God, one to be feared. In his earlier years, Augustine was more of a rebellious young-adult. He practiced in premarital sex, alcoholism, and basic Epicureanism, indulging in the pleasures of debauchery. On a certain outing with a few friends, Augustine was pressured into stealing a pear from a tree that did not belong to him. While seemingly trivial, to Augustine his entire view on life changed as he realized the innate evil of human beings. Thenceforth in his Confessions , he relates most everything back to this perception. “Therefore in that act of theft what was the object of my love?” (ln. 14). Was the pear what he desired? This picking of the pear was for the sole purpose of pleasure. He could afford the pear, yet he chose to pick it in order to choose pleasure over God. His intentions of picking the pear were not only to please his peers but also to behave like God, taking what he wants. The story of the stolen pear being the instigator, Augustine concludes that human beings are innately evil, even from birth. The “soul fornicates when it turns away from you” (ln. 7). This Gonzalez 1
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statement gives the notion that human beings are constantly sinning and it is of their own accord. “Was my pleasure to break your law, but by deceit since I had not the power to do that by force?” (ln. 7). Augustine speaks to the Lord, explaining by usage of a rhetorical question that he could not really break God’s law by stealing a pear, which is what he wanted to prove. However, he hurt the Lord in the worst way possible, to deceive Him. This line alludes to the idea that deceiving the Lord is worse than the actual act of theft, because it is letting God know that his creation is not as good as He thought, making him inferior to what He was believed to be. “Was
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