Essay Sample on St. Augustine: Medieval Philosopher, Theologian & Influencer of Western Christianity

Paper Type:  Argumentative essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1892 Words
Date:  2023-02-27

Introduction

St. Augustine was a Roman African and an early Christian theologian who influenced the growth of western Christianity. He had a different approach to philosophy and theology that comprised multiple methods and perspectives. For instance, he formulated the doctrine of original sin through his belief that the grace of Christ was an indispensable phenomenon to human freedom (Augustine, 50). His perceptions can be described as medieval as he used to see the church as a spiritual city of God (Flinn, 1999). His conversion to Christianity was filled with various hurdles, such as the existence of various precepts of the Hebrew Bible. He had to strategically find a way to approach Christianity and change his beliefs for him to be part of the religion.

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Augustine's move to join Christianity was inspired by the story of Ponticianus's as well as the reading concerning the life of Saint Anthony of the Desert. It is told that he was prompted by a childlike voice to take up and read the Bible (Augustine, 34). He took the command seriously and divinely opened it to read the very first thing he saw. He was met by the epistle of Paul to the Romans, where he read from the Transformation of Believers section. The message from the section consisted of the gospel of transformation, where believers were being sunk into Christianity. He read about the resulting behavior of transformation. The very first step was to accept the word and seek the common way of joining the church. As one of his greatest steps, he sought baptism from Ambrose (Woollcott, 1966). He presented himself with his son Adeodatus.

After his baptism, Augustine compiled and completed an apology to the Holiness of the Catholic Church. He captured this step from the epistle of Peter. He knew that defending a faith was not in any way luxurious or of presenting intellectual vanity. It could only be described as a tasked appointed by God. In that way, he had to bear witness before the world. In the field of Christian apologetics, Augustine of Hippo, as commonly known, was among the many apologists of the Patristic era. His apology was a form of discourse characterized by the purpose of joining the church. After his baptism, he opted to return home to Africa. Through the journey, his mother died, and as soon as they arrived, he, alongside his son, started the life of aristocratic leisure at their property (Augustine, 103). As time went by, the son died, and Augustine was left alone. He shifted his strategy to starting life from the bottom.

Augustine later sold his patrimony and gave all the money to the poor. He did this from the insights he had gained from the Bible. He was only left with the family house. He took the strategic path of converting it into a monastic foundation that should consist of him and his small group of companions (Dobell, 2009). This happened in Algeria, where most of the people did not understand Christianity in the deep. Therefore, he has ordained a priest in Hippo. For that reason, he became a preacher and delivered a lot of sermons to the people. He began combating the Manichaean religion for which he was a part. His actions impressed the people, and he was made a coadjutor Bishop in the area before being granted the full authorities of a bishop. His strategy finalized with him giving his property to the church of Thagaste. Before he died, he used to work tirelessly, trying to tell the people of Hippo to convert into Christianity.

Christian Ethics of Agape Love vs. Customs: Argument For

Christianity's Agape love tends to mean the love for a partner that does not imply a mutuality or self-interest. Therefore, those who conform to agape love only affirm the worth of the others. Therefore, Christians following agape love ought to respect others and recognize their human dignity. For instance, Jesus mentioned that every person should love their neighbor. Even though not presented directly, the concept of agape love was meant to convey his intent. This is so since he did not mean to make friends and still did not encourage erotic behavior. There is selflessness in agape love. At the same time, one can accept customs, including the precepts of the Catholic Church.

The universal Christian ethics of agape love work as the foundation of customs such as precepts. Most of the precepts, for instance, are essential in the spirit of prayer and moral effort. Additionally, precepts ensure the growth in love of God and the neighbor (Templeton, 1999). Just as outlined by Christians' agape love, the neighbor ought to be respected, and this can only be done by adhering to the precepts. Christians, such as those attending the Catholic Church, are discouraged from servile labor on holy days such as Sunday. Any person found not to adhere to such a percept can be perceived as not a follower of the ethics of agape love. The holy days of obligation are set aside from Christians to practice agape love instead of encouraging work that could sanctify the days. For employers, it may seem exploitation letting a Christian worker attends to duties on the set days, but for the Christian, it would seem more of breaking the ethics of agape love.

Christian customs are also placed in the context of moral life. So are the ethics of agape love founded on moral concepts. Every denomination has its precepts. For instance, the Buddhists believe in abstaining from killing others, stealing, engaging in immoral sexual behaviors, intoxication, and cheating. For Christians, there are moral precepts outlined in the Bible that align with those of other denominations. These include the Ten Commandments given in the Old Testament. Some catholic believers ought to follow some precepts such as confession of sins every year. This is critical to enabling them to be ready for the reception of the Holy Eucharist. This also ensures that individual souls are at a state of grace. This does not alter the ethics of agape love in any way.

Various other believers follow the custom of receiving the sacrament of the Eucharist during the Easter period. This is based on the moral grounds of the believers. This, as commonly described as the center of Christian liturgy, is critical to every catholic believer. It does not interfere but aligns with the ethics of agape love. Providing for the needs of the church also aligns and conforms to agape love. This is dependent on one's own ability. Even though it could be different for every family, generosity is the greatest idea (Templeton, 1999). Similarly, agape love ensures that love for one another is enhanced without limits. Therefore, it would be easy following customs as outlined in Christianity while adhering to the ethics of agape love.

From the various customs presented from a Christian basis and the conformity to the ethics of agape love, a stout Christian can practice all without limits. This is evident since neither of the ethics interferes with each other. Additionally, the whole self is expected of Christians and not the minimum. Therefore, it could never get any easier to present the whole self by adhering to the customs while embracing the ethics of agape love. Anyone in the spiritual life can aim much higher when involved with both perspectives.

Christian Ethics of Agape Love vs. Customs: Argument Against

Some other people would argue that it could never get any consistent adhering to universal Christian ethics of agape love while practicing and accepting the customs of the denomination. This could be true as the ethics and morals in either concept alter each other in the Christian denomination. For instance, various customs such as precepts do not have to do with the necessary and what is fitting. Every individual should exhibit faith for them to please God. Therefore, the precepts about faith can be given. However, the ethics of agape love will not be followed at the same time as the precepts are being practiced since they could not be necessary at that time.

Additionally, adhering to customs would mean commanding an act of virtue. This is of a similar dimension to prohibiting objected vices. There are multiple precepts, especially from the Old Testament. Some of them prohibit unbelief. A look into the commandments would reveal that God prohibits the bowing of any other gods. Furthermore, the book of Deuteronomy outlines that no one ought to listen to the words of a prophet or dreamer who could divert individuals from the faith of God. Christians can follow this but not in a simultaneous situation while following the ethics of agape love (Ure, 2007). This is because the morals of such a percept do not align with the ethics of agape love. Faith can only be perceived as the starting point of spiritual life, whereas the provision of agape love should be a continuous process.

Conforming to various customs, including precepts while conforming to the ethics of agape love, is a difficult practice because knowledge and understanding are matters of cognition and behavior. It is biologically impossible for a weak individual to ensure that they can multitask since cognition precedes and directs action. Therefore, the actions to be involved in either of the phenomena cannot be perceived simultaneously. Additionally, two customs could be difficult to practice even with the absence of agape love. For instance, precepts that pertain to knowledge and understanding cannot happen in the same environment with those of action (Gibson, 2004). The precepts of the Law represent those of the Decalogue. Some of these precepts contradict each other making it difficult to follow the ethics and morals of agape love (Ure, 2007). For instance, those regarding knowledge and understanding should be handed down among those of a Decalogue, and any other format would create a contradiction. These concepts of cognition make it difficult to have individuals follow various customs while conforming to the ethics of agape love.

It would also be difficult to practice various customs while complying with the ethics of agape love since mediation based on one's knowledge and understanding cannot comprise two different concepts. Any extraneous actions would impede the mediation. The actions resulting from conforming to customs are very dissimilar to those of following the ethics of agape love. As Christians meditate on the common things based on the customs followed, they would find it difficult to meditate on those based on knowledge and understanding agape love. The actions resulting from knowledge and understanding are the result of teaching and learning. The concepts taught regarding customs and those from agape love are different from various individuals. While the conversation is effected through memory, only one of the phenomena can be practiced and acted upon at one given time.

References

Augustine, A. (2015). Confessions. Xist Publishing.

Dobell, B. (2009). Augustine's intellectual conversion: The journey from Platonism to Christianity. Cambridge University Press.

Flinn, F. K. (1999). 3. Conversion: up from evangelicalism or the pentecostal and charismatic. Religious conversion: contemporary practices and controversies, 51.

Gibson, T. S. (2004). Proposed levels of Christian spiritual maturity. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 32(4), 295-304.

Templeton, J. (1999). Agape Love: Tradition In Eight World Religions. Templeton Foundation Press.

Ure, I. (2007). The politics of mercy, forgiveness, and love: a Nietzschean appraisal. South African Journal of Philosophy, 26(1), 55-68.

Woollcott, P. (1966). Some considerations of creativity and religious experience in St. Augustine of Hippo. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 5(2), 273-283.

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Essay Sample on St. Augustine: Medieval Philosopher, Theologian & Influencer of Western Christianity. (2023, Feb 27). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/essay-sample-on-st-augustine-medieval-philosopher-theologian-influencer-of-western-christianity

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