St. Augustine is a famous philosopher who wrote such works as The Confession of St. Augustine and The City of God. He tried to explain everyone the importance of God in the lives of humans. For many people thoughts of St. Augustine are unquestionable; however, I find his assertions about the free will, supreme good, evil and getting someone into loving God doubtful.
St. Augustine starts with a judgment about the free will of a person. He claims that God already knows everything that happens. His words not only mean that people cannot make their decision, but also that God tells us what to do. As St. Augustine writes “if God foreknows a certain order of all causes, there must be therefore nothing depending on the free exercise of our will…” (Minch & Weigel 166). This statement makes all people kind of puppets. According to the philosopher, a human thinks thoughts and does deeds only because God tells him/her to do so. For example, in countries where execution is allowed with the constitution, killing criminals is not the decision of the people, but of God. And I am not talking about a murder of one person; I am talking about massive violence towards criminals due to God’s will. Thus, not only executions but many other different situations people should analyze and never think that God knew about it and did not help. When someone crosses the street, he/she must watch out for cars and walk on a proper place on the green light. However, if an individual makes a decision not to do this and gets hit by a car, it is wrong to say that God has something to do with it. The person must analyze his/her deeds and remember that things like this happen if one does not follow the simplest rules.
The next assertion I do not agree with is about considering the supreme good as life eternal and evil as death eternal. St. Augustine writes that there are two cities and in one of them people “live after the flesh” and in another they live “after the spirit” (Minch & Weigel 166). The philosopher said that human beings can choose between two ways of living their lives. They can live according to the flesh and do everything that satisfies their body, or live according to the spirit and get closer to God. The second concept determines the difference between animals and humans because the former live only for their body’s pleasure, as St. Augustine states. If one talks about good and evil, the philosopher asserts “we do not yet see our good, and must, therefore, live by faith” (Minch & Weigel 167). This means that God leads every living individual and helps understand Him. However, if a person is a sinner, then he/she will experience the supreme evil after he/she dies. For example, when one is alive, God makes choices instead of him/her, wants him/her to live according to the spirit and do not murder someone or drink to excess so that he/she could find his/her blessedness; but if one is a sinner, then God’s will leave him/her forever and he/she will be suffering in eternal death. However, if God leads a person then He is the one who makes that individual become a sinner, and if He is the reason why that human does not know what the supreme good is then He does not love him/her.
The last thought I cannot agree with is getting a neighbor to love God. St. Augustine states that a person can only love himself/herself if he/she loves God, and if he/she does, then he/she should make sure that people who surround him/her do the same thing. It is clear that the philosopher wants to say that all human beings should experience the supreme good in blessed eternal life. Though, on the one hand, it is wrong to involve one’s neighbor in something that claims that one will suffer after death if he/she sins. On the other hand, it is not right to thrust one’s thoughts on someone else. For example, one is a vegetarian and he/she goes to all his/her neighbors and starts to propagandize his/her lifestyle because he/she is convinced that if he/she stops eating meat he/she will live a happy life. This is everyone’s personal choice and people have to value it.
St. Augustine wrote about his perception of God. He was trying to explain people who God is, why they need Him, and showed how almighty and wise the Lord is. However, I disagree with three of his statements. I cannot agree that there is no free will because otherwise everyone would blame God for everything. The second statement is about the supreme good and evil, and I do not agree with it because if God loves people, He would never turn their death into a supreme suffering. And the last assertion I disagree is about getting one’s neighbors to love God, because religion is something that person has to come up by himself/herself without any help.
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