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Audustine's Confessions - Essay Example

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Even as Saint Augustine greatly influenced the Protestant movement that would one day become the dominant mode of Christianity in the Western hemisphere, his ideas on original sin were at the time revolutionary formulations (ODonnell 2005). His understanding of humanity as…
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Audustines Confessions
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Audustine's Confessions

The traditional understanding of free-will asserts that Adam and Eve were born of Godly nature, but because of illicit impulses or greed were torn away from this goodness and thrown into sin. The resultant occurrence is that all of humanity is then born into sin and requires God’s grace for their freedom. Furthermore, Augustine makes the point that original sin is not only embodied in wayward reason and impulses, but in the very physicality of man. This is, after Adam and Eve committed their act of original sin they had to wear clothing, because their actual pure physicality was an extension of the sin. This concept indicates that man is a physical extension of the depravity of existence. That even as depraved reasoning is an essential characteristic of humanity leading them towards sin, and even as Augustine allows for the concept of the freedom of the will, man is ultimately damned because his physicality is even embedded as a sinful act. This essay considers Augustines concept of original sin, arguing that his philosophical construct is misguided as it gives too much credence to deterministic thinking, ignores that wrongdoing is often the result of external circumstances, and doesnt acknowledge the amount of altruism that exists in the world.
If all actions are predestined, as Augustine believes they are, then the idea of free will seems impossible, and ascribing responsibility to persons who cannot make their own choices seems wrong. However, to some extent it seems that Augustine’s philosophy demonstrates a hard to define confluence between pre-destination and free-will that have led some scholars to argue that there are actually two different Augustinian philosophies, themselves mutually contradictory (Rist 1972). Adequate research into Augustine demonstrates that these concepts are not necessarily mutually exclusive, as Augustine’s understanding reveals subtle characterizations that bind their philosophic elements in hybrid ... Read More
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