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St. Augustine

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Saint Augustine of Hippo

Theologians, Biblical scholars and Christians all over the world often wrestle with two extremely important questions about their faith. These questions are, "What is God like?" and "How should we live in response to God?" Some feel that we need others to direct us, some feel we need them to challenge us, but everyone agrees that we need others. That is exactly how Saint Augustine struggles to find his faith and beliefs. He found it extremely difficult to come with a conclusion when it was staring at him straight in the face, but just as he did, we draw up our own conclusions with the guidance of others.

Saint Augustine, born Aurelis Augustinus, was an influential and great philosopher and theologian of early times. He was considered the most important of the Latin Church Fathers. His writings of sermons gained fame, notably Confessions and his Treatise City of God. Through his work he helped distinguish the church in Western Europe from the church that it had reformed elsewhere.

Saint Augustine was born on November 13, 354 AD in Tagaste, Numidia (modern-day Nigeria). His father, Patricius was a pagan and his mother, Monica was a devoted Christian who prayed untiringly for her son's conversion to become a Christian herself. His mother later became officially declared by the Roman Catholic Church and became a saint as well. Due to his

parents mixed beliefs, St. Augustine questioned both sides of religion; thus, making him an earnest seeker after "truth". As a young man, St. Augustine went to Carthage to study rhetoric. He was profoundly influenced by the philosophical treatise Horentsius, written by the Roman statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero. When questioning his parents' religion, he was particularly drawn to Manichaeism, also known as the Manichees. Manichaeism is a dualistic philosophical religion based on a God of Good and a God of Evil. This religion, at first, seemed to correspond to most of the plausible hypothesis's Saint Augustine created to conclude a philosophical and ethical system. The Manichees claimed to have found contradictions in Holy Writ, also known as the Bible. He was so astonished by this he couldn't help but dedicate his time and study's to the book of the Manichees. The Manichees believed that there was contradiction in the scriptures of the Bible. They did not believe that the earth and the human race were created as it was written in Genesis. But when Saint Augustine questioned the Manichees concerning the movements of the stars, none of them could answer him. Disappointed, Saint Augustine turned skeptic about the religion and so he left the Manichees.

In 383 Augustine left Carthage for Rome where he found refuge with Bishop Ambrose of Milan. A year later he became a teacher of rhetoric. Having visited Bishop Ambrose, the fascination of that saint's kindness induced him to become a regular attendant at his preaching's. Augustine presently was attracted again to Christianity. At last one day, according to his own account, he seemed to hear a voice, like that of a child, repeating, "Take up and read." He interpreted this as a divine message to open the Scriptures and read the first passage he happened to see. Accordingly, he opened the Book (Romans 13:13-14) where he read: "...not in revelry and drunkenness,



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