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Augustine, Desert Fathers-What is required to be a good Christian?

Uploaded by Brent R Goodin on May 09, 2004

Such strong language seems to indicate a rejection of the body, of human relationships, of human reason, or any good which is not God. Is such a rejection required if one is to be a true Christian?

Human relationships, the body, and human reason are presupposed to be good in Ms. Kreis’s statement. Although Saint Augustine, the author of Confessions, would not consider those to be of the highest good (God), he would be hard-pressed to deny that each does not maintain some degree of good. Sin is defined as a lack of good by Augustine; when someone abandons the highest good for a lower good, he/she is sinning. A lower good is any good that is not God (i.e. consumerism, science, astronomy, sex, fashion, societal recognition, pride and prestige, etc.). An inordinate fixation on or passion for a lower good quickly develops into a distraction from the highest good when left unchecked. If one does not control the proclivity to indulge in lower goods, they become habits or dispositions, which then become a way of life. Religion is a way of life. Christianity is dedicated to the praise and worship of God. The true, consummate Christian recognizes man is weak, hence, lives a life separate from human relationships, the body, and human reason. One cannot live a life for God alone when sidetracked by other lesser goods. Living one lifestyle fully and correctly is difficult, if not impossible; therefore, convoluting one lifestyle with another whilst trying to live out each fully is quixotic.

According to Augustine, the potential to be a true Christian is present in everyone; however, succumbing to the highest good is very challenging. Being a true Christian is chimerical for most people because man is prone to three types of wickedness: lust for flesh, lust of the eyes, and lust for domination. Lust of flesh is an obsession with sensuality and the erotic (the lowest part of the soul); the solution is to regulate one’s libidinal urges. The thymotic part of the soul, which represents a burning desire to be respected and honored, is called a lust for domination; one should not desire to be in the right relationship with man but rather with God. Lust of the eyes is an inordinate fixation on intellectual and rational thought; God cannot be described...

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Uploaded by:   Brent R Goodin

Date:   05/09/2004

Category:   Religion

Length:   8 pages (1,861 words)

Views:   2722

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