St. Augustine's important philosophical contributions to defend the philosophy of Christianity.

Topics: God, Morality, Good and evil Pages: 5 (1701 words) Published: May 1, 2003
St. Augustine made some very important philosophical contributions to defend the philosophy of Christianity. One of these contributions concerned the philosophical problem of evil. Up until St. Augustine's time, philosophers questioned the idea proposed by Christians that evil generated in a world created by a perfectly good God. The problem is easy enough to understand, yet slightly more complicated to solve. St. Augustine raised some fairly good propositions to offer an explanation for this question. Although the problem of evil has been answered for the most part, there are still many who disbelieve St. Augustine's interpretation of the dispute. To me, this is in good reason; the problem of evil is inherent to understanding the big picture that Christianity has to offer, and as such, it is not something that can be easily solved.

Augustine first tried to offer the idea that evil is the result of an alternative force that exists outside of God's Creation, and which serves as a nemesis to God. Very quickly Augustine discovered the problem with this solution; Christianity states that God is the sole Creator of the world and everything that exists in and outside of it. Obviously this does offer a little bit of a problem in itself, so Augustine moves on to attempt another observation. Augustine then attempts to claim - with the help of Platonic theory - that evil is not real and therefore was not created by God. I completely disagree with this statement; if God had no intention of evil appearing in his Creation, no bad would exist and there would be no reason to doubt God's existence. The problem to me in this solution is that if we had no reason to doubt the presence of God, to in effect see and more importantly feel Him through the basically ugly nature of this world and have faith in Him, then there would be no reason in our existence here. Simply put, everyone has their problems - to me this is the directly influenced effect of evil - and everyone experiences times and feelings in which are directly linked to good, such as love, contentment, and other such virtues in which makes us feel good in its true form. I am not proposing that God so much created evil as He created man, just that man's creation of evil was somewhat prophesized in which was a large part of God's Creation. What he leaves up to us is our faith in Him, and I believe that evil is a delicately created force that leaves doubt in the minds of all those who experience the melting pot of good and evil, most commonly known as life.

Augustine's absence theory was a little more reasonable, that the absence of something good such as water or sight, or the presence of drought and blindness respectively, can be described as "physical" evils which make evil slightly more obvious. Then as he is describing moral evil, or the evil actions of man, I think he made a mistake in reasoning that people do not intentionally do wrong. I believe that people most certainly do wrong intentionally, however this is done out of ignorance. Ignorance of good was a separate point of Augustine's, but I don't think that in the case of evil, intentional behavior and ignorance can be easily separated. I believe that people behave wrongly out of an intentional ignorance of good and this makes a certain action evil or wrong. St. Augustine then quoted that moral evil is not so much a case of misguided education, but of misguided love; to me, this is a very well put statement, and one that I agree with completely. I believe that we come to love what we strive for, and if that love or strife is directed in a way in which does not serve God, moral evil results and we must reap what we have sowed. I think that this intentional behavior is not so much the result of knowingly acting against God, but yet is the result of misdirected love. However, misdirection does not justify intention; in other words, just because we have been thrown off by moral evil - either recognized such evil in oneself...
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