#14 – Augustine of Hippo
May 4, 2018
#16 – Jesus, Violence, Love
May 26, 2018

#15 – City Of God

Augustine said he heard a childlike voice he heard telling him to “take up and read” which he took as a divine command to open the Bible and read the first thing he saw.
  • He opened the bible at a random page and read from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans chapter 13, verses 13 and 14:
  • Let’s behave decently, as people who live in the light of day. No wild parties, drunkenness, sexual immorality, promiscuity, quarreling, or jealousy!
  • And Augustine though “oh fuuuuuuck.”
  • Or NOT fuck, to be more accurate.
  • Now – if Augustine had taken the time to read the previous two verses, he might have waited before he converted.
  • Because they read:
  • And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
  • Because Paul believed the end of the world was going to happen ANY FUCKING MINUTE.
  • And not like we think of it.
  • I mean, if you thought the world was going to end tomorrow, you’d be fucking your brains out, getting shit faced, punching people you don’t like in the face, having sex with animals – hey you have to try everything before you die!
  • But Paul thought JAYSUS was coming and if you were in the middle of fucking or you were drunk when he came, you might miss the Jesus Train!
  • So sure, it made sense for Paul to say that.
  • But Augustine is living 300 years later!
  • Jesus STILL hadn’t come!
  • Paul didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about.
  • Anyway, Augustine gets baptised in 387.
  • As does his son from the old hag, Adeodatus.
  • The following year, 388, he completed his apology On the Holiness of the Catholic Church.
  • So let me get this straight.
  • In two years he goes from thinking Christianity is a bunch of Jack Shit to writing an entire book justifying it?
  • Fuck off.
  • In 388 he and his son both go back to Africa.
  • His mother dies and he seems to inherit a fortune, because he and his son live like kings.
  • And he definitely does NOT hook up with the old hag, not even for a random booty call.
  • You know he gets his freak on.
  • But then his son dies – from getting his freak on too much, I heard.
  • And Augustine gives all his money away, except the family home which he turns into a monastery for himself and some friends.
  • The Catholics in North Africa are still battling agains the Donatists (who believe people who gave up the holy books during the persecutions shouldn’t be allowed back into the fold) and the Manichaens.
  • So they need a smart, well educated guy in the region to be the point man.
  • So in 391 Augustine was ordained a priest in Hippo Regius (now Annaba), in Algeria.
  • Which is a backwater.
  • But he spends the rest of his life there, nearly 40 years.
  • He would go on to write three of the most important books in Christianity history: Confessions, the City Of God Against The Pagans, and “De Trinitate” (“On the Trinity”).
  • the cornerstone of the western Christian tradition
  • Confessions – Basically it’s Augustine telling God that he thinks he’s awesome.
  • Most of the book is just Aug saying “wow God you are awesome, you really are, no, seriously, I mean it.”
  • And how when he was younger, he liked to fuck, and steal fruit, just to be a little cunt.
  • Not because he was hungry or anything.
  • Just because he was a little cunt.
  • It is widely seen as the first Western autobiography ever written
  • He wrote it when he was about 40, not long after his conversion to Christianity
  • What is remarkable about the Confessions is that for the first time in western literature the world of the interior mind—with, in this case, all its guilt and uncertainty—is explored in detail in what is essentially a dialogue with God.
  • Augustine talks in the Confessions, as throughout his writings, of the supreme importance of the love of God, but the dominant picture he gives in the Confessions is of a God who is angry and punitive.
    • I broke all your lawful bounds and did not escape your lash. For what man can escape it? You were always present, angry and merciful at once, strewing the pangs of bitterness over all my lawless pleasures to look for others unallied by pain. You meant me to find them nowhere but in yourself, O Lord, for you teach us by inflicting pain, you smite so that you may heal and you kill us so that we may not die away from you.
  • And then he grew up to be a big cunt and wrote City of God Against The Pagans.
  • it’s a horrible books by a horrible little man.
  • This is the one that was his attempt at apologetics to justify why the God of the Christians allowed Rome to get pillaged – by other Christians.
  • Because the pagan were saying “See! You stopped us sacrificing to the old gods and this is what happened!”
  • Augustine’s argument is: look, it could have been a LOT worse.
  • Compared to other pillagings of other cities throughout history, this one wasn’t so bad.
  • So, really, we should be THANKING God for being so merciful.
  • The first thing that jumped out at me while I read the book was that he never really addresses the issue that the people who pillaged Rome were ALSO Christians.
  • He refers to them as “savage barbarians”.
  • The second is that he blames women who got raped for being too proud.
    • Chapter 28.— By What Judgment of God the Enemy Was Permitted to Indulge His Lust on the Bodies of Continent Christians.
    • Let not your life, then, be a burden to you, you faithful servants of Christ, though your chastity was made the sport of your enemies. You have a grand and true consolation, if you maintain a good conscience, and know that you did not consent to the sins of those who were permitted to commit sinful outrage upon you. And if you should ask why this permission was granted, indeed it is a deep providence of the Creator and Governor of the world; and unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out. [Romans 11: 33] Nevertheless, faithfully interrogate your own souls, whether you have not been unduly puffed up by your integrity, and continence, and chastity; and whether you have not been so desirous of the human praise that is accorded to these virtues, that you have envied some who possessed them.
    • And yet, if they answer that it is as I have supposed it might be, do not marvel that you have lost that by which you can win men’s praise, and retain that which cannot be exhibited to men. If you did not consent to sin, it was because God added His aid to His grace that it might not be lost, and because shame before men succeeded to human glory that it might not be loved. But in both respects even the faint-hearted among you have a consolation, approved by the one experience, chastened by the other; justified by the one, corrected by the other. As to those whose hearts, when interrogated, reply that they have never been proud of the virtue of virginity, widowhood, or matrimonial chastity, but, condescending to those of low estate, rejoiced with trembling in these gifts of God, and that they have never envied any one the like excellences of sanctity and purity, but rose superior to human applause, which is wont to be abundant in proportion to the rarity of the virtue applauded, and rather desired that their own number be increased, than that by the smallness of their numbers each of them should be conspicuous— even such faithful women, I say, must not complain that permission was given to the barbarians so grossly to outrage them; nor must they allow themselves to believe that God overlooked their character when He permitted acts which no one with impunity commits. For some most flagrant and wicked desires are allowed free play at present by the secret judgment of God, and are reserved to the public and final judgment. Moreover, it is possible that those Christian women, who are unconscious of any undue pride on account of their virtuous chastity, whereby they sinlessly suffered the violence of their captors, had yet some lurking infirmity which might have betrayed them into a proud and contemptuous bearing, had they not been subjected to the humiliation that befell them in the taking of the city. As, therefore, some men were removed by death, that no wickedness might change their disposition, so these women were outraged lest prosperity should corrupt their modesty. Neither those women then, who were already puffed up by the circumstance that they were still virgins, nor those who might have been so puffed up had they not been exposed to the violence of the enemy, lost their chastity, but rather gained humility; the former were saved from pride already cherished, the latter from pride that would shortly have grown upon them.
  • He goes on to say that any women who took her own life to save herself from being raped and tortured commited a grave sin.
  • Because if she was raped and tortured, the rapist would be committing a sin.
  • She would be blameless.
  • So what, she suffers a little bit – at least she isn’t condemned to hell for eternity.
  • But if she commits suicide, she’s worse than the rapist.
  • He explains why the good people were tortured, raped and killed along with the bad people:
    • God is pleased to visit with temporal punishments the profligate manners of a community. They are punished together, not because they have spent an equally corrupt life, but because the good as well as the wicked, though not equally with them, love this present life; while they ought to hold it cheap, that the wicked, being admonished and reformed by their example, might lay hold of life eternal.
  • So it was THEIR fault they were tortured, raped and killed.
  • And they should be grateful to God.
    • And that you are yet alive is due to God, who spares you that you may be admonished to repent and reform your lives. It is He who has permitted you, ungrateful as you are, to escape the sword of the enemy, by calling yourselves His servants, or by finding asylum in the sacred places of the martyrs.

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