June, 12, 2011
Thomas E. Hockersmith
Augustine's Conversion to Christianity
St. Augustine’s conversion to Christianity is an example of self-awareness to self-improvement process that can be observed in the book of Confessions of St. Augustine. Augustine’s religious journey started under the beliefs of Manichaeism, but later devoted his life to full Christianity. Augustine wanted to defend himself against the criticisms of his Donatist enemies and wary Catholic allies by explaining how he arrived at Christian faith.
Augustine speaks of his adolescence years in Confessions as a time of sinful indulges. Although he came from a family that was never without food, he still stole things with his influent friends. Augustine hung around bad company that consisted of stealing and engaging in lustful activities. Around the ages of 16-19, Augustine studied at Carthage and converted to Manichaeism. Augustine entered a state of depression with the loss of close friend during his study of Aristotle in his 20s. During his time of grief he met Manichean bishop Faustus and was highly disappointed in his lack of knowledge. As a result, Augustine headed to Milan where he witnessed sermons of Bishop Ambrose and decided to reject the Manichean religion.
At the age of 31, Augustine is still confused about the substance of Christianity even though he is taken by words of Bishop Ambrose. He rejected Manichaeism and developed a Neo-Platonist view of God. For the next couple of years, he continued in mixed inner thoughts and feelings about Christianity religion. Augustine had two close Christian friends, Alypius and Paulinus of Nola, who motivated him to convert to Christianity. Augustine recalls hearing a child’s voice chant “take and read”, he then picked up the Bible and read the passage it opened to; that is when he fully devoted his religion to Christianity.
Augustine was baptized by Saint Ambrose at the age of 33. Around this time he experienced the loss of two…