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On The Confessions (400 CE), books 1–9.
The question is not "What is virtue?" because knowing what virtue is isn't enough. The problem, for Aurelius Augustinus, aka St. Augustine of Hippo, is doing what you know to be right. However, we shouldn't expect our capacity to know to be operating well unless we're already oriented correctly, which for Augustine means toward God. Yes, God created all this stuff, and qua creation it is Good, but getting too wrapped up in worldly things is misguided for one, because those things don't last; foolish, because they don't provide true satisfaction anyway (which would have to be eternal); and corrupting, because it rips your will in two, creating exactly this division between what you want to do and what you know you should do.
Mark, Wes, and Dylan fight between interest in Augustine's puzzles and overload at his self-loathing and constant, quotation-packed praying. Seth loses the fight.
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I feel in part 1 entirely too much time was spent on Augustine’s love and personal life and entirely not enough time spent on what exactly it means to be “oriented towards God” and why it is valuable.
So far I found Augustine’s notions to be fundamentally agreeable.
Religious language notwithstanding, the notion of importance of having the truth when acting, the process of arriving the truth and judging whether what you arrived it is actually the truth, – all seem to be reasonably solid.
If the guys on the show can barely even treat Augustine with respect, why do an episode on him? Why not contact an Augustine scholar and have him/her on with the regular crew? Even if it’s just a 20 min. interview that opens the show, I bet it would’ve improved the discussion. Maybe that goes against the spirit of the show, but other episodes have featured experts on a particular topic. In fact, since the Confessions is an ancient biography, it would’ve been especially helpful. I did enjoy listening though.
I think the discussion missed Augustine’s point: he lived as if the God of the Bible couldn’t exist ( Manicheasm teached God couldn’t take on matter for matter was evil), although God had made plain to him that He existed, and he was given over to sexual perversion by worshiping creation/devoting to the ephemeral rather than believing his mom’s knowledge of God whose beliefs were in the Bible
I would say, Romans 1, which I cite in the bottom, control Augustine’s view of rebelling against God and how God’s revelation is made upon all human beings, yet repress this knowledge by unrighteous behaviour and beliefs , like Augustine’s incontinence and heretical beliefs. I think the discussion would of fair better if Romans 1 was read.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness,
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because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
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For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.
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For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened.
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Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
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and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.
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Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves.
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They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
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For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones,
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and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
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And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done.
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They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips,
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slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents,
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senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless.
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Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.