Sunday, March 13, 2005

Book II, Chapters 1-3, My Comments

When it comes to behavior, everything has limits, and some things, in their extreme are forbidden. Everyone knows this, if not explicitly, then intuitively. One of the tasks of parents and school teachers is to teach their children what the limits are and to abide by them. Experiencing puberty, lust, and “the bubbling of manhood,” (and let’s not forget womanhood!) is a natural, normal thing. Disregarding a strictly religious judgment of Augustine, for purposes of discussion, but going by Augustine’s own description of his behavior, he certainly seems to have exceeded the boundaries of proper sexual ethics. He has little self-control and is acting out his sexuality on others in an un-responsible manner. Indeed he seems to be completely controlled by his hormones, which is practically a normal state for a young male. I think that one of the developmental tasks of adolescence is to learn control of one’s impulses, and Augustine had yet to learn.

Augustine’s father and mother had different and conflicting ideas of what the boundaries of behavior were for him. His mother Monica’s boundaries were the traditional Christian limits, and his father’s were those of society at large, which were virtually without limit. And Augustine, of course, completely disregarded his mother’s values and admonitions. I do not envy the saintly Monica.

Another way of looking at Augustine’s situation is by looking at priorities. Let me make a comparison: While making money in itself is not sinful, to make the acquisition of wealth a priority over the love of God or of one’s neighbor is sinful. Analogously, it is normal to experience lust, but for Augustine, it became his one and only priority. Moreover, when we hurt others or ourselves, lust becomes sinful. When it controls our life, it is sinful. We must know its place and use it properly. Love of God and of our neighbor must come first. Treating people as objects is sinful. Treating them with correct human dignity and respect are what Christianity demands.

4 Comments:

Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Hmm... what is there for anyone to trash here? It all looks reasonable to me!

4:32 PM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Hmm... what is there for anyone to trash here? It all looks reasonable to me!

4:33 PM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Hmm... what is there for anyone to trash here? It all looks reasonable to me!

4:33 PM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Hmm... what is there for anyone to trash here? It all looks reasonable to me!

4:33 PM  

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