Saint Augustine's Reconciliation of Faith and Intellect

All Christians desire to be closer to God, and ultimately, to be with Him after death. But how does one grow closer to God? There are two possible answers to this question. The simplest answer is that all one needs to do is have faith in the words of the Bible. But for many, faith alone does not seem enough. They feel the need to understand God. What can their beliefs mean without understanding? So, again, the question: Should one follow God's word with blind faith, or should one use reason and intellect to better understand one's creator? Saint Augustine, a great Catholic saint, struggled with this very same question. On the surface, The Confessions is the story of one man whose spiritual journey leads him from the depths of sin and sexual appetite to the life of a devout Christian. However, aside from his struggle with lust, Saint Augustine wrestles with another issue, one which lies just under the surface of his narration. Like other Christians, he yearns to be close to God, but as he searches for the method to reach this goal, the conflict between his Biblical and Platonic beliefs comes to a head. Though Plato may not seem directly applicable at first, there are many parallels between Plato's "Good"...

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