Believe What One Wills: An essay questioning the motives for St. Augustine's conversion.

Essay by annabanana2003High School, 12th gradeA+, March 2003

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As a general rule, human beings want their lives to have harmony and little conflict. In order to accomplish this, many attempt to align their personal philosophy with a widely accepted philosophy. For many years of his life, Saint Augustine tried to do just that. He knew what he felt and thought, but was not quite sure how to express it until his conversion to Christianity. In the first part of the autobiographical book, Confessions, Augustine reveals what his life was like before his conversion. In his examinations of other faiths, and membership in at least one, he didn't feel completely feel satisfied with what they offered. He continued to search for a religion that embraced what he needed and desired, a way to control his will. Augustine's concept and ability to manage his will played a very important role in what faith he finally adopted as his own.

As an adolescent, Augustine fell into a similar trap as many others at the same age; he desperately wanted to be loved.

He said, "The single desire that dominated my search for delight was simply to love and be loved" (24). However, his trouble was not that he wanted to be loved; it was that he didn't understand what love is. "The bubbling impulses of puberty befogged and obscured my heart so that it could not see the difference between love's serenity and lust's darkness," (24) is how he described his confusion of love and lust. This misunderstanding led Augustine to a life where lust and its carnal impulses controlled his will. While only sixteen years of age, he had multiple sexual relationships. His parents did little to stop him, and his father was proud of his son's virility. Augustine described Patrick's, his father, reaction in writing, "he was overjoyed to...