Sample Religious Studies Paper on Confession of Augustine

Confession of Augustine

In the western history of literature, the Confessions of Augustine has and will always find its place among the greatest and most influential pieces. The time of the writing of this work took place over thirteen years after the Milan conversion. It can be said that two aspects add up to form what stimulated the writing of this work. The immediate stimulus is identified as what was termed as an embarrassing feud that broke out during the period Augustine assumed the role of a bishop. The other factor which catalyzed the composition of this literature originated out of Africa. Towards the final stages of his life, Augustine decided to write a summary and appraisal highlighting his contributions. He named it the ‘Retractationes.’ over half of which contained stories addressing criticizers on the fact that he regrets nothing from his output so that his title is not confused for ‘retractions.’ When he arrived at the Confessions, Augustine realized that their primary function is exiting the minds of human beings as well as love towards God, something he had witnessed by the time he was writing the book. Even though Augustine had in mind that his work was not received positively by anyone, he goes on to add that his writings have pleasured most of his brethren, and are still doing so to date.

The Confessions

Early years

During the early years of his life, Augustine learnt so much about life through the things he experienced during those periods. He realized that the world is not a very friendly place to humans, and due to its harshness, God still finds a way to console his new creatures with what he refers to as ‘human milk.’ More interestingly, he finds out that

God is the sole provider of food for the humans. He explains it by saying that it was never his mother’s or nurse’s decisions to put milk in his mother’s breasts, but instead, it was God’s intentional and natural ability and care that ensured there was food for the young ones through His miraculous ways. Augustine goes on to note that God not only prevented him from wishing for more than He was giving, but also made the nurses have the desire to give what God had already given unto them abundantly, which is milk. Nevertheless, he reckons that every good thing he enjoyed in infancy came from the Almighty, as he recalls that even though it was not directly through them that good things happened to his life in early childhood, the nurses found pleasure in every good God worked in his life through them.


Here, Augustine reminds himself of his previous uncleanness and erotic misconducts, not because he loves them, but to show His love for God. He says his reconciliation is out of his love for God’s love. He discovers that humans do not like to recall their past sinful ways because they are bitter to remember, but then it is still necessary to do so to get God’s sweetness which is described as a sweetness which no form of deception can touch and one which is content and serene. According to Augustine, most humans, including him at times find themselves in a fruitless disintegrated state from which they only need God’s intervention to gather them back into one fully united whole. At the adolescence stage of his life, Augustine confesses how he burned with overwhelming desire for earthly and hellish pleasures, submitting entirely to erotic deeds. He even recalls how he was so much into pleasing himself and winning the approval of men, which is undoubtedly the nature of humans until the present time, particularly in the adolescence period of their lives. The caution, however, is that if we continue to live in that manner, our beauty in the sight of God wastes away, and we eventually become rotten in His presence.

Student at Carthage

Upon arrival at Carthage, Augustine intended to find himself first love out of the many loves that surrounded him, especially being that he had not fallen in love previously and so had a profound longing for love. He had realized that it was only nice to love if you get loved back, and it was only right to enjoy the body of one’s beloved, even though that has not been the case with human beings, who have gone beyond boundaries to lay with partners who are not their beloved. He confirms that fact when he regrets dirtying the pure friendship waters with the filth of lust, which despite being immoral and sinful, he continued to live with just like the other elegant people in the city. He, just like most of the humans in their times in college, was so curious and impatient, ending up rushing into love for the longing of its capture. It later appeared to him as mixing sweetness (love for God and His ways) with a lot of vinegar (impatience for worldly love and not waiting for God’s time).

Manichee and Astrologer

Within the nine years of this stage, Augustine and his friends lived lives full of deception and seduction in as far as most of their desires were concerned. He lived a double life during this time span. In the public, he taught arts while in private he engaged in professing false religion. Due to this, Augustine remembers pursuing glory for fame by working to get applauded and cheered by the audience upon arrival at the stage for verse competitions. In this case, it is evident that the human nature is so much concerned by the earthly popularity and fame, and is often willing to do anything to be recognized.

Carthage, Rome, and Milan

While through these regions, Augustine reflects a lot to do with the relationship between the humans and their God. To begin with, the people tended, and still tend to possess so much pride in their daily dealings and interactions. But he points out that God can never mix with pride even if the proud people have as much skills and curiosity as the sand and stars. He then shows how God has been so good to the people, giving them brains and intelligence they have always used and are still using in investigating and discovering vital issues in life including predicting the day, sun moon and eclipses. They have since made rules they discovered, placing them into writing which still act as relevant references today. However, not many of the human population have bothered to find out the origin of such intellectual ability, showing how humans avoid realizing some of the most important things in their lives.


Augustine’s confessions bring out a variety of issues surrounding him and the human race as a whole. It is, therefore, good to note that the confessions reveal a lot of aspects of his life at different stages, most of which are directly applicable to the whole human population. The most valuable insight to take home in this book is that every person has got flaws throughout their time on earth. Looking back at such past faulty experiences and sinful ways gives an excellent platform for reformation and mending the relationship with God, eventually giving them another chance to make things right going forward.