Augustine's Idea Of Freedom Essay

1091 words - 5 pages

Countless authors wrote about the topic of freedom. Some about freedom from certain obstacles in life, others spoke of freedom of action - the ability to do what we want to do. Aristotle saw freedom as the ability to choose our actions. But we must take responsibility for these actions. He believes choices are only free when they are caused by us alone, our conscious decisions, and not by some external force. These choices are our own in the sense that it is caused by who we are, our character. For Augustine, these definitions of freedom are simply not clear enough. He believes human beings are capable of a completely different dimension of freedom. The freedom of choice itself.An important ...view middle of the document...

Human freedom chooses whatever it wills, and for this reason can be seen as true freedom. Not just the freedom to do what we want, but freedom to choose what we want as well.Augustine's ideas of freedom are in sharp contrast to that of a Welsh monk called Pelacius. He claimed that freedom of the will was part of human nature and that it was always capable of choosing good. But Augustine feverishly disagreed with his optimistic view of freedom. According to his view of glorifying God and humans as lesser beings, he claimed instead that will is free only if its choices are supported by the grace of God. Just like the light of Christ was needed to produce human wisdom, so also the grace of God is needed for us to choose good.In order for will to be free, we must be able to have chosen another path than we did. We must also be able to choose not to sin, even though we are inclined to do so. That is free will, the ability to have a real choice between actually achievable alternate choices.Augustine believed that humans are free to choose good, a requirement for salvation and eternal life. But we are not able to do so by human nature alone, but only by grace. It is only because God intervenes and inclines us towards the good, that we are able to break the bonds of desire. By this he means that if God intervenes, we choose good, but if he doesn't, we choose sin.But Augustine didn't believe God's grace and human's freedom to be incompatible. When God intervenes by his grace, he removes the obstacles to choosing the good. Obstacles placed in our path by Original Sin. Thus we have been redeemed and are now capable of not choosing sin. This is why we have the freedom to choose.But Pelagius claimed that we don't have this...

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