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by Saint Augustine

Confessions Theme of Sin

For Augustine, there are way, way more than seven major sins. A good chunk of the Confessions is not only about sinning, but also about asking why we sin. Why does Augustine get a high from stealing rotten fruit? Why does he like winning speaking prizes? With Freud and the ego about 1,500 years away, Augustine doesn't have an easy way of accounting for his feelings. But he needs to understand why he sins if he is going to save his soul. Plus, sinning in this book is kind of a double-edged sword. By definition, sin encompasses all of the bad things that a person can possibly do. But, at the same time, sin is what ultimately compels Augustine to God. Funny how that works, ain't it?

Questions About Sin

  1. Does sin mean something different to Augustine than it might mean to someone living in the 21st century?
  2. What role does sin have in Augustine's conversion?
  3. Is Augustine too hard on himself? Why or why not? 
  4. How does Augustine account for his desires to sin?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Redemption outweighs sin in the Confessions.

Sin outweighs redemption in the Confessions.

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