In the year 370, Augustine at the age of fifteen years moved to Carthage for his university studies.
It was there that the Manichean sect began its nine-year grip on him.
In Carthage pleasure reigned supreme, and Augustine became its delighted slave.
Disgusting festivals of the Mother of the Gods still moved through the streets.
Augustine joined the wildest young men of Carthage. They were called the "overturners" or the "destroyers."
He took a partner, and they soon were parents of a baby boy whom they named Adeodatus.
Augustine pushed aside the Christian faith of his mother. His mother, Monica, had raised him as a catecheumen of the Christian church.
Although her religion did not hold an important place in his early life, the Christian religion never totally lost its grip upon him.
When he was twenty-two years of age, the death of a close friend greatly distressed him. It caused him to reconsider the claims of the Bible.
He was fascinated with the problem of the origin of evil.
When he attempted to find a solution for this problem in the New Testament he was disappointed by the coarse and rustic style of his Latin Old Testament compared to the elegance of the Greek classics.
Instead of embracing the Christian faith, Augustine at the age of seventeen years in 373 joined a sect called the Manicheans. He wanted to be a follower of Christ and a rationalist, and the Manichees promised to make that possible. The Manichees accepted the name of Christ and introduced Augustine into a systematic and rationalist analysis of the letter of Scripture.
They rejected and scorned the Old Testament as being primitive and immoral, and selected from the New. It seems that at least among African Manichees the writings of Paul were esteemed, and this was to have a decisive influence on Augustine's future doctrine and life.
Furthermore, Manicheism (or Manicheanism) attracted Augustine because it taught the harsh but strangely comforting doctrine that sex was synonymous with darkness and bore the marks of the evil creator.
According to Manichaeism the world was in a struggle between the substance of light and the substance of darkness.
The human soul was a part of light trapped in the area of darkness. Christ was seen as the saviour who could liberate the trapped light particles and let them escape to the region of eternal light.
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