What did Augustine argue in The City Of God?

In The City of God, Augustine argues that Christians are not responsible for the fall of Rome to the Visigoths in 410. Rome fell due to the immorality of its citizens and not due to the failure to worship pagan gods. Augustine contrasts the City of God and the City of Man, which are intermingled on earth. The City of God will triumph in the end, and its citizens will attain eternal happiness.

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In 410, Rome was a city under attack. The Visigoths under the leadership of Alaric had sacked the city, and its citizens were horrified. Those who still worshiped pagan gods were quick to blame the city's Christians for the devastation. The Christians, they said, drew people away from properly honoring...

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In 410, Rome was a city under attack. The Visigoths under the leadership of Alaric had sacked the city, and its citizens were horrified. Those who still worshiped pagan gods were quick to blame the city's Christians for the devastation. The Christians, they said, drew people away from properly honoring the gods, and the gods were angry and punished the city.

The Christian theologian Augustine wrote The City of God to argue against this accusation. Christians are not at all to blame, he asserts, for the pagan gods are not gods at all and cannot punish or protect anyone. On the contrary, Rome fell due to the corruption and immorality of its citizens. Far from bringing about the downfall of the city, Christians actually contributed to its survival, for they kept Rome from declining into complete moral depravity and even provided safety from the Visigoths during the attack by allowing Romans to take refuge in churches.

Later in the book, Augustine presents an argument that there are two “cities” that exist side by side, the City of God and the City of Man. The City of God is the heavenly city, the eternal city of God, a city of love and grace and faith and hope. It is manifested in the Christian Church but finds its completion only in Heaven. The City of Man, on the other hand, is the worldly city of unbelief, corruption, pride, immorality, and sin. These two cities continually intermingle on earth

Rome fell, Augustine argues, because it identified itself too much with the City of Man, yet it did not lose anything of real, eternal value because the City of God cannot be conquered by worldly powers. The City of God will, in the end, triumph over the City of Man, and the citizens of the City of God will attain eternal happiness.

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