In the dying days of the Roman Empire, a bishop from Numidia (present-day Algeria) sat down to write a manifesto for Christianity. The result was City of God, a cornerstone of Christian philosophy and one of the most influential religious works ever written.
Just three years after the sack of Rome by the Goths, Augustine refuted the claim that Christianity was to blame for this act, and wrote an eloquent and influential defence of his faith. He saw history as an age-old struggle between good and evil, symbolised by the pagan, earthly city of human desires and the City of God. Where then should Christians live and how should they live together? The answer, for Augustine, was not a utopia or a theocracy. No society on earth can ever be perfect; the true home for Christians is heaven, the City of God. ‘There shall we rest and see, see and love, love and praise … For what other end do we propose to ourselves than to attain to the kingdom of which there is no end?’