A StubbornThings Symposium 9/10/15
Introduction • If someone wrote a modern Seven Deadly Sins, they would probably include environmental crimes, economic crimes, gender crimes, “divisiveness” crimes, inequality crimes, sensitivity crimes…all the supposed “sins” which are based upon Leftist political assumptions.
These assumptions usually absolve the individual from any sins and place them on a disembodied “society.” A Utopian society is considered the norm and anything falling short is evidence that one is a “victim” of various malevolent “reactionary” forces (usually Western, Christian, male, straight, white, capitalist, law-abiding, and hard-working).
These forces are said to lack sufficient “compassion” and care only for “greed.” Their “greed” has supposedly created a predator class that has used all the laws of the land, its traditions, and its religions to “exploit” people. So everything — including concepts such as The Seven Deadly Sins — are deemed suitable for the scrapheap. After all, you can’t make Utopia based upon an infrastructure whose very purpose was profit, exploitation, and greed, and which used racism, sexism, and homophobia as ends to that purpose.
Don’t laugh. This is exactly the paradigm (called “Cultural Marxism,” expressed in many forms including “Progressivism,” feminism, multiculturalism, and socialism) that we face. It’s not the individual, per se, who needs correcting. It’s the entire society that needs to be “fundamentally transformed.” And under such a paradigm, “society” is something that only Big Brother (or Big Sister) government can (given enough power) shape and correct, thus redeeming these old sins. (They’ll thus “heal the planet and lower the oceans.”)
Under this paradigm, men become mere cogs in a machine. They are told how to think, what to think, what to feel, and what is right and what is wrong by people who have power and control as their first ambition. Sin truly becomes relative because “sin,” under the Cultural Marxist formulation, is based upon political attitudes and beliefs. And in politics, what is legal today might be illegal tomorrow, and for no other reason than the auspices of the autocrats and the winds of whimsy.
The historic Seven Deadly Sins are a Christian formulation and based upon the qualities (or lack of same) of human character rather than upon short-term political schemes and fads. And those Sins are: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Pride, Wrath, Envy, and Sloth. These are all considered personal character flaws. They are emphasized not in order to create a societal utopia but to improve individual character. Historically it was understood that unless individual man was good, all that flowed out from him — including the society as a whole in which he lived — could not be good either.
Mankind has since retreated from this idea. Many personal sins were wiped out or redefined. Instead of envy being something to avoid, for example, it is sanctified as “social justice” whereby “the poor” are told how they deserve the fruits of other people’s labors. The traditional conception of envy was once considered a personal failing. Now it is the other guy’s fault for having more than you do.
These Seven Deadly Sins are thus quite out-of-date with modern (that is, Cultural Marxist or Progressive) ways of thinking which now predominate. So this is another throwback symposium in which you’ll hear some of the wisdom of the ages being cast into the tornado winds of a culture that thinks that not having your body covered with tattoos is some kind of social sin.
The symposium is inherently an insurgency. What else can one do when Envy is redefined as “social justice,” Sloth is often in the guise of Social Security Disability, Wrath is committed against citizens by an environmentally-wacko government, Greed is legitimized as a confiscatory “spreading the wealth,” and Gluttony is sanctioned if you mean to eat the rich?
In this symposium we will necessarily be exploring some old-fashioned ideas. And in today’s society, that itself is often considered a sin.
— The Editor
Seven Deadly Sins: Lust
Lust kind of sets the precedent for all the seven deadly sins. Dennis Prager has a story he tells where he had three clergy from various faiths in his studio to talk about religious issues. On this particular night he was discussing lust, our number one sin in the list.
Dennis to Catholic Priest: Father what is the churches policy on Lust? Priest: Long list of how and why it is a deadly sin.
Dennis to Muslim Imam: What is the take of Islam on Lust? Imam: Same general answer, it is a very bad sin.
Dennis to Rabbi: Rabbi, what is the Jewish take on lust? Rabbi…(in a heavy Jewish accent): Lust smust, it only matters what you do, not what you think.
I may not have the first two clergy right, and it sounds a lot funnier than it reads, but you get the point. How can lust be a deadly sin? Well that is easy — if it becomes a god of its own (remember the no other god before Me thing). But lust is a requirement for the survival of the species and I, for one, am convinced that God wants us to survive and flourish, on this planet anyway.
Brad has asked for less Bible and more of an explanation or argument as to why this lust stuff is a bad thing. Ok, here goes: In this case I will be referring to lust in the sexual form; I have given a reason for lust, so let’s take a look at the negative view. Merriam Webster defines lust as “an intense or unbridled sexual desire”; I think this could also be called being male. Any insight I might have comes from that perspective. I am sure that there are women that also share this attribute; I just have never met one.
Men have been given a very strong desire for sex with as many female partners as we can get, That is how God designed us, so don’t blame me girls. (I know there are gay men out there, but they have the same lust problem, just for other men, and usually with no limiters.)
This makes perfect sense if you were going to design a species where one gender (contrary to modern libs, it does take two) has a long gestation period and you need to populate a large planet. If the one that does not carry the children was totally monogamist in his thoughts, it would really slow down the populating, so much so that we could not reproduce fast enough to survive though times. We see the opposite play out in Europe these days where the Islamist, with multiple wives, are just flat-out overpopulating the continent by using this very ideal.
On the other hand, if we let lust control our actions, we would become more like the animals and the male would end up eating his young when food was scarce, or killing everyone that disagrees with them, ala the Islamist. Another example of the problem would be that the strongest would take the most desirable women for themselves which could include a son taking his own mother from his father as dad gets old, (Oedipus anyone). Not good.
So we need balance. Men have to control their lust, while women must control their emotions, or they would kill off the men (sorry, different subject). Lust, like all things, requires moderation. Lust has a place in building a society, but if carried to extremes, it would be very bad, deadly even. If men can control their lust, there is a much stronger chance of family survival (not to mention not being poisoned by the wife).
Families are and have been the building blocks for society and without a Father teaching the young males how to control themselves, you could end up with a society, well, just like the one we have today, where fathers are not part of the family structure and the male children are more like animals than humans; where kids consider it a badge of pride to father as many children as possible before they get too old. The social experiments that have been pulled off on the Black community in this country provides the proof of where the removal of father and unfettered lust can lead in a relatively short period of time.
For this sin to become deadly, we have to carry it to extremes But since that is our nature, everything to extremes, we need to keep this one in check. We really only have room for one God to sit on the throne of our heart, and if lust sits there, it will control every aspect of your life. So as the Rabbi in the story said, lust smust; lust away, just not to the level that it controls your life, because it will destroys society, and become deadly for all.
— Pat Tarzwell was born conservative, runs a successful hi-tech business, and lives a red-state life in a deep blue one.
The Seventh Deadly Sin: Lust – a 14th Century View
What a huge topic! It helps to narrow it to the word often used in the medieval lists — lechery. Then we don’t have to discuss lusting after Lamborghinis or European vacations; we can just stick to sex, which is a large enough can of worms of its own.
It’s helpful here to note that the Seven Deadly Sins are not a strictly biblical concoction. We do have the list in Proverbs 6 that gives a description of sins God hates, but they don’t line up with the traditional Catholic taxonomy. Probably the best dissertation on these sins is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a work I’ve had the delight of teaching for many decades – I say delight because of all the writers whose works I’ve been able to share with young people, Geoffrey Chaucer is the one I’d most wish to know personally. He was the 14th century’s answer to Jerry Seinfeld – droll, witty, with just the right amount of contempt for the human race – including himself. He was, as Seinfeld is, gifted at saying objectionable things in carefully phrased, hilarious euphemisms.
The Tales (allow me here a refresher paragraph for those who haven’t had the fun of spending decades in Chaucer’s presence) are a compilation of stories told by pilgrims on their way to visit St. Thomas a Becket’s tomb at Canterbury Cathedral. Each of the 30 travelers was to tell two stories on the outward journey and two on the way back – 120 stories in all. Chaucer began writing Canterbury in 1384, but died in 1400 with only the general prologue and 24 of the stories completed.(I’ve always suspected that he died of iambic pentameter.) Lust pops up in the character descriptions and stories of many of the pilgrims: The Wife of Bath (note she’s the wife OF Bath, not the wife FROM Bath), the Friar, the Summoner, and the Pardoner, just to name a few.
Chaucer’s position in the court and his work in the wool customs and caring for the king’s holdings brought him into close contact with all kinds of people whom he must have observed with a mixture of outrage and amusement. The Wife of Bath had had 5 husbands (“aside from other company in youth”) all of whom died mysteriously leaving her independent – so independent that she was able to travel amongst the camp followers of the crusades – and we know what they were all about. She knew exactly how to manipulate men, get what she wanted sexually and monetarily and then go merrily on her way. Lust was definitely one of her besetting sins, but it looked good on her.
More disgusting, to both the reader and Chaucer himself, are the Friar, the Summoner and the Pardoner. These are all church officials, but all are hung up on sex. The Friar, who eschews “lepers and beggars and their like” to hang out in the taverns where “he meets pretty girls.” He lures them into his bed and when they turn up pregnant, he sets them up in marriage. ..
With his own money he had paid for the chance
For many girls to wed, had gone to great length…
In his order he was a pillar of strength.
One can just hear the Seinfeldian sarcasm in that last line.
The Summoner – whose job it was to summon people to church courts for punishment wasn’t too serious about his responsibilities, either, having a few shortcomings himself:
He was a good natured rascal and kind,
A better companion you couldn’t find,
For a couple of bottles from your bin,
He’d turn a blind eye to your living in sin
For a year and still pardon you totally,
For he would quietly ‘pluck a finch` too, you see.
And with those he took a real liking to,
He would explain, on that score, they need have few
Worries about excommunication.
With both the Squire and the Pardoner we have some gentle hints that these men were less heterosexual than they should have been. The Squire, though the son of the hardy Knight, wore a heavily embroidered tunic, played the flute and wrote poetry, yet he insisted that he….
He made love so hotly that all through the night,
He got no more sleep than a nightingale might.
Chaucer leaves the reader with the impression that the Squire doth protest too much.
And the Pardoner was also of questionable gender…
His voice, like a goat’s, had a bleating tone;
He had no beard, nor ever would have one,
You’d think that his shaving had just been done.
I swear he was a gelding or a mare.
I find it interesting that a good lot of Chaucer’s thirty characters are church functionaries and all, but the Parson, are lecherous, greedy, gluttonous, defiant liars; corruption of the church an already ancient “tradition.” We can tell that Chaucer is not anti-Christian by his praise for the Parson and by the lengthy sermon he has the Parson deliver – a sermon that covers all seven of the deadly sins.
But he could see through all the pomp ,and rightly assess the motives of those who peopled much of Roman Catholicism at the time, and despite the vows of chastity supposedly taken by all members of the clergy, most of his church people were a lecherous lot – and not in just normal fornication, but in the seduction of young girls, and in likely homosexual exploits.
I know we get to worrying that our age has become so over-sexualized that we will never recover, that something akin to the Sodom and Gomorrah firestorm will assail us, and maybe it will, but it helps to realize that these social malfunctions are the common lot of man and his fallen nature, that they have been with us from the beginning. All we must do is accept God’s solution to this problem, and chuckle, now and then, when we can.
— Deana Chadwell blogs at ASingleWindow.com.
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