The Seven Deadly Sins: Lust

FOTSthumb2A StubbornThings Symposium9/10/15
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


 

PAT TARZWELL

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.

 

DEANA CHADWELL

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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7 Responses to The Seven Deadly Sins: Lust

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    This won’t be the last example of a Sin that is in fact acceptable in moderation. Without sex (which tends to result from lust), there can be no procreation — no “be fruitful and multiply”, as God commands in Genesis. In that sense, Lust is rational (and again this will be true with many other of the Sins). The problem is when you Lust after the wrong person (i.e., someone who isn’t your spouse, particularly if either you or the person you lust after is married), or lust too much. (Regardless of whether or not you’re married, someone who wants the multi-hour erection that is a possible consequence of various products for ED is lusting too much. Likewise someone who persistently wants more sex, like Albert DiSalvo.)

  2. Brad — nice line: Lust is the oxygen of the soul. Yes — and I think this is true for women as well; we just call it “romance.” As for an argument for restraint, I think Bloom’s idea in “The Closing of the American Mind” is a good one. He points out that sexual restraint, especially in our younger years, channels energy into more productive (as opposed to reproductive) pursuits, allowing young people to get ahead, to create, to invent, to do. If that impulse, like steam in a pressure cooker, is let off too soon, none of that will happen. He could be right.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I think Bloom’s idea in “The Closing of the American Mind” is a good one. He points out that sexual restraint, especially in our younger years, channels energy into more productive (as opposed to reproductive) pursuits, allowing young people to get ahead, to create, to invent, to do.

      One of the truly unfathomable things to me — me being less than of Don Juan stature — is that there can be such a thing as “sexual addiction.” Like a lot of phony diseases, I think this shares some attributes of phoniness. But certainly there are people for whom it is so all-pervasive, it destroys like any other addiction.

      I can’t help thinking “What a way to go…beats pickling your liver in vodka” but it’s apparently nothing to laugh about if you have this addiction. (I should be so lucky. I’m willing to chance it.)

      But there can be little doubt that Too Much of a Good Thing would indeed fritter away energy better spent in creative pursuits and other endeavors. There’s a funny Seinfeld episode (remember, you mentioned him first…it’s your fault that we’re accessing comedians to make a serious point) wherein Elaine is abstaining and becomes a dunce but George’s abstinence leads to him becoming super smart.

      As you know, I take the official position that I find it hard to be too much of a scold on this subject. The words “sexual addiction” just make me laugh. That said, clearly lust with some purpose (inside of marriage, forging and strengthening bonds and producing children) is channelling that energy into productive purposes. Homo relationships lack this. So do singular pursuits, if you get my drift, which is probably why the Catholic Church frowns upon it (and not without good reason if one takes the long view, no pun intended).

      Anyway, I enjoyed reading your take on things, Deana, particularly the death-by-iambic-pentameter angle. Very funny. I’ve never read Chaucer and I don’t suppose I ever will for fear of the same death, or at least mauling.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Albert DiSalvo, to judge from a quote I encountered many years ago, had a very severe sexual addiction, which no doubt is why he became a rapist (and perhaps more; he would confess to being the Boston Strangler, but there’s some doubt on the matter).

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Annie’s sinsation has just been added to page 2.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    My concern in these articles will be the practical effects of these sins, reflecting my view that morality is long-term pragmatism.

    Thank you, Timothy, for stating your take on this clearly. Some would keep from sin in order to please God or advance in the spiritual life. Others would do so in order to stay out of trouble with the law, out of trouble with the wife or husband, to keep from discrediting one’s name for business or social purposes, to set a good example for their children, for avoiding diseases, etc. All these latter reasons are pragmatic reasons indeed.

    You have therefore met at least the minimal standard I had laid out: Tell people why they should avoid lust. Not being killed or maimed by a disease is a very good reason.

    My unofficial consulting “Love and War” man would also include ruining one’s view of women. He tells me he now finds himself acting like Jerry Seinfeld. A truly beautiful woman could walk in the room but he’ll find the one flaw. The airbrushed women of porn have moved the bar to unreasonable standards. I suspect this is what has contributed to an outbreak of gluttony (or bulimia). Even a truly attractive woman is no match for the porn ideal. And porn is everywhere. Would the internet exist without it? Probably, but it might still be on just a couple mainframes in a closet at DARPA.

    And might we suppose that the need for that little blue pill has nothing to do with “erectile dysfunction” (another bogus disease if you ask me) and everything to do with either an unrealistic expectation on the part of men and/or the result of too many women giving up trying to be beautiful because they have no hope of meeting unrealistic expectations? I don’t know. But cynical me suspects that most men if presented by a 24-year-old stunningly gorgeous beauty would not need a pill. That may be because of unreasonable expectations, but I think the actual number of people suffering from “erectile dysfunction” (a mechanical problem, not a mental problem) is vanishingly small.

    The other aspect of lust (sex, if you will) is the spiritual aspect, in regards to more intangible things. This aspects is likely so esoteric that it’s one reason I asked people to not just jump straight to “God told me so” in doing their essays. Try to appeal to the average person out there and tell them why lust is a bad thing.

    Well, not many, including myself, made much of an argument. Oh, I see some had fun with the subject as I did. But in a hyper-sexual culture, how can one really convince anyone that it is beneficial to zip it up? It’s a very very tough sell, and I think you have so far presented the best argument and the best essay by far. At least you tried to make a case: Don’t sleep around, you might get killed.

    But for the vanishingly small segment who also see lust as a spiritual issue, the concept of Original Sin is usually central to this aspect. Thus the natural outcome of traveling down the road from the animal to the holy in an attempt to live a less sinful life is celibacy. This is a problematic notion because if God created sex (and sexual desire…and lots of it), how can celibacy be any sort of higher ground?

    Well, as Mr. Kung had noted to me once, if one does desire communion with God and the pursuit of higher things, sex is then a big distraction. It’s certainly possible the Catholic Church promoted celibacy amongst its priesthood so that they could inherent the property owned by the priests (who otherwise would pass it onto a son). It’s possible this practice was inspired by a desire to love God first, foremost, and completely without the distraction of worldly passions (lusts). It’s possible there are and were a mix of influences.

    Maybe celebrity sluts such as Miley Cyrus are a warning to us all. Surely most people at least unconsciously see something dreadfully wrong with this trend. Instead of sex being special its being degraded and trivialized. Maybe the ancients had some wisdom indeed regarding this subject. Maybe we’d actually enjoy whatever “lust” we have if we were to zip it up. Not completely, for celibacy is only for the rare. But can anyone here seriously make an argument that turning women into tramps and sluts and men into hounds and serial fornicators is an improvement?

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    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.

    I think those are very wise words, Pat. But we wouldn’t have much to talk about if we simply said “Anything, including the deadly sins, can be harmful when taking to an extreme.”

    Sex is needed for procreation and other things, but too much of it is destructive. We need to eat, but eating too much can be destructive (gluttony). We need to protect that which we own and have earned, but holding too tightly or wanting too much can be harmful (greed). It’s good to be proud of our accomplishments. But pride can come before a fall. We need to stand up for ourselves and hand out a little whoop-ass once in a while in order to protect ourselves and send a message to our enemies that we are not pansies. But living an angry, vengeful life is destructive (wrath). It’s not wrong to be inspired by others and try to accomplish and earn what others earned. But too much of that is destructive (envy). And it’s not wrong to be able to sit down and enjoy a breather. We spend way too much time trying to fill every moment with distractions. But too much leisure is not good (sloth).

    And on and on. What else is there to say? All of the Seven Deadly Sins are self-defined excesses of normal, healthy, and useful behavior. One reason I was a little leery of this topic for a symposium was that I didn’t think there was all that much to say about it. Certainly a few people here have indeed found something somewhat novel to say. But mostly no new ground has been broken. That old maximum holds: Moderation in all things…including moderation.

    So that’s why I was hoping that instead of an intellectual discussion of the Seven Deadly Sins, we would make it a way to help to change lives for the better. We would have it in mind that people reading over our shoulders would find inspiration for alleviating their own excesses. (Therefore there really ought to be an Eighth Deadly Sin…Tattooism.)

    But with sexual images inundating the culture, with women acting loosely and this being called equality, with men incentivized to be forever juveniles and act like pigs and this being called a “war on women,” with pornography, dating services to facilitate adultery, scumbags such as Bill Clinton, sex indoctrination starting in elementary school, anal sex being defined as “marriage,” dressing up preteen girls to look like little hookers for pseudo beauty pageants and thinking it cute, strip clubs, pole dancing, bathing suits that leave little to the imagination, commercials everywhere that tell you if you buy product X then you’ll be all the rage with hot girls….with all this as a backdrop, telling people to moderate their sexual behavior makes spitting into the wind seem like an easy possibility.

    No, the only thing that will hold two people on the straight and narrow is the threat of divorce or the threat of a rolling pin over the head. But someone somewhere out there probably does have a heartfelt message for why sexual anarchy is not the way to go. There was this one fellow who showed up here for one or two posts a year ago. He was a practicing homosexual and he said that that lifestyle was bad. When I pressed him then why he didn’t change his ways, he sort of clammed up. I suspect he was only looking for a kind of internet Indulgence of forgiveness…so he could go right on engaging the same behavior.

    But I did ask him to write about it. He seemed to have a compelling story. But writing honestly and openly about sin is not an easy thing to do. I really didn’t expect it in this seminar, so people have mostly scampered around the edges. And I don’t blame them. Most folks here are married and they don’t need to air their dirty laundry, assuming they have any. But intellectualizing about The Seven Deadly Sins (or even making light of it as I have done) isn’t likely going to change anyone’s behavior.

    This is doubly so because people like sin. Sin is fun. Sin feels good. And the benefits of abstaining from sin are esoteric, at best. Sure, if you get a sexual disease or have health problems because of being overweight, the harms of such sins are no longer theoretical. Even so, the human mind finds it very easy to rationalize its sins.

    And thanks again for your fine contribution, Pat.

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