lure of the forbidden
In times past, we blamed these dark impulses on the Devil, or on our own weak moral character. We regarded thoughts as but a step away from deeds, and admonished ourselves – or were admonished by others – to squelch the inappropriate notions at every turn.
Sin seems to go to the heart of the attraction of Christianity for many people. Well, at least the cathartic blogger types, I can’t really speak for the rest of them. To help these people get a handle on what ‘sin’ is (because my previous posts don’t appear to have done the trick) I thought it would be useful to look an example case: ADULTERY.
This is clearly a sin in the Bible. Not like contraception, gay marriage or genetically modified crops, where the Christians have to look for the passages they think best back up their point of view, and then quote them till they’re convinced it’s the will of their deity. Adultery is clearly and unequivocally stated as sinful on lots of occasions, and even by the persuasive character of Jesus himself. So, let’s be clear about our definition: ADULTERY is sex between a married person and somebody who is not their husband or wife.
Reasons NOT to commit adultery: it’s possible you may hurt your spouse’s feelings and damage or destroy your marriage; it’s possible that any urges you have are passing and superficial, and not worth any long-term negative complications they might cause; if you have children, they are likely to be negatively affected if they find out, or if the marriage breaks down as a result of your actions.
** Additional reason for Christians: it’s a sin in the Bible.
Reasons to commit adultery: you choose physical pleasure over other considerations; your marriage isn’t working out and you and your spouse have agreed to separate; you and your spouse are happy having more than one sexual partner.
** Additional reason for Christians: it’s a sin in the Bible! (It’s a forbidden and tempting, lusty sin of the flesh; and if you’ve already thought about it, you’ve done it, so why not? And if you did fleetingly think about it and are trying not to, chances are your thought suppression tactics will backfire on you and you’ll be thinking about it more than you would have done if you’d just allowed yourself to think about SINNING. God knows what you’re thinking!)
Now, I wouldn’t like to suggest that Christians don’t dabble in the occasional common sense analysis of their actions, but I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to issues like ADULTERY, the additional weight of SIN can make it all feel rather more alluring than it is really is. Beware! There are harlots, evil women and smooth tongued adultresses just waiting to temp you round every corner. (As far as I’m aware, no mention of sleazy married men with bad chat-up lines – a warning that would have been more practical.)