Saturday, 01 December 2018
On the Forbidden Topic of Sexual Morality, Part 4

Religious Sexual Morality and Rousseau’s Denial Of Original Sin

“Sexuality is the opposite of God,” Alcuin said, upon reading Paglia’s Sexual Personae. “The pagan gods are of the earth, but the Judeo-Christian God is of the sky: transcendent; everything the earth is not. Notions of god fade away in sexuality. The notion of love is the way we fuse earth and sky. Sexuality without love is terrifying. Sexuality without love is like The Lord of The Flies: aggressive, hierarchical, cruel, uncontrollable.”

“Rousseau’s denial of original sin changed the way we explain the dark side of human behavior. Everything is environmental. If you change the environment, you change the outcome. Rape and crime are just expressions of a bad upbringing. This is the secular doctrine.”

“But the opposite is true. Society is a moderating effect. So bad neighborhoods are where our true nature shines through. Unrefined men think childbirth is gross. Civilized men call childbirth beautiful, because they project the Apollonian on the Dionysian. In an act of the imagination, they override their visceral response, instead of seeing it as a trauma of the earth.”

“Tragedy is the dominant literary form of the West. We suppress the Dionysian. Our civilization is Apollonian, it strives against nature, seeks to overcome it. Our music is climactic. Our symbol is an exponential curve, reaching up and to the right, seeking escape, transcendence. But in the East, Comedy is the dominant form. Apollonian striving is seen as ridiculous. The symbol is the circle. The music returns, and swirls in patterns. Nobody can escape nature. The East is yin, The West is yang.”

So Alcuin spoke. And I rejoined…

“Yes, raw sexuality without love is terrifying; the opposite of God. But sexuality with love is transcendent, and becomes union with God. At its best, religious sexual morality achieves this transformation. Flesh without spirit, lust without love, is terrifying. Spirit without flesh, love without lust, is weightless. Flesh with spirit, lust with love, is power and beauty in harmony.”

“And what is this alchemy of love? In love, we see the face of God. Our lover’s eyes become divine grace. Their body that of a god or goddess. Their speech the sacred Word. And sex a joyous union. The institution of Holy Matrimony springs from the deepest well: that voice in sex that screams amen, that insatiable longing for the beauty of this individual soul, a desire to possess, to protect, and to forever cherish, this divine being.”

“And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah…”

“Why is it that when a women lies with many men, or a man lies with many women, or two are together but just for a time, or join in betrayal of others, that they cannot drink from this deepest well, even if they wanted to? There is the insatiable hunger, but no one can satisfy it. There is always the tiring of one’s lovers. For a moment, the flesh has temporary satisfaction, but always the longing for beyond reasserts itself. The flesh has a meal, but the spirit makes its hunger known.”

“Why is it that more than the body is involved in sex? Why is it that physical beauty alone is not Beauty? What is it about humans that moves us from mating to romance? That makes conversation necessary in seduction? What is the charisma that draws us to personality? The alignment of purpose and values that intertwines two lives? The loyalty that endures? Where do these come from? Are they all adaptive biological epiphenomena? Can they all be reduced to Darwinian mechanisms?”

“Formal religion is doctrinaire. Jesus was the heretic, the anti-dogmatic revolutionary. His enemies were the Pharisees and Sadducees. If he was alive today, would he assault the religious orders who pray in his name, and attempt to save the children of dogma?”

“Those who are lost in the soup, Nietzsche’s Last Men, who lack any concrete beliefs, who do as they please… They are the secular twins of the religious dogmatists. The dogmatist has beliefs but cannot defend them. They are prohibitive but cannot explain why. The Last Men are permissive but cannot explain why. They lack beliefs and cannot defend their lack of beliefs. The dogmatist appeals to authority; the Last Men appeal to lack of authority.”

“The religious alternative to dogma is mysticism. The mystic understands the theology that creates the dogma, and the arguments within theology that create changes in dogma: they have hermeneutic freedom. This freedom does not disillusion them, rather it opens them up to the mystery of their faith.”

“The doctrine of original sin can mean many things. It can be made to teach us that the flesh is sinful, to resist all desires of the flesh. Or it can reveal to us a dark extreme of our nature.”

“There is a Christian mystic who believes that the doctrine of the incarnation, that the Word became Flesh, is a symbol of union, like the Taoist Yin-Yang. That the beauty of Love and Lust merging, of Apollonian integrating with Dionysian, of Yin interlocking with Yang, is an act of Redemption, a Middle Way, an Eternal Form, a Trinity of Goodness, Truth and Beauty, an idea invading these shadowlands, and painting them in all the colors of joy.”

“Rumi had sex with God.”