Limitations of a lustful life

My latest piece on MercatorNet examines a variety of religious responses to the problem of lust and desire. Or rather, it suggests that a variety of religions converge on a single response to this very human problem:

Morality is not essentially a matter of stopping human beings from doing the very worst to one another; rather, it is the most obvious and external guide and marker of spiritual discipline and cultivation. Notwithstanding the intense and irreconcilable theological and philosophical differences between religious sects, they exhibit a remarkable convergence in their depiction of the relationship between desire and spiritual discipline.

This convergence ought to be as unremarkable as the observation that elite athletes in every sport eschew laziness, indulgent eating, and complacence. But our ignorance of other religions prohibits us from recognising these commonalities, while our ignorance of our own religious heritage leaves us with only the most rudimentary understanding of religious morality.

Consider it a whirlwind tour of Sikhism, Sufism, Samkhya, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and the Christianity of St John of the Cross.

One thought on “Limitations of a lustful life

  1. The consequences of a “lustful” (i.e. natural) life are usually far less than the consequences of not having sex (and here I include mastubation) at all, such as stress, pent-up frustration, boredom, etc., and it removes an outlet for stress.

    Sex also plays a crucial bonding role for many couples.

    Zac, I find it the epitome of hypocrisy to claim that people who enjoy sex are hedonistic, especially when you work for a Catholic website, and beleive that those of your religion will receive eternal paradise. Nothing I can imagine could be more hedonistic.

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