Some Weird Sin

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I'm in one of those rare phases where I'm reading books as well as selling them. It wasn't until I finished a biography of St. Augustine that it hit me that I'd been on a Catholic Church binge. Before Augustine I'd read a life of Thomas More. Just prior to that I'd finished The Perfect Heresy about the greatest medieval heresy, the Cathar Heresy. I'd been curious about the Cathars ever since I read that they viewed the supernatural authors of the Old and New Testments as two different beings. The OT was written by an evil power, the NT by the true God. The Perfect Heresy was a pretty exciting read. The Cathars, so named because it was rumored they kissed cats asses, were almost impossible to repress causing the church to launch the Albigensian Crusade (the only crusade within Europe) and create the Office of the Inquisition.

Peter Brown's Augustine of Hippo I'd been meaning to read for months. My interest in Augustine was partly piqued by his position as probably the most influential Christian intellectual after St. Paul. But mostly because he often gets the blame for Christianity's silly handling of sex.

You can never be sure how much a writer influences instead of merely defines what is already present. Plenty of pagans had bad things to say about sex. The ecstatic loss of control had long been called shameful by many Romans (This was a big surprise to me. Not being a baby maker ecstacy seems the whole point.) A passionate wife was sometimes viewed as disgusting. Even Baptists have gotten past all that. Good thing or they might be even more malignant.

Augustine was always candid about his own sexual guilt (which tritely enough may have sprung from the influence of his pious mom). That erotic appetite took up so much of a persons' imagination was one main reasons sex was bad.

Clearly God didn't like it, he made Adam and Eve feel ashamed of being naked when they ate the fruit in the Garden of Eden. His most entertaining proof is that the sin of Adam is passed by the genitals.

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Thanks,
Richard

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