Sex: The Center of Christian Morality Is Not Here

Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the centre of Christian morality is not here. If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute.

--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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7 thoughts on “Sex: The Center of Christian Morality Is Not Here”

  1. I feel the same way about blessings. We seem to think physical gain are blessings from God but I have began to understand real blessings as spiritual. Peace, patience,.......................Fruit of the Spirit stuff.

  2. Amen! Of course we know that there is a large number of Christians today who DO regard sex as the supreme vice. But the irony of this is, those who do, actually hold all others to a higher standard than they do themselves. Rather than allowing their own sexual yearnings and impulses to be a humbling source of mercy for others, they actually view the sexuality of others as THE immorality that is destroying society, while their own is softened by grace which allows them to say, "I'm not like them".

  3. Yep -- though Lewis uses "sins of the flesh" in the conventional but quite un-pauline sense of "flesh". For Paul, "flesh" (sarx), when used in conjunction with sin, covers the complete range of vices of self-centred, self-reliant humans, in contrast to the virtues of exocentric, other-directed humans who exhibit the "fruit of the Spirit" (see Galatians 5:16-26). Of course, Lewis was not a biblical scholar -- as is also evident in his peculiar trifurcation of the human into "Animal" and "Diabolical" selves which "compete" with the "Human" self. Not at all Romans 7, is it?

  4. Great quote here. Coincidence because I just posted yesterday on Homebrewed Christianity about "Fierce Egalitarianism" and the history of human sexuality. Shameless plug, I know, but would love to hear your thoughts, Dr. Beck (maybe in blog post form?), on the stuff Christopher Ryan talks about regarding the evolution of human sexuality.

    http://homebrewedchristianity.com/2014/10/20/ingredient-fierce-egalitarianism-the-history-of-human-sexuality/

  5. I think Jesus said it the other way round "the prostitutes and tax collectors are entering the Kingdom of Heaven before [all] you [self righteous folks]." Lewis is sooooo right.

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