The Invention of Sin
Ever wondered how natural sexual desire got all mixed up, in Western culture, with tortured suppositions about the fallen state of mankind and your inborn "original sin" of lust? Look no further than the perniciously conflicted St. Augustine of Hippo, (354-430 C.E.), the leading light of Roman Catholic carnality.
Shamed by his prudish, controlling mother, randy Augustine was, from puberty on, exasperated by the fierce independence of his penis, which, he despaired, "will not obey the direction of the will."
He made this everyone's problem: even when a married man and woman copulate expressly for the blessed purpose of producing children, scowled Augustine, "the action is not performed without evil" because it is the product of desire, an unruly animal impulse, and is therefore dirty-dirty.
Sex of any kind, he reasoned, should trigger in us the profound mortal shame that Adam and Eve must have felt the first time they got down, opened their eyes to each other's hot contours, tasted the crunchy-sweet apple of sin, then were caught by her dad and thrown out. In sum, our originale peccatum is simply to have inherited a normal libido.
Embraced over the next 1,700 years by anguished celibates in the priesthood, Augustine's take on guilty pleasure took firm hold in Christian theology, among both Catholics and Protestants. From on high, his tormented hangups have been poisoning and twisting our happiness in the sexual realm ever since.
I like to imagine that, as an eternal reward for his handiwork, Augustine has since been reincarnated successively as a single-cell bacterium that reproduces asexually. Thy kingdom come.
TITLE - "The Invention of Sin"
WHERE - Port Moody, B.C. (2016)