Wednesday, July 15, 2015

From Lewis's Pen: Not a Manichean

From Letters to Malcolm:
Oh for mercy's sake. Not you too! Why, just because I raised an objection to your parallel between prayer and a man making love to his own wife, must you trot out all the old rigmarole about the "holiness" of sex and start lecturing me as if I were a Manichean? I know that in most circles nowadays one need only mention sex to set everyone in the room emitting this gas. But, I did hope, not you. Didn't I make it plain that I objected to your image solely on the ground of its nonchalance, or presumption?

I'm not saying anything against (or for) "sex." Sex in itself cannot be moral or immoral any more than gravitation or nutrition. The sexual behaviour of human beings can. And like their economic, or political, or agricultural, or parental, or filial behaviour, it is sometimes good and sometimes bad. And the sexual act, when lawful - which means chiefly when consistent with good faith and charity - can, like all other merely natural acts ("whether we eat or drink etc.," as the apostle says), be done to the glory of God, and will then be holy. And like other natural acts it is sometimes so done, and sometimes not. This may be what the poor Bishop of Woolwich was trying to say. Anyway what more is there to be said? And can we now get this red herring out of the way. I'd be glad if we could . . . (14-15)
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