C.S. Lewis on Fighting for Sexual Purity or Chastity

“We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity–like perfect charity–will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God’s help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again. For however important chastity (or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.” — Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis


10 thoughts on “C.S. Lewis on Fighting for Sexual Purity or Chastity

      • I checked out your post and will respond to it over the weekend when I have more time. You ask some tough questions. I will do my best to answer them well.

      • Thanks for reading and replying.

        The people who replied to that post, though religious, pretty much feel the same way. I have been in great dialogue with them over Christianity, a religion which I no longer choose to follow for obvious reasons.

      • To be honest, I thought that you were heading in that direction, that you’d reach the point where you would give up your faith in God. But, the fact that you sought to connect me to your post on sexual abstinence says that you don’t really want to give up your faith in God, that you’re still looking for help and answers–which I think is a good thing. Sorry for not responding yet. My internet connection this weekend was faulty.

  1. Ha ha ha. My dear Elmcal, you are really optimistic. I have already sold my soul – its a phrase normal “holy” Christians would cast on people like me, and I have no desire to come back to a religion that advocates absurd rules authored by the church.

      • Hey Emcal

        Thanks for thinking of me and sourcing the article. I got a chance to read it today. I appreciate the thought. I have to state as follows:

        1. The author had idolized marriage; I idolize sex and saw – once upon a time – marriage as the moral vehicle for it.
        2. I disagree with his statement “You are not primarily a sexual creature”. Evidence proves contrary even in the clergy (the abuse scams). Give me proof of this author’s statement in terms of actual research, facts and statistics.

        Besides, there is a contradicting statement made by the author about not being inherently sexual: “Singleness and celibacy through your prime young adult years takes an awful toll as it twists and binds and wears a man’s soul thin. We are not designed for it. I would not wish it on anyone.”

        3. Since I am off Christianity, statements such as “Christ is the only answer” make no sense to me. I am no longer governed by the rules of Christianity laid down in the bible.
        4. I never subscribe to herd-mentality; I am least concerned with mass psychosis. If I need sex, I need it not because the whole world chooses to indulge in or refrain from it.
        5. Lack of respect from the church regarding singleness has also been echoed in my article.
        6. I agree with the author that dating non-Christian women are easier, albeit for a different reason: they are all the more satisfying. I find non-Christian women in general are more respectful and sincere than Christian women – that’s a thumb rule for me. I kid you not. The author’s talk of non-Christians being unsaved in light of the fact that all of us worship one God reeks of Christian fanaticism – my god is better than your god. If you read the absurdity of the bible – a small part of what is contained within the section “We don’t really want to date “biblically.”, you will understand my need to alienate myself from Christianity.
        7. The author is too far steeped in Christian theology to see reality; this is essentially the same difference between theory and practice. I suspect that will be his obstacle to finding a wife, unless she is fanatically “Christian” or severely wanting.
        8. If you read the comments to his article, you will find that there is acceptance only amongst “Christian” people. Let all these people who are awed by the writer, hold on to this article of his, in times of loneliness and sexual need, and see if it satisfies them. That’s theory v/s practice.

        My statements may seem to be rude but I assure you, that is not my intention. I’d rather go with the adage “live and let live”. I would tell a Christian, if perpetual self denial, sexual frustration and Christian theology are your poison, do indulge to your heart’s content. If it works for you, you have a right to be happy in it.

        Since you are very “religious”, these following references may provide food for thought: “Rivals of Jesus” – this is part of a 3-episode mini-series created by the National Geographic channel. You can google it or probably find it on youtube.

        Thanks Emcal, once again. It is nice exchanging views with you, even though we are at extremes – like God and the Devil (with me being the Devil, naturally).

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