The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.

The thoughts below are from Peter Kreeft, referred to by Justin Taylor. I have underlined the words that make great sense to me.

I think a secularist has only one substitute left for God, only one experience in a desacrilized world that still gives him something like the mystical, self-transcending thrill of ecstasy that God designed all souls to have forever, and to long for until they have it. Unless he is a surfer, that experience has to be sex. We’re designed for more than happiness; we’re designed for joy. Aquinas writes, with simple logic, “Man cannot live without joy. That is why one deprived of true spiritual joys must spill over to carnal pleasures.”

Drugs and alcohol are attractive because they claim to feed the same need. The lack the ontological greatness of sex, but they provide the same semi-mystical thrill: the transcendence of reason and self-consciousness. I do not mean this merely as moral condemnation, but as psychological analysis.

In fact, though they sound shocking, I think the addict is closer to the deepest truth than the mere moralist. He is looking for the very best thing in some of the very worst places. His demand for a state in which he transcends morality is very wrong, but it’s also very right. For we are designed for something beyond morality, something in which morality will be transformed. Mystical union with God. Sex is a sign and appetizer of that.

Moral absolutists must never forget that morality, though absolute, is not ultimate. It is not ourSummum Bonum. Sinai is not the Promised Land; Jerusalem is. And in the New Jerusalem, what finally happens as the last chapter of human history is a wedding between the Lamb and His bride. Deprived of this Jerusalem, we must buy into Babylon. If we do not worship God, we will worship idols, for we are by nature worshippers.

One thought on “The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.

  1. Dear Don,

    Thank you so much. I was thinking on this for most of the past year (though it just started). You summed it up so eloquently in writing. One part of my thoughts is here:

    “Impassioned sensibility (romanticism, anti-romanticism, capitalism and so forth) sees its celebration in the ‘divine’ and ‘transcendental’ ecstasy which people mostly regard as true fulfilment. [I study music which involves much Romantics’ literature, and read a lot to do with that, thus the terminology.]

    The Christian rarely feels that on a comparative basis, as is consequently frowned upon as lacking joy. But pleasure in God is so much more, so as long as we stop judging others and start appreciating not the physical word of grace, but to immerse ourselves within the ineffable and boundless meaning of grace.

    And when we, the Christian, act too intellectual, we are over-spiritualising our discussions and not taking in the transformation that the cross truly brings to us.”

    I don’t asking to add anything to your words, but it is of some relevance to the moralist you describe above. I wrote another short passage regarding stigmas, but I think I could more or less scrap that and put your writing as a quote in my diary of thoughts.

    Thanks so much.

    God bless,
    Clement

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