What is the relationship between God and eroticism? There are so many people who say so many different things. Some say there is nothing wrong with reading or viewing erotic things. Others say it is a grave sin, a grave evil. Certain religious organizations are quite clear about their disapproval of these things. The Catholic Church is unambiguous on these matters: porn is evil, erotic images are sinful. There is no compromise on that. And yet, as I wrote in a post below on Michelangelo, some of the greatest works of art in the Church were once considered pornographic by some. Botticelli created many works that are clearly erotic for the sake of eroticism. These were not without controversy though in their day. For instance, the Domincan friar Savonarola (1452-1498) made a career out of preaching against the excesses of the Renaissance in Florence. After leading crusades against his views of decadence, which included carnival like bonfires fueled by forbidden books and works of art, including those of Botticelli, he himself met his death by being burned alive by the very people he was trying so hard to convert to a life of purity. His story is bit more complicated than this, such as his interest in political power, but that is basically the gist.
One of the problems I have found in life is that who enjoy eroticism are often irreligious and those who are religious hate and fear eroticism. It is the old spirit vs. the flesh thing. There seems to be little compromise between the two. On the one hand, those who enjoy eroticism think religious experience is a medieval remnant of a backward world that needs to be ignored. On the other hand, when men preach against sex and eroticism in a religious context, they often do so in a strident, idealistic fervor that leaves me suspicious. What I have found is that the men who preach most vehemently against sexuality are often the one’s hiding something themselves (Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, George Rekers, Marciel Maciel, John Corapi, just to name a few). The longer I live, the less and less I listen to what others say. As time moves on and I see more and more religious hucksters, I become less and less interested in institutional personalities and proclamations and more and more interested in the pure spirituality of faith.
It seems to me eroticism is a natural part of life. We are all voyeurs to a certain extent. The desire for beauty is innate. In some it is stronger than others, and I have a deep desire to be surrounded by beauty. Feminine beauty is particularly intoxicating for me. This would include the female nude and images of women enjoying sex. There is something beautiful about seeing a woman in the throes of sexual passion. I hunger for these things.
And yet I am told that if I give in to these hungers, I am participating in something evil and my soul is in danger of going to hell. Perhaps I am. Who knows.
God and eroticism. History shows us this is one the fundamental tensions in religious experience, transcending all faiths throughout time and space. As someone who hungers for both spiritual and erotic nourishment, I have yet to find that magical balance between the two. I can understand the values of continence, chastity, and the problems of promiscuity, premarital sex, fornication, etc. These problems are real and the spiritual and physical consequences of certain behaviors can be quite negative. Yet the need to purge yourself of all sexual desires and thoughts, which is so much of religious thought, is still something I am skeptical about. I don’t think that religious mysticism and human eroticism are mutually exclusive. I also think more people would be open to faith if they were not told so often by religious people that eroticism is such a taboo thing.
I saw a girl today wearing a pair of shorts. She was hot. The first thought that entered my mind was how much I would enjoy eating her out, how sweet her pussy must taste. The thought lasted only for a few seconds. It was delightful. So I enjoyed it and moved on to other, less sexual thoughts. Perhaps this single thought is enough to send me to hell. According to certain dogmas it is. Whatever those dogmas may be, they will not stop me from leading a spiritual life, a life of prayer and belief in God, despite my dirty mind.