Why We Shouldn’t Give Up On Sin: Or Why Being Called A Sinner Isn’t So Bad After All.

Introduction: Sin and Heavenly Laughter.

It is almost impossible in our age to talk about sin; it is a subject we wish to elude. Perhaps we feel as if it has been talked about too loudly for too long in Western History and we moderns are compensating with our silence and evasive bravado. If we must speak about sin we mumble or make jokes to set the room a tittering. Even priests and pastors seem ashamed to talk of sin and approach the issue tentatively and apologetically or pass it off in jest. To talk seriously about sin is like getting naked in public. It is somehow profoundly embarrassing and awkward. For everyone may have gone quiet on the issue but the voices in our head still wield the word repeatedly and when it is spoken out loud its impact can be deafening. It really is no wonder that Adam and Eve when their eyes were opened to sin covered up and ran away and hid. Somehow with sin there amongst the flowers of the garden their cheeks were set to blushing and their hands groped to cover what they had never known before as their shameful parts.

Talk of sin evokes anger, laughter, or shame. Anger, bred from self-protective fear that refuses to engage. Shame that cripples all of our best intentions and makes us shrivel up into nothingness. Or laughter, laughter is the most pleasant of these feelings so this is our most common strategy to deal with the topic. But we all know there are many forms of laughter, and the difference between tittering and titillating humour that evades the issues or eases the tension in the room and true mirth that comes from deep in the belly is profound. It is easy to joke about how sin is fun, especially how lust is fun or gluttony is great, but that laughter is cut short when we see the face of someone in the room who has picked up their daughter or their father countless times from the gutter. Giggles don’t seem to have any staying power when faced with reality.

Nevertheless, we also know the sound of real laughter, we know it, we love it, and we long for it from some unutterable place within us, laughter that is real and laughter that is pure, laughter that is somehow wordlessly related to weeping. We find true joy in the splendour of the mirth of long time lovers who have failed each other but who stand before one another naked groping only each other’s imperfections with no shame, who laugh together at the effects of gravity, at the lines and the pounds that life has bestowed on them since the day they first met and who know what each line and pound represents of the difficulty of getting to this place. We know the true goodness of laughter in mourning, experienced in the preparations for a funeral, when a life begins to be examined, errors and graces revealed, and pain is mingled with pleasure. Finally, some of us here have heard the laughter of the Father of the prodigal son at the party for his homecoming. This is the laughter of heaven – there is nothing so sweet.

In this essay I cannot promise much giggling; our subject, as Soren Kierkegaard says, is regretfully a very serious one. I can promise some awkwardness, though not for a while as we have some logic to get through before we get naked. However, the purpose of this essay is to show that laughter really may be the antidote to the poison of our sin. The purpose is to demonstrate that we can only really know human laughter if we really know ourselves as sinners and as forgiven. Our purpose is to convince the reader that the best way to laugh on earth is to laugh in the fierce struggle of life. It is to show that to laugh at our mistakes, our failings, and our sins is a potent nostrum for these things are bedevil us. The devil, in fact, hates this laughter and runs from it. Finally, it is to establish that the only way to this laughter which insinuates the laughter of the heavens is to invoke the grace filled laughter of innocence glimpsed and regained and so to share in the laughter that knows the cross, the laughter of resurrection, and the laughter of forgiveness.

In order to defend these claims it is important to define and identify the primary barrier between this kind of laughter and us, sin. In the first section of this essay therefore we will examine historical definitions of sin and analyze their common features. From there we will proceed to ask what the definition of sin reveals about what it is to be human. We will conclude this section by grappling in more depth with the question: Is it possible to live a life of human flourishing, a life full of laughter, without having a robust concept of sin and an antidote for its poisoning effect on human life?

The Logic of Sin

Augustine defined sin as ‘any word, deed or desire against eternal law’. Sin for Augustine is a deprivation of good, a wrong choice in the human search for happiness. According to Aquinas sin arises when human self-love confronting temptation is divorced from reason and defies the law of God; wise self-love is overridden and self-love becomes inordinate, out of order.  Kierkegaard resists a firm definition of sin. He contends that it is a subject only for preachers. He says this because preachers are supposed to talk about God and sin concerns our relation to God. Sin is not something that can be argued for scientifically or psychologically according to Kierkegaard; it is a matter between the individual and the eternal. Kierkegaard does however constantly talk about sin. He asserts that it is something whose tone is extremely serious, that it is related to anxiety, that it is fundamentally linked with human freedom granted to the human by the Eternal and, finally, that it is an act against this freedom. Last, but not least, the Oxford English Dictionary defines sin as an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.

There are three common factors in all of these definitions of sin: To have sin you have to have a human, you have to have God, and you have to have a reasonable moral order (as in an order of right and wrong that is discernable by reason) that comes from God and is perceptible by the human. In other words, to do it wrong you have to have all (?) the factors that make it possible to do it right.

Let’s go over these again. The three factors in the definition of sin are the following: First, there must be a reasonable and responsible actor, a being in possession of a conscious self, the human. Animals cannot sin because they cannot discern the moral order, they cannot think, “Is this the right action to take right now?” They may act with compassion or kindness but few if any of us would claim that they do so because they perceive it to be the right way to act.

Second, there must be a moral order. Sin requires that we exist in a condition that is logical and comprehensible and that illuminates the way in which one should act in order to attain the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. The moral order is an eternal law that one can act in accordance with or against. In other words, it has to be possible to know what is right if one can be blamed for, or know oneself to have acted badly by, doing wrong. Moral evil is found only in intelligent beings; it deprives them of some moral good. When the intelligent creature, knowing God and His law, deliberately refuses to obey, moral evil results.

Third, there must be a God, a creator and sustainer of this moral order, someone against whom a transgression of the moral order matters integrally. There must be One who is order, who is Goodness and Truth and Beauty, who is absolutely right, eternally right, omnipotently right, and immutable, one who is, in other words, unchangeable. If you don’t have something that is the order you don’t have an order and there is nothing against which to transgress. Aquinas explains it something like this: Matter cannot make its form, cannot receive form from itself, form has to come from an external source and this source must have agency, Being. A principle or order cannot make anything happen in and of itself since a principle only contains potential not being. And nothing reduces itself from potentiality to act. Therefore you need God to be Being in order that we might have Being.

Now this is what you need to have an idea of sin, but what if you flip it around? Can any of these three factors exist independently? Can a human (a reasonable and responsible actor in possession of a conscious self) exist without an order to discern and a God who is that infinite order? Can an order exist without humanity or without God? Can God exist without humanity and an order?

 Question One 

Can a human (a reasonable and responsible actor in possession of a conscious self) exist without an order to discern and a God who is that infinite order? According to the logic of our argument so far the answer is no. There is no Reason without something to reason about and if it follows that the moral order requires a God then it follows that for a reasonable human in possession of a conscious self to exist, then he or she needs God to sustain that reasonable existence.

Notice each element in the definition of a human that I am proposing: a reasonable responsible actor in possession of a conscious self. This will become clearer as we go forward but the argument is that there is no reason without a reasonable moral order sustained by God, no responsibility without a God to be responsible to, and that the self does not exist without God.

If we have no self there is no way to increase or decrease human flourishing outside of its animalistic qualities.  You cannot know your self to be capable of being even more who you are supposed to be, happier and more fulfilled, without a moral order in which to evaluate that fulfillment and a God who sustains, who is, that order. The Church Fathers said that our end is in God, we ‘become’ by moving towards God.  If the argument being proposed is true, then a self exists only before God and that same self only increases its existence by moving towards God. Thus sin by this definition decreases our existence, moves us towards death.

Question Two

Can a moral order exist without a God? Again according to the logic of our argument so far the answer is no but it can exist without the human to recognize it. Animals can exist in an order without knowing it.

Question Three

Can God exist without humanity and an order? According to the logic of our argument yes God can exist without humanity and a moral order. If moral order can exist without humanity so can the transcendental that creates and is that order. There could be an unordered transcendental if there was no reason and perception, however this isn’t cogent to the grand argument so let’s let it be for a moment.

Summary

Now you just may be sitting there thinking that the logical argument just proposed is a religious argument and that there would be many who would flatly disagree with this argument and claim that it was dependent on a particular world view to which they do not, and do not feel logically compelled to, subscribe. Many in our age claim to operate outside of a religious or moral framework and world view. However, what I will demonstrate in this essay is that a reasonable atheist (if there is such a thing) is logically compelled when he or she rejects the idea of God to also reject the idea of a reasonable order and also to reject the existence of a reasonable and responsible actor in possession of a conscious self. In other words, when you throw out God you throw out humanity as we understand ourselves. There are some brave Atheists who follow their own logic to its end and face this perceived reality with courage and integrity.  These same ‘reasonable’ atheists contend with extreme vigor that those who propose to impose order and insist on the existence of the conscious reasonable self without an idea of God do so without any reasonable ground and that their means and ends are futile.

Why is all of this an argument for our human need for a robust understanding of sin?

Well, if it is possible to demonstrate, in the voice of the atheist, that the logical alternative to the religious view is necessarily nihilistic and that the only two realistic choices are that of the atheist who accepts the logical conclusion of his or her thought and the religious view which necessarily includes a serious idea of sin, then this provides a compelling reason either to pay attention to sin or to face the harrowing and serious option that the Atheist proposes as an alternative.

The Atheist Proposal

We only have space in this essay to consider one atheistic voice and we have chosen that of Alain Badiou, the great French philosopher in the line of Sartre and Camus, because he has become something of a representative figure among those Continental atheists who take theology seriously.  There are, other responsible godless perspectives to consider, some less bleak than the one at which we are about to look.  However, they all end with a common discourse, a discourse known in philosophy as nihilism.  If you want to investigate this further I encourage you to read both Julia Kristeva, who speaks about this issue with gentleness and with a poignant longing, particularly in This Incredible Need to Believe, and Slavlov Žižek, who although at times glib is always illuminating, exciting, and clear about where his thought is headed. [1]

Alain Badiou articulates his atheistic case in several places but nowhere perhaps more accessibly than in The Century.  It is a dark book charting the horrors and the breathtaking moments of beauty in the 20th century and explaining why he thinks they came about. The book is artfully rendered, drawing from the narratives of literature, war, philosophy, and politics.  The last chapter of the book is entitled “The Joint Disappearances of God and Man”. It is from here that I draw the following argument.

He begins the chapter claiming that we live in a time of a perceived final combat between humanist democracy (analogous to morality without God as we outlined it above) and barbarian religion.  Badiou has no positive view of the potential of religion and though his definition would certainly include all of the elements discussed above, the context in which he perceives them to be operational is the violent political arena of the Middle East. The Christianity of the West he considers long dead and replaced with humanist democracy.  He says:

My stance, with regard to this pathetic ‘grand narrative’ of the final combat between humanist democracy and barbarian religion is stunningly simple; the God of monotheisms has been dead for a long time, no doubt for at least two hundred years, and the man of humanism has not survived the twentieth century.  Neither the infinite complication of state politics in the Middle East nor the spongy mindsets of our own ‘democrats’ have the least chance of resuscitating them.[2]

He proceeds from this point to take a step back in order to describe how the death of God took place in the mind of humanity. The genealogy goes something like this: in the middle ages God mystically saturates all thought for good or for ill. With Descartes God is required as the guarantee of truth, he becomes the subject and the certitude of science and the mystical/magical God of the middle ages begins to loosen His grip on our every thought and becomes not the air that we breath but rather the ground of our thought, a guarantor of truth.  With Kant, God is displaced, he is no longer the guarantor and subject of science but rather an instrument of practical reason. Morality is defined by God.

With Hegel, God is displaced further and God is the absolute becoming of spirit, the becoming of the absolute idea. In so thinking God becomes the process of a supposedly complete man.  God is reduced according to Badiou into nothing but an old name for the truths into which we are capable of incorporating ourselves, but humanity is the active agent.  Then there is positivism, which makes even more radical Hegel’s view and contends that God is humanity itself.  Are you noticing how entwined God and the human have become?  Following from this comes Nietzsche, who proclaims with incredible panache that God must die and man must be overcome.  Badiou explains:

It might appear that Nietzsche is standing up against religion, in particular against Christianity.  But he pontificates about God and priests only to the extent that they constitute a figure of human (im)potency.  The famous statement ‘God is dead’ is obviously a statement about man, at a moment when, after Descartes, Kant, Hegel and Comte, God is undecidably bound up with man.  ‘God is dead’ means that man is dead too.  Man, the last man, the dead man, is what must be overcome for the sake of the overman.[3]

The overman is simply man without God but the problem is that the overman hasn’t shown up.  What Badiou claims is that the 20th century was our program of overcoming the God/ human entwinement and our attempts at the creation of an overman.  The twentieth century according to Badiou is the question: What can the program of a man without God promise us?

The answer according to Sartre:  ‘Man is a useless passion’.[4]  Man as a program is the work of understanding and overcoming the alienation of man, which in turn produces new levels of alienation.  To be human is to become accustomed to living groundlessly.  Humans are to be fellow travelers without paths to travel. Man is the one who is capable of contemplating his or her own non-existence. That is it.  For Badiou this is a noble enough task for a human, it keeps her humble, always analyzing, always trying, and always spitting into the dark.

However, he claims that we have not been brave enough to choose this option, instead we have chosen classical humanism without God.  A humanism, which he claims, cannot be sustained without a ground, a humanism that is better defined as animalism.  He explains:

Classical humanism without God, without project, without the becoming of the Absolute is a representation of man which reduces him to his animal body.  I maintain that if we exit the century through the simultaneous termination of the two programmes of thought constituted by radical humanism and radical anti-humanism, we will necessarily endure a figure which makes man simply into a species.[5]

As you can see, his alternatives are rather stark.  Either you daily confront nothingness, starting again along a pathless path with courage and determination, either you live in a state of endless revolution, or you consent to the fact that there is a transcendental moral order in which we exist which is held in and by God.  For Badiou there is no third option, there is no classical humanism without God, there are no human rights based on principles that have no grounding in a transcendent order sustained by God.

Humanism requires an idea of God, moral order, and sin.  There is no getting around it, and without it we are stuck in animalism.  Now let me assure you, I am not claiming that our secular world operates on purely animalistic principles, though I think this is a danger that threatens to become lived experience in our time. Nevertheless, God is unchangeable and whether we believe it or not, or believe in God or not, we operate within a moral order sustained by him.

To summarize one more time. There are essentially three positions: Christianity (I have only really argued for Deism but if you are patient I will take this argument further) and two forms of atheism: humanistic atheism and nihilistic atheism.  Badiou makes the case that humanistic atheism is neither logically consistent nor compelling and I agree with him.  Following from this, since nihilistic atheism proposes no self, no path into the fulfillment of life, and since I think it is logical to want to have an acting self and fullness in life, and since nihilistic atheism has very little room for joyful and not sinister laughter, I find Christianity the only Good, True and Beautiful alternative.

Sin, Sanctification and Holy Laughter

If you can grant me that this is a reasonably cogent argument then you can grant me the logical imperative to argue from here on in within this frame of reference. From now on this essay will operate within a Christian framework.  If we believe the argument above, we will have to ascent to the view of the Patristic Fathers and Aquinas that humanity’s end is in God and that therefore sin is the only evaluative or relevant tool for the understanding of the self and it’s flourishing. Remember that within this framework we become by moving towards God and a self exists only before God and that same self only increases its existence by moving towards God.  Thus sin by this definition decreases our existence, moves us towards death.

When we believe that we live before God and have our end in God there are some serious consequences: to be human will be to struggle forward towards God, all other ends will be insufficient. Happiness, health, and balance cannot be our ultimate end. In no way will we be satisfied that I am okay and you are okay, human life will not be static because it will be about becoming.  Sins of omission and commission will matter, life will actually have to have a purpose, a meaning, a direction, and it will be evaluated before God always.  Within the Christian framework we must take sin seriously as that which depletes our life and leads us towards death. The fact that we know that the world is not at all the way it ought to be must be attributed to sin.  It cannot be attributed to God and cannot be attributed to an incoherent moral order.

This is a hard way to live. It takes even more courage than the nihilist atheist position because it requires that we act and that we measure our acts against what we know of God.  This means that we will feel shame, that we will weep, that we will feel naked before one another and before God, and that it will always be asked of us that we get up again and love.

To live in this way will require that we live with integrity, constantly pursuing sanctification, confronting the reality of sin, and in the end accepting the embrace of holy laughter.

The remainder of this essay will turn to an examination of these elements in the pursuit of God.  First. what does it mean to pursue sanctification? We will examine the meaning of the pursuit of sanctification in two parts, the order of love and the uniqueness of the individual.  Then we will address confronting the reality of sin within the telos of these realities, ending in the arms of Holy laughter.

First, to live before God and towards God is in the Christian tradition to live in Love. God is Love.  Therefore, the moral order can be summed up in one word – Love.  In this way, all sins are sins against Love.  However, that doesn’t get rid of the love in them because if God is Love and if God is the source of all existence then all actions include some form of love if they include any life or existence at all.  Sin is disordered love that leads to depletion rather than becoming. Dante explains it best saying the following in the voice of the wise Virgil in Canto 17 of the second book of his great Comedy.

My son, there’s no Creator and no creature who ever was without love—natural or mental; and you know that…

The natural is always without error, but mental love may choose an evil object or err through too much or too little vigor.

As long as it’s directed toward the First Good (God) and tends toward secondary goods with measure, it cannot be the cause of evil pleasure;

But when it twists toward evil, or attends to good with more or less care than it should, those whom He made have worked against their Maker.

From this you see that –of necessity–

Love is the seed in you of every virtue and of all acts deserving punishment.

So Love is the core of all things and of each being.  However, because humans are reasonable, responsible beings in possession of a conscious self they can choose to live in Love or to work against Love in some way.  When understood in this way something wonderful emerges.  If Love is at the core of all good and all evil, then desire, which comes from Love, can be incited not just towards sin but also in the struggle against sin and the good of Love can be recognized even in acts that are evil.

Take the instance of lust. When I see something beautiful I long for it and as we are embodied creatures I long for it bodily, I want to chase after it.  Lust is a disorder of excess, misdirected love, my desire is too highly incited and I want to take what isn’t mine and possess it. I want it more than I want God, I want it to be my end rather than God.  However, in the order of love, my desire isn’t wrong, that I have been incited bodily to desire the other is not improper; what can be improper is the way in which I act upon it.  I can lessen love by taking that which isn’t mine, by hurting other loves by chasing this love, and by violating the beloved in the attempt to satiate my desire.  However, if I can see this person as beautiful and desirable, if I can pay careful attention to his or her whole being, if I can see this person as a person who has their end in God, if I can remember all my other loves and if I can laugh with delight at my loving body then perhaps I will turn my inordinate lust toward God, seeking love by proper treatment of the object of desire.  Martin Thornton the gentle English pastor theologian of the mid century puts it this way:

Meditation, inspired by grace, upon the human body, a bottle of beer, or a pork chop, may well prove a more potent antidote to sin than the abstract, negative way:  the “reject the temptation” approach.  It is better to keep sober because you love and respect whisky than because you hate it.[6]

This way of approach recognizes something even more fundamental in what we are talking about.  Rejecting love to avoid sin is not an avoidance of sin. Sometimes we may need to flee from temptation and we may come to hate it in order to rid ourselves of the temptation, but our hatred of it cannot be claimed as righteousness. Just because we avoided the affair by convincing ourselves that we disdained the object of our previous love does not bring us into the order of love and it doesn’t make us less sinful; it makes us prideful and sometimes cruel. Even turning off our attention to something can be sin because sloth refuses to notice anything.

I am intentionally trying to complicate things here so that neither you nor I ever feel secure in our righteousness. It is the only safe way to avoid legalism and to preserve our humility and openness to grace, the gateway to laughter.  The Church acted with brilliance when she said that there were seven deadly sins, that they were all interconnected, that they were all sins of disordered love, and that the deepest sin (not the worst but the most intractable) is pride.  Pride, envy and anger are at the base of our mountain of sin because they represent sins that reject love because God is rejected for the betterment of the self.  Sloth is not enough love.  Greed, gluttony and lust are at the peak of the mountain not because they are less sinful but because they are sins of too much misdirected love and this inordinate love can be more easily turned into lots of ordered love.

Our first point in the pursuit of sanctification is that to live in the order of God is to live in Love.  Our Second point is that as humans who are reasonable, responsible, and in possession of a conscious self we each have a distinctive nature, which interacts with and contributes to the universal moral order.  According to Aquinas each person has his or her own particular characteristic and function.  We are all called to glorify God by living more fully into him.  However, this is achieved by each person being true to him or herself and by fulfilling his or her own specific purpose in his or her own unique way.[7] Martin Thornton gives this most glorious example of Mary Magdalene:

But if grace perfects nature, I have a quite personal idea that St. Mary Magdalene is the most glorious example of all.  If we can trust tradition as to her early life, it is apparent that her innate characteristics remained to the end.  Her sensuousness, her physical generosity, her passionate, impetuous self-giving, her sexuality and femininity; all this was once given to her revolting clients, then to the Son of God.  Her kisses and caresses began in sin and ended in sanctity, at the feet of Christ, but they were still kisses and caresses.  Her generosity started with harlotry and ended with precious ointment, but it was the same generosity. Her passionate love was first carnal and then contemplative, but it was the same love, the same nature, only sanctified. [8]

To be fulfilled then is to live in love and to live one’s particular life to the fullest. This is the path of sanctification.  We are called to become something particular and inimitable and to refuse this becoming is also part of the nature of sin. However, in our lives we do not often get very far down this path of sanctification, we are rarely fully purged of our sin and able to move too far towards God.

Just so, in pursuit of sanctification we must confront the reality of Sin.  Sin is original in us and its power over us is grave. Possibly the best we can humanly do is as the political writer and social critic, Henry Fairlie, says, “Struggle!”[9]

We (should) recognize that the inclination to evil is in our natures, (says Fairlie), that its existence in us presents us with moral choices, and that it is in making those choices that we form our characters.  We may be given our natures, but we make our characters; and if it is in our natures to do evil, it can and ought to be in our characters to resist it.  When we say that someone is a “good man” or ‘good woman,” we do not mean that they are people from whom the inclination to evil is absent, but that they are people who have wrestled and still wrestle with it.  We say that they are people of character, and rightly so because they have formed their characters in the wrestling….[10]

The point of life according to Fairlie is the struggle:

To contend intricately with the evil that lies intricately in us, to do so in the right ways and so each to make something of individual worth of the characters that we form—this is enough for a tombstone, even if not for beyond it, and it is also what has brightened, often enough for it to count, the long caravan of mankind across the centuries.  We cannot afford to slight the notion that our resistance to our own evil, and the quality of our resistance, are themselves a purpose that makes our lives more than absurd, and that keeps us in touch with the divine.  [11]

Fairlie goes on later in his book to say:

At least if we recognize that we sin, know that we are individually at war, we may go to war as warriors do, with something of valor and zest and even of mirth, for these are usually the most inseparable of companions.  [12]

Now Fairlie is beautiful and even more beautiful when you know that he was an internationally renowned sinner. He was an English political journalist who wrote for the London Times, the Spectator, the New Republic, the Washington Post and the New Yorker and he was a reluctant unbeliever.  He had copious affairs, was an alcoholic, went bankrupt, was put in jail for libel. Long after he wrote the book from which I am drawing, Fairlie ended his life living in his office because he couldn’t afford his rent.  His book, The Seven Deadly Sins Today, is excellent, it is heavy handed and it articulates an ache for God.

What he says in the above quote is beautiful and mostly true but if it weren’t for his allusion to the mirth of a soldier it would be a little dangerous for a Christian to swallow too easily.  It is not enough that we struggle and have character.  According to the Christian gospel God is perfect and God is love and by his nature, in his perfect order, he will have us share in that perfection and love and he will have nothing less.   God is fierce in his own righteousness and in it we will be included.

This is why as I mentioned before a religious deism is also untenable.  It is not the idea of God that makes for human flourishing; it is God Himself.  Original sin, a human choice, created a chasm between us and God, a chasm that cannot be crossed with struggle or with character. It cannot be crossed by our own effort.  The world is still not what it should be, it is still all-wrong, and if God is all in all that is not okay.  Therefore, sanctification and struggle must be preceded by humble penitence, by a humility that sheds tears of sorrow for all that we have done and all that we have left undone, tears that empty us of all hubris, and that enable us to lay down our lives.  For only when the tears are shed and when our lives are laid down can our eyes and ears be opened to hear salvific laughter.

Beyond everything else we need the laughter of the Father, the Holy laughter that begets a Saviour in infinite love, Jesus Christ, who will forgive us, a Saviour who will cross the bridge, who will suffer the consequences of our sin, who will die and rise again and who will laugh with the Ffather at the party of our redemption.  The laughter of the heavens is the only reality that makes earthly laughter possible, beautiful, and redemptive. 

It is in this way that it is not so bad to be called a sinner after all because into His arms we can run and there we can hear His great belly laugh as He covers our nakedness with His absolute perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Julia Kristeva, This Incredible Need to Believe (New York, NY:  Columbia University Press).  Slavlov Žižek, Living in the End Times (New York, NY:  Verso).

[2] Alain Badiou, The Century (Malden MA: Polity Press, 2005),  p. 166.

[3] ibid, 168.

[4] ibid, 169

[5] ibid, 174

[6] Thornton, Martin.  English Spirituality. Cowley Publications, 1986. P.116

[7] ibid, 127

[8] ibid, 134.

[9]

[10] Fairlie, Henry. The Seven Deadly Sins Today

[11] ibid,

[12] ibid,