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How the Irish Saved Civilization Themes

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Sex

Guided by Plato's view that the physical world is inferior to the spiritual, Greco-Roman society generally looks down on manifestations of sexual passion, but not with the intensity of St. Augustine of Hippo. Before his conversion to Christianity, Augustine indulges every passion conceivable and adheres for a while to a syncretistic Eastern religion, Manicheism, which allows him to do as he likes and still feel somehow superior to the masses. The systematic study of Plato begins to touch his conscience, and the reading of St. Paul, who describes the flesh fighting the spirit, convinces him to "put on Christ" and "make no provision for the lusts of the flesh". The guilt-wracked former sex addict turns his considerable classical education to theology, having no one to counter his extreme views. For Western Christianity, any sexual encounter becomes at least a venial sin. So rigid and...

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