There’s another version of lust that can be just as deadening to the senses and just as damaging to the soul, and it’s one that we often overlook, something we often justify for being “realistic.” I’m talking about gratuitous depictions of violence.
In Christian circles today, we talk frequently about the dangers of lust in a sexualized society. We have True Love Waits, purity rings, and accountability groups meant to keep us from pornography or other forms of explicit content.
Version - Lust - Senses - Soul - Something
But there’s another version of lust that can be just as deadening to the senses and just as damaging to the soul, and it’s one that we often overlook, something we often justify for being “realistic.” I’m talking about gratuitous depictions of violence. Bloodlust, a term that refers to someone whose rage leads to slaughter and killing, can be seen in a more mild form in the desire to watch bloodshed.
I was reminded of the power of bloodlust when listening to one of Mere Fidelity’s episodes on Augustine’s Confessions. Derek Rishmawy recalled Augustine’s friend Alypius, a character I hadn’t given much thought to until reading about him in Sarah Ruden’s new translation.
Adolescent - Alypius - Friend - Augustine - Vortex
As an adolescent, Alypius, a hometown friend of Augustine, got caught in “the vortex that was the Carthaginian scene, bubbling with time-wasting public entertainments” that “sucked him into the mania for the games put on in the circus.”
Augustine noticed his friend had a “self-destructive infatuation with the games.” Alypius would go to the stadium and watch others compete. What distressed Augustine was not the time-wasting aspect of this infatuation (who knows what he would say about the hours we spend playing games on our phones?) but the effect that witnessing violence had on his student’s soul. In class, Augustine derided people “held captive to a crazed obsession with this pastime,” and...
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