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Moral Perversion



   Moral perversion.  What is it and what is the mechanism by 
   which it occurs? 

   How about the following definition:  A moral pervert is a 
   person who is a slave to patterns of thought and behavior that 
   are morally wrong (in violation of God's law and in conflict 
   with the light that God has put within us).  Examples: liar, 
   cheat, thief, profligate, homosexual. 

   What is the mechanism by which people become perverts?  
   Aristotle gives us the answer:  people acquire a particular 
   character, he says, through repeatedly performing an act.  In 
   the case of moral perversion this translates into, "people 
   become perverts through repeatedly performing some wrong act".  
   Liars become liars, for example, through repeated acts of 
   lying. 

   Let us take lying for an example.  Character is formed mostly 
   in the years of childhood.  The roots of perversion generally 
   go back to the childhood years --- to the moral acts, choices, 
   decisions, etc. occurring in the years of growing up.  A child 
   lies for the first time.  He finds it is easy and he gets away 
   with it.  He does it a second time.  And then a third.  It 
   becomes a habit.  A way of thinking, acting and responding is 
   being formed.  Lying and deception become more and more an 
   integral part of his being and character.  This particular 
   pattern becomes part of him and will probably continue as an 
   integral part of his character the rest of his life.  It 
   becomes part of his affections and outlook.  He likes deceit, 
   is drawn to it. 

   Let us consider stealing.  The same thing happens.  A child 
   does it once.  It was easy and he gets away with it.  He does 
   it again.  And then again.  Friends may be involved.  They may 
   have introduced him to it.  He does it more.  It is a very easy 
   way to get those things that his heart desires.  And he enjoys 
   doing it.  It adds some excitement to life.  It becomes a 
   habit.  A way of thinking and acting is slowly and subtly 
   becoming established.  A certain pattern is slowly taking over 
   his mind and becoming an integral and fixed part of his 
   character.  The habit that started as a thread gradually 
   becomes a cable.

   The same thing happens in the case of the profligate and the 
   homosexual.  A wrong act is done once.  It is enjoyed --- found 
   to give pleasure.  It is done again.  And then again.  And 
   again.  And it finally ends becoming an integral part of the 
   character.  

   We are talking about sin.  Sin first entices and enchants.  
   Then it enslaves.  The sinner becomes a slave to his sin.  He 
   becomes caught in a snare, a trap from which he can't extract 
   himself.  And he got into the trap from the wrong choices and 
   decisions that he made in his childhood.  And there is a 
   casualty in surrendering to sin:  that casualty is conscience, 
   that knowledge of right and wrong within us, that light within 
   us.  That light is extinguished.  The sinner sins then he says, 
   "Have I sinned?  No, I have not sinned." 

   Good character is formed in a similar way.  A child finds 
   himself in a situation where it would be convenient and easy to 
   lie.  But this child won't even allow himself to consider the 
   option.  It is wrong!  He must tell the truth no matter how 
   hard it is or what the consequences may be!  And he musters the 
   strength and courage to tell the truth.  Later he again finds 
   himself in such a situation.  Again he tells the truth --- even 
   though doing so may bring some hard consequences for himself 
   (such as a whipping --- where Father says,"Did you break this?  
   And he says, "Yes").  In fact he builds up a pattern of not 
   only always telling the truth but of always doing the right 
   thing --- even in difficult situations where doing the right 
   thing is the difficult thing to do.  Doing right becomes an 
   integral part of his character, a part of his nature.  He is 
   conscientious.  He always does a good job on whatever he does.  
   He never cheats.  There is a higher principle operating within 
   him.  He lives by a higher law.   He has within him a light 
   that tells him how he ought to act and behave.  And he is 
   obedient to that light.  He has within him a love of Right and 
   Goodness and an aversion for Badness.  He learns to be guided 
   by his intellect and intuition in choosing his friends and in 
   avoiding bad types of people.  He, too, as with the pervert, is 
   developing for himself a particular set of outlooks, values and 
   attitudes that will become a permanent part of his character 
   and that will serve him on his journey through life.  And he 
   will, like others, have his own particular "wavelength" (a 
   particular "tune that he dances to", a particular "language" 
   that only he and others like him would understand).  He becomes 
   a right-thinking, right-acting person of discipline.  And 
   underneath it all is probably a fear of God and love of God and 
   allegiance to God. 


   Jan 1998


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