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To sin and be forgiven
Faulkner’s Light in August opens with a pregnant woman walking: it closes with her walking, the child in her arms, a man not the child’s father tagging after. Sandwiched in the middle are other characters: a martyr of unclear “race”; a defrocked reverend, nuts (like everybody else, a half century after the Civil War). Reverend Hightower’s revery climaxes (without achieving anything) just before the end.
|He seems to see the churches of the world like a rampart, like one of those barricades of the middleages planted with dead and sharpened stakes, against truth and against that peace in which to sin and be forgiven which is the life of man.|
Hightower isn’t the first reverend to have his own ideas on critical subjects. Churches, colleges of cardinals, congregations of elders, a Sanhedrin of rabbis always have ways of dealing with non-standard messages from their supposed deity: crucify him!
I know. I’ve been isolated, sabotaged … interrupted, censored, jailed.
When God gave me messages to deliver I naively believed, initially, that he intended for the messages to be delivered, for progress to be inspired. No, no: earth is for the damnation of the damned, not the rescue of the saint hanging from the dungeon wall. Still: my business is to declare the message as best I can, not to worry about consequences: history is a whore’s grimace in the mirror, a struggle in cosmetic lighting as well as tracks jiggling and dodging to misrepresent details.
So: sin is immortal? Perhaps so. But only in an artifical environment, magically mandated. Sin to me is unsustainable behavior. If Eve gives Adam herself, her body, her genetics, and Adam gives her a black eye, then mankind does not have a promising future. For pk sin isn’t whether you eat pork or eat it on Friday. Sin isn’t whether the little boy touches himself or touches the little girl …
Wait, never mind: here’s a sin: to kill the god who comes to try to help! to sabotage the messenger: so that the moron public never knows what messages were ever even aimed at the in-box. And the priests are too dishonest as well as too stupid to know their part in it: despite the clarity of the story!
Never mind whether there’s a creator god. Never mind whether he has a son named Jesus. Never mind how much of the universe is magic. Just think: if the United States steals resources, then sends the cavalry to burn dissenters and their homes … if the United States insinuates federal money into formerly private universities, then purges intelligence from those universities … (Just leave institutions alone, they’ll flush themselves of intelligence, naturally: no species has yet demonstrated that intelligence is sustainable.) Should Americans then sit around congratulating themselves on being Christian? or leaders among the good guys? God’s gift to kleptocracy.
Never mind the United States: just contemplate Macbeth. If Macbeth stacks Parliament with people who deny they saw Banquo’s ghost, if anyone who wants to thrive in Macbeth’s kingdom has to swear that Macbeth is the legitimate king …
If it is, it’s a sin.
Netflix offers me a series for streaming, Revenge — A young woman moves to the Hamptons and charms the pants off her new neighbors — while plotting their downfall for sins committed against her family. Very cute girl for a cover poster, Emily vanCamp I guess, I may sample it just to check her out: but never mind, the subject is sin: and I note: it’s not for the young woman to judge or identify “sin” — in standard monotheism that’s strictly God’s business.
“I am a man more sinned against than sinning.” Great line, everyone instantly sympathizes: but again, it’s a human talking! Doesn’t qualify. Subjective, not objective: the idea being that only God is objective, all else is a waste of time and breath.