There are a few dilemmas I've yet to work out, that I hear from Christian people. In today's short (but no less verbose) post, here they are.
1. Desires are bad vs. Desires are fine
No one ever really says that desires are good; the real debate is whether your personal wants are in fact okay to have. You get the sorts of people who seem to think of humans as completely dependent types, not just in the way that we depend on God for help, luck, guidance, what have you, but in that we can't do absolutely anything at all without an edict from God as to what we should do and how we should do it. Anything we want as a human, they say, is inherently bad, because humans are inherently bad. If you want to date that person, you should wait on a response from God. If you want to get that job, you should wait on a response. If no divine answer comes, it must be born of your own evil desires, and you shouldn't do it. Things that fall into your lap are okay, because they were clearly sent from God. Stuff your Christian authorities tell you are also okay, because God talks to them. But you, within yourself, are completely incapable of making a decision.
This is a big circular problem. Human nature, here, would say that this is crap, because we're independent thinkers and can at least try to solve problems without being hand-held every step of the way. The logical response to that, given the above paragraph, is that of course you think you can do it yourself, and that thought within itself is wrong and evil, because it came from your innate desire to rebel and do whatever you want to do. Ergo you can't even question the "human desire is bad" premise without invalidating your own argument against it. It's like, "Are you an alien in disguise?" "No, of course not." "That's exactly what an alien would say!" You can't win.
2. Bad thoughts are just as evil and sinful as bad deeds vs. Bad thoughts happen, get over it
Do you ever think about punching that guy who cuts you off in traffic, or leers at you when you're lounging on the beach? Apparently this means you're a terrible person. I'm quite a victim of this also; I believe that motivations are half of what makes you a good or bad person, not just your actions. You can save all the puppies you want, but if you're doing it for bad reasons, you're still a bad person. This is backed up by the single verse that comes to mind about this: "If you look at a woman, and lust after her, you have committed adultery with her in your heart."
This verse pretty much says that any thought you think, is the same as doing it. Ever thought of bashing someone's face in? You just did it. Ever wanted to trip the obnoxious kid at school? You did.
Ever thought about having sex with someone who wasn't your partner? You did.
Ever thought about killing someone?
Isn't that terrifying? You can't even be safe in your own head anymore. Does this mean that the average person has committed a huge battery of very heinous sins without even leaving his armchair? Does this mean that most people are horribly adulterous, violent, even murderous monsters? That most people have stolen a number of things, alienated their families, kicked their neighbor's cat and more?
Does this mean we're really all terrible people, because we don't have the mental strength of Buddhist monks? Because we don't keep control of everything we think at all times?
This gets scarier: what about appreciating the looks of others? What if you're dating/married/whatever, and you see a hot woman, and you're like, Wow, she's really hot. Is this a problem? Doesn't everyone do this? Does this mean we're all just jerks?
It's a little unnerving. I like having the peace of mind that I can do whatever I want in my own head, and as long as it doesn't come out, it's fine. I can do all the daydreaming about being a superhero and punching out all the bad guys or whatever have you, and it's just a dream.
Or is it?