LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION
I got to thinking about Temptation as a theological concept within the construct of The Seven Deadly Sins the other day. Worldwide fans will be aware of my ruminations on these from previous treatises I have posted in scholastic publications like Facebook.
Essentially I was trying to weigh myself on the balance of scales and decided that on Gluttony, Sloth and Greed I am banged to rights, whereas on the credit side of the ledger I don’t suffer from Envy, Anger or Pride (as a glance at my fashion wear will testify). That makes it a 3-all draw with the floating voter being Lust.
Which is how I got to thinking about Temptation.
See, in 40 years I have never taken my todger out of my breeches in anger outside the confines of our marriage, as looks only my mother has appreciated has kept me pure. So far, so good. Not that I mightn’t have done, mind you, given the chance. (Don’t go and spoil it now, Coops). So the theological issue for me is this: if the Deadly Sin is committing the act, is it also a sin simply by being tempted by it? Cos there’s a lot happens in my head.
Picture the conversation outside the Pearly Gates
St Peter So what about Lust, Coops?
Me Clean as a whistle, Pete.
St Peter So did you resist temptation?
Me Dead right.
St Peter So was it offered to you under your nose, all gaping and glistening, but you declined, preferring instead to read The Book of Psalms?
Me Not exactly.
St Peter Hmmmm. And what about thoughts?
Me Nobody said you couldn’t have thoughts.
St Peter Where does it say that?
But let’s take a look at your back catalogue, shall we? It says here that on Sunday, 15th April, 1994 – a Sunday, mindst, that you dreamt of licking cheesecake off Gloria Honeyfords’ tits.
Me It was all about the cheesecake, Pete.
St Peter And then again on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday she was joined by Val Singleton with a bread and butter pudding.
Me We’ve done Gluttony, Pete. I’ve given you that one.
St Peter So to recap, it was never offered; you simply didn’t get the chance to be tempted?
Me ‘S’pose so. But doesn’t Yer Man’s Prayer ask Him to “lead us not into temptation”? So not having to face temptation is just as valid as facing it and resisting it, surely?
St Peter But you can’t count a football match you haven’t played as a Win, now can you?
Me So what are we saying? That it’s 3-all and a No-Result?
St Peter Quite so.
Me So how will you squeeze a 3-all draw and a No-Result into a binary construct like Good and Evil, Heaven and Hell? Weight each factor? Penalties? Single Transferable Vote?
St Peter We toss a coin.
St Peter Just the luck of the draw and God’s Will, I’m afraid.
Me By the way, isn’t that Adolph Hitler behind you?
St Peter Ah, yes. Mr Hitler. One of our most pious guests. He was a Gold Star, 7-0 winner, you know. Never committed any of the Deadly Sins.