The Psychology of Christian Purity

Richard Beck makes some interesting observations about the way Christians frame sexual sin. Because it is so tightly tied to purity metaphors (unlike most other sins), it has a much more potent and negative effect than other sins (which are largely framed as performance failures). The point is that rehabilitation is easier for performance failures (repent, change behavior) than for purity failures (e.g., the loss of virginity is permanent pollution).

There seems to be something here, though I do think there are biblical metaphors of pollution that we probably shouldn’t ignore entirely. Perhaps coupling pollution with purification redemptive mtifs would help? Not entirely sure about this. Maybe we’ll discuss in my summer class.


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