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Skip to comments.Sinful Curiosity is the Root of Many Sins
Posted on 05/20/2020 11:23:40 AM PDT by Salvation
Curiosity is one of those qualities of the human person that are double-edged swords. It can cut a path to glory or it can be like a dagger of sin that cuts deep into the soul.
As to its glory, it is one of the chief ingredients in the capacity of the human person to, as Scripture says, subdue the earth, to gain mastery over the many aspects of creation of which God made us stewards. So much of our ingenuity and innovation is rooted in our wonder and awe of Gods creation and in those two little questions, How? and Why?
Yes, we are curious as to how things work and why they work as they do. This curiosity burns within us and motivates us to unlock many of natures secrets. Curiosity drives us to learn and to gain masteryoften for good, but sometimes for ill.
What a powerful force within us, this thing we call curiosity! It is a passion to know! Generally, it seems quite exclusive to us who are rational, for animals manifest little or none of it. Occasionally an animal might seem to manifest curiosity: a sound might draw its attention causing it to look more closely. But the investigation is probably more motivated by seeing whether the sound is a threat or a food source rather than by curiosity. True curiosity asks the deeper metaphysical questions of what, how, and why. True curiosity seeks to explore formal and final causality as well as efficient and material causality. It seeks to learn, sometimes for learnings own sake. Sometimes, and potentially more darkly, curiosity seeks to learn so we can exert control.
Of itself, curiosity can be a magnificent quality, rooted in the gifts of wonder and awe as well as in the deeply profound gift of mans intellect or rational nature.
However, as a double-edged sword, curiosity can also wound us very deeply and mire us in serious sin. Indeed, it can be a very sinful drive within us. Eve grew curious of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and thus Satan was easily able to turn her curiosity into a deep dagger that has reached every human heart.
Understood this way (as a sinful drive), curiosity is a desire to gain knowledge of things we have no right to know. A more mitigated form of sinful curiosity is the desire to know things that are in no way useful to us. In this sense, curiosity is a form of spiritual gluttony that exposes us to innumerable tricks of the evil one.
Sinful curiosity causes us to meddle in the lives of others, to pry. This can then lead us to gossip, potentially defaming others and ruining reputations in the process. Nothing is a bigger invitation to sin and gossip than the phrase Have you heard the latest news about so-and-so? Heads turn, ears perk up, and meddlesome curiosity is immediately incited. Almost never is the news that follows such a question positive or even edifying. Sinful curiosity is at the root of almost all gossip, defamation, slander, and even calumny. The vast majority of what we hear through gossip is none of our business. And yet, through sinful curiosity, somehow we feel that we have the right to this information.
There is a whole branch of news, barely distinguishable from gossip columns and scandal sheets, that has emerged based on the peoples right to know. Too much secrecy can be unhealthy, but that is hardly the problem in this day and age. Today, too many people know too many things about too many people. Even what is reported (most of it unnecessary) about so-called public figures is not really helpful for us to know. This is not to say that we should have no interest whatsoever in what is happening in the world or in the character of our leaders; rather, it is an invitation to distinguish between what is truly useful and necessary for us to know and that which arises from sinful curiosity.
Sinful curiosity is also at the root of a lot of lust and immodesty. A man may be happily married, but when he sees a woman walk past on the sidewalk he may temporarily push that to the back of his mind. Part of his problem is lust. And in that lustful mindset, he reduces the womana personto her curves and other physical attributes. But another aspect of his struggle is the sinfully curious question I wonder what shed be like? Well, sir, that is none of your business! Now mind you hes happily married, but he already knows his wife well. Pardon the expression, but the mystery of his wife has been unveiled. This other woman he sees, however, still has a shroud of mystery that incites in him a sinful curiosity. Immodesty also taps into the sinful curiosity of others by revealing more than it should. Modesty is reverence for mystery. Immodesty jettisons this reverence and seeks to incite sinful curiosity.
Sinful curiosity has been turned into a consumer industry by many talk shows that publicly feature topics that should be discussed discreetly. Further, many guests on such shows reveal details about their lives that should not be discussed in a public forum. Too many people discuss terrible struggles of a very personal nature and too many people tune in to listen. This is a form of immodesty as well, even if it does not involve sexual matters; modesty is reverence for mystery and it respects appropriate boundaries and degrees of intimacy in conversations. Baring ones soul is neither prudent nor appropriate in all situations or with all people; it too easily excites sinful curiosity and sets loose a wave of gossip and uncharitable banter. Some things are just not meant to be dealt with in public, and many are incapable of handling such information without easily straying into sin.
A mitigated form of sinful curiosity is the excessive desire to know too many things all at once. This is a kind of information gluttony. This sort of desire, though not necessarily sinful, can become so by excess. It is catered to by the 24-by-7 news services. Being informed is good, but being over-informed can easily lead to becoming overwhelmed and discouraged. Generally speaking, indulging in such a steady stream of news (along with talk radio, etc.) provokes anxiety, discouragement, and a sense of being overwhelmed. Such news services tend to generate interest by inciting alarm. Bad and bloody news predominates; the exotic and strange are headlined; the titillating and shocking lead the news hour; that which generates controversy and ratings is emphasized. Its not long before we have moved away from necessary and important news and back into the sinful curiosity that sets tongues wagging and heads shaking.
Sinful curiosity, even of this mitigated form, so easily draws us into very negative, dark, and even depressing places. News junkies would do well to balance their diet with other more edifying things than what is the latest scandal or threat.
St. Paul gives good advice to all of us when it comes to sinful curiosity and our tendency to collect unnecessary, unhelpful, and unenlightening news. In effect, he invites us to discipline our minds with the following good and solid advice:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableif anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things (Phil 4:8).
Curiositythe double-edged swordso noble yet so easily ignoble, so wonderful yet so easily debased.
Monsignor Pope Ping!
What the Msgr leaves out is at this point the man has committed adultery. He's as guilty with this thought as he would be if he were to engage in the physical act itself.
That's taking it way too far. Adultery is the physical act of sex with a woman not your wife. We all have sexual thoughts, this is designed in by God.
That’s taking it way too far. Adultery is the physical act of sex with a woman not your wife. We all have sexual thoughts, this is designed in by God.
Jesus says differently.
“But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
To add to the Scripture quotation, which is true and applies here, the man may find the woman attractive. That is out of his control, and not inherently sinful. However, to ask oneself a question like that is an act of the will - it is a choice, and in that, he has sinned gravely in his heart. It is about what we do with those feelings that is sinful - in thought, word, or deed.
Likewise, fleeting thoughts of this nature can come involuntarily - that is not a sin. At best, it is a temptation. It is a sin when one decides to hold on to, or to stoke such thoughts. Then, one is choosing to entertain adultery (or another sin) in the heart.
So, yes, you are right that our sexuality is good and from God. That means that our feelings are good in themselves. However, we are also subject to the effects of original sin. Therefore, our sexuality can be twisted and turn sinful. So, we have to direct and guide it with our reason (aided by God’s necessary grace) to what is good.
Somebody toys briefly with the idea of stealing a pencil, while somebody else commits armed robbery of a bank and gets away with $200,000 in cash. Both of them are committing the sin of "stealing," but it's ridiculous to suggest that the objective guilt of both acts is the same.
Otherwise you end up with morally ridiculous situations, like equating what Adolph Eichmann did with me getting angry at someone who cuts me off in traffic. Both are sins against the commandment "Thou shalt not kill".
Roman Catholic theology is leading you astray on this issue.
In the passage above Jesus does not make any allowance for your positions.
He makes it clear our thought life, in this case about adultery, is equal to the actual physical act itself.
It is either sin or it is not.
Jesus says it is.
This is where the Roman Catholic false doctrine of mortal and venial sins leads the Roman Catholic astray.
I've had too many conversations with your fellow Roman Catholics, and probably you as well, on this issue to know Rome views the thinking about adultery as being different than the physical act.
I agree the earthly consequences are different. If you lust after another woman (or dude if you are a gal), your spouse may never know.
However, God knows and that's what really matters.
Our thought about adultery, or stealing, or murder, etc....even for a moment condemns us.
It's these thoughts we're sometimes not even aware of that condemn us. It shows how utterly impossible it is to be "good enough" to get into Heaven on our own merits.
As I've said before, IF I were a Roman Catholic I'd never let the priest out of my sight. I'd be confessing every hour on the hour....just to be sure.
Fortunately, Christianity teaches something different than Roman Catholicism.
We we profess our faith in Christ He wipes away all of our sins. He nails them to the cross.
13When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14 NASB
Sinful Curiosity is the Root of Many SinsThe Monsignor needs to talk to our kittens.
I'm with you. But there are many folks here who believe that sin is sin and that there is no difference between venial and mortal sin.
The example I gave was: murdering people and stealing your brother's cookies. To them, they are both the same. Bible quotes spilled out from them all over the page.
They made NO sense. Non-Catholics are free to interpret the Bible as they see fit.
For sure they are NOT Catholics.
They haven't the authority of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Living Magisterium--
No such thing as venial sin.
While Scripture certainly notes that there are some sins that are worse than others, such as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, ALL sin is worthy of damnation.
You mean like this....
27You have heard that it was said, YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28 NASB
I already made my comment. You don't need me to add towhat I've already written.
And yet you choose to reply anyways.
Besides, you’re not arguing with me, you’re arguing with what God has written.
If you don’t like that, then take it up with the author.
In summary, people REALLY don’t like it when their sins are pointed out and condemned.
Not even in general terms.
They don’t even like being reminded.
I made an enemy for life when I pointed out that someone saying, “I’m not so bad; I haven’t actually killed people, so I must be fine in God’s sight, yes?” is still under God’s condemnation.
He threw a FIT and started spreading outright lies saying that I told people that all veterans are going to Hell, then after that spent over a year trying to financially and psychologically ruin me while also trying to get me excommunicated.
No they don't.
Roman Catholics like to dismiss the thought life as being a part of the sin nature.
Like the non-Catholic kittens who seem to perpetually crash Catholic threads?
You have one of your very own Roman Catholics who daily posts numerous articles against your pope. Daily he posts almost without fail.
And yet, not once do you ever say anything negative to him.
And you have the audacity to cry about non-Roman Catholics??
As I told you before, I never want to hear you cry about "Roman Catholic" bashing.
Your fellow Roman Catholic does far, far more "bashing" than any non-Roman Catholic I've seen on these threads.
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