I have been working lately on a chapter exploring the sin of gluttony for a Bible study I have coming out with the Threads folks next year called Seven Daily Sins. Today I remembered the discussion of sexual morality in Mere Christianity where C.S. Lewis offers the following illustration to demonstrate the folly of lust:
You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act—that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let every one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?
Lewis is intentionally being silly to highlight the dysfunction we don’t see in our sexual lust. But I wonder if he were alive today, surfing the TV channels with you or flipping through a magazine, if he’d be astounded to see that strip-teases of food actually exist.
Perhaps he couldn’t imagine his illustration would some day reflect reality, but here we are, being tantalized and aroused by the gleaming juices of delicious steaks, the architectural splendor of some well-stacked mega-burger, the whole-life-fulfillment promised by chocolate mousse, all airbrushed and lit up and presented with expertly selected music and pitched by a celebrity or model.
Would we not think that in this country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?