One of the major dilemmas in secular society is that we’re taught that we should “embrace our sexuality,” and should therefore express this sexuality with multiple partners. How would you use the theology of the body to speak to a secular culture that is struggling to understand the idea of chastity and the celibate life?
West: You’ll see how I attempt to do that tonight at the Fill These Hearts event. But, first, I think what needs to be affirmed is this ache we all have for love — this yearning, this hunger, this desire. We all experience it. It is universal. The question is: Where do we take that desire, and what really satisfies it?
The imagery I’ve developed, and the imagery I use at this Fill These Hearts event, to speak of this hunger: I say there are three gospels out there — and by gospel I mean some promise of happiness, what to do with the hunger. Most of us were raised on what I call the “starvation diet gospel.” We’re raised in Christian homes, but we often get the impression that our desire is bad, and it’s only going to get us in trouble, so we need to repress it. Then we need to follow all these rules and we’ll be good, upstanding Christian citizens. Well, that doesn’t last very long, because you can only starve yourself for so long before the culture’s gospel — which I call the “fast-food” gospel — starts to look very attractive. And the fast-food gospel is the promise of immediate gratification. You’re hungry? Eat this. Well, fast-food might not be very good for you, but if the only two choices are starvation or fast-food, I’m going for the fast-food, which is what most of us do.