> Diana Manister wrote:
> > Tom, if the body is seen as an impediment to salvation,
> > its destruction is a good thing, right?

I think you're slightly missing the point, it's not the body, in and of
itself, that it the problem.  The problem here is sin, the fallen nature of
man.  When Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount if your eye causes you to
sin pluck it out and if your right hand causes you to sin cut it off (Matt
5:29-30), he was not really endorsing blindness or amputation but saying
sin is SO worthless a person should do anything to avoid it.

> Carrol Cox wrote:
> > You describe Manichaeism.... Hatred of the body is
> > heresy because it casts doubt on the doctrine of the
> > Incarnation and the Sacrament of the Mass. Gnosticism
> > had a similar hatred of the body.

Yes and no.  Mani and almost all other Gnostics had a dualism inherited
from Persian Zoroastrianism that said there were two gods, a good god that
was ONLY spirit and a bad god that was ONLY matter, and that the earth was
their battleground.  As Christianity became a common topic of conversation,
the Gnostics adopted some of the divine characters to their thinking: YHWH,
God in the Old Testament, became their bad god of matter and Jesus, God in
the New Testament, became their good god  consisting only of spirit.  That
created some bizarre teachings, namely that Jesus was only a vision or 3-D
projection (like the character of the "Doctor" on Star Trek: Voyager) and
therefore wasn't really crucified, it just 'looked' like it.  

Note to Diana on the "Da Vinci Code" book and film: if it was true to
Gnostic teaching, Jesus could never have sex with anyone because he would
just be a noncorporeal image.

>Nancy Gish wrote:
> > I do think, though, that hatred of the body is theoretically
> > denied but practically affirmed by much of Christian
> > thought even though the Incarnation presumably makes
> > that utterly false.

Again, it's not so much of a hatred of the body, in and of itself, but a
hatred of sin.  In the 6th chapter of his letter to the church at Rome,
Paul says to "not let sin reign in your mortal bodies" because, as
Christians, we are dead to sin, "baptized with [Jesus] into his death" and
now live as part of him (see also 1st Corinthians 12, with the "body of
Christ" metaphor).  Romans 6 also states that we are either "slaves to sin"
or else "slaves to God" (no third option like 'free will').

Robert Meyer