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religious studies

A Bestiary of Sin

This is an age obsessed by the need for moral guidance. After God died and our faith in universal reason collapsed, we look everywhere for advice on how to find the good life. Even The New York Times Sunday Magazine has become a source of moral guidance with its weekly advice column "The Ethicist." In Defense of Sin offers a unique perspective on the road to the good life: if we are to believe Portmann, those who care most about morality—or at least those who have the most to teach us about morality—are precisely and paradoxically those who seem to do the most to destroy it. Our moral improvement, Portmann suggests, is better served by a penetrating analysis and understanding of sin than by dismissing it as obviously wrong and condemnable.