Is Lust Only Natural?
A multifaith guide to lust.
Some contemporary Christians understand lust as being sinful only if one acts upon the temptation, not merely if one is lured. But Christian denominations generally teach that lust is wrong. Catholicism considers lust a capital sin. The Catholic Catechism states, "Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes (Verse 2351)."
Similarly, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints warns that a heterosexual marriage is the only proper way to satisfy lust. The Mormon Doctrine & Covenant states, "And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit; and if he repents not he shall be cast out (42:23)."
In Hinduism, renunciation of selfish desire leads to wisdom, and lust is one of the primary selfish desires. Avoiding lust is one of Hinduism's yamas, the restraints that Hindus observe in following Hindu dharma.
The Bhagavad Gita teaches that lust is a "mighty enemy (3:43)," a selfish desire that must be overcome in order to reach realization.
The Gita continues, "Pleasures conceived in the world of the senses have a beginning and an end and give birth to misery, Arjuna. The wise do not look for happiness in them. But those who overcome the impulses of lust and anger which arise in the body are made whole and live in joy. They find their joy, their rest, and their light completely within themselves. United with the Lord, they attain nirvana in Brahman (Bhagavad Gita 5:22-24)."