Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Within a few hours of its appearance here at this intersection between God and life, my last post on the Ashley Madison scandal had a total of one share.

“It must’ve been something I said,” I told my husband later that night, as we were getting into bed.

When I checked in yesterday, reader shares had gone from one to 1,000.

It must’ve been something I said.

“Your post did sound like an apology for Ashley Madison,” my husband had remarked — at which point he launched into an argument about why signing up for an account on Ashley Madison was intrinsically more morally problematic than a more accidental case of falling in love with someone else. Wasn’t there a clear difference between intentionally seeking out an affair and falling into one?

He has a point. “Life is short. Have an affair,” reads the tagline on the Ashley Madison website after all. If that doesn’t play as much to someone’s intentions as to their inner teenaged child, I’m not sure what does.

That said, drawing such distinctions is at best marginally helpful. At the end of the day, adultery is adultery, whether it’s falling in love accidentally or signing up to do so (or to avoid doing so) online. Either way, you’re still making choices that have deeply painful, even tragic consequences.

But what do you think? Is there utility in drawing such a distinction?