Hi Devil's Advocate. You red, me black. Admittedly it was an analogy, simplified for the sake of clarification. To be more specific, we all have a nature which contains the duality within us. Ah, gotcha. Many read that in Scripture as inferring duality. You and I see it the Hebrew holistic way, but the Hellenic dualism still permeates most thinking on the matter. The body-soul dichotomy is a persistent one, but false, according to the Traditions. Many Christians of all stripes see the soul as one thing, residing (willingly or otherwise, depending on how 'gnostic' you want to be about it) in a body, which is another thing. I would say the soul is the self-reflective being's sense of selfhood, and the body is the soul's act of being present in and to the natural world. They body is the physical manifestation of the soul, and in that sense they are one. Soul is essence of the being, body is substance of the being. It is more a sliding scale from one extreme to the other, rather than two points of absolutes. People fall on different points on that scale. The reasons are myriad, essentially fall into the two broad categories of nature & nurture. Agreed. People have an instinct, I agree, though not necessarily for what is right. Nor does everyone desire knowledge. That is more than obvious in the world today where all too many people choose to desire ignorance. Agreed. I would add this is in our nature, rather than a conscious decision. We see that choice as a moral weakness rather than an intellectual position, if that makes sense. Open a discussion on Original Sin ... Ascesis, however, is reserved mostly for the most ardent followers, not the religious population in general. I agree, as we tend to qualify it that way. But I would suggest even giving up sweets for Lent is ascesis. Forgiveness is ascesis. revenge is giving way to sin. And the nature of the self-discipline is at the core of where we differ. Self discipline is not as simple as a choice of 'just do not sin'. Would that it were. I perceive that as an over simplification. I think we agree in broad terms, but perhaps draw lines in different places? The saint, I think, has the ability to see things simply. To act, in humanist terms, altruistically, although altruism is central to Christianity. (Indeed, I think all religion.) Even the saint falls short however, simply because he or she is not omniscient. So they act 'for the best' in the hope of 'doing the right thing'. I don't see why they should have to contemplate the wrong thing, when it doesn't rise in them to do it? Then again, if I say the question is simple, I agree we make it enormously complex out of all manner of fallibility. For one, how does one decide what is the sin and what isn't. Yes, many of the time, it is clear to see. Just as often, the difference is much cloudier. And what of the choices where one must choose the lesser of the evils. There are no good choices, only levels of bad ones. They are all technically sin in this case, yet a choice must still be made. I accept all that except the bit about 'no good choices' in every instance. I believe in altruism. The above is a very orthodox point of view. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, mind you. I don't think it's wrong, either. In my reality, though, our darker nature is not inherently evil. Ah, we could be into semantics here. I agree on this. We hold that human nature is inherently good, but corrupted. (OS again.) Sometimes we do the wrong thing out of ignorance, in which case, not a sin. I don't see light and dark, rather light and the absence of light. So it's not the case, if I may simplify, that my soul is light here, and dark there, but rather the light of my soul is constant, but some souls are lighter than mine, some are darker. Rather than light and dark, I would say light, and its luminosity? Take extreme anger as an example. We all have had such dark moments in our lives. If one takes that anger out on another, that is evil. If one takes that anger and uses it as a drive to make a meaningful change for the better, that is good. There is always the choice within each of us. It is how we choose that makes us good or not. This applies to both sides of our nature; the light and the dark. Agreed. Very cosmologist of you. Yes, fundamentally, light and dark are but differences of the same state. The limited senses which we have to perceive them, though, means that they might as well be real. They are real to us as a species. And they affect us in real ways, too. Yup. We radically differ on this one. Not sure we do ... Suppressing the dark side is fueling it. That's what I meant. We see this in the world around us everywhere we look. Where is there the most sexual perversion? Where sex is suppressed ... I disagree ... what was considered perverse a couple of generations ago is now acceptable. Not suppressing our base tendencies means allowing them, surely? Is it a coincidence that it is the Catholic Church that has the most problem with sexual abuse of children? Sorry but I don't want to get side-tracked into this. Yes, the demon thing was unfortunate, my bad as much as yours ... I still think I'm not sure how you define 'dark'?