There was a point in the history of Spain
where these adherants of a most unusual belief emerged -- meditating mystics (some of whom were reportedly quite attractive young women), they believed that having reached communion with God, they could indulge the desires of their flesh without sin
. The Catholic Encyclopedia
defines their sect thusly:
(Alumbrados.) The name assumed by some false mystics who appeared in Spain in the sixteenth century and claimed to have direct intercourse with God.
We might chuckle at this quaint use of "intercourse
"-- but when speaking of the Alumbrados, we can't actually quite be sure that they didn't mean it in the dirty way. For although the Alumbrados were deeply Christian
, believing absolutely in the divinity
of Jesus Christ
, and indeed even in notions of salvation and damnation, they did not descend from this belief into Puritan
notions of chastity
against biological desires. After all, these people resided in a region where the people have always liked to party
. And so these particular people decided that if we are intended to love God
, and if we understand the spark of God to be an animating factor in all people, then we ought to love all people. And this, they thought, was just as well if done physically in addition to spiritually
. So long as the lover understood that their passions were directed towards oneness with God, no sin could arise from indulgence in sexual pleasure.
Naturally, the Vatican
wouldn't have any of this. The Church denounced the group as being secretly in league with that (in their view) most vile and discredited sect -- the Lutherans
. but, oddly enough, despite the fact that all of this was going on during the height of the Inquisition
, there were very few arrests and tortures
. But this seems best explained firstly by the fact that the Alumbrados were not Jews
, against whom the Church was most strongly directing its efforts, and secondly because in many small villages the Alumbrados enjoyed a status close to that of folk heroes -- genuinely embraced by the people as being saintly and pious, and taken at their word that they had indeed excised carnal lust from themselves by substituting for it the full desire to physically commune only with the spark of God by chance inhabiting the human form.
Modernly, the Alumbrados are no more; though the must unquestionably be a handful of Christians who would sympathize with their views, there is no movement, no organized group, no official doctrine espousing such beliefs. But, naturally, the notion of the sharing of sensual pleasures with our Creator exists in Pandeism
For THE IRON NODER CHALLENGE 5: THE FERROUS FRONTIER