Catherine Elton covers a fascinating subject about the interplay between physical cleanliness and moral purity, including ties to religious rituals of cleansing. And then she shoehorns in an unsubstantiated personal bias. Take a look-see:
Nevertheless, both morality researchers and olfactory scientists agree that people do strongly associate physical cleanliness with purity of conscience. It is the notion at the heart of adages like ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ and evidenced by the widespread use of cleansing ceremonies to wash away sins in various religions around the world. (Truth be told, that practice is merely an extrapolation of an evolutionary strategy to avoid disease.)Ah, well, now the truth has been told.
What authority does our writer quote to back up her contention that cleansing ceremonies—like, oh, let’s say, baptism—“is merely an extrapolation of an evolutionary strategy to avoid disease”? For that matter, what authority could she quote for a view that is easy to suppose and impossible to prove?
That little flash of pop-anthropology aside, the article is worth a read. I'm always fascinated with stories of links between soul and body. And, of course, Scripture has so much to say about the purity/aroma link, including this: "Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him" (2 Cor. 2:14).