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A place that tempts seductively on high

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Christmas can be a challenging time for the thinking atheist, especially when he or she was once upon a time, before growing up, a happy little Christian enjoying Christmases that ding-donged merrily on high. Let me illustrate this theme with a story that (unusually for this column) is partially true.

Sydney is a wicked, wicked city, bristling with temptations. And on one recent Sunday in Sydney's throbbingly cosmopolitan Kings Cross-Darlinghurst region I was tempted by a powerful temptation. It was almost as powerful, in its very different way, as those great temptresses of the Bible (the hellion Jezebel and the conniving Delilah the most famous of them) who left weak, fleshly men catastrophically unhinged.

I was tempted by church while in a place known for a different sort of seduction. Picture: Shutterstock

I found myself lurking near a premises, its doors alluringly open for business, wherein I knew there were delirious, unspeakable pleasures to be had. The premises seemed to beckon to me and to croon seductive, shockingly explicit sweet nothings in my weak and impressionable ear. I yearned to cross the building's all-but-irresistible threshold and to go into the velvety gloom within.

My feet had just began to yield to the premises' repellent magnetism (for like Oscar Wilde I am able to resist everything but temptation) when, as if by divine intervention, members of my family (who had been scouring........

© Canberra Times