Sin

sin can make you sickOriginally written in 2009. Edited for clarity and grammar.

Sin.

According to the Bible sin is transgression of the law.

Let the debate begin.

Which law?

Old Testament?

New Testament?

Both?

Christianity teaches that sin separates us from God.

Sin is what sent Jesus to the cross.

We are all sinners.

Born that way.

We sin because we are sinners.

Sin will ultimately land us in hell unless we trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins.

Sin is the problem and Jesus is the solution.

Our hearts are black, but Jesus can make them white through his blood that he shed on the cross.

Without sin, I wonder if Christianity would exist?

For those of us who are not Christians, sin takes on a different meaning.

Since there is no God to offend, and no God to give an account to, sin does not carry the force that it does for the Christian.

The list of sins, according to the Bible, according to the pastor, according to each Christian, is quite long.

Every person has his or her own sin list.

No two sin lists are the same.

As an unbeliever, my “sin” list is quite short.

And it gets shorter every day.

Since I reject the Bible as an objective standard of right and wrong, how do I determine my morals and ethics?

Do I need a god, church, or pastor to tell me what my morals and ethics should be?

Do I need a Bible to tell me what is right or wrong?

According to the Bible, all the law can be summed up in two commands:

  • Love God
  • Love your fellow man

My morals and ethics are based on the premise that I should love my neighbor as myself.

I should treat people like I would want to be treated.

I should not do things that would harm other people.

I should value my relationships with my family and my fellow human beings to the degree that I live in such a way that my actions cause them no harm.

God does not enter the picture. My only concern is the relationships I have with others. When I live in a selfish, unloving, unkind, unjust manner then I am “sinning” against my fellow human beings.

My “sin” does not bring the judgment of God, but it does hurt the relationships I have with others.

My “sin” causes personal loss and pain.

If what I do does not hurt others or damage my relationships with them then it is not “sin.”

This makes life much simpler for me.

I am still a “sinner” but I am much less a “sinner” now that I have abandoned Christianity.

Losing God, the Bible, and the complex, never-ending, sin list has allowed me to realize, for the first time in many, many years, that it is okay to be human.

After living a lifetime of denying who I am, I am now free to be Bruce. In many ways, I am still finding out who I really am.

I suspect I will always have a Christian sin hangover. A lifetime of being beat over the head with an angry God, a dying Savior, and a rule book called the Bible, has left a lot of deep wounds. In the time, the wounds heal, but the scars remain.

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3 Comments

  1. Brian

    Don’t care for the word that is used specifically by religious thugs to harm people and expose them to bloody Crosses and blame/shame. The word “sin” belongs in the church and should stay there. When something goes amiss in our human action, when we do not act in the interest of love, (a natural phenomenon) we go amiss and something of the impossibly perfect moment is lost. Things referred to as ‘wrong’ are simply one person’s judgement. There are as many wrongs as there are Christianities, Islams and so on…
    Sin is a word that presupposes a God and I don’t buy the product being sold so I reject the word.
    I am not arrogant enough to tell you what is right in black and white but we have many guidelines in our history, the golden rule being a decent one.
    In parenting, wise Norm Lee (child advocate) told me, “First, do no harm. Then, let the child lead.” I practiced that with my own kids (now young adults) and now I can actually do it sometimes in my own life, having some memory of the child I was so many years ago. First, do no harm means for me I must refuse a word like ‘sin’. It is wrong-headed and in the evangelical world, used to hurt men, women and children. It is akin to the patriarchal head of the family raising the cane to hit a child and saying, This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.

    Reply
  2. Kenneth

    “Losing God, the Bible, and the complex, never-ending, sin list has allowed me to realize, for the first time in many, many years, that it is okay to be human.”

    Couldn’t say it any better myself!

    Reply
  3. John Arthur

    Hi Bruce,

    I wish the churches would forget their theologies of ‘sin’ for a while and focus on our common humanity and on compassion, kindness and peace. But this is not likely to happen in any Evangelical church. The guilt that pastors often lay on people tends to make them less human. If churches believe that Jesus is normative human person whose command is that we love God and other human beings, then if God is also pictured as love and only love (which he/she is not so pictured by Evangelicals), then a focus on compassion and kindness would probably tend to make us more human than less human. But Jesus is not pictured by Evangelicals as only love but also representing a god of wrath and judgment.

    So for people to overcome all this guilt that that Evangelical churches lay on people, then if people want to be more human rather than less human, they should abandon Evangelicalism.

    Loved your post! Bruce.

    Shalom,

    John Arthur

    Reply

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