Friday, March 21, 2008

What is Sin?

With the dawn will come Good Friday, to some, the beginning of the most sacred three days in Christianity. Actually, the whole notion of Christianity hinges on Easter and the notion that Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected on the third day to sit at the right hand of God.

But if the notion of sin no longer exists, will that portend the end of religion, as we know it? Between Two Worlds poses a similar question, "[A]s Easter approaches, some pastors and theologians worry: How can Christians celebrate Jesus' atonement for their sins and the promise of eternal life in his resurrection if they don't recognize themselves as sinners?"

Friday's edition of USA Today had an article that asked this question: is the "notion of sin" lost? plezWorld ain't at church every Sunday, but I have spent a great of time in church and was raised "knowing" that Jesus was nailed to the cross for me and my sinful ways. But now that I think about it... when is the last time that I considered a thought or action of mine to be a sin?

I'm still thinking...

And when you think about all the bad things that people do to each other with impunity and with the seeming loss of morality in this world, one has to wonder whatever happened to that little governor within us that said "thou shall not sin"? What about the Seven Deadly Sins: greed, lust, gluttony, and the rest of them? Is greed still a sin?

The USA Today article continues:
Take it from Pope Benedict XVI. He says the modern world "is losing the notion of sin." And not just personal sins such as greed, lust or the rest of the infamous Seven Deadlies, but social sins, too, such as polluting the planet or allowing injustice to flourish.

Pope Benedict, in his prayers last week, said, "People who trust in themselves and in their own merits are, as it were, blinded by their own 'I,' and their hearts harden in sin. On the other hand, those who recognize themselves as weak and sinful entrust themselves to God, and from him obtain grace and forgiveness."

Since the old sins aren't quite as deadly anymore... are there some new sins that we need to be concerned about? The article answers that question, too... Ellison Research conducted a poll in August 2007 and released the following results for the percentage of Americans who felt an action or thought was a sin:
  • Adultery: 81%
  • Racism: 74%
  • Using "hard" drugs, such as cocaine, LSD: 65%
  • Not saying anything if a cashier gives you too much change: 63%
  • Having an abortion: 56%
  • Homosexual activity or sex: 52%
  • Not reporting some income on your tax returns: 52%
  • Reading or watching pornography: 50%
  • Gossip: 47%
  • Swearing: 46%
  • Sex before marriage: 45%
  • Homosexual thoughts: 44%
  • Sexual thoughts about someone you are not married to: 43%
  • Doing things as a consumer that harm the environment: 41%
  • Smoking marijuana: 41%
  • Getting drunk: 41%
  • Gambling: 30%
  • Not attending church or religious services regularly: 18%
  • Drinking any alcohol: 14%
  • Read the entire USA Today article here.

    plez sez: based on this updated list... from top to bottom, i'm a sinner! there's a lot more stuff that i've done on the list, than stuff i haven't done on the list (and i can't have an abortion!)... i would suggest that you not stand too close to me if you don't want to get struck by lightning! *smile*

    just curious... do you believe in sin? do you believe in hell? how many sins on the list above have you committed?

    plezWorld loves art, especially old oil paintings, so i was intrigued by the imagery that was invoked by the picture that was chosen for this post.
    picture description(from the Britain Tate exhibit): Satan, Sin, and Death from Milton's "Paradise Lost" by William Hogarth circa 1735-40 - Sin intervenes between the armed figures of Satan and Death as they prepare to fight at the gates of Hell. She is shown at the point of revealing to Satan that she is both his daughter and a former lover, and that the skeletal figure of Death is the offspring of their incestuous relationship.

    [Sin] is pictured as if trapped and imprisoned by the many-headed tentacles that wrap themselves around her torso and writhe from her waist; furthermore, her expression and her gestures are tender and imploring, rather than malicious or manipulative. [Hogarth fuses] a feminised iconography of sentiment with a sublime and grotesque imagery of hell-fire, violence and monstrous masculinity.


    David Sullivan said...

    Besides having an abortion (impossible) or having gay sex (not my cup 'o tea) this is like a list of my accomplishments.

    Its only a sin if you deem it so.

    From the age of seven on, unless you are developementally delayed, you know whats right and whats wrong. Its up to you to determine how you live and what your morality is based upon. I think tghat if you do something that is a sin you need to make reparations to the person you sinned against or balance the ledger by doing something equally good, to offset your personal transgretion. Its all abouty how you feel about your self, not about how others judge you. Christ was all about not judging others, so I find it ironic that many Christians are the first to judge and are extremely close minded, blindly following dogma.

    I live by one simple Christian philosophy, do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

    As far as hell goes, I belive that you know if you've led a life that has helped the human cause or has been shallow and meaningless. If its the latter then as you draw your last breath you are consumed by the guilt of your actions. Thats hell. If you lived a good life you die in peace. Dying with a clear concious is Heaven.

    Christopher Chambers said...

    If you want to be technical, the prime sin after jesus said love one another would be NOT loving oneanother. Now we're all in trouble!!!

    Note--check the right wing blog

    roll up in there and rip them a new one--Thursday's post (yet another) on Obama.