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athgarvan

IS SIN A DIRTY WORD?

A child confirms him/herself to be a Christian in a ritual called Confirmation at about the age of 12. When I was that age it was the custom for the Bishop of the Diocese to invite each confirmand to answer a question about the Faith. I was asked what was "sin". I'm still not happy I know the answer!

Of course I was able to rattle off the official definition: "Sin is a deliberate thought, word, deed or omission contrary to the eternal law of God". Sin is an offence against God as well as a fault against reason, truth, and right conscience. This definition presumes that there is such a thing as 'truth' and an 'eternal law', created by God, which we are called to follow.

But we live in a culture that no longer believes that “truth” or “eternal law” exist - a society that insists there is no higher “truth” than our own set of opinions. “Don’t impose your truth on me.”  Talk to an 18-year-old and ask them if there is anything that is true and right for all people, everywhere, at all times. You will hear all sorts of passionate arguments about why truth, right and wrong are merely relative to one’s culture and conditioning, and why we can’t tell others what is true for them. Taken to its logical conclusion, one can’t even say that what ISIS is doing is “wrong” because those terrorists believe that what they are doing is “right.” The problem with this thinking is that if nothing is objectively true, right or wrong, then anything goes. And an “anything goes” society always ends in anarchy.

Christians believe that we are all born with a spiritual alienation, inheriting a disordered, fallen nature that stands in need of the radical healing and remediation provided through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the honest admission of a wound within our nature that requires healing through God’s intervention, love and grace.

I've been going on about sin. Maybe I should be talking about God! Galileo once said, "Let it be known that sin is not the centre of the Christian solar system". The Church down the years would not have given me that impression!

Comments

I cannot and will not accept the adage espoused by some so called Christians that children are born into the world rotten with the sin of Adam.

I think some Christians spend way too much time on the nature of sin and nowhere near enough on the nature of grace.

While I don't call it 'sin', and I am not a Christian, I DO believe that there is a universal truth and that is "Do not harm others". I do believe there is evil in the world, and it is breaking that law.
funny thing - i was thinking of something similar today

i was driving by a country road named Zion Road
into my head came an antiphon we used to sing
"Zion sing break into song for within you is the Lord with his saving power"

i remembered how joyful we were
how positive we were about ourselves and what we could do in the world

it seemed to me that Christianity could/should be a gift of joy
the "saving power" is not redeeming individuals from some mysterious blot but in giving a way of living and believing in joy
for within each of us is the saving power of "joy"

some might call "joy" grace - but it matters not the name

what do the gospels say the Law of Jesus is
Love God and love your neighbor as yourself
That's 3 loves! - God - self - neighbor
to love God is to love his/her world
love of self is something many people have a problem with
and then our neighbor

to reject those loves, to reject "joy", is not "sin"
it is lack
enough lacking - in a group or even in a few leaders is to dim the light of "joy"

and that is the great mystery
why would a god who gives "joy" allow it to be dimmed?