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Pope Francis is promoting 2016 as the Year of Mercy. Do we need such?
Does "sin" exist? If not, why would we need mercy?
The concept of "sin" appears to have no real meaning anymore.


This is an interesting question, and not so much in the concept of mercy, as much as the definition and your linkage of "sin" to "mercy".

Mercy, in one definition, is the 'kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly', 'kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation', or 'a good or lucky fact or situation'. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) Even in some more expansive definitions of mercy, I find no direct mention of the word or concept of sin. Therefore, I find it impossible to marry the two concepts in the fashion that you seem to be doing.

I acknowledge that mercy can be 'a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion', but again, that isn't requiring 'sin' as a condition to the giving of mercy.

Mercy towards others is always needed because compassion towards others is always needed. Compassion towards others doesn't require them to have sinned before offering it.

Just my thoughts ...

- Erulisse (one L)
To me, mercy involves forgiving those who have wronged us (sinned against us), and seeking forgiveness from those we have wronged (sinned against).
Those who know they have done wrong (sinned against) and want to make amends and to reconcile themselves to those they have wronged seek mercy.
Mercy makes no sense to people who don’t believe they have sinned and might not even believe in sin. If you don’t think you have sinned you will feel little need for mercy or forgiveness.
There is a story in the Christian Bible of a woman caught in adultery. She is about to be stoned to death but Jesus tells the crowd that only the person who is without sin has the right to cast a stone at her. None do so. She goes on her way but not before Jesus tells her to “go, sin no more”.
There is a story in the Christian Bible of a woman caught in adultery. She is about to be stoned to death but Jesus tells the crowd that only the person who is without sin has the right to cast a stone at her. None do so. She goes on her way but not before Jesus tells her to “go, sin no more”.

I don't see this story as indicative of mercy applied to sin, I see it as the Rabbi pointing out that each person has committed a sin. That's not mercy, that's human nature - whether it be telling a falsehood, stealing a cookie, or committing adultery. Who's to say which 'sin' is worse or better? Jesus merely pointed out that it's a rare person who hasn't committed some guilty act in their lives.

The fact that the people left without casting stones at the woman (and mind you, in those days as well as in Islamic cultures now - it's only the women who are persecuted for this type of sin) only demonstrated that they were all painted with the same brush. But not casting the stone was not mercy. It was self-realization.

Mercy is a helping hand to the downtrodden, not being placed on a pulpit as an abject lesson. It is a hot meal on a cold night, a small gift to say "you're special" to the depressed, or a night away from the children for the mother of four kids under age six. The cold night, the depression and the ages of children are not sins, yet small mercies can be offered in such instances and in such a manner.

Placing sin and mercy together limits mercy. Mercy should be allowed to be large, not constrained or fenced in.

- Erulisse (one L)
It is pointing out that those who themselves require mercy are fools to refuse it to others.
What does "doing the right thing" really mean?
I think Sin and Mercy are not entwined concepts.

I don't often agree with you, but in this I feel you are exactly right.

- Erulisse (one L)

Edited at 2016-01-29 22:41 (UTC)
it's probably a conversation i can't participate in

both words "sin" and "mercy" don't resonate for me

we are all imperfect and we live in an imperfect world
the challenge is to do the best we can in the piece of the world we inhabit with the resources we have
that challenge is different for each individual
some meet it better than others

we need to be kind to ourselves and to others
Call it a year of kindness and i might "get it"

oh about god - well, men make him as they think he is
from "righteous judge and avenger " to "all loving father" - hunt for a scripture passage and you can find one - we are very good at that here in the US
I'm no great fan of sin, either in theory or practice.
But whether there is sin or not, there is suffering.
In Taoism there is no word for sin, but there is a word for mercy.
Sin is a DELIBERATE injury of any kind to another person.
Mercy is the forgiving of that offence on the part of the offended person - not always easy.

HELPING people in need or trouble has nothing to do with mercy.
ah there we come to intent
most people don't intent to "deliberately injure"
most people see their actions/thoughts as somehow "good" - "helpful" if only to themselves

even the most heinous can be justified - see the Bush people on water-boarding

is "sin" in intent? By whose judgement?

and what does that have to do with the ordinary woman struggling to cope with her life?

why would two people who had married people with whom they could not make a life and divorced and now find a good life partner - why would they need "mercy?"
why not instead have understanding and celebration of a new life with a better choice?

what is Pope Frank offering?
forgive an obtuse hierarchy?
forgive a church that has turned its back on people and told them they are not worthy?

ah well, if we as individuals can reach out to each other all shall be well
So sin(deliberate hurt)does not exist anymore. Why do we then spend so much time and money on a legal system?

Sin's "intent" can only be judged by the sinning person him/herself. As they say in the courts of the land: "How do you plead"?

One cannot forgive a "Church", one can and should forgive(extend mercy)to individual sinners such as abusers of children. This does not mean that sinners should be exempt from punishment for their crimes.
We certainly need to be more merciful to each other. Each one of us! xx
I do believe that some Christian sects spend way too much time on the concept of sin and nowhere near enough on the concept of mercy.
Exactly. The Church has spent too much time and energy concentrating on "sin". That is why Pope Francis initiated this "Year of Mercy" so that we can concentrate on more positive aspects of Christian living.

Edited at 2016-01-30 17:05 (UTC)