SIN!

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SIN!

Postby Rian » Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:15 am

A lot of atheists seem to get upset when Christians talk about sin. I really don't see why, because sin just basically means that you've done at least one thing wrong in your life, which IMO any rational person couldn't deny. In fact, G.K. Chesterton says that sin is one of the things that Christians have proof for! :D

Atheists, what are your issues with the concept of sin? (if you have any)
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Re: SIN!

Postby Patrick Star » Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:34 am

I don't get it; why would it upset anyone who isn't a Christian? All religions have their own sins. Do people get upset when Hindu's talk about sin?

Now if you are saying that a Christian is accusing an atheist of a sin they don't consider valid, then yeah I would see why that would be upsetting. A lot of Christians consider homosexuality a sin, but non-Christians don't, so it would bother them if a Christian was ridiculing them for this sin when they don't see it as such. But the reason for the anxiety is the accusation and not the Christian categorization of homosexuality as a sin.
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Re: SIN!

Postby Particles » Tue Jan 26, 2016 11:04 am

Atheists accept the concept of doing wrong but we don't believe in sin. The Christian concept of sin is not just about doing something wrong - and we don't agree with their list of what is wrong - sin also includes being an offense to God for which there will be cosmic repercussion and for which divine forgiveness is required. So, when a Christian acts as if we all must believe in sin, it's annoying.
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Re: SIN!

Postby mitchellmckain » Tue Jan 26, 2016 7:54 pm

The problem is how "sin" is defined. For some, Christianity is about obedience and sin is disobedience to the commands of their god. Legalism loves this way of understanding things. It suits a religion turned into a tool of power very well. This religious power brokers make themselves the spokesmen of God and declare you have to do what they say or their god is going to get you.

This explains quite well why many people have a problem with the word "sin." It is because this is the way they have heard the word used. It is particularly nauseating when they use this word to make obedience to their commands equivalent to goodness, while slaughtering/raping natives and burning those who disagree with them at the stake, is just doing god's work. So for many, this word "sin" represents all the ways which xtianity basically done what Weinberg accuses: " But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." I disagree with Weinberg because history demonstrates that ANY ideology is capable of this not just religion. But this doesn't change the fact that the word "sin" has been used in this way.

But clearly many Christians think quite differently. Some Christians who take seriously Jesus' words which make the love for others the essence of God's law. And love cannot be about obedience and legalism just becomes a playground for lawyers who exploit loopholes twist laws into a means for evil. I think the idea God is obsessed with obedience is contradicted by His very act of creating life. I believe sin is about self-destructive habits. Thus the bad guy is shifted from a godfather deity to ourselves who frankly do things even when we know they are not helping anyone, least of all ourselves. It is far more worth believing in a God who plays the role of a parent pleading with us to turn from what destroys us.
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Re: SIN!

Postby Og3 » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:49 pm

Mitch, I think you've gotten this one right.

Sin is, in one sense, a failure to follow rules, but we are no longer under that Law. Its purpose was to serve as a plumb bob -- I think it's in Amos where the term "plumb line" is used -- to show us that in our default state, we are not righteous. We have offended God and our fellow humans. We do it all the time. It's like an addiction with us.

But having served its purpose -- showing us why we need a savior -- we no longer need the law. We now live under the law of Love, that is, we follow the demands upon our lives that a love for Jesus Christ compels. We do what He does because we love Him and want to be like Him. We love because He loved. This is the law of Love, and its demands are far stricter than those of Mosaic Law, and yet there is more freedom in it.
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Re: SIN!

Postby mitchellmckain » Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:59 am

I cannot resist editing my post and this is the only way I can do it.

The problem is how "sin" is defined. For some, Christianity is about obedience, and thus sin is defined as disobedience to the commands of their god. Legalism loves this way of understanding things; it suits a religion turned into a tool of power very well. The religious power brokers make themselves the spokesmen of God and declare you have to do what they say or their god is going to get you.

This explains quite well why many people have a problem with the word "sin." It is because this is the way they have heard the word used. It is particularly nauseating when they use this word to make obedience to their commands equivalent to goodness, while things like slaughtering/raping natives and burning those who disagree with them at the stake, is just doing god's work. So for many, the word "sin" represents all the ways which xtianity basically does what Weinberg accuses: " But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." Now I disagree with Weinberg because history demonstrates that ANY ideology is capable of this, not just religion. But this doesn't change the fact that the word "sin" has been used in this way.

But many Christians think quite differently. They take seriously Jesus' words which make the love for others the essence of God's law. They understand love cannot be about obedience, and they see that legalism just becomes a playground for lawyers who exploit loopholes to twist laws into a means for evil. I think the idea God is obsessed with obedience is contradicted by His very act of creating life. Thus I believe sin is something quite different -- self-destructive habits which step by step tear down our free will and everything else of life and value within us. This way the bad guy is shifted from a godfather deity to ourselves who frankly do things even when we know they are not helping anyone, least of all ourselves. It is far more worth believing in a God who plays the role of a parent pleading with us to turn from what destroys us than someone who is simply trying to control us with outrageous threats.
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Re: SIN!

Postby Og3 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:47 pm

Particles wrote:Atheists accept the concept of doing wrong but we don't believe in sin. The Christian concept of sin is not just about doing something wrong - and we don't agree with their list of what is wrong - sin also includes being an offense to God for which there will be cosmic repercussion and for which divine forgiveness is required. So, when a Christian acts as if we all must believe in sin, it's annoying.

If there exists a God, and if that God expects us not to go around hurting each other, then an offense against any human would also be an offense against God. This follows from the core belief of Christianity, and is not simply an attachment. When Jesus went around forgiving sins, the religious leaders attempted to stone him for blasphemy. Why? Because to forgive sins implied that he was the one offended by them, namely God.

As C.S. Lewis pointed out, if Bob strikes Joe and I tell Bob that I forgive him, that makes no sense unless I am somehow injury by an assault on Joe. And if there is a God who loves us, then an offense to any human is an offense to God. Now, you don't need to believe that strike Joe also offends God in order for you to believe that striking Joe offends Joe. So Rian is right, sin itself is self-evident. I would go further, and say that our human tendency towards sin is self-evident.

So, frankly, I don't see the big deal. If you want sin without believing in God, then it's not logically absurd. But once we Christians accept that God exists, then we must also -- unless we live in a vague and reason-free cloud of fuzzy feelings -- believe that to offend any human whom God loves is an offense against God Himself. It is required in order to be consistent.
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Re: SIN!

Postby Particles » Fri Jan 29, 2016 2:04 pm

Og, I am not telling you not to believe your theology, I am saying don't assume I believe in sin the way you do. I don't even use the word sin myself to avoid the confusion.
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Re: SIN!

Postby sayak » Sat Jan 30, 2016 1:59 am

Rian wrote:A lot of atheists seem to get upset when Christians talk about sin. I really don't see why, because sin just basically means that you've done at least one thing wrong in your life, which IMO any rational person couldn't deny. In fact, G.K. Chesterton says that sin is one of the things that Christians have proof for! :D

Atheists, what are your issues with the concept of sin? (if you have any)


Sin is a technical term the Abrahamic religions use to describes offenses caused to God by humans violating His rules. One cannot sin against another human. Wrongs done to other people are simply wrongs, cause a finite amount of suffering and hence any punishment due to them is also finite in nature and completely administrable in principle by human courts. Strangely Christians believe that even though these offenses are finite in nature, they so offend God that He creates a system that necessarily banishes everyone who has sinned even a little to eternal suffering in hell, and that somehow the belief that God came down to earth and took this infinite amount of suffering on Himself by dying is the only way people can escape this judgement. We find this so ridiculous that we completely avoid the concept of sin for secular wrongs as the term is too overlaid with Christian presumptions.

Most Eastern theistic religions (like Hinduism) do not believe that God can be wronged or be offended by anything we do, since He/She/It is omnipotent and omniscient, nothing we can do can either hurt him or frustrate Him or annoy Him even in the slightest. He simply acts as an impartial judge between humans ensuring that everybody is accountable for his/her actions based on wrongs done against other people.But all such punishments are finite, and realization and repentance of wrongdoings is enough to eliminate all punitive judgements. Belief in God is useful, but not necessary to gain heaven or even final liberation. God does not care whether you believe in him or not as long as you have love and compassion for others, realize and repent for whatever wrongs you have committed, and act non-selfishly in life.
Buddhists do not have a God, and here once again wrong actions cause, by their very nature, suffering to the person doing the wrong action in a finite and balanced manner by impartial and impersonal moral causal order of the universe. Understanding this order and acting with wisdom eliminates the possibility of a person doing wrong and hence they advance either to heaven, or through further meditation, the final Bodhi state.

As you can see, the concept of sin does not really apply to any other belief system apart from the Abrahamic religions.
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Re: SIN!

Postby Og3 » Sat Jan 30, 2016 7:56 am

Particles wrote:Og, I am not telling you not to believe your theology, I am saying don't assume I believe in sin the way you do. I don't even use the word sin myself to avoid the confusion.

So it's not the meaning of the word that offends you, but the word itself?
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Re: SIN!

Postby Rian » Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:46 pm

Patrick Star wrote:I don't get it; why would it upset anyone who isn't a Christian? All religions have their own sins. Do people get upset when Hindu's talk about sin?

I would just say, "Sorry, but I don't think that particular action is wrong, so I won't stop doing it."

I was talking about an exchange a little while ago when Og3 was talking about discussing a Bible verse with some teens, and they decided to become Christians, and KTR rather stridently said the teens had nothing wrong with them and the Christian's motive was monetary (what?). He (and some other atheists) have said similar things before when Christians talk about sin - they say things like there's no such thing, and people didn't do anything wrong, etc. I can see how they don't believe in the God aspect of sin, but when they say things like "they haven't done anything wrong", well, I just don't see how anyone could possibly think that any person has never done anything wrong.

Now if you are saying that a Christian is accusing an atheist of a sin they don't consider valid, then yeah I would see why that would be upsetting. A lot of Christians consider homosexuality a sin, but non-Christians don't, so it would bother them if a Christian was ridiculing them for this sin when they don't see it as such. But the reason for the anxiety is the accusation and not the Christian categorization of homosexuality as a sin.

I don't think anyone should "ridicule" anyone, and I can see how that would be upsetting. But I was talking about people that seem to have an issue with the idea that every person has done at least one thing wrong.

Particles wrote:Atheists accept the concept of doing wrong but we don't believe in sin. The Christian concept of sin is not just about doing something wrong - and we don't agree with their list of what is wrong - sin also includes being an offense to God for which there will be cosmic repercussion and for which divine forgiveness is required. So, when a Christian acts as if we all must believe in sin, it's annoying.

Maybe I just don't make my thoughts clear enough, then. IMO, sin basically means doing something wrong. Now Christians believe that doing something wrong has consequences, and they believe that certain things restore you to God, but IMO the basic aspect of sin is that you do something that is wrong. So it sounds that you agree with that, then; right?
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Re: SIN!

Postby Rian » Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:53 pm

mitchellmckain wrote:The problem is how "sin" is defined. For some, Christianity is about obedience, and thus sin is defined as disobedience to the commands of their god. Legalism loves this way of understanding things; it suits a religion turned into a tool of power very well. The religious power brokers make themselves the spokesmen of God and declare you have to do what they say or their god is going to get you.

I agree that some power-obsessed creeps have used religion to further their own agenda. I don't see how they pick some OT laws and make them really critically important, and yet ignore other OT laws; it makes no sense.

I think obedience is about love; Jesus summed up all the law as "love God and love others".

This explains quite well why many people have a problem with the word "sin." It is because this is the way they have heard the word used.

Yes, I think you're right.

It is particularly nauseating when they use this word to make obedience to their commands equivalent to goodness, while things like slaughtering/raping natives and burning those who disagree with them at the stake, is just doing god's work. So for many, the word "sin" represents all the ways which xtianity basically does what Weinberg accuses: " But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." Now I disagree with Weinberg because history demonstrates that ANY ideology is capable of this, not just religion.
I agree.
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Re: SIN!

Postby Rian » Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:00 pm

sayak wrote:
Rian wrote:A lot of atheists seem to get upset when Christians talk about sin. I really don't see why, because sin just basically means that you've done at least one thing wrong in your life, which IMO any rational person couldn't deny. In fact, G.K. Chesterton says that sin is one of the things that Christians have proof for! :D

Atheists, what are your issues with the concept of sin? (if you have any)


Sin is a technical term the Abrahamic religions use to describes offenses caused to God by humans violating His rules. One cannot sin against another human.

That's not right; there are verses in the NT that talk about sinning against your brother.

Wrongs done to other people are simply wrongs, cause a finite amount of suffering and hence any punishment due to them is also finite in nature and completely administrable in principle by human courts. Strangely Christians believe that even though these offenses are finite in nature, they so offend God that He creates a system that necessarily banishes everyone who has sinned even a little to eternal suffering in hell, and that somehow the belief that God came down to earth and took this infinite amount of suffering on Himself by dying is the only way people can escape this judgement. We find this so ridiculous that we completely avoid the concept of sin for secular wrongs as the term is too overlaid with Christian presumptions.

I guess what I'm talking about is that when I mention sin, and talk about ONLY the aspect of sin that says it's a person doing something wrong, there are still some atheists that object, and that doesn't make sense to me.

I don't have a problem with the concept of God being greatly offended by our sins, because I see that modeled in RL. People that we consider "better" people are more bothered by others' wrongdoings than people that aren't as "good", so extrapolating it to God and how He feels about sin makes sense to me.
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Re: SIN!

Postby sayak » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:34 pm

Rian wrote:
sayak wrote:
Rian wrote:A lot of atheists seem to get upset when Christians talk about sin. I really don't see why, because sin just basically means that you've done at least one thing wrong in your life, which IMO any rational person couldn't deny. In fact, G.K. Chesterton says that sin is one of the things that Christians have proof for! :D

Atheists, what are your issues with the concept of sin? (if you have any)


Sin is a technical term the Abrahamic religions use to describes offenses caused to God by humans violating His rules. One cannot sin against another human.

That's not right; there are verses in the NT that talk about sinning against your brother.

Wrongs done to other people are simply wrongs, cause a finite amount of suffering and hence any punishment due to them is also finite in nature and completely administrable in principle by human courts. Strangely Christians believe that even though these offenses are finite in nature, they so offend God that He creates a system that necessarily banishes everyone who has sinned even a little to eternal suffering in hell, and that somehow the belief that God came down to earth and took this infinite amount of suffering on Himself by dying is the only way people can escape this judgement. We find this so ridiculous that we completely avoid the concept of sin for secular wrongs as the term is too overlaid with Christian presumptions.

I guess what I'm talking about is that when I mention sin, and talk about ONLY the aspect of sin that says it's a person doing something wrong, there are still some atheists that object, and that doesn't make sense to me.

Since there are so many popular secular words that can describe this:- wrong, offense, crime, harm, hurt etc. that when some of us see a person trying to use the word sin, we immediately smell some religious agenda is afoot and run for our lives. :-D

I don't have a problem with the concept of God being greatly offended by our sins, because I see that modeled in RL. People that we consider "better" people are more bothered by others' wrongdoings than people that aren't as "good", so extrapolating it to God and how He feels about sin makes sense to me.

That has not been my impression of better people. They are far less offended or bothered by other people's wrongdoing, far more cognizant of the imperfections within themselves and every person and far more accepting and empathetic and in trying to lead others to good by personal example rather than pointing fingers or accusing others of anything.
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Re: SIN!

Postby Particles » Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:04 pm

Og3 wrote:
Particles wrote:Og, I am not telling you not to believe your theology, I am saying don't assume I believe in sin the way you do. I don't even use the word sin myself to avoid the confusion.

So it's not the meaning of the word that offends you, but the word itself?


Again, it's the context of the use. If a Christian were to tell me that we all sin, so we all need Jesus (which has happened multiple times to me), would you not agree that they are using a Christian meaning of sin and not a secular one?
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