Sin – According to the dictionary a sin is:
1. transgression of divine law: the sin of Adam.
2. any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.
3. any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.; great fault or offense
We are living in a time where Nones (people who claim either no religion, or don’t identify with any religion) are at an all time high, counting between 22% and 31% of the population. Yet, in the face of this, it seems every politician, and an unbelievable number of the news outlets are pounding us with their religiosity and infusing every story, every commentary, every interview with litanies of sermonesse speeches akin to what you would expect from an evangelical fire and brimstone pulpit. And SIN seems to be one of their favorite admonishments to season their argument with.
Even given that you are applying only the biblical definition of sin which comprises the Judeo/Christian community, again of which between 22 and 31% of the population no longer embraces or is not a member of, you are talking about 613 laws. And for those saying that the Old Testament doesn’t apply because of Jesus, I tell them they need to read their book again. For it says that Jesus said that you must keep the laws of the Father. He didn’t wipe out those laws. Though, we should make a strong note of something else he said. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.That gives us 613 of those blasted things that we must avoid doing. Most of which have no bearing on modern society and I doubt even the Pope can avoid breaking many of them. However, even if they could be given a bearing in modern society, just the enormity of it can make any person’s brain ache. 613 laws??? Okay, I’m sure every state’s penal codes have more than that. But, how many of us bother to learn, more yet try and abide by all of them? And some of those are just as silly as the ones in the bible. And to any Christian that happens upon this, if you take offense at such a statement, you obviously haven’t read some of those laws. “Not to make human forms even for decorative purposes.” There goes the family portraits! “Men cannot shave their face with a razor.” Guess its time to start sharpening those stone blades! “Not to eat from that which is left over.” Well, there went MY lunch plans. There’s a lot more of them if you care to look them up. And again, they are not just for Jews. Jesus said you have to keep the laws of his father. So, that means Christians need to keep these laws too. Might do for them to remember that when they point accusatory fingers at gays and women.
However, I must say that if we go with the first definition, at Eve’s bequest, Adam ate of the tree of knowledge, and so was born “original sin”. By biblical accounts and the interpretations of a large percentage of Christian ministers, because of this act relayed in the “beginning”, we all hold the past due loan of “original sin”. For this, we come into life with the deck already stacked against us. A “bastard child” cannot get into heaven, nor can his descendants for 10 generations. There are others as well, but the point is, you could live a sin free and pure life (though I am at a loss to figure out how) but may still find yourself barred entrance into this “heaven” based on something your great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather did. Heaven has to be one damned empty hall, if you ask me.
However, let us return to that first sin. The sin of of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge. I try to wrap my head around this concept. The sin that has been passed down to us from the “first parents” is the sin of choosing knowledge. Never mind the fact that the deck was stacked against us in this as well. You have Satan in that garden of Eden, dangling this delicacy of knowledge in front of Eve. If it was so forbidden, why was it in the garden in the first place? It was the original set up. How could we possibly refuse?
For knowledge, we are damned, as are our children, and their children, and their children, forever. So, if that is the primary definition of sin, I wish to be at the front of the line. Though it actually does explain much in the current trend of the more fundamental states in their opposition to critical thinking, science denial and insane levels of denialism and mis-information. I guess they are figuring if they go back to original sin and deny the value of knowledge, they can worm their way into heaven. And I must say that I take a great deal of satisfaction in the realization that it was woman who first chose knowledge and then wished her man to become knowledgeable as well. Course, this could also explain why so many men like dumb women. They are trying to turn back the clocks of time. Proof again that a woman with knowledge is a truly dangerous thing!
I would think the last place I would want to spend eternity is with stupid people! Actually, when you add this in with the other things that are said about heaven, no earthly body (= no sex), eternity worshiping God (worship someone? Me??? Yeah, that one ain’t gonna happen) singing hymns forever (gads, nooooo!!) and no knowledge. Yeah, I want a ticket to the other place where I can sit around and shoot the shit with Mark Twain, Bono, Tesla, Sagan, and all the rest of the godless ones. Now, that’s a party, even if it is hot. Or cold. Whichever.
Which actually brings me to my point in writing this. The reality is that when we look at the actions that have been deemed “sins”, it gets rather entertaining. It almost seems as if pretty much everything that is pleasurable is a sin. Hell, I can’t even have lustful thoughts about the men wandering around in kilts at the Highland Games. And if pretty much all acts of pleasure are sins (we did mention knowledge is a sin, didn’t we?) what is the purpose of life? To spend it with dangly bits of chocolate and feathers and jars of massage cream wavering in front of us and never reaching out to pluck one? That’s pretty damned inhuman if you ask me!
Thankfully, we can walk away from the Judaeo/Christian God and take a look at other religions (should you have the need or desire for a personal god and religion). Yeah, you have Islam, but that is also an Abrahamic religion with near identical stuff that the bible has. Oh, except for the 72 virgins part. I don’t recall reading that one in the bible. Though god did offer all the virgins of a taken city to the victors. Damned nice of him, don’t you think? And yet another way for him to teach those uppity females who wanted wisdom.
There are other, somewhat more rational belief structures out there. Buddhism, which has no reference for sin. It does, however, have Karma. You do bad, it will bite you in the ass. Same for good. Its not really magic. Its simply common sense. When you are nice to people, it tends to make both of you feel good and fulfilled. Happiness and kindness are contagious. As are unhappiness and cruelty. All you need do to prove or disprove this one is to walk into a room full of people and begin greeting everyone with a warm smile and kind word. One person in a room with the right attitude can change the entire atmosphere. The same applies if they are angry. So, karma is the world we create.
If we abuse our land, our planet, it begins to turn on us, failing to produce food in the same way If we dump poisons in our water, we also poison our bodies. If we show a complete disregard for our fellow human being, we will be left without real friends. If we lovingly tend our little piece of earth, things will grow. And yes, its also a scientific principle. For ever action, there is an equal reaction. What you put out comes back.
This is a much more logical and acceptable rationale to me. I don’t need a god or a book to tell me these things. I don’t need a promise of a reward in an afterlife (especially with a bunch of out of tune hoohaws that think ignorance is a godly trait). I don’t need a bible to teach me to be a good person. I just need to realize that I feel good when I do good, I feel blessed when I help, change, and live life.
Do I believe in “sin”? Absolutely! But, not in the definition handed down by the churches or the media. My son loving another man is not a sin. I reject ANY god that says that love is a sin. If its between two consenting adults, it is just love. My friends that love in ways that I don’t understand, those aren’t sins either. I don’t need to understand them for them to be all right and good. If it makes their hearts glow, their insides warm and their spirits soar, it isn’t a sin. Choosing when I am ready to bring a life into the world is not a sin. It is choosing not to bring a child that is not wanted, can’t be cared for. It is waiting until the time when I am ready to make that commitment. Having control over my body, the decisions of my body is not a sin. It is my right. Choosing who I have a relationship is not a sin. Whether it be one or one hundred or more. (though it does become a sin in my eyes if you knowingly pass on an STD in this manner)
So, what is a sin? To me, a sin is the willful destruction of your planet for profit. Its harming a child. Its harming your partner. Its imposing your belief on others. Its in not rejoicing in this short journey we call life. Its in not trying to make it a better place than you found it.
Even if it is a tiny, minuscule improvement. Its a sin not to breath the life in and let it fill you up and then exhale it in a song of joy.
I don’t know if there is a god. If there is, I am sure they don’t give much thought to me. But, IF there is one, the only one that I can put my belief into is one that wants me to relish the life they gave me. One that wants me to live every second as if its all there is. One that sent me here to love. Not by a narrow definition, but fully, completely and with every cell of my being. Not one thing, but everything. I reject a god that would condemn love. I reject a god that condemns knowledge and wisdom. I show the hand to a god that lays 613 laws for me to follow. “That” is a sin. A sin against life. A sin against love. A sin in the truest sense.
July 3, 2015