I'm just looking to get your thoughts on a slight variation of the Mormon definition you gave.
Original Mormon definition:
quote:sin is generally believed to be an actual part of the function of the universe. God’s laws do not define what constitutes sin, but were designed by God to reflect what actually prevents us from being pure and holy.
I believe "sin" (ie "doing wrong") is an actual part of the function of humans within the universe. God's laws (or anyone elses) do not define what constitues sin.
By this, I mean that it is a function of being human to feel happiness and sadness. Sin (as defined by me) would be those actions which cause other humans to feel sadness. I can see how this would correlate with "disrupting the cohesivness of society" as you also talked about.
So, I'm not saying that sin is a basic or inherent function of the universe so much as it is a basic or inherent function of being human. Even though being human requires the universe Such a concept is still "beyond God" in the sense that arbitrary rules (from anyone) are irrelevent. It's the objective consequences of your actions that determine if what you're doing is "sinful" or not.
How does this sort of thought compare with the Mormon theology? Does attaching sin to the existence of humanity reduce it in someway in Morman-eyes? Since it's no longer a property "of the universe" itself?
So, am I right? What is sin?
From the two options you provided (sin is God's laws or a fundamental aspect of the universe), I would say that the answer is closer to being a fundamental aspect of the universe before it's God's arbitrary laws. I just don't think that's the final answer, I think sin is a fundamental aspect that arises from human interaction, not the actual universe in and of itself.
But, if you're trying to focus on the difference between Mormon and Christian theology regarding sin... perhaps my thoughts are off-topic?
This is just for clarification, I don't want to get too far from Bluejay's topic.
So what does this mean for sinners? Does God still punish people arbitrarily based on the production of sadness?
I'm not sure what this means for sinners, that's why I asked Bluejay. I don't believe in God, or sin. I'm just using Bluejay's terminology because this is his thread. That's why I originally put 'sin' in quotation marks, and also followed it with (ie "doing wrong").
Does getting sad from a chemical imbalance make your glands sinners?
Of course not. That's why I talked about interaction between humans. Interactions between you and your glands alone are not interactions between humans.
How about getting sad when your significant other goes away on a trip; are they now sinners?
Yes. I wouldn't consider it a particularly grevious wrong-doing. But yeah, under my thoughts this certainly would still be "doing wrong." It can seem a bit frivolous, but such things are necessary to create a functioning, objective moral system. It should also be noted that no one is expected to please everyone at all times or be "completely perfect" in their lives. We should only be expected to try our best and do what we can with the situations and options presented to us. In this specific situation, I would expect my significant other to be empathetic about my feelings and communicate with me about them before they left (perhaps as simple as a hug/kiss good-bye). Such actions would greatly reduce any sadness I may feel.
If there is no spiritual or physical interaction with this inherent quality of "sin" then what use is such a definition?
The use is obvious: to objectively identify "good" vs. "bad" in a way that can be used by all people to (hopefully) form a universally acceptable moral system. If you have a better idea for such a thing, I'm all ears. But, since this is getting very off-topic here, if you'd like to discuss my views, we should do so in one of my topics. Like one of these two:
Maybe, as you say, it would be better for me to characterize sin as an innate part of intelligence, human nature or spirituality, than as an innate part of the universe itself.
Ooooo... I like that. "Intelligence" is a much better characterization than "humans."
This Mormon view is kind of similar to how I think of things. Although I don't have a God included who enforces/encourages behaviour at all. However, if a God did exist, I would hope that He existed in a way more similar to how you're describing regarding morality than any "arbitrary rule set-er." I would find it much more honourable and therefore respectable.
Sin as a natural part of the universe: 4 Sin as an artificial construct of God: 0
Looks like most tend to lean away from arbitrary rules from God. That's a good thing as far as I can tell.
I guess the only question left to answer is whether or not the objective evidence supports our view that sin has real consequences. Good luck to us with that, I suppose
I'm afraid I can only agree with your sad plea for luck towards objective knowledge that seems impossible to obtain. It seems to be a question we won't have answered until we are no longer a part of this known existence, and perhaps not even then. It seems that everybody has this same problem. Although it's likely phrased in a way that doesn't mention "sin" for some people.
The fact is that no one has objective evidence for why they should be good people (or "avoid sin").
The good news is that if we assume sin is a real concept, then trying to avoid sin would definitely be a noble enterprise. Therefore, it can only be even more impressive when we do so without any known objective motivation. This means that any entity worth their salt cannot condemn anyone who honestly tries to "be good" when faced with no objective motivations. The "risk" is that an objective reason may not exist. But even that case may be irrelevent. I know I couldn't live with myself if I didn't strive for virtues that I am aware of, regardless of them having an objective source.
I do have a question for you, though.
How does the Morman religion view people like me? That is, let's say I live my life in such a way that attempts to discover objective moral truths in this reality and respect them as such. However, I don't believe in God or the Book of Morman, or perhaps even specifically denounce them. For the sake of arguement, let's define a hypothetical person as "someone who strives to avoid sin exactly as a Morman believer would", but doesn't actually believe in the Morman religion itself. What does the Morman religion believe will happen in the afterlife to such people?
Main stream Christianity utterly fails this test of "judging a group of people by how it treats its 'criminals'." I'm just wondering how the Morman religion deals with the same.
Mormonism also holds that there are certain ordinances that need to be performed as part of the process of attaining salvation, so it would be difficult for someone who does not believe in God to achieve godhood. Unfortunately from your standpoint, this basically means you must believe in God: so I suppose you would consider Mormonism to have also failed this test.
Yes, someone who strictly believes this with no flexibility at all (as some Christians do) would fail this test. Well... fail in my eyes, anyway... for whatever that's worth in comparison to the judging God they believe in
However, it's not fair of me to lump "Christians" all together like that. Since there are certainly Christians who believe similar to what you said next:
for those who weren't given a legitimate chance to accept God in this life, an opportunity to have the ordinances done in the next life will be provided.
...Now a pass/fail of my test all depends on how strictly one defines "legitimate."
If "legitimate" is defined in some way to condemn those who are 'aware' of the Mormon religion and do not accept it... then I would consider it a fail.
However, if "legitimate" is defined in some way to make allowances for the fact that we 'cannot know' things in this world, and that there is no objective evidence to push us specifically in the Mormon direction... then this would give people like me a chance to accept the Mormon religion when presented with objective/undeniable evidence in the afterlife. This would then be a pass as far as my test goes.
It should be noted though, that a "pass" of my test includes me being accepted, where a "fail" includes me being excluded. This may very well put some sort of bias (obviously) on my test, in which case it's up to each person individually to decide if my test should actually be taken seriously or not.
Regardless of where you personally stand on the issue, thanks for answering my questions. Respond if you'd like, but I certainly don't want you to feel like I'm asking you to display all your personal beliefs for everyone here. You've answered the questions I was asking already, so thanks for your time.
Edited by Stile, : mmmmm 'M' words... but 'Muslim' is not the same as 'Mormon'
a pass/fail of my test all depends on how strictly one defines "legitimate."
for the most part, we leave it up to God to make that determination, and just assume that it will somehow be worked out in the next life.
Not sure if anyone cares, but, personally, I do consider this answer a "pass" to my test. Although it's one of my least-favourite answers since it doesn't really answer the question. But, sometimes questions just aren't answerable