many atheists seem to view the Christian concept of sin as simply the contravention of an arbitrary set of rules that God established as pre-requisites for joining His exclusive club.
I think lots of "Christians" view sin the same way. I don't. I see sin as a verb. To sin is to actively, knowingly, make a choice you should not. That simple, and that abstract. Perhaps thats why the law shall be written on their hearts.
To use sin as a noun can be hazardous. Can you commit a sin if you don't know the sin is a sin or you don't know you sinned the sin? Would a loving GOD forgive an unintentionally, unknowingly broken law? If so, how could a law be a law if one is forgiven and one is not?
No, I think sin is not the breaking of arbitrary law but the breaking of the human spirit and it's connection to GOD.
Knowingly choosing what one should not choose is a major cause of distress worldwide. It can cause physiolocical changes in the bodies of both the chooser and the choosee that can be quite unpleasant (emotions). It seems to be contagious. Many choices that should not have been made were made in response to other choices that should not have been made. This process can become quite destructive.
A real problem, as I see it, is that there seems to be no evidence to suggest that humans are capable of never knowingly choosing what should not be chosen. It seems no one is excluded from this process.
Where you gonna find that?
As a "Christian" I believe I find forgiveness in Christ.
Why not just tell me, from the start, what you mean?
I'm sorry, I thought I did. You wrote:
(a) things that are wrong because God says they are and (b) things that are wrong because they prevent you from achieving your goals
Sin defined as the impediment to your personal goals seems odd to me. What if my personal goals are to cause harm to others? Would it remove the sinful nature cause they are my goals?
Why is the correct answer to "what is 2+2" 4? Is it cause someone said so? Is it cause that would help you achieve your goals? Of course not. The equation is an observation of our reality. The numbers are merely our way of measuring that reality in a common form. We could choose instead to name 2 "flubberjub". The number of objects would remain the same. Only the words would be different. 2+2=4 cause it does. One of the difficulties with language is varied definitions. Definitions that define, not our reality, but our observations and interpretations of that reality.
Sin is a byproduct of choice. It would not exist without the freedom to choose it.
"Wrong because it is wrong" is exactly equivalent to my argument that sins are the deterministic consequences of natural laws.
Not really, besides that was not contained in your list of options.
Do you agree with this assessment? Can I mark you down for "sin is part of the deterministic universe"?
Nope. Without the freedom to choose it sin would not exist. There for it is not a part of the natural universe. It is a man made addition.The years tell what the days never knew.
The distinction is irrelevant, either way it comes down to violation of arbitrary rules
Writing it don't make it true.
My lawnmower manufacturer provides an owners manual that states I should maintain proper engine oil levels. Are they imposing an arbitrary law? Can I choose to ignore that "law"? If I ignore the "law" and my lawnmower's engine ceases to function is the manufacturer punishing me? After all, they made the lawnmower and the arbitrary law.
Sin is code for "if you don't do what I say, I really would prefer for you to die." Thats all.
Apparently you were issued the wrong key. You might wanna check with management.
First, average people do not have the ability to properly decipher the religious texts.
Really? What do you base this statement on, personal experience? Are you drawing you conclusion based on your own inability to properly decipher the religious texts. ?
To say the Bible was written for the average person is completely false.
Why? Cause you say so?
it was written for the elite priests and leaders
This is the false statement. The fact that individual humans have attempted ( somewhat successfully) to deny access of the scriptures to the general population has no relationship to the intent of the writers.
Essentially, it would not be a very useful book if ever time someone encounters something they have an issue with, they can shift the entire meaning and interpretation of the passages.
Try taking a breath and thinking. Carefully. This wiggling and shifting is a result of human free will. My Grandfather used to say " It's a poor carpenter who blames his tools." To blame the writings for the human attempts to make them fit their own desires is very much like blaming the hammer cause you can't hit the nail.
people will interpret it the way they want.
As you have proven. The intent, I believe, is to allow humans to follow GOD because they WANT to, not because they HAVE to. You have this choice as well. You don't need to put so much effort into making excuses, just make your choice and live ( and die) with it.
Hillbilly, why did you cut out every part of my post that explained the answers to your questions
(or Dudette, I don't know.)
Any way, your post is right there where you left it. I didn't feel like packin the whole thing around with me so I only quoted what I quoted to illustrate that your "warrants" , in my mind, did not really support your claims. Sorry for speakin my own language, some times I get lazy.
If you would include my entire post
Look, if anybody is interested in what you have written then it is a simple matter to clik back and forth between posts. Provided, of course that the author has replied to the correct post.
Lets be clear.
If you would include my entire post instead of editing out the parts that explain things
I'm not sure quoting would lead to understand but reading might. Thats why I read your post.
you would understand where I am coming from
It didn't work.
Again I apologize for not writing clearly. My intention was to communicate to you that, having read your entire post, I disagree with your conclusion.
The way you quoted my posts is highly deceptive and inaccurate.
That statement is highly deceptive and inaccurate.
The way I quoted you? Look, If I in fact quoted you out of context it would be easily discerned by everyone here. Not to say I've never done this, just that in this case I did not.
In a discussion between you and I, you know what you said and I know what I said and it's all right here for any one to read. I don't feel the need to clutter my posts with every word you wrote in your post. That being said, I'm lookin forward to futher discussion.
I will admit I should have sourced this bit, I apologize. I had assumed there was a general agreement on this point.
Oh, I'm not questioning your version of the history of the "bible" so much as your conclusions as to the "intent" of the writers.
The history of the "bible" summed up in Hill Billyese: It's a collection of writings, selected from a larger collection of writings that are likely based on a collection of oral histories and such. During most of this history most folks couldn't read or write.
Now what could this
"Only 16 percent of Christians polled said they read the Bible daily."
have to do with the intent of the writers?
At this time I have no more time, so please do not consider this a complete post. I will return when time permits and complete my response.
"Only 16 percent of Christians polled said they read the Bible daily."
Had to do with the intent of the writers.
I'm not even sure we have established who the writers are. Let alone their intent. We do agree on some things. Like this:
It is extremely egocentric to think the Bible was written specifically for your generation or for the last hundred years of the industrialized world.
I agree emphatically. In fact, call me crazy but I believe it was specifically written for.... You ready?
Every one, who could read it.
Ya, it sounds kinda wacky, I believe it's a magic book, (I read that and it seems completely bonkers to me.) but hey, I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm an artist. They give me money to be kinda wacky.
If you wanna look a bit closer I think I can show you it's not so nuts. That is, if you believe that there is a conscious entity that is the cause of this whole universe thing. I get how lot's of folks don't believe that and those folks will just think I'm brain damaged but I don't really give much of a shit ( that artist thing). Every bodies got their own reasons for believin what they believe.
I will state right here and now that I do not KNOW that my beliefs are an accurate picture of reality. Just as I believe that some things are beyond human comprehension. Now anyway. One thing seems clear to me, it's a really big frikkin universe. Huge, much bigger than most, if any one can wrap their heads around. There are some amazing discoveries to come if the past is any indication of the growth of human understanding. Which brings us back to the beginning. To have any understanding of the "bible", it's intent, what sin is, or what it says at all, it would likely help to know, just who is the the author? I believe it's that conscious entity I spoke of previously, the one I call GOD.
Let's start there. Who do you think the author/s is/are?
See, sin exists because of an individual's freedom to choose. If you were to subtract all the individuals with free will from the universe you would still be left will an awful lot of universe...... but no sin. Just like the very beginning of this universe. So it's not a pre existing part of the universe. I think.
By comparing sin to a mathematical equation
That's the thing Jay, I wasn't comparing sin to the equation. I was comparing wrongness of sin to the correctness of the particular equation.
The question I'm asking is whether (a) God created a bunch of laws and defined "sin" as breaking those laws; or (b) "sin" already existed, and God created a bunch of laws to protect us from it.
And my answer is... None of the above. GOD did however, create some laws to protect us from sin.
Here's a series of questions the approximate the scenario I'm getting at:
Which came first: sin or God's law? Does God's law define sin? Or, does sin define God's law? Would there still be sin if God had never given us any laws or commandments?
I suspect you would answer:
Sin Sin defines God's law Yes
I'll take you quiz.
GOD's law come first. Sin came later. GOD's laws define some sins and sin defines some of GOD'S laws. Laws, no, commandments ,well the potential for sin but the not sin it's self.
I'm not sure I know what you mean by GOD's laws by the way, but I think it would be close to what I mean, but not the same. I wonder, for example, if GOD is bound by any laws.
One of GOD's laws is that we will posses free will. So one of GOD's laws created sin. Sin is determined by free will and defined by free will. No free will, no sin.
GOD could make billions of universes with out sin. Those universes would also not contain any free will.
Sin is a natural part of a reality that contains free will, that was created by GOD.
I think that although GOD has free will, with GOD only the potential for sin exists but not sin itself.
In my brain this all seems crystal clear, I'm not so sure how it all reads tho.