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God and Sin.
08-02-2013, 07:51 AM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2013 08:03 AM by Zephyr.)
Post: #1
God and Sin.
As I've revealed in my introduction thread, I was born and raised in a relatively devout Roman Catholic family. However, over time as I grew older, I decided that the whole thing was nothing but baseless nonsense.

However over time I became disillusioned with the hard materialist view of things. I find myself slowly becoming more open-minded about the idea of God, and I find myself taking a more serious look back into Christianity. (although instead of pushing me towards back towards Rome, I actually seem to be getting more sympathetic with Eastern Orthodoxy for various reasons I'll get into another time) Anyway, nonetheless, regardless of all that, there is one issue that I that I just can't ignore; and that is the issue of sin.

If we accept sin as being nothing but a violation of the moral standards set by God (God's law so to speak) then the big issue I have is that God is more or less the author of sin. I understand that God being a god who himself is moral, would in turn expect a certain level of moral standard amongst his intelligent creation, but my problem is that this moral standard can get to the point of utter pettiness. (at least in the tradition I grew up in) Roman Catholicism goes so far into this, that it even categorises sin into two categories, venial and mortal. Mortal sin being sin so severe, as to automatically warrant your damnation unless you receive formal absolution. And of course, just about everything, even the most innocuous of things are "mortal"

My problem is that this just doesn't make sense. Of course, I can get behind a God of justice and reasonable moral standard. But at times, it seems that there is almost nothing you can do that doesn't offend God in some way or another. If this world, and everything in it is so offensive, why the hell create this place? If programmed human drives such as sexuality is that despicable to him, why give us such a ridiculously powerful drives in the first place? "Oh Zephyr, sexuality is a gift, but if you in anyway whatsoever indulge in it, even so much as think about it, I'm sending you to hell for lust!" Like video games? Sin! Got irritated at someone at work? Sin! Ate a little too much, Gluttonous sinner! Drank a little too much? Sin! And so on, and so on!

The question is, am I the only one who sees an issue here? Or do you think I've been sold an over-exaggerated notion of what actually constitutes sin? Because if the tradition I grew up in is accurate concerning what God expects, then I don't know how anyone can come to any conclusion other than the insanity of the Abrahamic God.
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08-02-2013, 04:06 PM
Post: #2
RE: God and Sin.
I'm not Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox (I'm Mormon and we don't fit neatly into the three main divisions of Christianity) but I'm much more sympathetic for the Orthodox than the other two groups, with a few exceptions...I believe they're wrong to baptize babies for one.

Anyway:

The way I see it is God wants Christians to be as little children. That doesn't mean we should make our spirits like those of little children, but our bodies. We should not do with our bodies what we as good parents would not feel inclined to do with our children. It's that simple. I find it simple for me to do, and when I fail (which is continually), I can always repent and keep trying.

Not all Christians damn everyone to Hell. The point of Christianity is that you are not saved by the works of the law, but the works made in faith, whereby faith is made alive, by which faith (and not by works of the law alone) are you saved.

"To yield and give way to our passions is the lowest slavery, even as to rule over them is the only liberty." -Justin Martyr
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08-02-2013, 11:52 PM
Post: #3
RE: God and Sin.
I think you've hit the nail with one of my major problems with Catholicism, and that is that it takes a far too top-down legalistic approach to morality and what God expects. Granted, I understand that in reality most Catholics (bar the most hardcore ones) don't actually hold to a strict notion of mortal sin. Especially if a loved one commits suicide, which from a strict Catholic point of view, would be almost certain damnation. (it's a mortal sin, and you can't get absolution because you're dead, effectively making it a nigh unforgivable sin.)

This is partly why I'm moving towards Orthodoxy. Because, why you certainly don't get a free-pass to sin with abandon, it lacks a lot of the more seemingly arbitrary aspects of Catholicism. I think part of the reason for my atheism so the past few years, has little to do with Christianity but the fact I had been sold a far too legalistic notion of God that just got too absurd for me.
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08-03-2013, 12:48 AM
Post: #4
RE: God and Sin.
The same bible which contains all those rules also says: "There is a time for every thing and a season for ever activity under the sun."

The rules in the bible are not absolute but situational and we must use discernment to know when or if they apply to us.

My definition of Sin: "Any act done which the person and their god felt was wrong."
Unintentional Sins: Usually done on Impulse when one is lacking in judgement or out of stupidity of the Law.
Intentional Sins: Done willingly while thinking about the act and giving into temptation while knowing its wrong.

We are judged based upon our actions and our intent behind them.
God is most merciful to those who are merciful and most forgiving to those willing to forgive others.
We must repent and do our best to do good, but we do not need to be perfect.

Now to me God created freewill and there could be no freewill with out the existince of sin. One may ask why create laws and give mankind desires? Well each desire we have has its correct use, the laws exists merely to keep us from giving into them at the wrong time. The Law is not written in scripture but is perserved in the hearts of people. Which is why we must look into our selves and search our feelings to know what is good and what is bad.

"Hidden underneath the stoned cold surface of every Pious Person lays buried a Kinky Pervert, Stop bringing shovels, Where not digging!"-Azrael
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08-03-2013, 01:21 AM
Post: #5
RE: God and Sin.
(08-02-2013 11:52 PM)Zephyr Wrote:  I think you've hit the nail with one of my major problems with Catholicism, and that is that it takes a far too top-down legalistic approach to morality and what God expects. Granted, I understand that in reality most Catholics (bar the most hardcore ones) don't actually hold to a strict notion of mortal sin. Especially if a loved one commits suicide, which from a strict Catholic point of view, would be almost certain damnation. (it's a mortal sin, and you can't get absolution because you're dead, effectively making it a nigh unforgivable sin.)

This is partly why I'm moving towards Orthodoxy. Because, why you certainly don't get a free-pass to sin with abandon, it lacks a lot of the more seemingly arbitrary aspects of Catholicism. I think part of the reason for my atheism so the past few years, has little to do with Christianity but the fact I had been sold a far too legalistic notion of God that just got too absurd for me.

Believe it or not, I kind of prefer Catholicism's "Legalism" over Evangelicalism's Antinomianism. You see, in modern mainstream Evangelicalism, if you commit suicide or even murder the whole world but accept Jesus as your personal savior, you go to Heaven. If you're a kind person who helps others and repents for the sins you commit, and tries to sin as little as possible, but are not an Evangelical, thinking you have a duty to do good works to go to Heaven, you actually end up going to Hell.

I can't speak for Catholicism or Orthodoxy, but here's what I think about people who commit so-called "mortal sins"

Firstly: Repentance still exists, and to whom little light is given, less is required, and less stripes are given, but to whom much light is given, more is required, and more stripes are given, therefore if you murder or commit suicide after having obtained a very personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, doing this in willful rebellion, and don't repent, you'll get quite the stripes...while if you had little light in you (we could call it a degree of spiritual ignorance), and don't repent, the stripes will be few. But if you do repent, it is easier to get forgiveness if you had little light, because less is required of you, while if you had much light, it is harder, because more is required of you. But it is still possible.

Secondly: All sins will be forgiven once the stripes are given, except the one sin that is unforgivable. As a result, in my religious beliefs, essentially everyone eventually goes to some degree of paradisical afterlife in the end, but the very-wicked will first go through a refiner's fire, until the times of refreshing come and their sins are blotted out. Only those who commit the unforgivable sin end up damned. However, everyone else will receive a degree of glory according to their works, reaping what they sowed.

To put it in terms that Catholics would be more familiar with:

I believe those who are rather wicked in this life, based not just on their actions but on their spiritual ignorance vs. maturity, will not go to Hell, but to something more along the lines of Purgatory, and they will leave it before the final judgment and then go to some degree of Heaven. Heaven isn't a single state, it's a whole spectrum of degrees of glory, some closer to God, some further from God, but all part of the same Heaven, where there won't be pain, sorrow, or death.

Only those who commit the unforgivable sin end up in Hell, which is eternal, and this is because the unforgivable sin basically equals responsibly telling God, after having obtained a perfect understanding of who he is through personal relationship amounting to a fullness of light being given, that you are no longer interested in his offer to save you, because you hate him and want to rebel against him willfully just like Satan did, after which you become Satan's minister of rebellion against God and everything good and true.

"To yield and give way to our passions is the lowest slavery, even as to rule over them is the only liberty." -Justin Martyr
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08-03-2013, 02:28 AM (This post was last modified: 08-03-2013 02:39 AM by Zephyr.)
Post: #6
RE: God and Sin.
shiverleaf15 Wrote:You see, in modern mainstream Evangelicalism, if you commit suicide or even murder the whole world but accept Jesus as your personal savior, you go to Heaven. If you're a kind person who helps others and repents for the sins you commit, and tries to sin as little as possible, but are not an Evangelical, thinking you have a duty to do good works to go to Heaven, you actually end up going to Hell.

I attended a Christian school that was protestant, and many of them held that "accepting Christ" saved them by virtue of their faith. What this resulted in was a bunch of self-professed Christians with no sense of moral obligation or accountability, as they had already been forgiven and saved. I'm not advocating such hypocritical absurdity.

Here's how I see it.

If one is truly repentant for whatever they have done wrong, then Christ's mercy can be counted on. I accept that it would still be incumbent upon the Christian to strive to live in accordance to what Christ taught.

In other words. I think Christ's mercy cannot be understated. All sins are forgiveable in repentance. The unforgivable sin in my eyes, is the complete and final rejection of Christ's mercy to and beyond the point of death. It is this refusal that results in hell, not any specific "sin" such as suicide or masturbation that puts someone there. My objection is that such a legalistic understanding of sin undercuts God's mercy. It makes God seem ridiculously petty that he would condemn someone to eternal punishment for what at times can be nothing more but trivial human failings.

Most people sin not out of rebellion, but weakness.
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08-03-2013, 03:01 AM
Post: #7
RE: God and Sin.
Yup, I think I agree with you there with all you've said (:

"To yield and give way to our passions is the lowest slavery, even as to rule over them is the only liberty." -Justin Martyr
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08-03-2013, 01:43 PM
Post: #8
RE: God and Sin.
shiverleaf15 Wrote:You see, in modern mainstream Evangelicalism, if you commit suicide or even murder the whole world but accept Jesus as your personal savior, you go to Heaven. If you're a kind person who helps others and repents for the sins you commit, and tries to sin as little as possible, but are not an Evangelical, thinking you have a duty to do good works to go to Heaven, you actually end up going to Hell.

The most ridiculous part of Evangelicalism is that they believe people who do good works get rewarded with eternity in hell.
While people who are lazy and just believe go to heaven.
Beliefs like that are very dangerous, at least Muslims believe a person has to accept their beliefs and do good. Though I am Christian I am more accepting of Islam than "Free Grace" Christianity.

Zephyr Wrote:I attended a Christian school that was protestant, and many of them held that "accepting Christ" saved them by virtue of their faith. What this resulted in was a bunch of self-professed Christians with no sense of moral obligation or accountability, as they had already been forgiven and saved. I'm not advocating such hypocritical absurdity.


I believe the stance they held is known as Free Grace Christianity, it grows more and more popular every day. I personally believe the free grace doctrine is a tool of the Anti-Christ trying to mislead and warp Christians and taint their Karma.
A lot of people who believe "Free Grace" lack any sense of responsibility for their actions.

Zephyr Wrote:Here's how I see it.
If one is truly repentant for whatever they have done wrong, then Christ's mercy can be counted on. I accept that it would still be incumbent upon the Christian to strive to live in accordance to what Christ taught.
In other words. I think Christ's mercy cannot be understated. All sins are forgiveable in repentance. The unforgivable sin in my eyes, is the complete and final rejection of Christ's mercy to and beyond the point of death. It is this refusal that results in hell, not any specific "sin" such as suicide or masturbation that puts someone there. My objection is that such a legalistic understanding of sin undercuts God's mercy. It makes God seem ridiculously petty that he would condemn someone to eternal punishment for what at times can be nothing more but trivial human failings.
Most people sin not out of rebellion, but weakness.

I would like to add that if one is truly Repentant then we begin to love god with our all our heart, love all others, and also love our-self. If some one hates them self that hatred turns them bitter and then it becomes next to impossible to love any one else if you hate yourself so that is why I added it.
When we love others, love god, and love our-selves then we don't won't to harm them or ourselves so we begin to sin less each day in our walk forward with God. Temptation still exists and always will but now we have the power of love to help resist it's luster. I believe it is possible to make mistakes but if one is truly dedicated they will repent and pull themselves up by their boot straps and keep going.
From my perspective one can identify what a sin is if it: "Causes harm to your or another and with out a just cause. Sins usually arise from very self-centered thoughts, thus to help avoid it we must try to think about others and not just ourselves." For example killing a person in cold blood is murder and a sin, killing some one while protecting yourself or some one innocent is not murder.

I believe their is an unforgivable sin but it is not rejecting Jesus as savior,
It is willfully and knowingly blaspheming against the Lord. That means a person who honestly believes some thing contrary to Christianity will not be judged for holding a belief, they will be judged based upon their deeds and the intent behind those deeds. Now if that same person lied about god or performed any other sort of blasphemy and did so willingly and knowingly then they are doomed. Any person who uses Religion as a tool for war in my mind is blaspheming and will never be forgiven. I do however believe that psychologically belief can give some one motivation to do what is right, but it can unfortunately be warped to do the opposite such as the case of "Free Grace."

In terms of hell:
I do not believe in it.
My logic goes as follows,
If God is most merciful and most loving,
then God would be more merciful and loving then me and most certainly be more forgiving than I am,
If God is, then since I would not torture a person for even an instance neither would my God who is just. Therefor: One can conclude that Hell is unjust and not a good form of punishment for one so powerful as God.
I believe that most people Reincarnate until they get it right, Saints move onto Paradise, and the Truly Evil are sent to a realm known as the Void. The Void is a place devoid of light or life, a chasm of endless shadow in which nothing can escape, once within a soul is devoured by the Soul-Eater and they cease to exists.

"Hidden underneath the stoned cold surface of every Pious Person lays buried a Kinky Pervert, Stop bringing shovels, Where not digging!"-Azrael
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08-05-2013, 12:31 PM
Post: #9
RE: God and Sin.
Azrael1 Wrote:It is willfully and knowingly blaspheming against the Lord. That means a person who honestly believes some thing contrary to Christianity will not be judged for holding a belief, they will be judged based upon their deeds and the intent behind those deeds.

I'd like to clear something up. When I said that the unforgivable sin is the rejection of Christ's mercy, I did not intend to suggest that this necessarily meant a rejection of Christianity in life. The key here is a rejection in knowledge of Christ. A deliberate choice not to be re-deemed. Not being a Christian in life is not the rejection of Christ's mercy I was talking about. I grew up with the belief that everyone at the point immediately after death, will get a final chance with full knowledge to accept Christ, it's only at this point are you able to make the final unchangeable decision.

Azrael17 Wrote:In terms of hell:
I do not believe in it.
My logic goes as follows,
If God is most merciful and most loving,
then God would be more merciful and loving then me and most certainly be more forgiving than I am,
If God is, then since I would not torture a person for even an instance neither would my God who is just. Therefor: One can conclude that Hell is unjust and not a good form of punishment for one so powerful as God.
I believe that most people Reincarnate until they get it right, Saints move onto Paradise, and the Truly Evil are sent to a realm known as the Void. The Void is a place devoid of light or life, a chasm of endless shadow in which nothing can escape, once within a soul is devoured by the Soul-Eater and they cease to exists.


The thing with hell, is it's not a place where you are sent to burn in punishment so to speak, but rather it's a situation of being cut off from God. Since God is the source of all joy, being cut off from that means a total loss of joy. Further, as I've said, the only way to get into such a situation is to actually choose it.

As for ceasing to exist, my tradition sees the soul as immortal. God loves even those who are in hell, and thus he could never allow any of his creatures slip into oblivion. Remember, that hell is a tragic state but it's not a "punishment" that God perpetuates on those in it. It's self-inflicted.
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08-05-2013, 02:59 PM
Post: #10
RE: God and Sin.
Zephyr Wrote:I'd like to clear something up. When I said that the unforgivable sin is the rejection of Christ's mercy, I did not intend to suggest that this necessarily meant a rejection of Christianity in life. The key here is a rejection in knowledge of Christ. A deliberate choice not to be re-deemed. Not being a Christian in life is not the rejection of Christ's mercy I was talking about. I grew up with the belief that everyone at the point immediately after death, will get a final chance with full knowledge to accept Christ, it's only at this point are you able to make the final unchangeable decision.

Hm, could you explain this a little bit more?

Do you mean we get a one-moment chance right upon death to accept or reject Christ, or an entire time period to do it?

"To yield and give way to our passions is the lowest slavery, even as to rule over them is the only liberty." -Justin Martyr
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