Saturday, March 11, 2006

Regarding the nature of Sin (part 1)

For a number of times this year, I have pondered about the nature of Sin. At first glance, Sin seems to be a simple concept, in that everyone has some conception of Sin. But like many other 'simple' concepts, a problem lies in the fact that everyone's conception of Sin is different. Recognising this problem, I attempted to construct a universal and consistent model (or theory, whichever word you desire) of Sin. Unfortunately, the task was not as simple as I had hoped.

I first adopted the seven deadly sins as a framework to develop my model. For the benefit of the reader, I list these sins here: Lust, Gluttonty, Avarice, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride. Upon closer analysis, I discovered that these seven sins were incompatible with my own ideas of Sin !!! The reason for this incompatibilty was that I have always considered Sin to be an act committed against some 'moral' law. However, what these seven deadly sins propose is that sin is fundamentally a 'state of being'.

For example, simply thinking lustful thoughts is deemed a sin. You do not need to act to sin. However, as I mentioned eariler, this was contrary to my beliefs. In my view, how can mere thought be considered sin ? Action is a neccessary prerequiste for sin.

An analogy would be the criminal law system. You cannot arrest someone because he has thought about killing you. He can only be charged if he has initiated a process which will kill you, or that he has actually killed you. In other words, it is only a crime if it has been initiated. I do not deny that intent is important, but the prerequiste is that the intent has been acted on.

A related idea is that are two 'planes' of existence, the plane of thoughts, and the plane of existence. It should be clear that these two are separate- thinking that I am rich does not make me any richer in real life. To an observer(which clearly must exist in the plane of existence), sin as a 'state of being' is unreal, in that it cannot be directly observed. How can we tell whether someone has sinned ? The observer can only detect acts, not thoughts. Hence, to have a universal model of Sin which does not depend on the unobservable, we have to reject the idea of Sin being a 'state of being'.

Therefore, after much deliberation, I have obtained a first premise(or statement) of Sin :

Sin is an act, not a 'state of being' .

Of course, there must be other statements, but I do not have the time to present them now. In anycase, I have not completed the full model of Sin (opps... haha).

*** Other Comments***
The above model of Sin is based on an atheist's views. In other words, I explictly exclude the idea that Sin is related to God(indirectly or otherwise). However, I must mention that certain religions, like Judaism or Islam, also regard Sin as an act rather than a 'state of being' .

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