What is "sin"?

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Mare Tranquillity, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. Mare Tranquillity

    Mare Tranquillity Elite Intellectual

    Sin is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days, but what does it actually mean? What is a "sin"? How do you know one when you see it? How do you decide what YOU are going to call a "sin"?

    The short answer is, of course, accept what the preacher tells you and if you have a problem look in the Bible or ask the preacher. That doesn't work for a lot of people who aren't religious or just don't want some minister telling them what to do.

    I'm especially interested in people like Breathilizer who have taken a strong stand against religion but are intelligent, articulate, thoughtful people. My guess is that Breathilizer is a very moral man within the constraints of his personal philosophy, but I'd like to know how he and others like him decide.

    Since I'm starting the thread and I've seen some flack being thrown at people who ask questions but don't answer them, I'll start. I think we live in a free-will Universe so the only sin is coercion. Coercion is anything that abrogates someone else's expression of their free-will. From the mildest forms--like managing someone's sources of information to make them do what you want, lying basically--to the most extreme forms of physical or psychological abuse to force compliance from someone. Coercion is any injury or hurt one causes another person with the intent of some sort of personal gain. The personal gain could be something as blatant as money or as subtle as a feeling of power over someone.

    This ends up being complex when one is dealing with groups of people and one has to weigh competing claims of harm. Putting people in prison is coercive but to a lesser extent than leaving them loose to prey on others. A person is free to do anything they wish as long as no one else is harmed/coerced. The practice of religion is not restricted unless one is using it to restrict the free-will of others. Sex among consenting adults is not restricted unless it ends in coercion--spreading syphilis, or causing unwanted pregnancy. My personal philosophy based on this concept is: Harm none. So far in my life I have found no situation where this has failed to work. If you can think of one I'd like to hear it.

    (For the two people on this thread who will become hysterical when they see the words "unrestricted sex" and immediately accuse me of promoting child sex abuse: There is more than adequate evidence to show that children are irreparably harmed by sex with adults so it would not be acceptable. Harm none.)

    So, how about you?

  2. IntheNet

    IntheNet Guest

    If you are not religious, why are you worried about sin? If you are, then you should alreday know what sin is and why it is wrong. Therefore your inquiry, i.e., "What is sin"? strikes me as simply antagonistic on its face. However, to give you the benefit of the doubt in the event you are sincere, you should first explore basic definitions to mark your parameters of the nomenclature...

    To understand it in my own religion, I would point you first to Man's Original Sin as a historical context, then show you Christ's Redemption for our Sins, then an overview on what constitutes Sin in modern life. And if all this is of no use to you, here's a nice secular overview of the topic.

    But if you just wish to complain about other people's religious beliefs dealing with sin while trumpeting your own advocacy of immorality, don't left my definitions get in your way.
  3. Kos4Evr

    Kos4Evr Registered Member

    Ok Inthenet, chill out. Sin is an intrusion into another person's life without regard for that persons well being, happiness or belongings. A sin is also defined as going against the will of God. However many disregard this second part because there is a sin to trap every man or woman alive. This makes all of us sinners and some people are unable to accept that. If you take away the sin of man you take away the importance of Jesus Christ and there fore justify that you don't need Him.

    I believe that arrogance is perhaps the greatest sin. Why is this you may ask? Because it leads to other sins.
  4. Luke Wolf

    Luke Wolf Guest

    "Sin" is mearly an act against the Christian God.

    I am very religious, and my religion has no concept of "sin." I am religious, yet I am not worried, I "know" what it is, but I don't live by it.
  5. Just want to comment on something. It really doesnt matter if you know what sin is or not, if you dont believe well there you go and if you do beleive, well jesus did die for our sins, and then rose again, so anything we do has already been forgiven. So if you're thinking about whether or not you're going to heaven, just accept jesus as your lord without doubt as it doesnt matter what you do here on earth, its already been forgiven.
  6. breathilizer

    breathilizer Resident Ass-Kisser

    In this response, I wish to do as I have always done, which is to state my opinions, back them up with reason. I understand right off the bat that my opinion in this case will be highly controversial. It takes a commonly held belief, even more common than the belief in god(s), and throws it out the window.

    That belief is Free Will. As some of you may have guessed by another one of my threads, I don't believe in it. I don't know what it means, I don't know what evidence exists for it, I don't know how anything can happen through any other means except being caused or being random. What other option is there, and where does Free Will come in?

    That, however, is not the topic of this discussion. I bring it up only to give preface to my thoughts on "sin" or "unethical behavior."

    I believe that a behavior should be considered unethical if and only if that behavior damages a non-consenting party. Damage can be measured in many different ways; physically, mentally, financially, or otherwise. However, I do not believe that anyone has the right not to be offended, grossed out, or otherwise made to feel uncomfortable. I also believe that damage sould be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    (I'm sort of between things right now, so I'm sorry this isn't as articulated as one would have hoped, especially with those gracious remarks Mare Tranquility made about me in her {sorry!} introduction.)

    I don't want to derail this thread, but I think it would be a relevant and significant contribution to this discussion if I let you all in on my essay for my (potential) Conscientious Objector application. It is unfinished, but it says a lot of things that I would like to say anyway, and well, I like the way I said it in the essay.

    So here it is:
  7. Mare Tranquillity

    Mare Tranquillity Elite Intellectual

    Well, at least you're consistent. Your blatant assumption that only religious people are concerned with the issues of right and wrong is incorrect. I've seen you post this kind of accusation before and I suppose you do it to be condescending while at the same time managing to be offensive to the people that you have JUDGED to be less worthy than yourself. It's nonsense, give it a rest, Net.

    "Sin" is a well recognized concept in our society and while you Bible-types may own the word (or at least the denotation thereof) you do not own the concept.

    As far a Original Sin and the Redemption business goes that is religous myth and not germane to the discussion. Your third link "what constitutes sin" is a Catholic treatise and valid if one accepts it.

    Your fourth link is simply another definition, but based in religious language, again valid if one accepts the terms. While your dogma has a place on this thread, I am also interested in the people who were making their own way rather than following someone else's dictates.

    This paragraph sounds like just another cheap shot by somebody who can't make a case for their hate and bigotry. Religious people who deny catagorically the evidence science presents, but can provide no rational alternative or even a shred of evidence to support their denial lose all credibililty, they are simply emotional naysayers bleating frantically to cover-up the fact that they have nothing to say.

    I was hoping that people would go beyond the simple definition of sin in the most Christian sense and look at the wider concept of sin as something that one doesn't do because they know or have decided that it is wrong to do.

    Like the concept of God, there is no way to prove or disprove Free Will. I accept it provisionally since I see nothing to say it's not true. Breath sees it from the other side.

    Breath: The examples you gave in your essay indicate that you accept a mechanistic view of the Universe. From my reading on quantum physics I have come to believe that the mechanistic model is inadequate to explain the world we can observe. In a previous post I referred to a book called THE HOLOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE, which for the first time gave scientifically reasonable theories to explain things like the paranormal, which brings us to a group of scientist that have been running several random number generators 24 hours a day for many years. They have discovered that the generators stop giving random numbers and start producing patterns before things like earthquakes, terrorist attacks, Princess Di's death, and other world known events. So far there is no reasonable explanation for this phenomena. They have also discovered in carefully controlled lab tests that random number generators can be influenced by human thoughts--not a lot, but a statistically significant quantity. Again, we have no mechanistic explanation for this possibility.

    Like Newton's Laws which work on the macroscopic level but fail on the microscopic to quantum levels, I think that we will find the mechanistic model working on the human scale but unraveling on the quantum level and perhaps on the Universal level as well. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle says that if you know exactly how fast a thing is moving, then you cannot know exactly where it is, and vice versa. This contradicts the mechanistic view which doesn't allow superpositions to exist. At the quantum level if an event has not been observed, the appearance of a virtual particle appearing out of the quantum foam for instance, then the particle exists everywhere, it has what is called a "superposition". We've all heard the rhetorical question: If a tree falls over in the forest and there's nobody to hear it, does it make a noise? In the mechanistic model it does because the Universe is mechanical and operates with or without observers. But observers are an integral part of quantum physics. An example of this is experiments designed to discover whether light is made of waves or particles. If you set up an experiment that detects particles, you will discover particles, if you set up to detect waves, you will discover waves. What you look for affects what you find. In a mechanistic model light cannot be both waves and particles depending on what you are set up to detect.

    This is a somewhat different, but in no way anti-thetical to the way that I see the issue.
  8. smuda

    smuda Registered Member

    Sin is doing wrong. I believe in karma and natural law from the hindu philosophy. so to me sin is anything we humans do that is not in total alignment with natural law. Any action on our part (this includes what we think) creates karma if it isn't in complete harmony with natural law. that could be called 'duty' or 'dharma.' That pretty much means we all are missing-the-mark (sinning) all day long. and I think we are effecting everyone else by our wrong doing. Peoples attitude effect the neighborhoods in good and bad ways. Animals cannot create more karma. The soul reincarnates into animal after animal until at some point the Gods of Karma allow the soul to be human again. I don't know if you wanted all that but that's my 2-cents on "sin."

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