Friday, June 30, 2006

The Allure of Sin

I've been thinking the last couple of days of the allure of sin, and I guess people could go into a whole thing about definitions of sin and how some people do not think some things are sin that other people do and perspectives and that kind of thing, but I'm just not feeling it today.

I wonder if the reason we sin is a couple of things.

1) Some of the time, it just feels good. We enjoy the feeling we get when we indulge. We are taught through tv, movies, and literature that we should really respect the rebels and those outside of the realm of the ordinary and we want that. The shame that may follow the act may be greater than the feelings we get from actually doing the act, but that doesn't stop us from doing it. It's almost like we're addicted to sin. We don't care about the consequences of doing it; we just want to have the feelings we get from it.

2) For Christians, I wonder if we sin because we don't really believe that what Jesus did on the Cross and through his Resurrection was really effective. We don't really believe that when we are reborn into being a new creation and so while we say we believe that, we don't really live as though we believe it.

It's almost as though we don't really believe that living the way Jesus exemplified for us and then achieved in his death is the better way to live. We live as though the way the world presents is really the better way, or maybe not better, but more fun.

What difference could it make if we as Christians actually lived as though we were free of sin? What difference could that make not just in our lives, but in the lives of those around us?

6 comments:

elizabeth said...

Good thoughts, Phil. If I look back and analyze the times when I chose to sin, I will usually find that I chose that route because it was EASY. I'm not sure about how we would be if we lived like we were sinless. Part of me feels nervous that I might struggle with an unhealthy pride, or others might find me unrelatable. (Is unrelatable a word? It just sounds funny, but it's the only word that comes to mind.) I'll have to think some more on this one.

Thomas+ said...

I pretty much sin because I'm a sinner. People have tried to convince me otherwise, but I still find a lot of sin lurking in my renewed heart. Romans 7 stuff, you know?

I read a bunch of "lives of saints" kind of stuff. Most of these guys, as they got older, just more and more realized their own sinfulness.

Malia said...

I'm with Thomas. I certainly don't think that what Christ did was uneffective. The new being that I am may still sin but I have hope and forgiveness and constant renewal.

Anonymous said...

Phil,
I don't think you can get around the question of defining sin, even though you didn't want to start there with this particular conversation.

I also don't think you can begin this conversation without defining what you think happened at the cross (the purpose of it), as well as the resurrection (the literalness of it). Remeber, our view of the cross is largely post-Calvin, and was not a part of the Christian tradition for centuries before that.

Brent said...

Sin is one topic that obviously cannot be covered in such small spaces as we have here. Christian ideas about sin have been thrown around for centuries. It cannot, as many other subjects, be wrapped up into some nice neat package.

Various Christian traditions handle the topic of sin differently. I'm sure T+ can attest to this fact. In general, Protestants tend to express sin as something that takes place within the person. Those within the Catholic, Orthodox, and (help me T+) maybe even Anglican traditions view sin as human choices and actions. It is interesting that Christianity is somewhat unique among religions in that it didn't originally view sin as the breaking of moral codes. So, discussions about morality actually fall outside of the biblical Christian tradition, though Christians have forced (or attempted to influence) morality onto western society. I hope that makes sense.

Now, what do I think about sin? I don't think that sin is something that can be controlled by thinking or believing the way the Christian God intended - as in, man's original Eden state. I don't view sin as something that is a turning away from God. Instead, I view sin as anything that reverses mankind's progression to be a unified humanity and world.

Sin is an offense against mankind and the rest of the the world, not an offense against God. How is it possible that individuals existing in an insignificantly small portion of space and time do something (let alone think something) that could offend a being that we can't even wrap our minds around? Such a concept is the height of arrogance and narcicism! If the god-being exists, he/she/it is beyond offense. To think that the god-being can be offended or appeased goes way back to all of the ancient superstitious pagan religions and yet plays a large part in Judaism and Christianity.

The idea of sin, laws and morals is a way which various societies have attempted to help make the world (or a small section of it) a better place. Compliance requires thinking of others instead of one's self and helping society learn and progress toward a better mankind. Unfortunately, some individuals and groups have taken it upon themselves to suppress and oppress others for the sake of their own survival. People such as this cause humanity to digress.

To borrow from Spong (sorry T+...), instead of mankind having been created perfect and then falling, I see mankind as a work in progress. We now view many things differently than those who lived at the time of Jesus. We see things like slavery, war, degradation of women,
and polution as things that are sinful. They were just part of life in this world 2,000 years ago. Not anymore (well - almost). Next up: homosexuality.

Brent

Anonymous said...

Brent,

I wasn't satisfied with the low number of times you referred to T+. Could you be sure to make more references to T+ in your future comments?

Thanks,
A guy who likes references to T+

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