Current mood: argumentative
Category: Religion and Philosophy
(Or, What’s Sin got to do with it?)
I spend a lot of my time on MySpace surfing the religion and philosophy blogs. Sometimes, if I like what is written I leave kudos, maybe an attaboy comment, and cruise on. Sometimes I don’t like what is written. So, no kudos, and I still cruise on. It’s their blog, and they have the right to their opinion. For me to voice disagreement seems like bad manners.
But when I arrive at a blog I like, or one written by one of the friends who’s writing I follow, and find someone has started a name-calling, hissy-fit of a slam war, then I jump into the fray. Good manners are suspended for the duration. The disagreements are usually among various factions of Christians, and usually have something to do with either sin or redemption from sin.
The sin in question is almost always homosexuality, but sometimes its something like not taking the Bible literally enough to believe in Creationism, or some such.
Some of what is contained here are recycled from my comments to these wars, and some of it is new.
Here is where I think that all the disagreements get started. We all agree that Christ is The Savior. What we disagree about is who He has saved.
There are many Christians who believe that Christ saved all mankind. Perfectly logical, simple and easy to agree with. It says so all over the New Testament. It says it is God’s will for this to be so. And if it God’s will that all are saved, who will stand in the way of God’s will? Not me, honey!
There are others who believe that only those who repent of their sin are saved. Says that here and there in the Bible too. People who take this line are usually fundamentalists or literalists. The problem with that is that the Bible also says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So, in order to be saved, all men must repent . If they don’t repent…not saved. Ok, I can go along with that.
The arguments start when we can’t agree about redemption. Because then we are led to question, when does this repentance have to take place? Just one time when we are first saved?, or over and over again, every-time we sin? So, are we re-saved every time we repent? And of course, we have the eternal question, “what happens if we sin a tiny little sin and then Wham!…hit by a beer truck before we have time to repent?!
And now we come to the deal breaker for a lot of people. The question of what, exactly, constitutes sin? How do we know? You would think it would be easy. But no….
We start out fairly simply. 10 Commandments. Ok, we can all handle 10. And these are good, no-brainer commandments. Don’t steal, check. Don’t lie, check. Don’t covet, well that’s a hard one, but check, got it. Honor thy mother and father, un-huh, no problem. And so on. Yes, we can quibble about the no killing one, because of military service and death penalty, but, yeah, we are pretty sure God meant murder, so ok. The 10 commandments are good. Let’s keep them. But then we get to later in the Old Testament. Whooo boy!
You got all these sins added in. We have, don’t eat pork and we have don’t wear certain kinds of clothes. And on and on pages and pages of sins, so many and so complex that it is a full time job to figure out who is sinning and who’s not. Which is pretty much what the Hebrew priests and rabbis did. Full time!
So, to clear up all this sin stuff, early Christians decided that Christ’s coming brought us a new law. A new covenant, or contract with God, which threw out the old law. Oh, good…because I was getting a headache, and besides, I love me some bacon!
However, we are also told that Christ didn’t do away with sin. Rats, just when it was getting easy! OK, so what are the sins, now? Well we go back to those original 10…yeah bring those back. But all that no-eating pork, etc. no we don’t go by those. OK Cooking along here, gonna eat me some bacon, oh yeah!
But wait, we find out that God doesn’t like some stuff that was a sin in the Old Testament, so we have to keep those on the sin list. “Sigh” Ok, what are those sins? And here we go! Fornicating, prostituting, homosexuality…well just make that pretty much anything sexual. Wait a minute! God don’t like sex? Well, He does, but only in marriage between one man and one woman, and only in the missionary position. Oh, and only to have children. So if you are married and use birth control, you are back in there sinning again! Well, Geez, no sex would be a whole lot easier! Which is where we got celibate clergy I guess. But we better not all be celibate, or that would be the end of us all, which might be ok, because at least we wouldn’t be arguing anymore! But probably not the end God has in mind for his Creation, after all. Ever wonder why there are hardly any Shakers left around anymore? The “no sex” thing did them in.
Well, the idea of all these sex sins turned out to be so popular, that, oh dear! here come a bunch more sins. Greed. Pride. Envy. Bring ’em on, bring ’em on. Especially since I don’t do any of those things, do I? Oh, wait. Man! Someone just made it a sin to eat meat on Friday. Here we go again! More sins! Seemingly stupid sins, but God has a plan. We just have to trust. So trusting in God, we find more and more sinful things. Women shouldn’t cut their hair or wear pants, or talk back to their husbands. Sin, sin, sin. Well, only for some kinds of Christians, so that’s ok. Because I am the other kind. Well wait a minute. We got some others that say that dancing is a sin, and so is smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, coffee and Coca-Cola! And now we are back to a state where sin is so darn confusing that we just go buy our beer on Sunday and go to the lake.
Which gets me to my point, finally. If salvation is based on sin, or not sin, or anything we,as humans, can do or not do, it is a total mess. If salvation has anything to do with sin, don’t you think God would have made it very clear exactly what sin is? And yet He didn’t. Through time millions of brilliant Bible scholars have not been able to figure it out. Why is that? Because sin doesn’t have much to do with salvation.
Now, wait a minute! Here I am, all saved and everything, and I have repented of my sin, which is sometimes hard, you know because of Adam and Eve and all. But we got some nutcases telling me that people who don’t repent of their sin are going to be saved anyway? Why do they get a free ride, and I have to try not to sin, and sit on the front row at church and listen to some preacher drone on and on and make me late for the football game, and I read my Bible faithfully everyday (well, ok I nap with my Bible over my face most of the time because a lot of it will just put you out!) What is wrong with this picture?
Well, back again to the definition of sin, and the definition of repentance.
You see, it is real confusing, even to Christian scholars, whether we are to return to the Old Testament lists of sins, which include some strange stuff, like not wearing clothes of mixed fiber, and no eating shrimp and pork and such. Or do we look for our definition of sin in the New Testament? If we do that we have a hard row to how, because you see, Christ’s words on the subject of sin aren’t very clear. I mean, like the little boy in Sunday school, we can discern that on the matter of Christ and sin, “He’s against it,” but we don’t have any good old lists like Leviticus provides us with.
Sure, we know that from his actions in the temple, strowing the tables around and such, that Christ was of the opinion that some sinning was going on. But was it the money lending? Uh, Oh! Bad news for bankers. Oh, it was all the buy and selling going on. Oh, dear, and here I am in sales! At Wal-Mart no less! Dum de dum-dum. Or was it just that they were making a whole lot of racket and disturbing the quiet holiness of the place. Now you folks that hoot and holler on Sunday are in for it!
Christ also made some comments on hypocrites and Pharisees, so we can probably assume that hypocrisy is a big ole sin. Are you ever a hypocrite?
No? Liar, liar pants on fire!
How can you tolerate the fat lady sitting in the front row of your nice, clean church shouting amen, when the sin of gluttony is so obvious? Why don’t you get up in her face and witness to her that she is going to hell? I bet you don’t. I bet you ask her to bake her delicious chocolate cake for the Ladies Aid bake sale? And in doing so, you are a hypocrite. There ya go!
When we tell someone that they are going to hell for the sins you see them commit, you let Death and Satan into your heart, and Satan’s words come out of your mouth. Cursing is a sin, and telling someone they’re damned to hell is a curse….a much worse curse than saying the word bullshit!
Which is what I hear a lot of on MySpace on the subject of sin.
You say sin is a choice? Well, science has pretty much come to a consensus that homosexuality is not a choice. You are born that way. If Christianity could actually cure homosexuality, as wide spread as it is (about 10% of the population is homosexual) it seems like there would be a whole lot of cured homosexuals around to tell us about the experience. And there just aren’t. There are a few (a very few!) deluded folks around who say they have been cured of their homosexuality! Folks, either they were just a little curious and tried it a few times, or they are so fu**ed up that the cure is just a matter of time in becoming a relapse. And with it, a complete turn from their faith.
And if you are of the opinion that some things are sins because they are in the Bible as sin, then you had better be keeping kosher, because you just can’t say that every Word in the Bible is absolute truth, and then go picking and choosing that truth.
For God’s sake, and our own, people, we have got to keep it simple or Christianity becomes unlivable. Let’s stop shouting damnation over our differing opinions, and present a united Body in Christ.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God! Remember? ALL. The Bible doesn’t say we quit sinning when we accept Christ as our Savior. It doesn’t say we have to repent and repent every time we sin, because nobody would be able to do anything for all that constant repenting.
My point is that if we as Christians remain obsessed with sin, we miss the whole point of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Christ’s sacrifice saved us from the consequence of our sin. Christ’s sacrifice conquered sin, and conquered death. To say anything else makes the awesomeness of that event trivialized.
And if that ain’t a sin, it ought to be!
I welcome comments from all readers. I do ask that you not cut and paste tons and tons of scripture, as I have a Bible, I read it, and I don’t need another copy. By all means, provide scriptural reference if you want, but then give me your interpretation. I want to know what you think!