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dorothy
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How are you and they defining sin and guilt?

 

Good question.

 

I think there are some universal moral values that we all acknowledge. Some, like the prohibitions against murder, stealing, lying, etc. are embedded in the Ten Commandments. And, the Golden Rule might be a good test of whether one has violated some value (sinned?).

 

George

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dorothy,

 

I don't believe in sin and guilt how do I put it in to words to my literal christian friends, when they ask me to explain

 

I don't know if anything I say will be clear enough to use with your friends. You will get several excellent responses here and from them you will find language that works for for you.

 


  •  

  • The story of Adam and Eve is not about a fall down but a step up; it is about maturing into an adult. The mythic deep truth of this story is distorted by those in power.

  • Jesus's message of the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven does not include redeeming by substitutional sacrifice, but it includes, I think, faith, trust and compassion.

  • One way of contradicting what is ideal is to cling to low grade forms of harmony or monotony when it is relevant or a living organism or social entity to move on toward novelty - to something new that would keep it alive, by self transcendence - going beyond this low grade of harmony. (This is oblique, opaque, but John Haught below.)

 

The early mythic stories were the same as those of neighboring cultures, but the Hebrews added an moral element to the story according to Dr. David Neiman. A sin and guilt were used to unify a a group of tribes by having them follow the same rules enforced by a supernatural being. Only the priestly class could fix it,giving them control in the new church-state. The "Constantian Church" as a type made good citizens and so was a favorite partner with those in power. Yolked together, church and state, a tremondous came to those who could convince the populace they were sinners and the church, and only the church, could "fix their relationship with a wrathful, judgmental, and punishing supreme being." Who defined this supreme being? Those in power.

 

Jesus's message of the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven does not include redeeming by substitutional sacrifice, but it includes, I think, faith. In at least two stories wholeness comes not from confession, penance or sacrfice, but by faith - insistence, by her own acts, on receving a blessing. See Luke 8:42-48, the woman with a hemmorage, who simply believes in touching the divine, and, my favorite, the Syrophoenician woman, Luke 7:24-30, who argues with Jesus, who is short sighted about his mission, insisting that he gives her a blessing. Again Jesus asks no confesses and sacrifice. Trust and faith have made her whole. The cure of the demonic is also not about confession and penance, but about joy and witness.

 

The story of the rich young man supports another reading about Jesus's teaching. The answer to this man's questioning lay not in his confessing sins; he was a good man. Jesus saw that he was ready to go the next level spiritually and so suggested a purging of his material goods, which were not sinful in and of themselves. The journey to a "higher consciousness' involved becoming non-attached to his possessions and following Christ spiritually.

 

Neither confession nor blood sacrifice, but Compassion, Trust, Faith, and hope will bring a piece of heaven to earth.

 

from John Haught (its from a conversation and does not have the clarity of a written passage.)

 

One way of contradicting what is ideal is to cling to low grade forms of harmony or monotony when it is relevant or a living organism or social entity to move on toward novelty - to something new that would keep it alive, by self transcendence - going beyond this low grade of harmony.

 

We constantly need to be challenged by the Author of new possibilities of our being. And one way of understanding is that God is the source of these new possibilities. Chaos is often what we mean by evil. But a processive world view allows us to realize that we can also deviate from what is good, from what is essential, from what is beautiful and true by becoming fixated on a particular formula for existence. The substitution of a sketch for a whole picture. There are all sorts of ways in which we can exemplify this in human life. From a biblical point of view, when we suppress the prophetic call to justice by circling a society in such a way that the poor and the oppressed are marginalized - this would be a form of the evil of triviality, of the evil of monotony. One of the harsh facts about the world we live in that the half way house, as Whitehead puts it, between triviality and perfection, is chaos. There is the threat of chaos whenever we move from a low grade form of monotony or harmony or monotonous form of harmony to a richer form. That’s one of the tragic aspects of our existence and it seems to me that that way of thinking also helps to contextualize the evolutionary process. Evolution is not always pretty.

 

 

Take Care

 

 

Dutch

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Good question.

 

I think there are some universal moral values that we all acknowledge. Some, like the prohibitions against murder, stealing, lying, etc. are embedded in the Ten Commandments. And, the Golden Rule might be a good test of whether one has violated some value (sinned?).

 

George

 

The part I bolded is the part I was most interested in.

 

If someone defines sin as the violation of a moral rule, then it's impossible to not believe in sin unless one doesn't believe in morality (or humanity's ability to violate morality). Assuming Dorothy believes that morality can exist, then she must have a different idea of sin.

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If someone defines sin as the violation of a moral rule, then it's impossible to not believe in sin unless one doesn't believe in morality (or humanity's ability to violate morality). Assuming Dorothy believes that morality can exist, then she must have a different idea of sin.

 

Yes, this is why your question about definition is important.

 

I would define 'sin' rather broadly: Essentially doing harm to others. Some would define it narrowly (eating pork, premarital sex, homosexuality, whatever)

 

George

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Yes, this is why your question about definition is important.

 

I would define 'sin' rather broadly: Essentially doing harm to others. Some would define it narrowly (eating pork, premarital sex, homosexuality, whatever)

 

George

 

I personally go in a different direction: all actions are to some degree sinful because having a truly pure intent and being human aren't fully compatible. As a consequence, I have little sympathy for the moralism that often accompany rants about sin.

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Jesus's message of the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven does not include redeeming by substitutional sacrifice, but it includes, I think, faith. In at least two stories wholeness comes not from confession, penance or sacrfice, but by faith - insistence, by her own acts, on receving a blessing. See Luke 8:42-48, the woman with a hemmorage, who simply believes in touching the divine, and, my favorite, the Syrophoenician woman, Luke 7:24-30, who argues with Jesus, who is short sighted about his mission, insisting that he gives her a blessing. Again Jesus asks no confesses and sacrifice. Trust and faith have made her whole. The cure of the demonic is also not about confession and penance, but about joy and witness.

 

I like this a lot, though I'd nudge it in the direction of Jesus talking about connecting / reconnecting / reconciling with God.

 

also, thanks for pointing me to John Haught! He's going on my list.

Edited by Nick the Nevermet
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How are you and they defining sin and guilt?

 

Hi Nick we are going to have a discussion on sin and I am sure original sin is going to be bought up

I don't belive in original sin and want some ideas how to explain that there is no original sin

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The part I bolded is the part I was most interested in.

 

If someone defines sin as the violation of a moral rule, then it's impossible to not believe in sin unless one doesn't believe in morality (or humanity's ability to violate morality). Assuming Dorothy believes that morality can exist, then she must have a different idea of sin.

 

its not that I don't beleive in doing wrong of course harming others in any way even in words is wrong but because of all the church talk about

sin has made me uncomfortable about the actual word sin.

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Dorothy,

 

My assumption is that you are looking for language, metaphor that speaks to your understanding. I offer the following from a resource I keep going back to. Fortunately it is still online. I have no idea if these words can become your words but I like the idea of seeing the mythic story of the Garden and Eden containing the human truth of child growing into maturity.

Human cruelty has its origins in earliest human experience when
the infant can’t make the transition from a world in which self matters most to a world that fully includes others.

...

The best parents disappoint their children only gradually, in finite doses; so they can tolerate the disappointments of living in a world where others matter too, matter as much as they do. Stated mythically, this is a fall from grace. Things will never be as good as they once were.
Things will never be as good for the infant as they were when he or she occupied the center of the parents’ universe. Things will never be as good for mankind as they were in the Garden of Even.

...

If evil is understood as the failure of narcissism to sustain the self, then goodness may be found in the transformations of narcissism: empathy, humor, creativity, art, and wisdom, especially in the appreciation of the finiteness of life.

 

The Knowledge of Good and Evil, Keynote Address, Allen Dyer

 

I see I have have cut out too much in an effort to be brief but I hope you get the idea. The Story about Adam and Eve is about children growing up. The narcissistic child experiences difficulties in life and, being at the center of the universe, believe they must have done something wrong to deserve it. They didn't. Life is just hard. (There are other truths in the story but it is not about original sin. That was added by priests who wanted to control the people.)

 

in another thread ceecee wrote:

Maybe early writers of the Bible needed to blame someone for the loss of Paradise so picked on the one thing that only females can do - give birth- and assigned this as painful punishment rather than a beautiful empowering life changing event.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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I feel sin means without God or love. In this way as we perceive God's pure consciousness pervading all things, one can understand more clearly that God has absolute control over all creation, and that each individual is already one with God, inseparable from Him. Some are not aware of this because they are immersed in creation and the idea of materiality. I feel in the lower layers of our mind we are deceived into thinking that disease (not being at ease, dis-ease) is real, and that the devil and sin are everywhere. Until a higher view is cultivated through prayer and purification of thought it certainly seems to appear that the devil can control our lives, but this is a false and temporary view because under God there can’t be a broken harmony in creation. I feel Jesus meant for us to follow him intelligently and spiritually so not to be manipulated by literal interpretations that lead us away from love. Following the mind of Christ in our own way depends on our love not our superficial actions. It is love that blots out sin and knows no fear so there is nothing else a man can do that is as beneficial as loving everything and everyone. When this happens, it is no longer we who love, but Christ that loves through us, it is no longer our bodies that live, but Christ consciousness that lives within us. This is the discovery of true selves in Christ consciousness. Jesus died for us and reconciled us to his Father so Christ consciousness could live in us and unify us with God. I feel sin is a judgment where if I am with love or God I would not dare go into. When an action breaks that harmony with God I try to learn from it so as not to suffer again. Easier said than done.

 

I don't know what you can use or not so I will ramble on. I feel God acts as if the sin had never been committed: therefore negating sin. God’s consciousness is in the present so He would never let former sins count against a person. My God accepts people not for what they have been, but for what they are now in the present. Sin or a time without God consciousness is just a way to bring man to a better knowledge of his love and make him more determined to struggle for God in the present. Good topic thanks Dorothy

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Oh, certainly, Whether withdrawing from the crowd to mountain to commune with God or bringing the marginalized from outside to inside the community and more.

 

I feel sin means without God or love. In this way as we perceive God's pure consciousness pervading all things, one can understand more clearly that God has absolute control over all creation, and that each individual is already one with God, inseparable from Him. Some are not aware of this because they are immersed in creation and the idea of materiality. I feel in the lower layers of our mind we are deceived into thinking that disease (not being at ease, dis-ease) is real, and that the devil and sin are everywhere. Until a higher view is cultivated through prayer and purification of thought it certainly seems to appear that the devil can control our lives, but this is a false and temporary view because under God there can’t be a broken harmony in creation. I feel Jesus meant for us to follow him intelligently and spiritually so not to be manipulated by literal interpretations that lead us away from love. Following the mind of Christ in our own way depends on our love not our superficial actions. It is love that blots out sin and knows no fear so there is nothing else a man can do that is as beneficial as loving everything and everyone. When this happens, it is no longer we who love, but Christ that loves through us, it is no longer our bodies that live, but Christ consciousness that lives within us. This is the discovery of true selves in Christ consciousness. Jesus died for us and reconciled us to his Father so Christ consciousness could live in us and unify us with God. I feel sin is a judgment where if I am with love or God I would not dare go into. When an action breaks that harmony with God I try to learn from it so as not to suffer again. Easier said than done.

 

I don't know what you can use or not so I will ramble on. I feel God acts as if the sin had never been committed: therefore negating sin. God’s consciousness is in the present so He would never let former sins count against a person. My God accepts people not for what they have been, but for what they are now in the present. Sin or a time without God consciousness is just a way to bring man to a better knowledge of his love and make him more determined to struggle for God in the present. Good topic thanks Dorothy

 

I really like this Soma, and it links into where I was going with my question to glintofpewter. God reconciles with the world, and Jesus Christ as the Word embodies this act of reconciliation. Understanding his death separate from his life is like watching the last 5 minutes of a movie: the narrative meaning changes dramatically.

 

I suppose how one divides up the responsibility of reconciliation between God and humanity would likely explain what one thinks about original sin. The more you accept original sin, the less humanity can assist in this reconciliation, even if it wants to. The more you reject original sin, the more the sky is the limit for humanity's potential, and the more it is up to us and our actions to find harmony with the divine (and one another).

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hi Dorothy,

 

I agree with what others have said - a couple more thoughts you might consider -

 

There is no doctrine of original sin in Judaism, and none in the two biblical stories of creation. In fact they say we are made in the likeness of God, part of a good creation. God provided everything we need but our nature is to want to be greater than we are.

 

As I understand it, the myth of Adam and Eve was literalized to make people more dependent on the church—‘original sin’ was the sickness for which it alone had the cure. St. Augustine started the notion that we are fallen at birth and can only be saved from sin by Jesus.

 

I liked how Robin Meyers puts it: “When are we going to graduate from the Middle Ages? The answer: when we reject once and for all the disastrous doctrine of original sin and replace it with the idea of original blessing. The former is about shame, helplessness, and entrapment. The latter is about joy, connection to creation, and personal responsibility.”

Edited by rivanna
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As I understand it, the myth of Adam and Eve was literalized to make people more dependent on the church—‘original sin’ was the sickness for which it alone had the cure. St. Augustine started the notion that we are fallen at birth and can only be saved from sin by Jesus.

 

It's a little messier than that, actually. However, Dorothy's thread isn't the place to get into that, as it's getting a bit off topic.

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There is no doctrine of original sin in Judaism, and none in the two biblical stories of creation. [...]

 

St. Augustine started the notion that we are fallen at birth and can only be saved from sin by Jesus.

 

 

Riviana,

 

Actually, this concept had been around for at least 3 centuries before Augustine. It is mentioned at 2 Esdras 3:21 in the Apocrypha. This is a Jewish writing from the 1st century. The idea may also have even earlier attestations of which I am unaware.

 

But, I think you are right that Augustine introduced the idea to Christianity and popularized it.

 

George

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This may be tangential to this discussion but I include it because, I think, without any reason, that as Jesus is exalted above his message, the story grows and grows about the nature of Jesus until Jesus is worthy to be slain, worthy to be sacrificed - for what would such a sacrifice be worthy -- our narcissistic idea that, because life can be punishingly hard, we must have done something wrong to deserve it?

 

Jesus' message was simple and clear - just hard to live out. It was not about "original Sin." That was somebody else's idea.

 

From a 2006 interview with Thomas Sheehan, author of "The Historical Jesus".

 

The Kingdom of God is best translated as the Power of God empowering human beings -- they are the ones that need the help -- so that justice and mercy is the content of God empowering of human beings -- it is not mushy liberal substitute for hard doctrine -- it is the doctrine.

 

The Revelation is when we reveal ourselves to each other. If we follow Jesus' message about how we should treat each other -- that is the kingdom of God come to earth.

 

Paul is part of the movement that reinserts Jesus, against his will, perhaps, back into the dramatic Apocalyptic framework that Jesus himself had transcended. That is the first sin of the nascent Christian Church. It takes the focus off Jesus' message that the Kingdom of God, now at hand, is about how we treat each other and how we live in community -- this focus is turned to the person of Jesus and turns him into a religious icon.

 

 

The interview here -- eo10020.mp3

http://www.stanford.edu/dept/fren-ital/opinions/podcast/opinions.xml

 

The First Coming: How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity, Thomas Sheehan

(1986; this electronic edition 2000) full text here (I just discovered it)

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/thomas_sheehan/firstcoming/

 

for an interesting chart about Jesus becoming God

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/thomas_sheehan/firstcoming/three.html

 

 

And finally, again, it is metaphor, not literal - except that part about loving each other - find the language that brings health and wholeness. Cognitive therapists are about that, spiritual gurus are about that, the church should be about that.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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Dutch,

 

I definitely agree that Jesus doesn't believe that suffering in this life is proportional to what we deserve or not deserve (I also agree with you that believing otherwise is rather narcissistic). I would find the argument the US "deserved" 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina because of sinful choices the country has made laughable if it wasn't so horrible. Bad things happen to people, good and bad, for no reason beyond they're people who are alive.

 

Also, thanks for the historical Jesus material.

Edited by Nick the Nevermet
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Hi Nick we are going to have a discussion on sin and I am sure original sin is going to be bought up

I don't belive in original sin and want some ideas how to explain that there is no original sin

The way I've always seen it is that in Genesis it says God created humans in his image. Since God is without sin, this means humans must also be born without sin and God himself calls his creation "good" in Genesis, not fallen. Thus, humans are born innocent and learn to sin when we grow older. Jesus didn't die on the cross for the sin of Adam and Eve but Jesus was unjustly executed by a corrupt government for speaking out against the fundamentalist hypocrites of his day. Edited by Neon Genesis
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Dorothy,

 

from a transcript I am editing -

 

John Shelby Spong (with Michael Dowd)

 

Darwin says that we were not created perfect, and you can't fall unless you start out in a perfected state from which you can fall. We have evolved through hundreds of millions, even billions of years of evolutionary history toward some goal which I would identify as self-conscious humanity. At least, that's the stage of our evolution that we're in today as the top of the food chain.

...

So, there is no fall. So, the whole concept of original sin is gone. ... You cannot fall from a position that you never possessed, namely perfection. You cannot be rescued unless you fall, you cannot be restored to a status that you've never enjoyed.

...

For example, when self-consciousness dawned in this world in human beings, Homo Sapiens, the first thing we felt was a deep sense of separation. That's why in every religion I've ever studied, there's a doctrine of atonement, because part of the human experience is that we feel separated.

...

So, God to me is the source of life and I worship God by living, God to me is the source of love and I worship God by loving, God to me is the ground of being and I worship God by having the courage to be everything I can be. And this is the God that I believe I see in the description of the life of Jesus,

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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Darwin says that we were not created perfect, and you can't fall unless you start out in a perfected state from which you can fall. We have evolved through hundreds of millions, even billions of years of evolutionary history toward
some goal
which I would identify as self-conscious humanity.

 

Dutch,

 

Did Darwin have a teleological view of evolution? That is not my understanding.

 

George
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George,

 

My only acquaintance with Spong is in this transcript. If I had full liberty to rewrite I would start his sentence

 

"From my (Spong's)understanding of my Christian tradition and of evolution I think that we were not created perfect, and ... "

 

In this conversation Spong talks about the evolutionary milestones of consciousness and and self-consciousness but would not speculate about the future.

 

I think there are some universal moral values that we all acknowledge. Some, like the prohibitions against murder, stealing, lying, etc. are embedded in the Ten Commandments. And, the Golden Rule might be a good test of whether one has violated some value (sinned?).

I think we need to distinguish between rules or prohibitions and values. Using values allows us to not be relativistic and to not count rules broken.

 

 

Take care

 

Dutch

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