Sunday, October 29, 2006

Coffee Talk:

In this weeks discussion I would like to address a philosophical topic without focusing too much on the religious aspects of this topic. The topic is sin or moral code and our relationship with sin. Do we sin because it is in our nature to do so, or is it because of the environment we were raised in?

I mean are we born "sinners", or are have we violated the moral code by being born in the world. I know sin is a religious and subjective term, but is it in our nature to do things we know are wrong, or is it a bi-product of the environment we live in?

The Catholic faith and other reformed faiths believe we are born sinners and in turn practice infant baptism. However, many believe this is based on a false doctrine, and not biblically sound. The Bible does state that all men have sinned, but it does not clearly state that we are born "sinners".

The Jewish faith believes that man is born without sin.

Taoist don't use the word sin, but they believe that "people are compassionate by nature."

Another way to phase this would be is sin "original" or "imitation"?
John Calvin believed in original sin, "therefore original sin is seen to be hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature diffused into all parts of the soul."(from Christianae Religionis Institutio, 1536)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau opposed the doctrine of original sin and contends that man was good by nature, and it was society that corrupted him.

What do you think? Talk amongst yourselves.


Dan said...

Good question.

My beliefs are that man is born a sinner by nature. That is, we don't know right from wrong at birth, but the wrong things we do teach us. Also, there are some things that we have labeled as sin because they have such a value that we would want to do it, but it causes harm to another person and therefore it's a sin.

I think that it is society and moral code that create what we deem as sin. Sin is a word that we have created to denote what is generally accepted as wrong and sinful.

According to Webster's, sin is defined as, "a willful violation of some religious or moral principle, any wrong or evil act."

So theoretically, there could be no sin if there was no right and wrong, good or evil. But without those, there would be just chaos and anarchy. I think that society can only exist if there were set rules for the survival of the human race and by which we need to abide by those set rules of what's right, and what's wrong, what will help the race, what will hurt the race. From there, sin is born from right and wrong. Since we are born from society, it only is logical that we are born sinners by the simple fact that we live in a society where sin exists by definition and all will commit some kind of wrong in their lifetime.

As soon as you are born, you start testing things. The first thing you do is cry in order to communicate that you are hungry, or uncomfortable. But that was a test by yourself. If your parents didn't respond to you crying, you would have to try something else. It's the same thing when you grow up. Nobody knows all of the laws when you are born, you try things that are wrong, and you get repremanded by others. You've just sinned.

The only way I can see anyone not being a sinner is if they were born with all of the knowledge in the entire world, and had the strength and resolve to abstain from all of those things you knew in that society to be sinful and wrong. I also believe that there was only one person to have done that, and that was the Son of God, Jesus. And that would make logical sense considering it was God that created the world and would know all of man's intentions, rules, codes, etc. and has all of the resolve and strength to stay away from that. In that way, I think people have create the good vs. evil, God vs. Satan, etc. that exist in so many different religions.

Jason said...

I think you got closer to the topic I was trying to touch on then I did. What is human nature? Is it inherited or is it sculpted by society? For example, was Kim Jong-il born with the "evilness" that he has today, was he raised that way, or did something happen to him that made the way he is? Does he even see himself as "evil" or wrong?

I like to believe that my moral code has been sculpted by my own thoughts and actions, and not by societal influences. If that is true then it would truly be my nature that is good or evil and not society. Society sets laws and moral norms, but a man's true nature is determined by his faith in his own thoughts.

I agree that all men have sin, but I believe that they have chosen to sin. This could easily lead into a discussion on free will vs. predestination.

Dan said...

Jason, I think you talked through your logic and proven a case that society decides who is a sinner, or evil. I don't think Kim Jong-il sees himself as being evil or wrong. The US has determined that, along w/ the rest of the countries that don't like how he runs his country, what he puts out as propaganda, the reasons he "hates" the US.

I think you're absolutely correct that you would like to think your moral code is by your own doing. I think it's by my own doing as well. But I could probably ask anyone why they did something, or said something, and they would say their intentions were right. But what is right?

If I lived in Africa, in an oppressed gov't situation and was poor, had no food, couldn't get a job to work, couldn't feed my family and my only option was to revolt against the society that I lived and had to either fight for my ability to get a job, or steal the food to feed my family, or kill an animal out in the wild, where is the right vs. wrong?

If I were in that situation, the most logical would be to kill an animal for food. I wouldn't think that is sinning. But from an outside perspective, say a Christian PETA member from the US, (ha ha) saw this, and said, that's sinning! You're killing an animal and it says so in the Bible, Thou shalt not kill, and the animal is a creature and a being just like you. How could you? You're an evil person! I won't stand for this!

Who's right in that situation? Does it matter? Or does it just say that good vs. evil exists because people have differing opinions, and differing moral codes. I could create whatever moral code I wish, but someone else will always judge that moral code to theirs, or to the societal moral code. Therefore all will be sinners in someone else's mind.

In the end, all of that doesn't matter does it? The only thing that matters is what you believe, who you think will judge you in the end, and what you do to keep in line with your own moral code.

But I'm pretty confident to think that most people develop their own moral code as they grow, learn, develop. And I am 100% certain, that we have all changed our moral code, and sinned against our own moral code an insane amount of times. That's how we've developed and created our own moral code that we live by today. And I'm sure it will change at some point in the future. So therefore, we are all sinners by our own standard as well.

That leaves faith in our religion, something that is both outside ourselves and the people in this world, and this world we know ourselves. Something we don't know about w/ 100% assurance. Something that we follow blindly and can only speculate on. That moral code is unknown because we don't even know what guides that code, what the rules are, what's right vs. wrong. All we have is our beliefs and faith that tell us what those codes are. So in my opinion, in the end, God, or whoever our judge is outside this world, however we got here, that's the only moral code that counts. But only God knows truly if we have lived by that code, and only God knows if we were born with sin or not. And you're absolutely ends with free will vs. predestination.

I think we've found our next topic of discussion.

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