Today’s discussion, boys and girls, is on the meaning of sin and forgiveness. Ok, kind of a heavy topic which in part you can blame on screwing up the coffee yesterday morning and creating some kind of freakish super fuel express…should not have pushed the BREW STRONG button. Then again, considering the diversity of religious thought among most of you, including a couple who are priests if memory serves in one faith or another, I figure I’ll give the Liberals and Progressives a break, not write on the morality of playing the race card, and jump right to Sin itself instead. Grandma always said never talk politics or religion in polite company. What the heck…
Ok, in the interests of full disclosure, yes, Irish Catholic. I did a year in St. Augustine Minimum –er- Middle Elementary, bachelors from Marquette (Jesuits), and probably have the oddest mix of very conservative and very liberal beliefs on religion. It is tough to offend me short of Pedophile priest jokes, which I don’t’ anymore funny than Jewish or Islamic jokes. My general philosophy is you don’t tell me how to worship or what to believe, and I won’t start stacking wood at your feet for an “Old-Fashioned” BBQ. Variations of belief though fascinate me and discussion and debate… well, you get the picture.
So, the question is how you define sin and forgiveness. This is a key point for a lot of Christians, in that those who believe in original sin tend to believe we all carry it with us through being born. Catholics belief in forgiveness has, invariable, led to troubled priests being put back into position inappropriate considering their betrayal of trust. So, is a Sin forgiven but willfully committed again a new sin or a repudiation of forgiveness for the old? If we take a more Pelagian rather than Augustinian, asserting that Free Will and Right Action are our ways to Grace – which I understand to be more the Protestant tradition – are we able to reach a state of grace on our own, removing God and Christ from the equation, and then what sins did Christ die for, if we are capable of getting there ourselves without him? Does the generally held Christian belief that Christ died for our sins then abrogate the need for redemption or right action, since we have already been redeemed through acceptance of Christ? Or, is our supposed Free Will affirmed or refuted by Christ’s action. How does predestination fit in then?
What is Sin then? Is it simply a violation of God’s commandments or the more moral and ethical values of Aquinas? And if so, are we defining then sin not as crimes against God but a disagreement on the moral or ethical character of a given thought or action? If it’s a difference of opinion on what is and is not a sin, what is or is not immoral, then is it a sin for seeking to impose my morality, to in effect assume God’s position of judgment over another? And if predestination is rule, then if I know I am predestined for Heaven, what’s to stop me from raising all kinds of hell secure in the knowledge that I am going to Heaven?
Ok, rules for discussion are simple good manners, no name calling, no finger pointing, threats of violence, crusade, jihad, etc. And no, you cannot accuse me of being predestined for hell – you know who you are and that’s all I’m going to say - I am a firm believer in the need to question and wrestle with one’s faith, and that if you can’t face your beliefs, your faith openly, honestly, if you don’t question, then you don’t really know what you believe. Kind of like Democrats who believe everything that Obama and Pelosi say and are unwilling to accept practical considerations – ie, if you only have two bucks you can’t give $1.3 trillion to someone… ok, you knew I was going to say something political, just deal with it!
So, if you are easily offended… or looking to tell Pedophile priest jokes, just move on along and you won’t get hurt… much… Otherwise, have at it!
And I responded...
"before you can effectively discuss this we have to create a level playing field. Questions such as: 1) do you believe in God 2) do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God 3) Do you believe that each and everyone of us have a predisposition of what right and wrong is (if you will have it - we will call it a "moral predisposition".) So ifyou believe in God and believe in his Son (as Savior) then you have to believe that he created the heavens and the earth and all that is in between.
Whether you believe in predestination or in free will, both sects believe in God as Holy, therefore, you don't have a lotto ticket to live "free willy" and do as you please because God is a Holy God. Therefore, you have to ask yourself what am I supposed to do in this World. What are my gifts and what are my talents and how am I to make a difference in this World.
In the book of James, he talks about Faith without works and he goes onto to say that that Faith is dead. So does this mean you can lose your Salvation? No, I did not say that. If you believe in God's Son, as Savior, then you are promised God's Spirit. Your body then becomes a living temple of God and what you do it with it in obedience to God is your call in life. As Sons and Daughters of God, you are promised gifts and talents and you are to use them to honor God in obedience to his Word.
So God's commandments are: Put no other God's before Him (no idols), do not use his name in vain, keep His holy day sabbath, honor your father and mother, do not kill (which is also a law of the land in most societies), do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness (no perjury), do not covet your neighbors wife, and do not covert your neighbors property. Are these things morally wrong? Of course they are. Why do we not see these on public property? Or on Government property? Hmmm, have you looked at our politicians (on both sides of the aisles) for their unethical and ungodly behavior?
What ever your belief is, whether you say you are Christian, Muslim, or whatever, you cannot simply say that there is no right and wrong, even the worst among us know when they are doing wrong.
We can discuss more anytime you like over coffee or something...
Let me know,
Your Manifesto title was Sin & Redemption. And correct me if I am wrong, but your question really boils down to how do we define sin and forgiveness...Correct?
For instance, all religions (religion is what we will define as man made, for now) try (in their best attempts) to find truth - Correct?
So let's take Islam, for instance, they say (the Koran) that Jesus is a prophet of God. Probably the most holy prophet of God and they believe in his virgin birth. The only difference is that they say that God would not allow his closest messenger to be crucified, so they believe that someone else took the crucifixion and that Jesus was somehow reunited in the Heavens with God. Therefore they denounce his death and resurrection. This begs a question, though, if you say in your religions holiest manuscript that Jesus was the greatest prophet (messenger) of God, but you deny the messengers own testimony (truth) what are you really saying? Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the light and that no man (woman) comes to the Father (God) but through Him. Something has to give. Either He was/is who He says He was/is or he is a liar?
Buddhism believes in Karma and reincarnation. Levels of truth, if you will have it. Catholics believe in God, and yet we had the great reformation to move closer to the truth (the word of God) then to allow men to suggest what truth is.
Agnostics believe that there could be a higher power (we call God), but do not necessarily believe in God. Athiests believe in no God and reject anything that condemns their rights and or belief structure.
Take a look at the founding fathers of this country. Why did they want separation of Church & State. Not for the reason that society would have you believe today, rather, they wanted to worship God in their way and not to have a "State Sponsored" religion tell you how to worship their god and or their belief structure.
So back to your question - Sin & Redemption - that is the quesiton - correct?..." Stay tuned....Jesus is the truth!
Your thoughts? Your responses - please respond.....