I was introduced to the concept of sin when I went to Sunday school at an Episcopal church; and have been exposed to those who preach to us sinners. A sin is an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law. And, I do not see myself as a sinner. I don’t believe in divine law and so I don’t transgress against divine law. I guess I could say that I am a good person who has done some bad things that are minor. I have not stolen from others, other than an occasional grape from the grocery store or the miscalculated change. I have never physically hurt anyone. In fist fights in junior high school, I was mostly on the receiving end. I have never abused anyone. I don’t think that I have ever really been mean. That does not mean that I have not unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings and or that I am some saint. It just means that I have lived life as a good guy.
Now that being said, on reading the above, it seems pretty sanctimonious. I have hurt people. I have made them mad and hurt feelings. Most the time by having judgments about what they do, not about who they are. My son is a good example. As a father and someone who cares about him I want him to lead a happy life, and when I judge that he is not doing things in his interest, I have made it known. And, that has really pissed him off at times. And there have been other people in my life to whom I have voiced judgements who have been hurt and upset. If there is anyone reading this who thinks I need to make amends, let me know.
I asked a Catholic colleague of mine one time when she last sinned. And she said very recently. She stated that she had sinful thoughts. Wow, isn’t that something. The Church indoctrinates people to feel guilty about their thoughts as well as their actions. Yep. Better not look at an attractive woman or man with some imagination or you will go to hell. That’s one of the ten commandments, right. What an ingenious way to exert power and control over others. You have to come to us to confess to your very thoughts.
How about evil? In the movie Judgement at Nuremberg, two prosecutors are talking and one states that the root of evil is the lack of empathy. That really struck me. In what way am I evil? Do I lack empathy? Of course I do. And there are acts of omission and acts of commission. Taking action to do harm is evil. Failing to act? Perhaps that is just cowardice.
And I can’t absolutely say that I am incapable of evil. Too many normal people have done evil. I recently read a survey that 70% of people have thought about murdering someone at one time in their lives.
So are you a sinner?
Have you ever been evil or personally known anyone who is evil?
Do you need to make amends?