Yes, and then again, no. It is one central, crucial concept in Christianity that I find abhorrent, anti-hominid, and an abomination unto MY lord, DNA-nature-reason. In words attributed to a supernormal spiritual advisor, the late Aleister Crowley wrote, "The word of sin is restriction." In his case, he may have had Victorian morality in mind, but he made a point. The Superman envisioned by Nietzsche (one of Crowley's gnostic saints, after all) is perhaps nothing but a rehashing of Taoism's Superior Man (Crowley was a Taoist as well) "worships" reason and fact over superstition and myth. But both men excoriated Christian morality. Once one accepts dogma as truth, one capitulates to antiquated, presentist impositions of restriction -- strictures. But the problem with "sin" does not end there.
Sin is the child of guilt. I write on learning that Matthew Warren, son of Rick, has died of his own hand. The Warren camp is closing ranks, telling the press that his son, Matthew, died of mental illness. The word tossed around is "depression," in itself ridiculous because depressed people don't ordinarily commit suicide, while seriously, chronically depressed people are hard to distinguish from bipolar syndrome, and a minimum of six months is required before any clinical psychiatrist worth her salt pronounces the specific character of the mental illness. The Warrens have told us nothing. Frankly, I should imagine that poor Matthew simply caved under the heavy burden of so much guilt. He could never measure up to Rick. That was a monumental task. Herculean. Sisyphian. But the Matthew we are not being told about probably saw the gargantuan hypocrisy of Rick Warren and could no longer tolerate it.
"Sin" presumes dogmatic wrong. It makes no room soever for individual drives and essential orientations. One is automatically a sinner for eating pork or shellfish; one must rest on the seventh day as God did and go to church; one must not go in public without a burka. The list is endless and, as Yogi might say, it never ceases. Mosheh's code, the Decalogue, is allowed on courthouse grounds because it is not a statement of Judeo-Christian morality but an illustration of the basis of almost all Western law, the principles on which our own American law was founded. And it is, indeed! All of our law, with codified exceptions, is based on much of the Top Ten shalt not's. People revile Crowley partly because of his personal habits and behavior, but also partially because they misunderstand his message. He was full aware that his "Holy Guardian Angel" was in reality his moral compass, his subconscious mind: he had no right not to become a heroin-addicted debauchee. This was his "True Will" (i.e. his personal essence, the "spirit" understood by Sir Richard Burton when he wrote, "He noblest lives and dies who keeps his self-made laws").
Free-thinkers and atheists have muchin common with all three men. Facing reality, the atheist has no bogey man to prick him with a fork, nor supernormal "lord" to reign him in when he errs, and when he fails, the atheist has no God to apologize to, certainly not to "His" "representatives on earth," The Priesthood, purveyors of poppycock and champions of confidence games played by wolves in sheeps' clothing preying on the sheep. These cowards sell imaginary "remission" and "God's" forgiveness, thriving on human weakness and guilt. The Priesthood is a cabal of confidence men who sell myth and superstition as if it were truth, then de-shekel the suckers to build McMansions with air conditioned dog houses. (Now that the televangelist scandals appear to be abating, the lifestyles of the rich and famous megachurchmen are going to be the next wave.)
As you well know, the first tenet of Islam is submission. I have always thought that the lands where that religion predominates never seem to fully realize their potential and that their exposure to the West, and capitalism (including the charging of interest on loans) is so repugnant because the poor in those lands cannot see that their hands are tied by their own beliefs. The situation is nicely satirized by the presumably Christian Robert Bolt, who wrote the screenplay for Lawrence of Arabia (with borrowings from Seven Pillars of Wisdom, of course). In the magnificent movie, Lawrence of Arabia, Omar Shariff as a cocky young prince tells L-Aw-rence "it is written" when some insurmountable obstacle (the Nefud Desert as I recall) lies before them and Allah will not allow them to go on. To which Peter O'Toole as Lawrence replies: "It is NOT written." (Of course, this is blasphemy.) If any exchange won the Oscars for both men that year, I suspect it was this one. But the point is this: when you can excuse your faintness of heart on some metaphysical friend in the sky, you eventually think that every misfortune you encounter was fore-ordained by someone called Allah. What is the difference between that and the Christian slogan, "God works in mysterious ways." Excuses, excuses. It never occurs to them to get off their fucking knees and start walking toward any goal you set for yourself. There is no god but Man.
hmmm yes but it's not just sin. Sin is necessary for xtianity's particular salvific theology, which goes back to it being a death cult where a human sacrifice atones for everyone's sin.
Christianity derives its value from death, non reality and non being rather than life and nature, reality, being. It is fundamentally Platonic. It is THIS error that Nietzche abhorred about it. This explains how he thought of Jesus as a type of Superman even as he hated the Pauline School's version of Christianity.
Also, don't forget that Nietzche said that after Epicurus, Western thought only degenerated. Epicurus' enemies were the Platonists, the people who believed in 'essences' of things that weren't there, who had a wrong view of reality. Epicurus' salvation was a salvation from fear based religions, whether sin and guilt was a major theme or not. The first of the four remedies in the Tetrapharmakon is 'do not fear the gods', the second is 'do not fear death'. In other words, don't fear non-being, non-reality. The whole of Epicurean theory of happiness and doctrine is meant to protect our minds from Platonic false beliefs.
Notice that the Overman is defined as an intellectual hero who creates meaning and value in this world, he IS the meaning of this world. Epicurus is a type of Overman because his hedonism is based on his early theory of natural selection and how, by paying attention to our pleasure principle, we can know how our ancestors survived. Pleasure leads us to that which helped our ancestors to survive, which is pleasurable. And so the values are biological, the Epicurean ethics are rooted in life, in reality, in biology.
Super comment, thanks! Now, I finally understand what my intellectual friend in Washington State meant when he commented on the Platonic nature of Christianity, though you take it further, showing how Stoicism is exactly opposite in critical ways. Nietzsche is difficult for me. It is not just that his writing is framed in a kind of archaic language; his ideas are so complex I am never prepared to decipher finer meanings. You help plenty.
I never cease to be amazed at the numbers of intellectuals who buy into theism. I am obviously not an intellectual and theism makes absolutely no sense to me. When I think of how fast modern technology has advanced in the past hundred years which I have observed first hand through my grandparents who were alive through my 30's and my parents through my 40's. And it continues to advance at an ever increasing rate during which an all knowing, all seeing invisible hand of a god plays no part, how can intellectuals continue to play the game? Are they faking it for the sake of the institution and, if so, this does not give them an overwhelming sense of dishonesty? Will they continue along this path as technology begins to leave them behind or will they suddenly admit in mass that it is and always has been the biggest farce? I am afraid it will not be the latter which is my hope as I would very much like to witness this in my lifetime.
Well, this is the most troubling of all conundra: why perfectly intelligent people seem to have a blind spot when it comes to the old boy in the sky. I asked my brother why he believed and he said he doubted but that religion keeps the masses from engaging in antisocial behavior, so he promotes it. I pointed out to deaf ears that we would be good without God, but he still points to the lowest common denominator and says, "They won't." I could point out how many times I have seen criminal defendants show up in court with prominent if crude crosses around their necks -- the kind brought to them by do-gooder evangelical types -- only to have the judge pronounce a stiff sentence all the same. (The old lawyer story might be appropriate. A young murderer was sentenced to life in prison. He had "Only God can judge me" tattooed to his arm, but he wore a crucifix when he appeared before the bench. He protested, meekly, "But, Judge, I can't do that much time." The old jurist responded: "Do as much as you can, son.").
I suspect that a variety of factors are involved in "intelligent belief." Churches are social gathering places where business is conducted. My moderately religious mom suggested I go to church to make contacts and pick up new clients. She said, "Why, just last Sunday I was talking to Judge Oliphant, and who should walk up but Delavanti. You know Delavanti don't you, Delavanti of Strum, Fisher, and Delavanti. He interrupted our conversation and led the judge away to discuss something with him." I pointed out that it most likely was an ex parte confab, Delavanti asking the federal judge to rule a certain way. Then I said she proved my point, that such people are hypocrites since, as Abraham Maslow pointed out, they go to church with ulterior motives, not a desire to get right with God. Kind of makes a mockery of why the churchgoers bother to go in the first place. I knew another lawyer who circumambulated his Church of Christ meetings prior to the beginning of services, passing out his cards and trying to influence witnesses into testifying this way or that. I experienced his antics when clients contesting a will told me that he was telling witnesses to go to probate court and testify to this and that.
Doesn't the O.T. say something about not bearing false witness? How 'bout subornation of perjury? (Telling someone else to bear false witness.) Because most people do not believe you can be good without God, they go to church and profess belief in order to assure like-minded people that they are moral and upright. Then they go out and fuck over business competitors and others the following week. Martin Scorsese made a movie about low-level mafiosi in Manhattan years ago called Mean Streets. If he thought up the advertising campaign and the one-sheet (glassed-in theatre display) slogan, then he is a very bad Catholic at a minimum. It said: "Go to Church on Sunday...Go to Hell on Monday." Not to forget he made the gnostic movie, The Last Temptation of Christ. I must suspect he is at least an agnostic.
Is Christianity the Worst Catastrophe To Befall Mankind?
If christians outnumber muslims, yes.
Sin was placed here because God wanted a fallen man. What good is a savior without a sinner. God deals with absolutes and we do not we see in park and know in part. But when that which is perfect has come that which is part will be done away with.
Romans 5:18-20 (Weymouth’s)
It follows then just as the result of a single transgression is a condemnation which to the whole race, so also is the result of a single degree of righteousness is a life giving acquittal which extends to the whole race. (19) for as thought the disobedience of one individual the mass of mankind were constituted as sinners, so also though the obedience of one, the mass of mankind will be constituted righteous. Now law was brought in later on so that the transgression might increase, but sin increased, grace is overflowed.
1 Corinthians 15:22-24
23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
Benoni, you clicked on the wring link and here you are are telling atheists you know a god's intentions.
Are you intending to save us from ourselves?
He WAS just doing what all christian apologists do, Tom - flap their yap. Thankfully, he's been kicked off of A|N. Sadly, his posts persist.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, the Copernican revolution makes the whole scheme of Christian redemption unbelievable.
Dr. Clark, if I ask how A made B unbelievable, will you tell me to read Emerson?