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Sin? Is it actions or just thought?

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, May 6, 2014.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    I was talking to a friend of mine this morning who is very Christian but is going through a rough patch. Without going into detail she is feeling that her faith is being tested because she feels lonely and can't find a long lasting meaningful relationship. One thing she said struck me though that is she says she has been "guilt of the sin of envy, when she sees all of her friends getting married or in good relationships". I know that envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins but in my mind just feeling envious of other people isn't a sin unless you act on it. It's just human nature to be envious.

    I've heard various points of views from Christians about what constitutes sin and some have said that a sin isn't a sin unless it is an action so in the case of feeling lust that is OK as long as you don't go out and cheat on your wife, have sex before marriage and etc.. I've also heard Christians say that they are sinners for just thinking about it, ie Jimmy Carter saying "he had lust in his heart."

    In Buddhism there isn't a concept of sin. There are such things as negative actions that have negative Karmic repercussions but as far as thoughts are concerned things like lust and envy aren't evil but they are distractions that can lead to mental suffering if even not acted on.

    I'm curious about what people here think of is sin? Is it just thought or does it have to also be action? I'm not posting a poll because I want to get some discussion than just a 'yes' 'no'.
     
  2. basso

    basso Contributing Member
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    thought, mos def.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    I don't know. But I think it has to be more than just a thought. One of the parts in the story of Jesus talks about how he resisted temptation.

    In order to be tempted to do something he has to actually want to do it. He resisted his wants and urges to do things. If he didn't want to then it wouldn't have been temptation.

    For instance, if someone tried to offer me a plate of liver and onions, but I didn't eat it, that wouldn't be me resisting temptation, because I don't like liver and onions.

    So in that story, Jesus was portrayed as being special because he resisted temptation. He wasn't portrayed as having sin because he wanted to.

    But he also talked about what's in the heart being a sin. So I'm not really sure.
     
  4. robbie380

    robbie380 ლ(▀̿Ĺ̯▀̿ ̿ლ)
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    Not trying to be rude, but it sounds like she has some issues. I'm guessing her very strong urge to be in a relationship and her struggle with "sinning" is causing relationships to fail as well. She has probably been told over and over again that she is a sinner and that conditioning is probably interfering with her life.

    Wanting to be happy and loved isn't a sin. She needs to get that into her head. She is twisting that idea of wanting to be happy and loved into some perverse sin of envy because she is thinking she is only desiring what others have.

    Some sects of Christianity come with so much baggage.
     
  5. Baba Booey

    Baba Booey Contributing Member

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    Just opt out of all this drama. There is enough stress in this world without creating your own.

    Plus...you'll get your Sundays back.
     
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  6. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    Always seemed a bit contradictory to me as well. Here's a possible rationalization. When Jesus was tempted but resisted, he resisted out of virtue. When you lust after your neighbor's wife (for example), you may resist acting on it not because of your virtue but because of real-life deterrents (your neighbor will kill you, your wife will kill you, your children won't respect you, you'll be ashamed, etc). In fact, you are likely reveling in your temptation even as you refrain from acting, picturing her naked and enumerating all the things you'd like to do with her if you could. It does rather sound like a rationalization to me, though, since I don't see much in the Bible to define a distinction between sinless and sinful temptation. I'm not sure it matters much since the sinful ones are forgiven anyway.

    It's very common in evangelical circles for women to reproach themselves for being envious of the marriages (or children, the other big one) others enjoy. I don't think I'd call it baggage. I'd actually say they have more self-awareness. Wanting to loved is fine, but envying another woman her husband isn't very healthy. Christians are probably more ready to regulate themselves to avoid obsessing in self-destructive thoughts like these.
     
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  7. JeopardE

    JeopardE Contributing Member

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    "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ..."

    A Christian who truly understands what it means to be a Christian should never live in shame/guilt of sin that has already been forgiven. Just be honest to God about it and seek grace to grow out of it. According to the bible, even if your own conscience condemns you, God is greater than your conscience.

    This is one of the worst mischaracterizations of Christianity, and it is often perpetrated by Christians themselves. The whole point of it is that we can never measure up to God's standard anyway, and Jesus paid the whole price, so why continue to live under the same guilt and condemn others telling them they don't measure up?
     
  8. Rockets1616

    Rockets1616 Member

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    Trying to figure out what is and isn't sin is like trying to interpret a vague law, language isn't inherently precise.
     
  9. fallenphoenix

    fallenphoenix Contributing Member

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  10. Hustle Town

    Hustle Town Contributing Member

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    Matthew 15:18-19 comes to mind...not sure if that's the answer you are looking for.
     
  11. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    It has to be action though I think thought often affects action in even the smallest of ways.
     
  12. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    If the Bible says it's a sin and she thinks it is, any indulgence thereof is either a submission to temptation or an ethical compromise for worldly affection.
     
  13. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Contributing Member

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    One thing I have learned through out the years is that the bible can be interpreted very differently. If you take a very simple definition of envy and loosely interpret the bible, you can easily make a religion that says "wanting what someone else has is a sin and you will go to hell". Of course that is silly because we all want something that we can never have or achieve. Now its a little different when you let that 'envy' start creating disdain and hardship in your life. (Like trying to take your friends beautiful wife)

    I believe there are two different sins; A sin that offends yourself and a sin that offends others. Harboring hate is an example of a sin that offends yourself. If you're more orthodox, you could include smoking, drinking, drugs, ect... These sins create hell in your own life and the hell that comes from it is your punishment.
    A sin that offends other IMO is one that is more serious. This is one where you actually hurt someone else, either physically, emotionally, or mentally. This is where karma comes into play.

    Now to cherry pick scriptures, the bible does say a sin is a sin, no matter how big or small and they are all seen the same through God. So whether you steal a penny or kill a person, its the same to God. This is of course talking about God forgiving you for any sin. Considering anything that isn't Gods will is a sin, and none of us can truly know Gods will, we live in perpetual sin. Once you put your head around it, one will realize that its better to just live life to the best of your ability and not strive for perfection.
     
  14. BetterThanI

    BetterThanI Contributing Member

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    Everything I've ever done
    Everything I ever do
    Every place I've ever been
    Everywhere I'm going to
    It's a sin
     
  15. percicles

    percicles Contributing Member

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    “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” -Yoda
     
  16. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    I remember madmax mentioning that it was technically a sin in some passages to strongly think about the sin itself even without committing though that it was something we've all done at some time or another.

    Me, I think we judge and beat ourselves up more than necessary. I read a great passage once that wrote that people who have committed a crime are judged and punished by the court of law just once, whereas we ourselves judge our individual actions many times after the fact or allow others to judge the same mistake over and over again. And that's a different crime in of itself.
     
  17. finalsbound

    finalsbound Contributing Member

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    sin is everything, sin is everywhere. i've worked with people who constantly curse, gossip, get drunk, cheat on their partners (or at the very least publicly b**** about them nonstop), cut moral corners on stuff all the time and still go to church every sunday and call themselves christians. I also know people who don't think those people are "true christians" because they... indulge in raunchy humor. then other people think THOSE people aren't real Christians because they get tipsy every so often. EVERY SINGLE CHRISTIAN cherry-picks what they want from the bible, everyone has their own individual moral compass. ****, even my parents, who think one beer is a sin and pray for forgiveness and shut the TV off immediately when a character on a show even so much as lies, have mayyybe begun to open their minds a little on gay marriage. everything is so complex and mired in gray. it's taken me a long time to stop judging myself and other people based on the lunacy i was fed growing up.

    so yeah, a thing that could be considered a "distraction that causes mental suffering" to one person could be totally kosher with someone else's faith. it's interesting how many people who grew up without religion don't have to deal with this "sin guilt" at all - they have no point of reference for what constitutes a "sin" - only the morals they've reached on their own accord. i feel bad for your friend. she just needs to get to living her life before it passes her by because she's so preoccupied with getting married. plus, ya know, if you're not sinnin', you're not livin'. and once she lets go of this guilt that almost certainly is making her uptight and rigid, she'll probably be more attractive to the opposite sex.
     
  18. moestavern19

    moestavern19 Member

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    Sin is the demerit system that punches your ticket to Hell.

    The concept of sin is just an affirmation by religion that God created humans in his OWN image, yet human nature is to lust, steal, envy, covet, murder, and genuinely to anything to put one's own well being in a better position. So is that God's image? Doesn't sound very benevolent to me.

    So sin is basically just God creating a ****ed up, mortal version of himself and then shaming his own creation and condemning them to hell because they acted in the way they were intended to.

    Makes a lot of sense doesn't it.
     
  19. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    What I hear from the pulpit is that all your sinfulness is forgiven so don't worry, but what I hear echoed back from critics of the church is that they've been told they had to be good or else go to hell. My wife had this sort of experience growing up with a minister for a father hearing her whole childhood that her sins were forgiven and yet somehow processing that she had to be good. It was only as a young adult that she 'got it' that being good wasn't the point. I didn't grow up in the church, so I'm looking in on this one. Maybe it's Sunday school teachers undermining the preachers to make kids behave and then people can't shake the idea as adults, I don't know. You certainly get echoes from bible thumpers when it comes to the social issues stuff (homosexuality and abortion), but the same churches talk about forgiveness when they think about sin in the abstract. In all, sin is way overrated, considering its a religion that says it's paid for.

    For the OP, conservative evangelical churches like mine would say you're born in sin, any sin is worth damnation, and it's all forgiven when you accept Christ so it doesn't matter. Repentence is healthy and part of a person's relationship with Jesus, but identifying every sin is impossible and unnecessary. Probably, for your friend, it isn't as important as you think. She's examined herself and found herself thinking in unhealthy ways and feels guilty about it. Is she beating herself up over it? Sounds to me like her primary concern is she hasn't found a husband yet despite praying and praying for it and she wonders when or if her prayers will be answered. And, can she come to peace with God's will, if it is that she not be married.
     
  20. Nero

    Nero Member

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    It's a much simpler thing than most people realize.

    As human beings, we know the difference between right and wrong. We just do, unless we are mentally 'broken' somehow.

    Thoughts or deeds, doesn't matter. What matters is that you, inside your heart, you know whether that deed or thought is the wrong thing to be doing.

    And it is inevitable. Most people can avoid deeds which are wrong, but thoughts, well, if you know you shouldn't be thinking certain things, but you allow yourself to do it anyway, then yeah, that's a sin. Because you are choosing to do the wrong thing, rather than the right thing.

    That's what sin is - choosing to do the wrong thing rather than the right thing.

    Of course thoughts are harder to manage than deeds, that's obvious. But when honestly asking forgiveness for sin, we acknowledge them, acknowledge our weakness, and ask for strength and guidance to be better and to make the right choices, even when it comes to our thoughts.

    Think of it like this, as a sort of an analogy:

    A person can stand up proudly and declare 'I am not a racist.' And he could in fact literally have never in his life have ever committed a racist act, or uttered a racist word. But, in his mind, what if he harbors racist thoughts? Even while never turning those thoughts into deeds by actions or words, what he is on the inside.. is he a racist? I believe the answer is yes. And more than likely, if he is honest with himself, he feels guilty about it as well. Since we accept as given that racism is wrong, he is guilty of choosing to do the wrong thing instead of the right thing.

    That's how sin is. When you know what the right thing to do is, and you still choose to do the wrong thing. There's no distinction between our actions and our thoughts when it comes to our choices.
     

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