Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FacePalm of the Day - The Meaninglessness of Sin | The Hammer That Speaks

John Loftus posted a link to the following article. The article shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Bible says sin is. People might argue that showing how the article twists and distorts the Bible is using circular reasoning but it is not. Showing how the Bible contradicts the claims being made against it based on what it says is not assuming the Bible is true before proving it true. If you want to show the Bible is not true, then you have to show that you at least understand what the Bible says.

Sin, and the forgiveness from it, is one of the main tenets of the Christian faith–but what exactly does “sin” mean to a Christian? Sin is said to be a transgression of God’s law, but if that is the case, then it cannot be said that Jesus saved believers from the “law.” If Jesus saved believers from the laws, then there can no longer be “sin,” as there are no laws to break. Sin then becomes a paradox, and cannot be easily defined.

No. Jesus did not save us from the Law. Jesus saved us from God's wrath. He saved us from the consequences and penalty we deserve because we have transgressed God's Law. Sin is not a paradox because Law is not Sin just because the authors of this article have wrongly conflated the two.

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 

Furthermore, if Jesus paid for all the “sins” of mankind, then believers would no longer have to “pay” for their sins, as Jesus already did that on the cross, absolving believers from having to take responsibility for their actions.  As long as a believer has “faith” in Jesus and repents, they believe they will still gain entrance into paradise, without having to pay for their own mistakes.  In other words, “sin” is meaningless, as there are no consequences for believers even if they do commit any so-called “sins.”

Wrong! There were consequences for my sins and the sins of everyone who trusts in Christ. Jesus suffered and died in our place. The price for our salvation was paid by Jesus' voluntary death on the cross in the place of those He chose to save. 

 43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[d] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”- John 6:43-51

This is an area where I think the King James version really shines in putting forth the idea the Bible is really saying. Jesus is our propitiation. 

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. - 1 John 4:10

However, even if we consider that sin is defined as an act of lawlessness as it states in 1John 3:4–whose laws do Christians follow?


Is it considered a sin to break man’s law, or God’s laws? If it is considered a sin to break God’s laws, then the laws were not eliminated and they still stand, as Jesus himself stated in the fulfillment passages of Matt 5:17-20. Paul would be wrong to have claimed that believers were no longer under the law–but that is exactly what he did. Paul forgoes the law in favor of “grace” and preached that once a believer offered themselves to Jesus they were “set free” from sin, and they become slaves to righteousness. i.e., they would be “slaves” to doing what is right—while at the same time being taught that they are “born sinners” and cannot help but to not do what is not right, as it is not possible for them to be perfect.–a double bind. In fact, it’s a double, double bind, as the Bible does claim that it is possible to be perfect!  (In our previous post, we explained what “double binds” are, and how they lead to confused thinking, and/or psychosis, and also what “perfect” really means.)

"Perfect" does not mean "sinless" in the context of what Jesus said. There is no contradiction. We are born sinners and that is why we need a savior. The Bible is totally correct that we are slaves to sin until we are freed through Jesus Christ. If you were not a slave to transgressing God's law, they why do you continually break them? And you do continue to break them. Someone who denies scripture or the existence of God categorically break the first and second of the "Ten Commandments". When Paul claimed that we are no longer under the Law he was arguing that you could not follow the Law to be justified before God not that the Law does not have a place.

In Romans, Paul wrote:
For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:14-18
If it is considered a sin to break man’s laws, then God’s laws are redundant, and there is no such thing as “sin,” as a sin is defined as immoral act which is considered to be a transgression against divine (God’s) law.

Nope. Paul is not saying the God's laws are redundant. It's not just an immoral act. Breaking man's law is not necessarily a sin because some of man's laws are in direct contradiction with God's Law. For example, abortion is legal in the United States but there in no way anyone could argue that abortion would be legal under the Old Testament Law.
“Where there is no law, there is no transgression.” Romans 4:14.
Paul implied that once one believes in Jesus Christ, they are under “grace” and not the law, while at the same time promoting the idea that all of humanity is burdened with the “original sin” of Adam and Eve. According to Paul, salvation from sin came through through the blood of Christ, as he states in both Romans and 1Corinthians:
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”  Romans 5:2
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”. 1Cor 5:22
Salvation does indeed come to us through Christ but not because the Law has been thrown away, but because Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Law. 

Through Paul, Christians have been taught that they are “tainted” by Adam and Eve’s  “original sin” and they sin due to their innate “human nature.” If this was the case however, God would still be responsible for their actions as he created them with this “innate human nature” as, “…every decision is from the Lord.”( Prov:16:33). Logically, if  “every decision is from the Lord” as the Bible states, then Yahweh decides everything, including which babies suffer and die from hunger, and which women get raped and murdered, and he also decides who the murderers are–humans have no free will. Even if Christians claim that Satan brings evil thoughts to their minds–this too negates their free will and makes Satan more powerful than God.

Does God  really decide such things? Yes. But no one does evil against their will. The reason you haven't killed anyone or raped anyone (if you haven't) isn't because you are so wonderful or moral. It's because God had restrained your evil. When Adam and Eve were created they were sinless and perfect. They only became sinners when they made the decision to disobey God. I would argue that the only people who can claim to have a human nature as God intended it would be pre-fall Adam and Eve and Jesus himself.

However, let us look at one of the main Christian responses against my argument, if not the only one. Some Christians claim that the fall of man was included in God’s plan for the very purpose of demonstrating and manifesting his “love” via the “ultimate sacrifice” of Jesus.  They claim that in order to demonstrate the very greatest part of his nature of love, God/Jesus would have to die for us, and this could not be done if there was no one for him to die for, and no reason for Jesus.  Christians claim this is why there is sin, as there could be no reason for God/Jesus to die if there were no need for an atonement.  However, if causing such suffering in the world in order for his love to be recognized, and to show his “love” is the best God can do, then he is not all-powerful, or, he is not all knowing because if he was all powerful, then he could have found a better way to show his “love” as opposed to having “sin” in the world, and he would know how to do it. 

There is something missing from the above logic. How do you know that there was a better way that would also meet all the other design constraints  that God has in mind. For example, if everything has not gone the way it had, would you even exist? I'd wager not.

24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. - Acts 17:24-28

This included the suffering and pain you and everyone experiences.

According to this claim, then he would not be all powerful, or he would not be all knowing.

Wrong as I already pointed out.

 But perhaps he is all powerful and all knowing, which would lead us to another alternative–that is, the Christian god is selfish, and is a masochist and a sadist.

Nope. What we really get is the following:

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”[h] 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory — 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? - Romans 9:19-24
Nevertheless, let us assume that the Christian claim above is true, and the argument is valid and sound, and that the conclusion is true.  That is,  it is necessary to have sin in the world in order for the love of God to be recognized as without sin, there would be no suffering, and we could not “see” the goodness of god.  How absurd that is!!  In fact, a good father who loves his children would rather go unrecognized rather than have his children suffer so that he could be recognized by them for loving them.  It would be selfish on the father’s part to make his children suffer merely so that he could be recognized.  This argument is also similar to a wife being beaten by her husband so that he can then show his “love” to her afterwards.  It is ridiculous and absurd.  If the Christian god were truly a loving god, then he would rather go unrecognized rather than cause suffering to his children.  Instead, the Christian god would rather be “known” by causing his children pain and suffering–making him sadistic.

Wrong. God doesn't just want us to know Him to soothe his own ego. He is so perfect that just because he is he deserves the adulation and glory. All the analogies with the abusive parent or husband  just don't cut it. It isn't about God needing us. It is about knowing Him because we need Him. What child does not want to know who his/her father is? To know His ways and character  so that they can know themselves. 

It is disturbing that Christians believe there really isn’t much any of them can do about their so-called “sinful nature” because they believe they don’t have the ability in themselves to overcome this so-called powerful law of what they believe to be their human nature–which is why they rely so heavily on the blood of Jesus Christ to save them from their sins. This means then, that they continue to “sin” believing they cannot help themselves. (Again, this means they believe they have no “free will” to stop themselves.)

 Hold up. No one can live up to God's standards without God's help. Go ahead and try. Read the Law codes in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy and see if you can follow them for an hour without violating them in thought or deed. Go ahead and try. Dare you. The problem is that our human nature is broken yet we are still accountable. Once we are saved we are free of the consequences of those constraints but that does not mean you get to sin all you want. You can choose to obey God and have it be a choice of your own will. That's freedom. Here is a start but you really should read all of Romans.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin — because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has master - Romans 6:1-9

 If Christians believe that their “human nature” is responsible for their evil deeds (and not their own free will) then instead of worshiping Yahweh, Christians should be blaming him, as according to the Bible, it was Yahweh who gave them their “human nature” in the first place–which, as they say, is prone to sin and most importantly, according to the Bible, “…EVERY decision is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:33) 

No the Bible does not tell us that our evil is due to our human nature. It is because of our enslaved will. God did not give us a broken human nature. We inherited from Adam. We should worship God because he chose to redeem us and not leave us broken. If you end up staying broken that is on you. 

The logic indicating Yahweh is responsible for the problem of evil is in the form of Modus Ponens, and is as follows:
P1. If God created us as Christians claim, then God gave us “human nature.”
P2. If human nature allows us to sin, then God is to blame for the problem of evil.
C. Therefore, God is to blame for the problem of evil.
So, we see by their own admission that the christian god, if he existed, is to blame for the problem of evil. He is also to blame for humans being disobedient due to their “human nature” that he himself created.

 God did not give Adam a nature such that he disobeyed God. Premise 1 is flawed because Adam began sinless and perfect. We are not. You can't back trace sin to Genesis 1.  Premise 2 is flawed because it flows from Premise 1. Complete fail. 

 Furthermore, after setting humans up to fail by giving them human nature, he then chooses at his whim whom he gives grace to. How cliquey and sadistic of him to “pick and choose” who suffers for eternity, and who is “saved.”:
“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” Proverbs 16:33
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—” Ephesians 2:8
Add Romans 9 to that list. 

Our “human nature” aside, without the belief of the fall of Adam and Eve, there would be no such thing as original sin, and no need for redemption at all.

If one is to be honest either you have to agree that we are all flawed and do evil things (human nature in other words)  or that some of us are better or more moral than others,  Who's  arrogant again?

 In other words, there would be no need for the religion known as Christianity if the story of Adam and Eve was not taken literally, as there would be nothing to be redeemed from.  Therefore, if what Christians say is true, their god creates the suffering and the “sin” so that he can be “recognized”–making him a sadistic god, or, there was no “fall of man” or “original sin” and we as humans can decide for ourselves to do what is right.

And just how do we agree on what is right and what is wrong? Because we don't agree and we know we do things all the time that hurt ourselves and others - as a species - obviously we need some kind of redemption. I don't just need God to fix you. I need God to fix me.

It is after all, just a matter of choice.  We can choose to do right, or we can choose to do wrong, but it makes it so much easier for Christians to do what is wrong when they have a “fall guy” named Jesus to take the punishment for their bad choices upon his shoulders, thereby absolving believers of any responsibility for their actions.  How convenient–and how treacherous.   Ultimately, we must all take responsibility for our own actions, or see the demise of civilization, and/or humanity itself.

When a Christian does wrong it should not be easy at all. If you find it easy to do wrong or think that you can just think of Jesus as a fall-guy or your get-out-of-hell-free card, you not only don't understand what scripture says but I don't think you are a Christian. Neither would Apostle Paul.

15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[d] Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.
19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” - Galatians 2:15-21
The Meaninglessness of Sin | The Hammer That Speaks

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