Noun: An immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.
Verb: Commit a sin.
Synonyms: noun: trespass - guilt - offense - transgression - offence
Verb: transgress - err - trespass – offend
The concept of sin has always fascinated me. Logically when we think about what sins actually are and what they’ve been turned into it astounding. When we look at sin from a legal prospective we see something very similar to the Code of Hammurabi, an ancient Babylonia law code that some say is the ancestor of what we today call Common Law. Sin is in essence a “God’s Law” code. A set of rules created to ensure the security of the tribe in question.
I can completely understand why in antiquity a group of people would want a set of rules to govern people. My issue comes in when those rules are written by human beings and are claimed to be of divine origin. One group claims that another group cannot possibly be “righteous” because “God said don’t eat pork” and they eat pork. Here I am referencing of course the Law of Moses.
This law, according to the Old Testament, governs everything from moral laws through laws of what to eat and when to eat it. If we look at this set of laws from the prospective of the people of the time, we can see that some of them make pretty good sense for people living in a desert without access to proper cleaning materials. It’s a pretty good idea not to eat pork that’s been lying about in a hot desert for a week. I get that. We also cannot pick and choose what we want to keep and what we want to toss out. On one hand we have “don’t eat or touch pork, it is unclean” and then we have Football. I think you see where I’m going here. This particular set of laws, if I give the benefit of the doubt and say, yes, your book is true, was intended to govern a group, a LARGE group of people that had been living as slaves their entire lives, for generation after generation. They NEEDED strict rules until they could learn to think and govern themselves again. I think that by now, these “laws” are obsolete.
The next “sin” I want to talk about is the idea of “Original Sin”. This is a Christian doctrine, which says everyone is born of sin. Because of the sins of our fathers we inherited that sin and must be forgiven in order to move in to the Kingdom of Heaven. Many religious groups support this and have way to “cleanse” newborns by baptisms and so on to help remove the sin. To me, this concept was nothing more than a way to control the masses. How else do you get a group of people to do what you say? Tell them they are doomed from the beginning and the ONLY WAY to salvation is via your church. I just shake my head at this thought process. When we look at this from a legal prospective, to tell a person because their father was a thief, they must serve time is ludicrous. We would never, arrest the child of a rapist and toss them in jail. We would never require restitution from the offspring of an embezzler. Each person is accountable for their own actions. Not the actions of their fathers, grandfathers or great grandfathers.
If that were the case, I’d not be sitting here now writing this blog. I’d be locked away in a jail somewhere, because I have parents who were indeed criminals. The concept that I am a sinner because “YOUR” book quotes a God that “YOU” follow and that means I’m doomed is a bit much.
Over my lifetime I’ve studied many things, one of which is law. I am a Paralegal. I have taken classes and studied the law in three states. One thing that I learned very quickly was a concept called the “Spirit of the Law vs. Letter of the Law”. When one follows the letter of the law, it is taking the words or the “letters” directly from the statute and applying them to a particular incident. The “spirit” of the law is where we look at the situation, and understand that even though by the letter of the law this person may be guilty, this was not what the spirit of the law, fairness… justice.. Those two “spirits” would not be rewarded and actually be damaged by applying the letter of the law. This “spirit” is even mentioned in the Christian bible in the book of Romans. An example of this might be someone who is driving 67 miles per hour in a 65 zone. By the letter of the law they are speeding, however this speed limit was not intended to stop people from driving 67, it was intended to stop people from driving 80.
I think that when we look at sin we need to stop looking at the “letter of the law”. Those “letters” were written a very long time ago, by who? Men. Not a God. Men that wanted your obedience. Today we can look around us and think about what does sin really mean. What is the “spirit” of the law?
In my opinion, the spirit of the law or what should be the spirit of the law of sin is one thing. Don’t be an ass. Yup that’s it. Don’t be an ass. Don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, and don’t blow people up. Live and let live. One commandment, the word according to Sosanna.
Namaste & Blessed Be