Cultural Observation: Why People Reject the Word “Sin”

  1. It’s too dark a depiction of human nature [See Valley of Vision prayer “Yet, I Sin”]
  2. It was a concept used to wage war on healthy pleasures like sex and entertainment. Avoiding sin meant living a joyless life.
  3. It was wielded recklessly by self-righteous and authoritarian people.

See David Brooks, The Road to Character

Brooks goes on to say, “But in truth, “sin,” like “vocation” and “soul,” is one of those words that it is impossible to do without. It is one of those words—and there will be many in this book—that have to be reclaimed and modernized. Sin is a necessary piece of our mental furniture because it reminds us that life is a moral affair. No matter how hard we try to reduce everything to deterministic brain chemistry, no matter how hard we try to reduce behavior to the sort of herd instinct that is captured in big data, no matter how hard we strive to replace sin with nonmoral words, like “mistake” or “error” or “weakness,” the most essential parts of life are matters of individual responsibility and moral choice: whether to be brave or cowardly, honest or deceitful, compassionate or callous, faithful or disloyal. When modern culture tries to replace sin with ideas like error or insensitivity, or tries to banish words like “virtue,” “character,” “evil,” and “vice” altogether, that doesn’t make life any less moral; it just means we have obscured the inescapable moral core of life with shallow language. It just means we think and talk about these choices less clearly, and thus become increasingly blind to the moral stakes of everyday life.”

One comment on “Cultural Observation: Why People Reject the Word “Sin”

  1. Bonsai says:

    We need to accept these concepts as all actions are not equal.

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