Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mistaken for sin

Mistaken for Sin

I’ve had two conversations with believers recently who wanted to try to convince me that since I have made mistakes in the past that I have also sinned. I tried to explain to them that sins are not mistakes. Since my conversations with these believers went less than well, I’ll reiterate my position here.

Let’s talk about sins first. A sin is an offense against god. These include, but are not limited to breaking the ten commandments. Since I don’t want this to become a “what-is-or-is-not-a-sin” discussion, we’ll stick with the ten commandments for clarity’s sake. So sins include things like working on the Sabbath, killing, stealing, adultery, and coveting. There’s taking the lord’s name in vain and having other gods. Not included are things like child abuse, spousal abuse, slavery, and killing infidels. (You aren’t thinking of pointing out any contradictions here to ME, are you?)

What about mistakes? Mistakes are like speeling errors. They just happen. I’m reminded of an old favorite Sesame Street song. No one expects you to never make a mistake, and most people easily forgive them. You forgot to get milk at the store? We’ll get it next time. You locked your keys in your car? Man, I hate it when that happens! But so what? Does anyone need to be nailed to a tree because I spilt my drink?

So let’s do a little compare/contrast. Sins offend god. Mistakes offend people. God only forgives sins if you believe in jesus. People forgive mistakes without requiring a blood sacrifice. Unless you are a believer, you don’t sin. Mistakes happen to everyone, regardless of religious belief.

Why isn’t child neglect one of the commandments? If we are to honor our parents, why should we not be ordered to care for our children? Where is “Thou shalt not own slaves”? Could it be that these commandments are not supposed to be a moral compass, but instead serve some other purpose?

No one really sins. God is imaginary, so offending him is like offending the loch ness monster. You can piss off a caveman; they’re extinct. And it’s okay to make mistakes. If you thought god was real, it’s okay to admit that was a mistake. Go ahead. Give it a try. It’s so easy, a caveman could do it.

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