Does sin exist?

seven deadly sins

“The Seven Deadly Sins and The Four Last Things” by Hieronymous Bosch (c. 1500)

We as humans like to extoll our concepts of right and wrong, but our understanding of right and wrong has been greatly distorted following the dominion of Christianity. Thus, the abstract concepts of sin and virtue became solid in the eyes of many. For most people, all they need is “sin is bad, and virtue is good”, but for those looking for answers beyond the pale, the ultimate question is this – does sin even object objectively?

From the moment we can walk and talk, we are taught of the notion of sin, and also that sin is the same as evil. We’re still taught a very one-sided view of right and wrong, and expected to obey it to the letter. Sin (or perhaps the guilt associated with its modern equivalent), therefore, is the mechanism by which society trains people to be ashamed of transgressing the rules of society. By contrast, virtue becomes a character that is expected of anyone seeking to avoid eternal damnation. This is why the Catholic Church created the Seven Heavenly Virtues (chastity, temperance, diligence, etc.) in contrast to their previous invention, the Seven Deadly Sins.

The chief problem with the concept of sin is that everything that’s called a sin happens to be linked with basic natural drives. For example, it’s somehow a sin to have sex outside of marriage, and marriage doesn’t even exist outside the walls of human civilization. By contrast, the virtues touted by society contradict our natural drives. For example, society expects us to give to poor, but this moral virtue is negated both by the natural desire to survive, and by the fact that society tends to glamorize wealth, greed and power far more than charity. Besides, poverty is an economic problem maintained by the current economic and class systems. It has almost nothing to do with whether or not you’ve sinned.

Since sin, virtue, and the boundaries of right and wrong are ultimately concepts written by humans, they can only be upheld by humans, and yet we act like they’re a quintessential part of the universe, without which we cannot exist. In my opinion, we can exist without the notions of morality. As far as I’m aware, pre-modern man did not have a concept of morals or ethics, and nor did they operate a concept of guilt and shame. These were all concepts invented by mankind during the dawn of civilization for the purpose of social cohesion, and they have only existed in human civilization.

Even though I believe that we can live without the concepts of sin, virtue, right, and wrong, I don’t believe that many us can do it so easily. This is because society has trained humans to abide by an artificial moral code, and we have convinced ourselves that without society, or indeed its morals and ethics, we will descend into savages who would just kill, pillage, and violate each other in a senseless orgy of self-destruction. If true, then that would be the psychosomatic response that has been programmed into mankind by a society that has spent all its energies convincing us that we are nothing more than virulent beasts that need to be tamed.

In summation, sin does not exist objectively. It does not exist in nature, and even if it does, it only exists on the planet Earth. The notion of sin, and indeed the concepts of virtue, morality and ethics, are all mere fabrications of mankind. That does not erase the value that they have for people. In fact, such things only have value, meaning or ramifications that humans give them. Even if sin did exist, it could only exist with humans to reinforce the concept, and all the social programming associated with it. If we all perish, then all our rules and moral concepts would die with us.

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