What is Sin?
(2023) by Vernon Miles Kerr, and VernonMilesKerr.com
That old Catholic mantra for the confessional booth, “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned,” has a good side and a bad side, a yin and a yang. The good-side is that, as averse as humans are at protecting their egos, it makes them think more rationally about their past sins. The down-side is that a huge man-made, empire-building, religious corporation has defined what”sin” IS, and has promulgated the myth that we need a puny human to act as God’s ear-piece and microphone. We don’t.
Millions on Earth speak to God directly at all hours of the day and night without an intercessor, and God, one way or another speaks back.
The method God uses is usually by subconscious “inspiration,” but sometimes its by consciously audible or visual sound-bites and images. Recipients of those are better off, in today’s world, keeping the non-subconscious communications personal, to avoid being thought insane.
I, personally, near 80 at this writing, have had more self-awareness therapy in the 4 years since I’ve retired than in the 76 prior ones. Finally home, after being “on the road” for 20 years, I’ve gotten plenty of feedback from adults in my immediate family—after their having had to deal with me on a daily basis. Frankly, it hasn’t been pleasant, but it has been cathartic.
When I pray, I avoid addressing God as “Father,” usually it’s “Dear God,” or “Loving God,” or even “Loving God of all Universes,” or something like that. Without a “church organization” or some “holy book” to define sin, what do I confess? I won’t argue with the subject matter of the 10 commandments in the Judaeo/Christian scripture, I will argue with naming them “commandments.” Our loving God does not command humans. God, rather, suggests and inspires. The image of the “commandments” as being “cast in stone” is a man-made device to support the authoritative model that humans added to religion. Here’s a quote from my WIP novel “Beyond Armageddon”** where a 200 year-old survivor of a massive extinction event opines about Old-Earth religion:
“Not that some of those writings didn’t contain useful guidelines for improving human relations and society, such as, ‘Don’t steal, don’t murder, don’t cheat on your spouse, don’t be a liar, don’t create gods and religions and use them to dominate others, don’t spend 100% of your time on monetary pursuits—but instead, take at least one day a week for family, friends and meditation about the beauty in the natural world’…” **
What do those Ten Suggestions have in common? They would all fall under the category of acts which either add to or take away from, the health of either one’s self, or that of society. Since humans are social animals and cannot be healthy with out social interaction. The health of both individual AND society is of prime interest to God.
I’ve opined myself on Twitter, and on this Blog, that today’s society puts too much emphasis on “the individual” while ignoring “social responsibility.” This filling of patient’s minds with self-supporting self-congratulatory mental placebos—in order to give them “confidence”—is a great shortcoming of today’s psychological counseling. In short, NOT ignoring the social, while still promoting the individual, is what the logic of the Ten Commandments seemed to be all about.
In summary, sin is simply that which is unhealthy for the individual and/or human society.
So for this morning I pray,
“Dear Loving God,
Forgive me for I have sinned. I’ve taken my usual selfish mode of using a friend’s confidential outpourings as a launch-point for relating stories about myself. Where I have failed to give that person a good hearing and a well considered piece of encouragement, please fill-in the gap with your spirit of peace. And please help me to overcome this sin. Amen.”