"Sins" and the Atheist

"Sins" and the Atheist
Ten Smashed Commandments

There are sins and there are crimes.

The basics of law in the United States and most of the Western World are based upon the Judeo-Christian tenets of faith. You know them; they were codified by a Jew who came down from the mountain, after talking to the Almighty, only to find that his followers were worshipping a gold calf.   A little later, another Jew came along and narrowed it all down to “Love one another”, with the additional instruction to “Love your enemies”.

In other great societies that allowed for mercy and forgiveness, but did not necessarily believe in the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, formed their own sets of beliefs, which, when examined, are closely related to the Judeo-Christen view of  justice, and, in most cases, originated prior.

Today’s subject seems to be about sin, about the Seven Deadly Sins.  I won’t name them, as to be redundant, but the worse of those sins is pride.

These sins spoken to in various ways by the bloggers, all had some sort of origin in a god or gods.  And to displease the god or gods meant anger, hurt, punishment, atonement and, sometimes, forgiveness.

What does the atheist do when faced with the probability of a sin, or, let us call it, temptation?  Then does the deed of whatever of the Seven Deadly Sins presenting?

Maybe the atheist is caught and punished under laws derived from “sins”, and maybe not.

What guides the atheist when alone, when there is no concept of “sin” and when the probability of being caught by those enforcing laws is nil?   Why have virtue?  Why accept justice originating from the hocus-pocus of god or gods?

Some of these “sins” or “laws” are just not natural.  Whose to say what “gluttony” entails?  Or “sloth”?  Who decides what here, and why?  Then, why should the atheist submit to the codification or popular conception?

Human nature calls for you to commit the deed, and your pride says, “Why not.”



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  • I’m not exactly sure if you are arguing that some “sins” are no longer appropriate based on evolution of society or if an atheist has will commit sin if they think they won’t get caught. I agree with the former but I think you are trying to argue the later, which I do not agree with. Many people base their morals on a 2,000 year old book, which is generally fine and acceptable, but it should not be the end-all be-all for how someone should interact with society.
    The word sin means a violation of God’s law. As you pointed out, some actions that society deems a crime are also considered a sin. You seem to be are arguing that the only reason someone of faith behaves appropriately is because there is an invisible spirit always watching you, seeing if you have been bad or good (so be good for goodness sake!) and if you misbehave you will be punished (by suffering for eternity) or rewarded (with eternal life in heaven). Acting this way is just as selfish as the sinful atheist. Lucky for us, it is society that decides “what here, and why” an atheist “should submit to the codification or popular conception”. Society determines what is right and wrong, moral and immoral.
    But let’s reverse idea, only an atheist can understand true compassion. When an atheist performs an act of charity of assists his fellow man in need, he is not doing I because of some religious teaching or supernatural threat/reward. His actions are based on an inner basis of morality. The sole reason he is performing a good deed is because it is the right thing to do.
    And to leave you on a note about Chicago, students and Moody Bible Institute may take dance lessons and dance at celebration ceremonies, but are prohibited from patronizing dance clubs. Most freshmen are probably ok with this, as they can’t be out past 1am anyway.

  • Hocke41181, thank you for your thoughtful comment.

    I tired to draw a distinction between the activists atheist and those who are just your run of the mill non-believer. However, the quandary still exists: human nature is human nature, and if a, let's say a solo act of transgression is committed, and nobody is the wiser, than what will compel an atheist to act against human nature.

    There are atheists who commit acts of charity all the time, but I am questioning, I think, what will cause the restraint of one who knows that there will be no earthly and no "heavenly" consequences? Not all are philosopher atheists, who reason that an act of transgression, is a degradation of society. Many "believers" will commit "sins", some crimes", without the same reasoning.

    I just found it ironic that a whole day was devoted to the Seven Deadly Sins, when a considerable portion of the readership seems apathetic about religious belief, and sometimes antagonistic. I'm thinking back to my post about living with an atheist, and the ire that drew. No atheist seemed to want to step up and call the folly of it all, so I was hoping to help, but apparently I have too often revealed my true colors, and my atheist slant was ash canned.

    Oh, well, what the "hell".
    I'm at a loss for a similar refrain for the non-believer.

    Thanks anyway.

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