Are the guiltless sinless?


Despite what people say (religious people mostly) about our “conscience” and how this little moral compass of ours will steer us in an ethical direction, it seems quite apparent that, yes indeed, we all have moral compasses, but not all of them point north. On the contrary, there are almost as many notions of what right and wrong is as there are people on this planet, with each value system shaped by the person’s environment. I may believe that killing is wrong for example, but I didn’t grow up in a hostile tribal setting like, say, the equally human yet corrupted Saddam Hussein.

Now, I’m not suggesting that there is no universal right and wrong or such, people can and will be wrong. However, what I’m trying to reconcile is the issue of sin (or at least moral sin) and how it requires that the person to be fully aware that they are doing wrong in the first place. In other words How does a person sin if they they believe that they are not doing wrong in the first place?

In fact, since there will inevitably be examples and analogies used, I have a few myself I would like to see elaborated on:

A doctor, believing she is helping a patient who is in horrible pain, performs euthanasia to relieve his suffering.

A long-ago Japanese Samurai – who is captured by his enemies – commits ritual suicide as he has been taught that the shame of defeat is too great to go on living.

Two married gay men, believing that sex and love are God-granted gift to be enjoyed and shared by anyone, make love for the sake of giving to their partner and not out of lust.

Now regardless of whether these people are right or wrong, they at least think they are doing the right thing. So, could anyone say that *they *are sinning? Is it knowledge which condemns us?

If I don’t have the time to respond, I apologize, but thanks in advance for the input! :thumbsup:


Well, depends on why they are feeling no guilt. If it’s simply because they have hardened consciences then they are still sinners.

It’d be hard to argue in any day and age, for example, that any euthanasing doctor or gay person, is unaware that many people consider what they do to be heinously wrong. So they’re obviously not blind to the fact that their moral choices are questionable. They’re choosing, perhaps, what satisfies themselves rather than objectively searching out the moral rights and wrongs of the matter.

Your samurai warrior - well, Japanese society was quite closed for centuries, but there was still some exposure to outside ideas - from their neighbouring countries, for example, which do NOT have the same idea of ritual suicide. But there’s a much stronger case here, conditioning being SO strong, that they are either not culpable or only committing a venial rather than mortal sin.

If they have some sort of shock or mental or emotional problem brought on by trauma, for example, that contributes to their behaviour … again that more likely would lessen their sin - make it venial rather than mortal - rather than make them totally sinless.


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