How do you "spell" sin


Hi All;

In a recent discussion with a friend I said, “Sin is first and foremost an offense against God.” My friend said that he does not believe in God, therefore he does not sin.

How would answer him?

God Bless


Does he acknowledge that there is a right and wrong?

Stealing is a sin, as well as a crime. Ask him (hypothetically, of course) if he thinks it is still a crime if a person isn’t caught shoplifting. If the person does not believe in God, would their conscience bother them? Would it make it right just because they might get away with it with a clear conscience?

Your friend has apparently (at this time in his life, anyway) rejected God and His Church. Many people in this day and age know what God’s rules are and have ignored them. Their judgement is God’s call, but remember that there is always hope during one’s lifetime - continue to pray that your friend heeds the Holy Spirit in his life.


What if your friend didn’t believe in…let’s say…the federal government. Could he still commit a crime against it?

You can’t see the government…but there is plenty of evidence all around us, isn’t there? Federal buildings, people that work for the feds, etc…kinda like there are Churches all around, clerics,etc.


Does he acknowledge the Law of Gravity? Even if he did, if he jumped off a building he would find that the Law applies even to non-believers. Sin works the same way.

Your friend reminds me of a line of a song by Blood, Sweat, and Tears in the early 70’s - “I swear there ain’t no heaven, and I pray there ain’t no hell”.


sin is also an offense against one’s own dignity and the dignity of every person, even those not directly affected by one’s own actions. it is any action that brings harm to oneself, one’s integrity, human dignity, self-worth, bodily, spiritual and/or psychological health, relationships or of course to any other person, to society as a whole, or contributes to a climate where harm to self or others is permitted and promoted.


Sin just means a morally evil-or wrong- act, so by his definition only believers in God can do wrong. But if that were true, he could have no reason to object if a nonbeliever were to, say, kill a loved one of his. I doubt that he means to say objective morality doesn’t exist but maybe he does?


Hey, bobbymac, give him the complete definition of sin. Look how the Catechism defines it:

1849 Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is **failure in genuine love for God and neighbor **caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”

Even if he does not believe in God, he has sinned if he has done anything against reason, truth, and right conscience or if he has failed in showing genuine love for his neighbour.

I’m sure he must have done these things, so he is also a sinner, whether he accepts it or not!


Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17)


Thanks to everyone. I knew you all would come through for me.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit