What is the worst sin?


#1

My apologies if this posted in the wrong place!

And sorry for such a dark topic three weeks before Christmas…

I am unaware that there is an official Church teaching on this; please enlighten me if there is. :slight_smile:

C.S. Lewis makes a very good for case in Mere Christianity that pride is the worst sin. (See chapter 8, “The Great Sin”: docs.google.com/document/d/1ENwsg4McrcI-l9w_KH_JrzfWkxfC2S3fZjY5lxiuZKw/edit?hl=es&pli=1) It was after all it was the first sin of Lucifer and the cause of his fall, and all other sins came about as a result of it. Surely it represents putting the self before others and ultimately God in the “purest” form. However, pride numbers neither among sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance nor among sins against the Holy Spirit. Moreover, it’s opposite, humility, is not the greatest virtue (although that would be ironic :D), love is.

Love is undoubtedly the greatest gift of God; this can be seen throughout the Bible, possibly the most famous example being 1 Corinthians 13 (beginning with: “If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.” And ending with: “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”)

The opposite of love is indifference, or more precisely, utilitarianism–as Blessed John Paul II stated in the Theology of the Body. Giving up one’s own good for the good of others–the ultimate form of this is self-sacrifice–is the best expression of love. Conversely, to use someone else for one’s own benefit–the ultimate form of this is murder for personal gain–is the "best " expression of the opposite of love. Most crucially, if you think about it, the four sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance: murder, sodomy, oppression of the poor, and defrauding workers of their just wages, all express utilitarianism in its most absolute form.

So which is worse: absolute pride or absolute utilitarianism? I’m leaning towards the latter, but am unsure.

As a third possibility, must both necessarily include the other?

Either way, may God keep you from both, and grant you both love and humility. :smiley:

-Greg


#2

The unrepentant has committed the worst sin, whatever that sin may be.


#3

And unrepentance arises from pride.

-ACEGC


#4

I would say turning away from God would be the worst sin, which I would equate with pride. This seems to be the base and beginning of all sin. Those who love Christ follow His commandments. When we sin, we chose ourselves or whatever base desire over that Christ centered love.

Using another as a means to an end still begins with turning towards ourselves instead of Christ.


#5

The only sin that is unforgiveable is the sin against the Holy Spirit, no doubt, then, the worst sin:

Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:31-32).

Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation—because they said, “He has an unclean spirit” (Mark 3:28-30).

And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven (Luke 12:10).

#6

I’ll attempt to tackle this question. The worst sin may be the sin of pride for the enemy rebelled by pride. Saint Michael the Archangel defeated the fallen angels. When a saint entered Heaven, he asked who would sit in a very high throne to God. He was told that the enemy rebelled by pride. Saint Francis of Assisi would sit in this high throne to God for he was blessed with humility. (I cannot recall what saint had this vision but I read it in a book on the Angels.).

I have also heard from a theologian that the worst sin is envy. Envy is what the enemy rebelled for. God created man a little less than the angels. When He presented the Blessed Virgin Mary the love to be the greatest in Heaven, the fallen angels were envious. The Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, Our Savior. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

So I have heard the worst sin may also be envy. As faithful Catholics be mindful of the sin of pride and envy.


#7

How does someone offend or go against the Holy Spirit???


#8

The Holy Spirit is the Love between the Father and the Son. To hate the Holy Spirit is the state or condition that inhibits forgiveness which requires Love.

How does one hate the Holy Spirit, Love itself? By being unforgiving, holding a grudge, toward the Holy Spirit.

For a person to say “I hate God” and mean it, for whatever reason.
To deny their faith because God did not do what they wanted, and therefore they resent him and hate him.
Their prayer was not answered the way they thought it should be and they hate God or deny him.
They hate God for a family death, disappointment in love.
For losing their job, or because of suffering, or because of evil that has happened to them or others.
And any other multitude of reasons.

And as long as this kind of resentment continues, sorrow is not possible.
But if and when this softens, then sin of hate disappears, and forgiveness is possible.

It seems to me this is what hell is about. Hating God for one reason or another.


#9

Thank you! I actually was listening to mother Angelica’s show on youtube and she answered this to a caller. this makes sense to me now


#10

One of the stories in these scriptures that prompted this reply is a happless Jewish leader who feared Christ’s successes and influence and lashed out saying he was doing miracles with the help of the devil.

I think this is included in scripture as a graphic demonstration of the offense. Someone could clearly see calling the Holy Spirit the devil blatantly denies the Holy Spirit in a 180 degree way.

In my contemplation of this verse, I believe this involves whatever someone does that directly denies God’s presence in that person’s safety, or life, or needs, or the answers God is offering him or her, or in any contact God is providing at the time, or making available to that person, – that – is the sin.

In our immaturity I also believe we all have imagined the word “sin” in a shallow way, thinking it means only defiance of God’s laws. “Sin” in many ways can be translated or seen as “without” just as in Spanish. So, sin causes us to be without God. The ultimate condition of being without God is denying God altogether – therefore – the sin (denial of) the Holy Spirit, that part of the Trinity given to us to know God.

This Pharasee denied the Holy Spirit clearly by calling It the devil. As long as that person believed that, his back was totally turned away from God – total “withoutness” of the gift of God of the Holy Spirit.


#11

I disagree.

Raping or murdering someone and repenting 50 years later is a trillion times worse than uttering the words;

" I do not believe the God of Abraham is real. " and never repenting.

It’s mind boggling that anyone would think otherwise. :eek::eek::eek:


#12

Mary Ellen:

I don’t believe Christ was condemning the Pharasee on the spot for all eternity. He was trying to teach the Pharasee the magnatude of what he was saying. He was, after all calling the Son of God satan. How much more wrong can you be. What horrid doors does that open and how many millions of murders can take place where that notion exists?


#13

I think that Our Lord’s mercy is unfathomable. We could talk about rape and murder, and yes, these are heinous crimes, but if that person didn’t know God and later truly repented and placed their trust in God, then I’ve no doubt that even these awful crimes would be forgiven. I believe the repentance and love of God must be totally sincere though, and I believe they’d have to repent in advance, trusting in Our Lord’s mercy, instead of waiting for the day of justice. I know it seems hard to understand but only God knows what’s in the heart.


#14

Thanks for all the responses!

Hey 987mk,

Christians have a defined moral system, which is true whether anyone believes in it or not.

Since, an an atheist, you don’t, please explain to us: why is one worse than the other?

-Greg


#15

Not believing God exists harms no one.

Raping a child harms the child.

Do no harm. God is unnecessary.


#16

If you don’t mind, I would like to address this.

It would depend on why they said that the God of Abraham was unreal. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they do it in disbelief or in defiance, but it could be that they just haven’t seen the truth and light as yet.

But just for study, let’s say they did say it in defiance and hate. Then it is very bad…the worse for them than anything they could possible do…mind I said for them it is the worse. For they are beyond being forgiven which means there is only one consequence left…hell…where every being hates God.

But if they rape someone, for them the consequences need not be as bad for they haven’t cut off their sourse of mercy…God. And God in his unlimited patience and love can forgive anything as long as a person is truely sorry for having done the wrong. This doesn’t mean that the person will not have to suffer for what they did, but not pay the supreme penalty of hell.

So that is why from the sinner’s perspective, there is quite a difference…although from your perspective it may seem just the opposite.

I wish you well and goodness.


#17

The denial of God is the first step towards denying a basic moral law. When you commit a crime against humanity (such as raping someone) you are, in your actions, claiming that you are above such a law. When you deny God, you no longer have any fear of punishment outside of “maybe I will get caught by the authorities, but maybe I can get away with this.”

With God, everyone gets caught.

ALSO

The law of God includes and goes beyond the idea of “do no harm” because it also requires the active helping and aiding of others in need (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc.). The atheist moral code of “do no harm” essentially allows a passive life in which one would never have to step outside of their own comfort zone. Someone working under the law of “do no harm” is also able to say, “that is none of my business since I am not directly involved, therefore I have no obligation to assist, correct, or otherwise get involved.”

The idea of “You leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone” leads to separation, which leads to a myriad of different problems which we can see in the world today. Different groups drawing lines in the sand, making their own rules, justifying their every action out of selfish desires.

The law of God requires that we come together as a community and work towards understanding. God is completely necessary.


#18

Hey 987mk,

I know we’re getting off-topic here; I shouldn’t have been so provocative. :slight_smile: But Mr. Trent Horn is able to explain clearly and logically exactly why you’re wrong here:

catholic.com/video/answering-atheism-you-dont-need-god-to-be-a-good-person

Of course one would have to fairly despondent in their faith in God to rape children–all sins, in fact would have to be founded in this. (Back on topic! :D)

-Greg


#19

I believe that the Church teaches that hatred of God is the worst sin there is. Pride I believe is the worst of the 7 Capital Sins. God bless you.


#20

I think you reveal yourself (as we all do) by what you say, as does everyone answering this question. Your description of the four most aggregious, “vengeance: murder, sodomy, oppression of the poor, and defrauding workers of their just wages” are interesting in (1) what they leave out and (2) what you include.

My biggest lesson in life may be to judge not that I not be judged. What we are most angry about is often our own undoing, especially in the eyes of God. I think Christ summed up the issue of sin best by saying there is really only one commandment, Love one another as God has loved us and treat your neighbor as yourself. So, to come up with any particular sin from a human viewpoint is narrow. Lately I’ve been trying to picture the worst sinner (whoever that is) in heaven with the Lord. How did he or she get there? And yes, its possible. To imagine it is to forgive in some form.


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