Why teach people about sin?

I think you’re missing the point. What you said in your second paragraph is great evidence for a moral law. We’re sinful and must be taught how to behave! That is the message of Catholicism in a nutshell. We are not drawn to right behavior, we are drawn to wrong behavior because of our fallen nature.

And by the way, ALL Christians believe in the natural law. If you don’t believe that then you really aren’t even a Christian.

Not gonna continue this conversation. That’s all you’ll hear from me. Good luck in your journey. :thumbsup:

“Natural Law” doesn’t mean, what people (fallen sinners, for the most part) would naturally do if they were never taught anything. (In fact, one of the tenets of natural law is that adults are supposed to teach things to children, and that the first teachers of the child are his parents.)

Rather, it is a branch of philosophical science that discovers what God intended to reveal to us by means of His Creation, and how to rightly order the things that God has provided for us.

Yes, because if you crack open a history book instead of believing the anti-scientific propaganda you heard from your friend, you would know that Christianity is not unique in its condemnation of masturbation. It is evil in Islam, traditional Judaism, Sikhism, and traditional Buddhism and Hinduism. You can find very similar themes of morality throughout the world’s ancient great moral teachers, from as far west to Socrates and as far east as Confucius. The human conscious reaches its peak of objective truth through the revelation of the Catholic Church, but even without it God has imprinted himself in the human heart and works us closer to the truth day by day.

The question in the original post is a bit of a paradox, because you’re essentially asking “If nobody obeyed God’s law, would everybody be innocent of breaking God’s law?” Something you’ll gradually understand about Christianity as you study it and meditate on it is that everything about moral law is symbiotic with everything else in moral law. It is a natural result of obedience to God’s law to spread it to the person next to you. So it wouldn’t make any sense for people to be revealed a wonderful truth and then make it a policy to keep it under wraps, as if the truth contained in it was somehow a burden. You’re not damning them by revealing a higher truth. They either are or they aren’t, and it is a decision they still end up making one way or another. What you are doing is illuminating them. Evangelism is an act of charity.

Sin builds a barrier between us and God and also between us and those we sin against.

While mortal sin can send you to Hell, there can be people in Heaven who died with mortal sin on their souls. (However, all will be cleansed through Purgatory before entering Heaven where all is pure.)

When we have sin on our souls, it hurts our relationship with God and others.

If I did not know I was offending you with a specific action, I might continue doing the action. When I realized that it offended you, if I cared about you, I would stop the action.

Maybe I don’t know you, but I learned that my action was offensive to people in general - out of respect for the people I didn’t know - I still would stop the action. That’s something natural in people - to stop actions they know offend others. It comes from a natural love or goodness from God - even if they do not know God.

So, it is with our relationship with God… out of love for God and respect for God… and out of expressing our love for God through expressing our love for others… we want to know what offends God. Once we understand it offends God - we want to stop that action.

Sometimes, we hear that it is an offense to God - but we don’t understand why it offends God. In that case, we trust that we should not offend God even while we are still trying to understand why it offends Him.

That is the reason we learn what is sinful… not to avoid the fires of Hell… but to offer ourselves as best as we can to God. Some people’s best will be brighter and whiter. Others will offer their best to God which may be a bit more dingy, maybe it has more patches, but it is their best.

Some people learn about God in a special spiritual way and accept God and His Love in their last breaths… God can accept them into the Kingdom as well.

Who would want to stand before God and say, “I never paid attention to loving you or offending you because I wanted to do it my way”?

Remember with the Sacramental gifts, we receive graces to desire to want to love God with all our hearts. We desire to know what God wants and what offends Him.

May God continue to lead you towards His Heart in this journey.

Seriously, where do you guys get this stuff? I really am trying to better understand Catholicism, but it makes it hard when you try to back up your arguments with things that are just wrong.

Yes, Islam and Judaism see it as a taboo, but that’s because they are both Abrahamic religions and not that far removed from Christianity culturally. Sikhism I have no idea about. Buddhism does not condemn masturbation, it merely advocates for moderation and restraint across all areas of life and for avoiding addiction to anything. And Hindusim – really? The culture that gave us the Kama Sutra? Nothing is off the table in Hindu sexuality.

Also, Socrates was Greek. And the ancient Greek had no problem with masturbation, and even used pictures of it as art on vases and such.

See, at least that makes some sense. Thank you RoseMary, a voice of reason as always.

If we’re not sinners, we don’t need a savior.

The church has an obligation to instruct people about living a proper Christian life. Also, there must be a genuine desire to reduce and correct sins as far as possible, regardless of whether people are aware of their actions being sinful. Let’s say people didn’t know killing was wrong. Does killing become acceptable just because no one knows that it is wrong?

Also, that in my opinion, even if true, would be a pretty underhanded and sinister way to get people to heaven. I personally wouldn’t want to live in ignorance of what consittutes sin.

I’m sure if we schools stop teaching about the laws of gravity we will all be free from its effects. :wink:

The last Pope talked about this very question in a long talk about conscience. It is very illuminating.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
I first became aware of the question with all its urgency in the beginning of my academic teaching. In the course of a dispute, a senior colleague, who was keenly aware of the plight to being Christian in our times, expressed the opinion that one should actually be grateful to God that He allows there to be so many unbelievers in good conscience. For if their eyes were opened and they became believers, they would not be capable, in this world of ours, of bearing the burden of faith with all its moral obligations. But as it is, since they can go another way in good conscience, they can reach salvation. What shocked me about this assertion was not in the first place the idea of an erroneous conscience given by God Himself in order to save men by means of such artfulness—the idea, so to speak, of a blindness sent by God for the salvation of those in question. What disturbed me was the notion that it harbored, that faith is a burden which can hardly be borne and which no doubt was intended only for stronger natures—faith almost as a kind of punishment, in any case, an imposition not easily coped with. According to this view, faith would not make salvation easier but harder. Being happy would mean not being burdened with having to believe or having to submit to the moral yoke of the faith of the Catholic church. The erroneous conscience, which makes life easier and marks a more human course, would then be a real grace, the normal way to salvation. Untruth, keeping truth at bay, would be better for man than truth. It would not be the truth that would set him free, but rather he would have to be freed from the truth. Man would be more at home in the dark than in the light. Faith would not be the good gift of the good God but instead an affliction. If this were the state of affairs, how could faith give rise to joy? Who would have the courage to pass faith on to others? Would it not be better to spare them the truth or even keep them from it? In the last few decades, notions of this sort have discernibly crippled the disposition to evangelize. The one who sees the faith as a heavy burden or as a moral imposition is unable to invite others to believe. Rather he lets them be, in the putative freedom of their good consciences.

Scripture, itself, tells us that the Law was given so that sin would be revealed; sin would become all the more sinful by our knowing it as such, even though the Law is said to already be written on the hearts of all men, as part of our consciences, though obscured by the Fall. IOW, the Law was intended to be a teacher, setting Gods standard for us while showing us at the same time that we all fail to meet the standard.

So should God just give up and not make His will known to us? Should He simply ignore sin, allowing evil to continue in His universe? A plan has been in place since the beginning of creation; the Catechism teaches that God made His creation to be in a “state of journeying” towards perfection. The Atonement and the New Covenant that it ushered in is for the purpose of rectifying this situation, of revealing the nature of the sin that separates man from God and showing that man must be reconciled with Him-we must commune with God- in order for us to be able to overcome sin, to attain and retain moral integrity, to be just IOW. And in order for us to attain true, lasting peace, satisfaction, and overflowing happiness.

Through the Church this is all revealed: the path of sin that leads away from God and the path of grace/love that leads back to Him. How does the world suffer as a result of that? Sin is the problem, the cause of human suffering; knowledge about it is a necessary part of the solution.

Originally Posted by RoseMary131

While mortal sin can send you to Hell, there can be people in Heaven who died with mortal sin on their souls. (However, all will be cleansed through Purgatory before entering Heaven where all is pure.)


Because mortal sin (sin that kills the soul) is what turns us out of Heaven. It’s not possible to go to Heaven with a mortal sin on your soul.

Can someone who has not made a Sacramental Confession of a mortal sin before dying, be allowed to enter Heaven after time in Purgatory.

Mortal sin is persistence in doing grave evil. It constitutes a turning away from God, love, goodness-a rejection of heaven.

No. “Mortal sin” means that their soul is actually dead, meaning that when the body dies, it can’t go anywhere - it remains in Hell (the abode of the dead).

The only way we know of here on earth to bring the soul back to life is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Catholic Church, where the priest (actually Christ, acting through the priest) restores the life of the soul to the person making their confession.

I believe RoseMary is talking about a person in mortal sin, who makes a perfect act of contrition before they die.

In a case like that, they wouldn’t be in a state of mortal sin anymore - they would be forgiven.

This is my understanding of mortal sin… and possibly I am wrong.

Mortal sin is that which can kill our soul. God can allow us to go to Hell for all eternity based on dying with one mortal sin on our soul.

When we commit a mortal sin, we need to receive the Sacrament of Confession to cleanse our souls and rejoin ourselves to God. We want to tell God, “I am sorry”.

Venial sins can be forgiven through the graces of Mass. We can also approach the Sacrament of Confession for our venial sins. This gives us much graces which in turns helps us stay in a State of Grace.

My “non-theological thought” is that there will be people who died having committed mortal sin and not been to the Sacrament of Confession before death. I believe some of these people will be in Heaven after time in Purgatory.

How will this happen… I don’t know. Does God allow everyone to make a perfect act of contrition before they die… including those who experience an accident with “instant death”? Does God allow the person to make a perfect act of contrition - just as the soul is leaving the body? I don’t know.

We can look at lists and see what sins fall under Mortal Sin. However, its not so black and white. Sin X appears under Mortal Sin, but then there are the other parts of defining mortal sin.

CCC 1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”

For the person who knew Sin X is mortal, and knew they were doing Sin X, and decided to do it even though it is a mortal sin… are they in mortal sin? They plan to go to confession. They always strive to remain in a State of Grace. They know they will be at Mass on Sunday. They know they always want to receive Holy Communion and can not while in the State of Mortal Sin. They know they will seek the Sacrament of Confession before they go to Mass and Holy Communion.

Another person slacks on their Sunday Obligation. They know they are suppose to attend Mass, but they “feel God understands” I needed to buy groceries, etc. They marry outside the Church because “God understands and I’ll have it convalidated later”. It highly appears to be mortal sin… but since they “think” God understands… maybe they don’t have full knowledge. Are they in a State of Mortal Sin since they don’t have full knowledge as evidence by “God understands”? If they died today, would God allow them the full knowledge to now know they were in a state of mortal sin and allow them to express their Perfect Contrition?

We should all form our conscience as best as we can - learning what offends God - avoiding all sins - venial and mortal. We should frequent the graces of the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession. We should keep our souls free of Mortal Sin.

Maybe my wording is wrong in my previous post. “While mortal sin can send you to Hell, there can be people in Heaven who died with mortal sin on their souls. (However, all will be cleansed through Purgatory before entering Heaven where all is pure.)”

Maybe those people who I was referring “who died with mortal sin on their souls” didn’t really have mortal sin on their soul since they didn’t have full knowledge, etc.

Maybe I use “State of Mortal Sin” when it really should be “that could be a mortal sin”.

I’ve also had an understanding that “God can allow you to go to Hell with one mortal sin on your soul”, meaning one is enough to warrant Hell, but at the same time - God’s just judgement can allow that person into Heaven (by means of Purgatory) if He so chooses in judging the person.

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