Why I Don’t Believe in Sin

If you read here often, you know Anne Rice is one of my favorite women. She recently posted this question to her Facebook fans:

What do you think about the word, sin? I think it’s a bad word, a confusing word. It doesn’t help us to meet the challenges we face. What do you think? Do you believe in “sin?” What is it? Can you define it for me and others?

My reply was quite simple: “I don’t believe in sin. I think what people really mean when they talk about sin is becoming a better person. Growing and working on yourself is something we should all aspire to do, but to call our shortcomings “sin” is damaging. Some of the “sin” I used to think I had in the past was actually my personality and some of it was depression.”

Quite simply, the idea of sin is made up by preachers and people who want to perpetuate religion. Is the idea of sin really necessary as a driving force to be a better person? Is guilt necessary to cause us to “confess” our shortcomings? I don’t think so. Before you disagree and point out the Boston bombers or some other example, of course, I agree with you: there are people who do bad things, who hurt other people, etc. But the complexity surrounding these people is much greater than just “He’s a monster,” or “She’s evil.” Rarely is there a moment where things are so simple.

All dark deeds aside, many of us have had religious-induced guilt pounded into our psyche for far too long. So much that we find it easy to “admit we’re a sinner” and ask for forgiveness. Look, I’m fine asking someone for forgiveness that I’ve hurt, but I don’t believe that I should admit I’m a sinner. I’m not a sinner. I’m a good person, but I have emotions. I get angry, sad, glad, upset, depressed, and on occasion  I have a moment of rage. I think that makes me human, not a sinner.

If you want to sell the “sinner” path, great. I hope someone buys your bullshit. As for me, I’ll be over here in “enjoying life” land.

Interested in hearing more of why I left Christianity? Read this piece of work (I say that sarcastically) by John Piper talking about sin: http://www.worldmag.com/2013/04/we_re_all_broken_what_then What complete and total bullshit. I can’t be a part of a religion that teaches this nonsense.

[Thanks to my friend Suzi for the John Piper article link.]

Meditation

I spent five minutes before work in my car meditating today. Nothing to it, although for years I’d been thinking you had to do certain things to get it right (and you probably do), but for now this works.

I was at the doctor’s office the other day and some actress (of course, it’s LA…we are the hub for all-things “zen”. I kid.) said she pulls over in her car for 10 minutes and just tunes things out. I think she used the Twitter app all the kids are using to meditate now, but that’s irrelevant.

After years of praying an hour in the morning, before meals and essentially allowing my mind to be a wind turbine full of prayers, guilt-ridden assessements of myself and my performance and how those didn’t measure up to “God”, I was of course completely opposed to anything resembling prayer or “quiet time” as we used to call it. However, meditation has many benefits and I’ve found that I’ve been able to work through some of my issues surrounding the similarities.

Either way, it’s time to reinvent the “quiet time” portion of my life. The zen. The peace. The sitting outside by the beach WITHOUT smoking a bowl, perhaps.

I have some FUCKING ANXIETY, ya’ll. Which has actually gone away rather rapidly in the past month, but I do deal with it and many people suggest meditation as a therapy for anxiety, so home cures it is!

The Discipleship Program: From Mentor to Manipulator

Have you ever ended a discipleship relationship with someone with the above traits, only to feel that you’ve backslidden in your relationship with God?

If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, you’ve been trapped in an abusive discipleship relationship.

I ran across a great article about the abusive tendencies of the Discipleship Program. What we once considered a mentor turned eerily wrong, and those discipleship program directors and mentors turned into manipulators.

Think about these questions, as you read:

  1. Have you been in a discipleship relationship where you had to agree with the discipler in order to make a decision?
  2. Were you asked to approve your decisions (small or large) through your mentor or discipler before making them?
  3. Were you ever given the impression it was sinful or wrong to disagree with the person who was discipling you?
  4. Have you ever known a Christian who gave you the impression that they heard from God more clearly and frequently than YOU did, simply by their “devotion,” amount of prayer time and Bible study?
  5. Have you ever ended a discipleship relationship with someone with the above traits, only to feel that you’ve backslidden in your relationship with God?

If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, you’ve been trapped in an abusive discipleship relationship.

The entire article can be read here.