WHY CAN’T WE BE APATHETIC ABOUT SIN? — PART 1

peacecrossWhen I read Can there be a truce between Conservative America and The LGBT community? A House Divided against itself cannot stand., I started thinking about this post. The writer, phadde2, is not a fool or naive. Like the rest of us, he just doesn’t appreciate the awfulness of sin. Consider how his post begins.

It is a great luxury to be able to have an apathetic view on a social issue that perplexes our great nation, being raised in a traditional Roman Catholic family it was commonly taught that homosexuality is a sin, and perhaps those teachings are or were correct, but does it matter? (continued here)

Why Does Sin Matter?

Usually, when we think of evil, we do not think of sin. We think of torture chambers, massacres, serial murderers, rapists, and the various things we call heinous crimes. God seems to have a different appreciation of evil. Whereas we concern ourselves more with the obvious harm an evil person may do to us, God considers the heart.

Luke 6:45 New King James Version (NKJV)

45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

And when we do evil, God calls that sin, not a mere social issue.

God hates sin.

Proverbs 6:16-19 New King James Version (NKJV)

16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

Which sin leads the pack? That sin is pride. That’s the sin that led Lucifer (Satan) to rebel against God (Isaiah 14:12-15). That’s the sin that led Adam and Eve to disobey God (Genesis 3). And that’s the sin that leads us to worship idols instead of God (Romans 1:18-32).

Because of pride, those God gave the prophecies of Christ’s coming had no idea what to expect. Until Jesus finally helped them to understand their lack of humility, even Jesus’ apostles found his death on the cross inexplicable. Instead, they did what we would have done. They expected Jesus to become a conquering messiah, one who would drive the Romans from the Holy Land.

Yet God had told the Jews — given them the Old Testament and numerous prophets — how much He hated sin. Even though Moses had taught the Jews how to sacrifice the blood of animals for their sins — and the Jews sacrificed huge numbers of animals — they still expected a conquering King. Because of pride, they would not accept the Lamb of God as their messiah.

And we are not any different from the Jews. Even though we have four Gospels that tell of the awful sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, we still want to believe our sins are just not that important. So we celebrate Christmas and Santa Claus and barely note the passage of Good Friday and Easter.

Yet Hell exists! God turns His face from those whose sins are unrepented and unforgiven. So we need a redeemer, Christ Jesus, someone who would and could pay the price of our redemption and gain forgiveness for our sins.

Philippians 2:5-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, the Christian faith is about an act of sacrificial love and obedience we reject with every ounce of pride.

To be continued.  What is in Part 2? In the second part, we will consider the consequences of apathy towards sin. We have tried it, and it does not work.

33 thoughts on “WHY CAN’T WE BE APATHETIC ABOUT SIN? — PART 1

  1. My point is that Christians spend a disproportionately larger amount of time and energy on their obsession with the “sin” of homosexuality than with all others, combined. When was the last time you saw a “Honor thy father and thy mother” rally? Or a “thou shall not kill” rally? Or a “thou shalt not bear false witness” rally? Never. Its “stop the gays” protests. It’s constantly blathering on about the sacred institution of marriage, while divorcing 5 times, and pretending that is any better. I hear more Christians yelling at the top of their lungs about things that they’re against (namely, gay marriage and abortion) than what they are really for. I see the topic that Christ spoke about less than any other topic becoming the all-encompassing fascination of the modern American Christian.

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    1. It seems you have your feelings confused with reality. To see what is, we must see what others see. To truly know the Truth, we must know the mind of our Creator.

      Consider yourself carefully. Then consider Creation. Take a walk on a beautiful day. Gaze from a mountain. Contemplate the depths the ocean. Lay on your back and stare into the heavens on a starry night.

      It may seem to each of us that we are the center of the universe, but we are miniscule specks. We know so little, and if we ceased to exist, what would it matter? If we matter, we matter because we matter to the one who created us.

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      1. Yes, Christians should do what you just said. It may keep them from constantly obsessing about their neighbors’ sexual orientation.

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        1. “I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” Timothy 2:11. NEW TESTAMENT. Do you protest and speak out against women in authority?

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        2. Chris-
          I apologize to Tom for answering here, but it appears you are trying to make the connection regarding things that differ. The voice of protest by believers regarding ‘a’ particular sin, is in proportion to the boasting and the desired acceptance by they promoting it, ie, homosexuality, which you must admit, has gathered quite a following and a loud voice. Thieves and liars do not boast of their sin, they try to hide it.

          Now to your largely ignorant connection with ‘women in authority,’ if you knew anything of the apostles argument, he is not speaking of Golda Meir, or Margaret Thatcher.

          Others may carry this dialog further, but I sense a bit of recalcitrance, so farewell.

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        3. The “naked truth”, my friend, is that many Christians like yourself take rules literally in the bible if they like the rules, and they cry “context! context!” when they don’t like the rules. You can’t have it both ways.

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        4. And if I’m “largely ignorant” and you’re educated on Jewish culture, perhaps you can explain the Soddom and Gomorrah story to me, in context. It is a morality lesson on treatment of guests and the evil of raping people. It has nothing to do with homosexual committed relationships, and an ancient Jewish audience would understand that. Statements that this story is about gay relationships are as ignorant as protesting at a red lobster. Open a history book. There are many.

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  2. Chris confuses ancient dietary taboos (which, I acknowledge, are Biblical) with Sin. The traditional Jewish culture was a “rules” culture. There were good reasons for this in that time and that place. The concept of “sin” is broader and deeper than rules violations. It goes to the imperfect nature of Man. To an Orthodox Jew, eating shellfish is a violation of the Law. To a Christian, our perennial inability to live up to the example of Jesus in all phases of our lives is a reflection of our imperfection as human mortals, a state of being that we describe as sin. A link between these two histories, cultures and theologies is that both groups accept the story of Adam as a reliable explanation and example of how Man falls short of God by our very nature.

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    1. That’s the only like between cultures, eh? Christian theology negates the Old Testament? Why bother printing it, then?

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        1. Please cite all of the biblical passages that denote homosexuality as a grave, serious sin worthy of upwards of American Christian rabid obsession above all other sins.

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    2. Thanks for catching that. I got the impression Chris was unhappy, but the reference to Jewish dietary law was so silly it just went over my head.

      I guess that shows Chris at least has a superficial knowledge of the Bible. Unfortunately, he has probably just read what others have said about it. 😦

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      1. So again- Tell me how sin is defined, and what part of the bible references homosexuality as a sin worthy of your most time-consuming obsession.

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        1. And what makes an ancient dietary taboo, issued as a command from God, less literal and more contextual in your mind than another command from a different time and place? I submit that you merely choose your favorite sins to focus on because of social pressure within your Christian circle of friends, and NOT based on biblical study.

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        2. Chris – Sin is disobedience to God. God does not want His creatures to harm either themselves or each other. When we do, we sin.

          I suppose I have a “favorite” sin, but it is not homosexuality. No one is good. No. Not one. Look up Romans 3:9-20. What the Apostle Paul is talking about is the fact that no Jew — no man — is capable of perfectly obeying the laws described in Old Testament. Jesus is the only one who ever did live a blameless life.

          The Apostle Peter received a vision that eliminated the dietary taboos. That vision is described and interpreted in the Book of Acts. Why don’t you read the Book of John and then the Book of Acts? If you choose a relatively new translation such as the New King James Version, you may find it a fascinating read.

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        3. Chris – I don’t claim to know anything about Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism by Jeffrey Spong. However, you claim to know about the Bible, but it apparent you have not read it. No, you have read Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism by Jeffrey Spong.

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  3. We live in a sinful society that is apathetic toward shellfish. And I’m not gonna take it anymore! Off to the red lobster with my “God hates Scallops” sign! Who’s with me? If the Supreme Court won’t take me seriously, I’ll shame every filthy shrimp-eater on their way into the restaurant! Let’s see you sinners enjoy your meal, now!

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  4. My criticism of your article is the same criticism I have for all self-professed Christians, who think it is their duty to take a stand against homosexuality. Take a stand against shellfish too. Go protest at the Red Lobster, and I’ll take you seriously, instead of thinking that you’re using random bible passages to defend xenophobia. I guarantee that eating shellfish is a sin too, and it is mentioned almost as much in the bible as homosexuality. So, do your homework.

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  5. Tom, jack here; man this is a loaded topic, but can be discussed decently.

    With the advent of societal acceptance of the same sex stuff, the writer suggested there be ‘apathy for the sake of unity,’ and I would submit that this would be a false unity. The nature of unity, at least used in the context of scripture, is a ‘common mind based on what is good,’ but sin can never be winked at, and is never good.

    You are correct as to God’s take on sin; A man who steals penny candy is a thief, equal to the sin of a corporate embezzler. But the mistake is made by they who accuse all dissent of ‘hatred,’ which I think I recall seeing somewhere in the text. My loathing of ALL sin, be it coveting, lying, pride, homosexuality, is not hatred, it is agreeing with God.

    A main reason many have become immune or apathetic to the ‘sin’ in question, is due to a personal interest. Many believers have friends who are good people, nice people, teachers, doctors, etc. etc, who during a conversation, find it impossible to challenge their friend. The mistake is actually looking at a particular sin, and thereby not presenting a FULL Christ who covers ALL sin.

    The homosexual, or the liar, (or your neighbor who is a regular church goer out of habit only and needs Christ also,) are equal offenders of God’s perfect standard. We are not guilty of hatred when we call attention to sin. The essence of the gospel is ….Christ died for our sins….so a fair question: which ones? ‘According to the scriptures,’ yep, that about covers this question.

    Apathy? How about ‘knowing the fear of the Lord we persuade men?’

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    1. We all become apathetic to many different manners of sin as you point out, whether it’s lying, disobeying one’s parents, stealing, cheating, or whatever, why does one group get labeled for their sin? Because they are more organized together? My issue is that society seems to stop over this, it has become a partisan dream that divides rather quickly. You can know the fear of the Lord, but I can assure you that won’t persuade many, if any. Most folks that I encountered at university will need a Saul to Paul type transformation if they are to be swayed by anything. How do we extend peace? Certain folks won’t take scripture as absolute truth, if they do call themselves Christians its more likely in my experience they will stop being so to live the lifestyle they want.

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      1. Phad-

        Maybe our answer is strikingly simple: The salt has lost its savour…A man said years ago, ‘the problem with Christianity, is, nobody tried it.’ A crushing blow to say the least. What he implied was the fact that people talked a good game, but he saw not the ‘if ye love me, ye will keep my commandments.’

        He argued that Christians wanted ‘fire insurance,’ without ‘selling all and following Me.’ In the context of this discussion, ‘knowing the terror of the Lord’ should translate into a different kind of life. There should be an attractiveness that draws bees to a hive, and I’m afraid I am not that attractive. My fault, not God’s.

        Our speech should be different, our ears, eyes, where we go, etc, everything should be filtered through God’s holiness. Our arguments should be impeccable and without compromise, in love of course. Sin should not be comfortable around us, unfortunately, we have invited it in as a house guest, so the results are predictably sad. ‘Ye are the light of the world,’ is a dim reminder of our worldliness.

        But per your last post, it is not my business regarding results, that is God’s business, he will give the increase. A man asked an incriminating question: ‘when the son of man returns, will he find faith on the earth?’ It’s bad enough that the sinner repents not and believes the gospel, but what does this suggest of they who ‘have this treasure in earthen vessels…’

        As a reminder, did Lot apologize or shrink from his testimony?

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  6. The only criticism I have of your post is that you haven’t considered anything outside of scripture. I was born and raised a Roman Catholic, but I understand that others were not. Sighting scripture, while meaningful for us, is hollow for them. And I blame the Church. I do only because, Catholicism is built on a coherent, logical philosophy, but that philosophy is not taught, just stories from the Bible. Perhaps you meant this post for Christians, and if I’m out of place, I apologize. But if you are speaking to an audience beyond the Church or Christianity, then you have to use the philosophy and not quotes. All that aside though, kudos, it was a well written article.

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    1. This is what I was attempting to discuss with my essay, how do we bridge the gap between those who have strong religious convictions with those who have convictions in other manners that are equally as strong but not of the religious sorts. A coherent diplomatic dialogue is what needs to be opened. Some of us are talking, and that’s certainly a step in the right direction.

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    2. Who is the intended audience? To be honest, sometimes it is just me. I am honored when people stop by to read and/or comment. Nonetheless, I learn by reading and writing, and I learn from the comments. So they are much appreciated, and I thank you for yours.

      I too was raised a Catholic, and I largely agree with your observations. I am afraid that every Christian sect has its strengths and weaknesses. I suspect that is why God allowed the schisms.

      Hopefully, part 2 of this series will help to make it a bit more relevant to non-Christians.

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  7. You’ve read my essay, so I will just pose questions based off of your essay. How can we of faith articulate a credible argument pushing something that has been taught to be sinful, when Christianity has been used in our own nation’s short history to justify an institution so awful as slavery? How can we move society forward when those who oppose us have just as strong convictions as we do? I do agree with your previous comments on my page about loving the sinner condemning the sin, it’s naive to think of people as entirely evil,naive, or ignorant towards social issues that perplex our society. Being apathetic I’ll admit maybe easier when attempting to work on issues that one finds more important, but where is the justification to be anything else? I’ve had many talks with atheist, agnostics, people of other faith’s, and/or Christians who accept homosexuality, If one deems this as evil, how can we improve all aspects of society without letting other facets of society fail ?

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    1. I do have a question for everyone, if this is the position you’re going to take as Christians, as Tom expressed in his essay, then what is the plausible endgame? What do you want society to do with the situation, or what can it do?

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    2. Those are good questions. Hopefully, I will provide good answers in my next post.

      Here I will just ask my own question. Once we decide to become a Christian, is it not our primary duty to do what Christ Jesus commanded us to do? If that is the case, then to be good citizens, we must be good citizens as the Bible defines a good citizen.

      Consider the Book of Acts. When the Sanhedrin demanded the silence of the apostles, how did they react? Wasn’t spreading the Gospel the only endgame that concerned them?

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