How do you define sin? How do you define morality?

I have four problems with part a: “unjustified,” “avoidable,” “forseeable,” and “harm.” All of these qualities have highly fungible definitions depending on the circumstances and the mindset of the people in those circumstances. Let’s take the example of the waiter and the mislabeledly-peanut-free package. Exposing the allergee to peanuts in that case certainly is avoidable. All the waiter has to do is one simple chemical analysis of a sample of the package’s contents. Forseeable? We’ve all had experiences with mislabeled items before, why should we not foresee it happening again?

Obviously we don’t expect the waiter to perform a chemical analysis to ensure that it’s free from a customer’s allergens. So if a mislabeling occurs, it’s not the waiter’s fault, even though there were actions the waiter could have taken to prevent it. Consider also the case of the customer having an epi-pen on hand, and the allergy is dealt with. Then the exposure to peanuts didn’t really have any effects. Some would consider that to be no harm done.

My point in all this is that the definitions of “avoidable,” “forseeable,” “harm,” and (as was established previously) “unjustified,” are all subject to the cultural mores of the people involved.

As for part b, the same point stands. Consider that every set of obligations has in turn a set of extenuating circumstances allowing the obligated person to be excused. Any college professor will give an extension on that paper if a family member dies, or if the student has the flu. But because of moving into a new apartment? It’s a huge hassle to pack up all of one’s stuff and move it into a new place, and make all the arrangements there. Some professors would grant an extension in this case, and some wouldn’t. So if someone doesn’t write their paper because their mother died, we don’t say that he failed to fulfill the obligation, but if someone has to pack up her life and move it across town, it’s not as clear cut.

Bottom line? Every society has its own rules about what’s good and what’s bad. What’s bad is defined as “not good,” and what’s good is defined as “not bad.” Violating those rules, many of which are unspoken (let alone written down), is sin.

Should I obey my society’s rules?

Hoodoo - Up to you, pal. I’m not going to tell you whether or not you should wear your shirts as pants, or push your car everywhere instead of driving it, or sit on tables instead of chairs. Whatever floats your boat.

I would agree that the actions based on true Christianity and those of the Eastern philosophies have much in common. The Five Precepts of Buddhism have their counterparts in the Ten Commandments. But the motivations are extremely different the more closely they are examined. Many want to believe that salvation and enlightenment are equivalent, but I see them as almost polar opposites in terms of their origin and their destination.

Only if you concur with them. And if you decide not to obey, what form would it take? Criminal acts, civil disobedience, willful disregard?
I find the question of a different magnitude than the OP. Legality and morality rarely coincide. And there is a strong debate if they should coincide above the basic levels of the social contract necessary for a society to exist. And mere obedience to laws hardly makes one moral. It gives the appearance of morality, but not much more. Obedience often derives more from resignation, than willful acceptance and agreement which I think is a necessary part of morality.
I find the ‘rule of law’ the beginning of morality, not the outcome.

Yes after having more time to think about this I must adjust my stance on this. There are two things going on here

  1. Thinking about sins in terms of salvation and judgements. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). To God, no matter the consequence of the sin, it is still unacceptable. Just because it does not have a big consequence, does not mean it should be thought of as an “okay” act. It is also noteworthy to look at all sins as the same (in terms of all being unacceptable) because it takes away human judgement. The example I gave is that if I considered sins to different degrees of acceptance, it would be easy for me to judge others since they would not measure up to me (which is not a concept I hold to be true).

  2. In terms of the degree of seriousness of the sins. Christ taught that those who deserved punishment would be “beaten with many blows” while others with “few blows”. This implies varying degrees of seriousness to different sins.

I fully realize that I run the risk of sounding contradictory here but I am simply trying to show that both are good ways of looking at sin to better understand God and our lives.

I think that the “target” that we should aim for is being completely ourselves – taking our gifts, talents, interests and refining them in order to bring pleasure to ourselves and serve others. We sin or live in a state of sin when we fail to be fully ourselves and live by the rules of character that we believe to be right for us.

Morality is compassion, integrity, peace, nurturing, merriment, balance, awareness – in thought, service, creativity, and moment to moment being

I think of those with a strong moral character as being noble and having grace.

For me, most of my ideas about sin and what is right and wrong come from the Bible.

For me, there is a distinction between Universal sin and Particular sin. From what I read in the Bible, there are a lot of things and actions that exist today that some people in the modern-day Evangelical church consider to be sin for everyone (or a universal sin) but aren’t.

Universal Sin would be something like murder, sexual immorality, and homosexuality. These are all things that are specifically prohibited in the Bible (Lev 18:22-29 and Rom 1:26-32 for homosexuality).

A particular sin would be something like drinking alcohol. While it may not be a sin for me, it might be a sin for someone else because they are an alcoholic. Another example would be smoking cigarettes or a pipe. While some people may be addicted and let it control their life, others may not be and just enjoy smoking a pipe before bed.
Captain Oblivious


I have a great book called Jesus and Buddha as brothers. It shows that the teachings of the two about our daily lives and how we interact with each other are the same.When I read the words of Jesus in the NT I see things as pretty similar. Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven is within and that we are transformed by focusing on our inner spirit and learning to listen to it’s guidence. Salvation is a matter of living a true life and being one with our inner spirit.
“I am in the Father and the Father in me” “My Father and I are one”
The concept of Karma is totally in line with what Jesus taught. IMHO the original teachings of Christ were misinterpreted and perverted by the early church and people have been struggling with that ever since.


Please show me from the bible where,* “Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven is within and that we are transformed by focusing on our inner spirit and learning to listen to it’s guidence.”*

Was Ted Bundy being fully himself? If you say no, support your answer with evidence.

Empty verbiage. You admire what you admire.


I have to say that I enjoy all your thoughts and I think you have some major truth to what you are saying. I also have to ask though what you mean by the concept of karma is totally in line with what Jesus taught? I understand the whole you reap what you sow thing, but I don’t quite think that he is teaching karma in the way it is being implied. Taking my life as an example, I do not deserve half the shit I have in my life. If I got what I deserved, I would be tortured for years and would have died a long time ago. And I am on the extreme side of being less sinful. It is (or at least it should be the longer you live) almost common sense that karma does reward and punish people on a small basis in our everyday lives. But when I think of Christ, I think of the person who eradicated karma. Making it no longer about trying to search inside yourself for salvation which imo, is a worthless cause. We have a hard enough time trying to live our everyday lives, let alone work for our own salvation. Now I know when you say search inside yourself, you do not mean “count on yourself”. I am not trying to change your words because I genuinely agree with looking inside yourself in the sense that you mean it and think you have huge truths. I simply do not completely agree that he was teaching karma.

[QUOTE=the raindog]

Luke 17:20-21.

“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

John 14:23-26.

“If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”


What Tevildo said and additionally,

plus numerous others


there’s other references to Karma

Meaning, if we hear and follow that inner guiding spirit then we willl be given more, guidence, knowledge, insight, experiences.
If we fail to listen and live in denial of what that inner spirit is telling us, then we will lose what ability we have to “hear” until we consciously choose to listen again.

Karama is about what vibes or energy we put into the world. POsitive or not. Love and truth are positive. Fear and dishonesty are not. We will recieve back what we put in. It isn’t usually instant and often we can’t see the consequences of our choices. I’m not sure why you feel that you or others deserve to be tortured.
spiritual growth is gradual and it’s about using what you have rather than being perfect.
In saying that I’d mention these scriptures

speaking of Jesus

meaning the rest of us and indicating a process…

two fold, setting a high standard but indicating the process of perfection.

or this

It’s really easy to see when reading Christ’s words and the rest of the NT that our deeds are a refelction of what spirit lives within us and we are to seek to be one with the spirit of God as Jesus was.