Thursday 17 June 2010

Society and sin

One society may be more sinful than another, but the reason is not because it breaks more of the commandments, laws or rules.

That kind of statement would invite quantitative statistical investigation, adding up the number of transgressions, which is surely not the right way of thinking about it.

The focus on laws also stirs-up unresolvable arguments about which specific breaches are most important, and whether - or to what extent - obedience in one domain (e.g. kindness), cancel-out disobedience in another domain (e.g. sexuality, courage).

As I understand it, the core of sin is orientation: an orientation towards this world and a focus on optimizing pleasure and minimizing suffering.

The opposite of sin is an orientation towards the other world and a focus on salvation.

Modern Western Society is therefore sinful not because of the specific things which people do or fail to do, or whether society encourages or enforces these dos and don'ts; but from the underlying cause that modern society (and modern people) cannot even understand the idea of being orientated towards the Kingdom of God and primarily concerned with salvation.

Religiously-motivated activity is therefore always explained-away and instead attributed to economic, political or other causes.

Insofar as a religious perspective is recognized it is regarded either as dumb and despicable or crazy and dangerous.

Sinfulness has therefore gone qualitatively beyond denial and disbelief of the religious perspective; modern societies - modern individuals - now display utter, blank incomprehension.