The Problem Is Sin

Seattle_AtheistsIn the Theist/Atheist Facebook group I’ve mentioned from time to time, a question came up about faith (is it a virtue). One thing led to another and one person involved in the discussion said he had four problems with faith in the “christian god.” The first area he mentioned was sin. He said, in essence, that he rejects the idea of sin.

I was shocked at first. This discussion took place just a week after the Florida shooting that killed 49 people at the Pulse, a gay bar in Orlando. I think, how can anyone watch the news and then turn around and say he doesn’t believe in sin?

My only answer is that Satan, who Jesus described as the father of lies, has blinded the eyes of unbelieving people. The problem is so obviously sin.

Society talks about love and tolerance, to the point that those topics have become almost trite. And yet, as if bringing an answer to the problem of violence or hatred or prejudice or terrorism—whatever was behind the actions of the Orland killer—several Broadway stars resurrected an old folk song from 1965 by Burt Bacharach: “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.”

Before this cry for love, God gave us the Law that serves as our tutor—showing us how impossible it is for us to act in a morally upright way day in and day out, every hour of every day.

Jesus explained that God’s standard goes beyond the Law to include our attitudes as well as our actions. So lust makes us equivalent to adulterers, hate makes us as guilty as murderers. And yes, Jesus said, the law requiring an eye for an eye needs to be replace with love for our enemies.

So when the world tells us we need love, they’re right.

The problem is, they think love we somehow generate from within or already have but need to tap into, will be victorious over sin. If we love, we won’t be selfish any more. Or prideful. Or angry. Or greedy. Or lustful. Or power-hungry. Or jealous. Or vengeful.

If we had this love or could learn to love other people, if that was all we needed, then why do bad things still happen? Even if we just figured out the benefit of love fifty years ago when the song first came out, shouldn’t we see some progress, if that’s all we need?

In truth, the fact that we are still dealing with prejudice and hatred and corruption and all the other problems in our culture—abuse, pedophilia, sex trafficking, rape, identity theft, and more—is proof that sin is real. We should see some movement toward a better society, but what evidence is there for a positive change? We haven’t curbed alcoholism or drug addiction. We haven’t stemmed the growth and power of gangs. We haven’t replaced love for violence at any level. Kids still bully kids. Men still abuse women. Women still cheat on husbands. Takers continue to take.

Why is that, if not sin? There is no explanation.

Atheists have no explanation. I’ve asked before. Those who believe in evolution have no theory how society, which developed, they say, from the animal world, has taken on these evil tendencies.

Because that’s the prevailing view: humankind is good but society corrupts. The question remains: when there were just a handful of evolved humans, were did their evil tendencies come from? The atheist formula—good people create a bad society—simply does not compute.

The sad thing is, Christians have backed off from declaring the problem of sin. At some point the narrative accepted on most fronts was that “fire and brimstone” preaching was bad, that people shouldn’t be scared out of hell, that what would “win people to Christ” was to hear about His love and forgiveness.

There’s a lot of truth it that approach. Paul wrote to Titus, explaining the saving work of God:

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)

So, yes, the catalyst for change is God’s kindness and love.

But the atheist I mentioned from the Facebook group went on to say that the third thing he had against faith in God was salvation. He apparently doesn’t want it because he believes he doesn’t need it.

That’s the place people end up if they believe they are good and don’t have a sin problem. Maybe we shouldn’t bring back fire and brimstone preachers, but we certainly should tell the truth about human nature.

It’s hard for me to believe that anyone in the world would ever stand up and say, I’ve never had a wrong thought or done a wrong deed in my entire life. I’ve loved others as much as I love myself. Any such person would most likely be guilty of lying and of pride, so there goes the idea of good. Because in God’s way of accounting, “good” means “without any bad.”

In our society we put good on a sliding scale. If we can say something is “mostly good,” then it’s good. Five stars. But even the best five-star people we know, still fall short of perfect. They know it. We know it.

So why aren’t we coming to the obvious conclusion: the problem our world has is sin.

Until we get a proper diagnosis, we’ll slap band-aids over incurable wounds.

One more thing. Telling someone he is a sinner is not hateful. That’s like saying a doctor is hateful for telling someone he has cancer. Uh, no. Not. Hateful. Try, honest.

We have spent too long in the faery land of Good Humanity, so we no longer recognize what stares us in the face every night on the local and national news: humans sin. We all sin. Everyone of us.

It’s not hateful to admit that sinners sin. It’s not hateful to tell people there’s a Savior—One declaring Himself to be Love—who wants to rescue us from the mess of our own making.

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Published in: on June 22, 2016 at 6:16 pm  Comments (17)  
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17 Comments

  1. “The first area he mentioned was sin. He said, in essence, that he rejects the idea of sin. I was shocked at first.”

    That can be shocking indeed, but we really can’t see it. I’ve struggled there myself and I almost think it might be harder for us to see sin when we’ve become inundated by it, surrounded by it. It’s like going snow blind or something.There is so much sin, everything is sin, so now nothing is sin.

    A bit tragic but comical too, I believe Donald Trump said that very same thing. He’s a Christian but he just doesn’t believe in the sin or need for Salvation part. I wish I could say that was unusual, but I’ve read it from some other so called Christians, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good way to explain how people can look past sin, IB—everything is sin (or tainted by sin), so nothing is.

      I suppose a Christian not believing in sin (or the need for salvation) IS more shocking even than an atheist saying so. I just found it so ironic in the face of such clear evil that anyone of any persuasion could still believe the “mankind is good” lie.

      But snow-blindness. Now that makes sense. 😉

      Becky

      Liked by 2 people

  2. “Atheists have no explanation. I’ve asked before. Those who believe in evolution have no theory how society, which developed, they say, from the animal world, has taken on these evil tendencies. “
    Atheists have no basis for calling anything evil in the first place. If there is no supra-human court beyond which there is no appeal, Hitler might have been good.

    Very good piece Rebecca. Sin, defined as any want of conformity to the nature, law and will of the living God, is looooong outta style.

    (ps. You have a few minor typos in there. 0=) )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amen sister Becca
    Preach it!
    Tell it like it IS!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Susie. Always good to hear from you. I appreciate the encouragement.

      Becky

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  4. Dear Sister,

    Thanks for another well-thought out piece! There’s no way around the problem of sin… we just have to address it, even if that means realising that we need God (who we would rather blame for all the problems in the world)!

    I hope when they eventually do, they will meet His mercy and not His judgement.

    Christian love, Ufuoma.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amen, Ufuoma. May the eyes of their heart be opened so that they might see Jesus and bow before Him as their Savior and Lord.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  5. […] THE PROBLEM IS SIN by Rebecca Luella […]

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  6. So, this guy’s religion convinces him that killing gays is good and that the bringing on the afterlife faster is good in the eyes of god? If you are saying that the problem is his “sin” then you might be missing two important things: the reason he did it (both good and redemptive) and the basis for that (religion). The sinful action was the outcome of a basic belief. The killing does not stand alone as in “the devil made me do it.” In his mind, “god made me do it.”

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    • Every action is the outcome of basic belief. Regardless of what they may say, they DO what they really believe.

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      • I’m referring to everybody with this btw.

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    • Not sure what point you’re making, pluviolover. You are not making any distinction between what is false and what is true. You think, apparently, that “religion” is the problem, and therefore see all “religion” as if it is equal (and I surmise, equally bad). But you’ve missed the fact that there are pretend gods and false religions.

      In actuality, all the false religions underscore the existence of sin. Because, if we’re left to our own way of thinking, yes, we would come up with a religion that excludes others or that values power and control, not mercy and grace.

      In short, false religions exist, and they are evidence of humankind’s sin nature.

      Becky

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      • Excellent response and yes, that’s exactly what he’s saying. Ya got aheada me, but of course it’s your site so you’re certainly allowed 🙂

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  7. […] the previous three posts (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday), I addressed the reality of sin and the need each of us has for the good […]

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  8. Great post here. Thank you for sharing 😃

    Liked by 1 person


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