Sunday, March 16, 2008

Responsibility for "Sin"


Responsibility is a complex rather than simple concept. As human beings, human minds, and human activities are quite complex, this is really no surprise.

Responsibility might never be an "all or nothing" proposition. In view of the incredible complexity of the human brainervousystem, it might be foolish for us to seek "black and white," "yes or no" simplistic answers to such an involved and complicated question. For one activity, a person might be 93% responsible, and for another, 27%.

Due to genetic, karmic, environmental, and neurological factors, as well as others, it might be that few human beings are responsible one hundred percent for their activities.

I agree fully, and very practically, that a person who does an evil deed towards another needs to be held both legally and morally responsible. The universe itself is designed along the lines of this moral reciprocation. That is, in fact, the meaning of karma.

Older Western (Christian and Jewish) theologians distinguished between what they called a "deliberate" and an "indeliberate sin." This is a valuable and useful distinction.

The language of the Christian Scriptures, in their ancient form, was called koine Greek. (This implies that Greek was the "common" language of the time.)

In that language, the word that we translate as "sin" was amartyrion.
This was a term borrowed from archery, and it meant "missing a target."
The meaning of this word implies that much, or all, of "sin" is error, miscalculation, mismanagement, or mistake, rather than a deliberate action. In many cases, then, "sin" is not a deliberate, fully aware, intentional action.

It was because of this fact that Jesus forgave sins so easily, and immediately, telling people, "All your sins are forgiven." And early Christians called it the "good news" (Greek, evaggelion) that "all our sins are forgiven."

Jesus prophesied, in Mark 3:27,28, the following astonishing condition:
"Every sin and every blasphemy, no matter how serious, will be forgiven."
And it is true that, in the larger life, that of the Soul, we are allowed to gain a deep spiritual education that allows our hearts to accept forgiveness. This is the famous "grace" (Love) of God in a practical sense.

So, a person is held responsible karmically, and in eternity, for any action that is deliberate, voluntary, a matter of choice or intention.

But the justice of the cosmos is purer and more perfect than any human mind can match. And people are not held responsible for an "indeliberate" action-- one that was not voluntarily willed or intended.

They are, instead, covered by the infinite forgiveness of the tender and infinitely loving Mind of God.

This article could, and perhaps should, go on for several more pages in order completely to address this most important question. But it is better to have mercy on your mind, your heart, and your time, and bring it to an end. But if, of course, you have any further feedback, it will be a delight to discuss it with you, as it is precisely such profound spiritual inquiries that give life its "flavor" and deeper meaning.:)

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