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What is Sin?

Sin is the worlds oldest act and, according to the Judeo-Christian tradition, one of the very first.
Adam disobeyed God's commandment not to eat the Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and was
banished from Eden and left in this world of toil and sweat we find ourselves in today. But what is sin?
Judeo-Christendom says it is acting in opposition to God's will. Atheists say it doesn't exist. (God or
sin) Pseudo-religious relativists say sin is all in the eye of the perpetrator; a sin is only as sin of the one
committing it believes it so. It is quite apparent that opinions on the subject vary greatly. Why don't we
take a look at it from another perspective: Action-Reaction.
If we look at sin, better yet actions in general, as a system of action and reaction we can,
perhaps, get a better understanding of what our actions do and what sin is, or is not. Let us begin
simply: What is the result of a hammer striking a wall? Inevitably a sheet-rock wall will break, the
action of striking it with a hammer will create a hole. The consequence is inevitable.
Now, let us move into more complex action-emotional interactions. First, what is the result of
smiling at a friend? The friend will feel good and, likely, will smile back. Simple, it happens daily.
What about a mutually desired kiss? Both people feel good; an inevitable consequence. Now some
negative examples: What is the result of calling someone a degrading name? Shame or anger; generally
negative emotions. Forcing someone into an uncomfortable situation? Discomfort, anger, possibly, and
more generally negative emotions.
Taking this system we have going here to mind let us look at an act considered by all as sin.
Rape is extremely disturbing psychologically and can destroy what was once a perfectly functional
individual and turn her into an empty shell of a person. This gives us the following action-reaction
system: Rape => Severe psycho-emotional pain
Another, less extreme, example is dishonesty. While not as drastic as rape, dishonesty can
undermine any relationship and leave those involved feeling cheated and hurt. Again we have the
system: Lies => Pain
So, what is the common factor in these examples? Pain. Sin always results in pain, eventually. It
may not be felt directly by the one committing the sin, but it is felt. I could go on forever with
examples of sin-acts and their consequences but if you think about it you will see: every act defined by
sin in all religions that have a concept of sin and those acts defined as wrong by those who have no
concept of sin yet retain a sense of morality causes pain.
Let us look at some exceptions to the pain=sin argument that follow the same line of reasoning.
If one person is committing an act, such as burglary, which will cause a great deal of emotional and
economic pain on the family it is being inflicted upon. The pain that the burglar must endure if he is
killed or beaten off of the families property will, in all likelihood, be less than the sum of the pain
caused, both directly and in-directly, by the burglar. Is this act sinful? The inhabitants of a home are
perfectly within their rights to forcefully remove a threat to their safety. Both parties involved have
pain inflicted upon them by the other but we also have to look at how much pain each is inflicting and
how much pain each is projected to inflict.
Your average family exists in a generally positive state, it's members are happy and it generally
effects those it interacts with positively. Your average burglar exists in a generally negative state and
his actions generally hurt those he interacts with. Also the burglar is hurting x number of people: the
family-group directly effected, those connected to that family group that sympathise, and the people in
the surrounding area who lose their sense of security. Our equation, then, results in greater pain being
inflicted by the burglar than is being felt.
Good and evil, sin and virtue, are based upon what humanity, in their long experience, have
reasoned to cause the most and least amounts of pain. Good removes pain, evil causes and increases
pain. From a religious prospect sin is what God knows will cause His children pain and He has
commanded us to avoid those acts that we may have happiness.