I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about religious matters. I am comfortable with my eclectic spirituality, made up as it is like a quilt with different pieces of wisdom from various sources that fit me in the here and now. I don’t believe in a vindictive beard in the sky waiting to condemn me to eternal damnation. But every once in a while, I will end up considering a psuedo-religious question such as what is the nature of sin.
Once upon a time when I was a teenager someone who shaped my life ins such a way that can only happen when you are young, postulated that if there is a God, the ultimate blasphemy, would be the failure to use our mental faculties, since that is the thing that makes us completely unique from the animals. This notion has stuck with me and later when I read Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett, I internalized Granny Weatherwax explaining that the nature of sin is when you start treating people, including yourself, as things. This coupled with parts of Pratchett’s other works has shaped part of my morality, and I strive not to identify people as them. Because once you start thinking of people as them, it is that much easier to start thinking of them as things and treating people with less kindness, compassion and respect.
I’ve just finished reading The Road Less Travelled by M Scott Peck and he argues that the nature of sin is laziness. That as spiritual development takes work it is laziness that pulls us away from our potential and encourages us to stagnate. I don’t quite know whether I entirely agree with this sentiment or not, but it seems to be both logically and morally sound.
For me, I think it does not come down to what you profess to believe, but how you treat people, especially yourself. Because the person who you practice your habits on the most is yourself, if you are kind and compassionate towards yourself as a default behaviour you are much more likely to treat other people with compassion and kindness.
Love and philosophy,