The Centrality of Sin in the Christian Message.

Everything proper to the Christian faith relates to redemption, and redemption is a response to sin. The understanding of sin at the heart of understanding the christian message, so much so that without a consciousness of sin Christianity becomes unintelligible and even monstrous. 

Christianity without sin comes to be described much like one objector described it in a comment at Vox Day

Why put man into a position where you know he’s going to disobey without understanding that it is evil until after he has disobeyed? Why punish the descendants of that man for his crime instead of allowing each to choose? Why the 10 arbitrary rules? Why not 20? How does breaking off a piece of yourself and having it killed horribly somehow allow forgiveness of those made-up sins? No judge in the world would allow one person to take the death sentence for another’s crime. How is that justice? How does it make sense to condemn tens of millions of people to eternal torment simply because they had never heard of you? Why did he even bother in the first place? To amuse himself?

Is there something I’m missing?

All of these questions arise because the author does not recognize the reality of sin. Note that the only time the author mentions sin is to call it “made up”. Because there are no sins, the 10 commandments become “arbitrary rules”. Because he sees sin as a made up thing, his only way to account for hellfire is an irrational response to “people not hearing about you” (and in fact, is the problem with the Christian message that people have not heard it? Before Christ existed, was the problem that people had not heard that they should live in the appropriate way before God? Our objector has heard the message of Christ- what good has it done him?) Because the objector cannot see the wounds of sin, the whole story of redemption becomes pointless- “why did he even bother in the first place? to amuse himself?” Because he cannot see sin as a kind of alienation, defect and wound which can belong to man as a collective and political animal who can somehow participate in the activities of his rulers, the idea of the fall becomes an arbitrary punishment for another man’s fault- not the result of a human decision effecting the human family. Now it is true that this latter kind of sin is sin in an analogous sense, and the consensus of theologians seems to be that it does not merit hellfire- but if you’re old enough to read this blogpost, you already have deeper problems than the sin that is a mere heritable state. You have already committed enough of the acts that are simply sins in the first meaning of the term. 

In fact, the objector’s whole argument could be made much more quickly. If you have no sin, you have no need for Christ, and the Gospel, at heart, becomes pointless and even stupid. No further elaborate argument is necessary. Just ask yourself: am I a sinner? If the answer is “no” then you have no need for Christ; in fact, if your answer is truly “no” you have already refuted all of Christianity.

But…

As soon as you admit that you are a sinner (whether you are a christian or not) you have a rather immense problem on your hands. How are you going to solve the problem? How are you going to make amends for what you have done? How are you going to find favor with God? Given that you don’t deserve to have God as a friend at all, how are you going to cease being his enemy? And have you even tried to be good in a consistent and habitual way, without your all-too-frequent “sin holidays” that you can’t live without?

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