SIN, GUILT, OBLIGATION, PUNISHMENT, CONTROL
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
Rough draft, but very usable.
BUILT TO SURVIVE
We are "built" to survive. Part of what has us survive is having "social support", the support and cooperation of others in the "tribe". If we do not do well by them or we do not contribute sufficiently they can kick us out of the tribe, to die in the jungle. [Of course, nowadays, that won't happen, but it is still vaguely in our minds, fueling the fear. If we had no fear, we would have no unpleasant feelings from the chemicals of fear. See The Story Of Our Happy And Our Unhappy Chemicals - A Tale Of The Mechanisms For Survival.]
The mechanism works like this, in a simplified sense: we get signals "you're off", better correct if you are to survive well. If you want more procreation opportunities, you better become "cooler", shape up, be more attractive. If you want to stay in this tribe you better be able to contribute or else...
These are unpleasant or at the least somewhat uncomfortable, so we seek to alleviate them, as we are so motivated.
SIN AS A "SIGN"
The original translation of "sin" was: "to miss the mark", to not hit the mark of a standard set by God or the society.
Current dictionary: To violate a religius or moral law (code of conduct)
Sin is associated with the idea of being a way to control, and punish. And the really big punishment, incentive, and motivation: If you are sinful, you will not go to heaven!
Sin is a concept made up by man. While it is useful to pay attention to a "sign", it can be harmful to add extra fear and "feeling bad" to it, unnecessarily.
A better criteria is to runs one life by whether something works or it doesn't (to get the desired results).
And if it causes social problems or hurts another, then it doesn't work for the good of the people involved. How can it not be harmful if it results in a man living in guilt and driven by shame and constant anxiety and angst?
A knowledgeable man will realize that social support and cooperation has its benefits and that it is in his own "self interest". So he will accept the tradeoffs to his freedom, to the extent that it gives him enough value to be worth it.
BUT IT SHOULD BE LOOKED AT MORE DEEPLY FOR "VALIDITY"
But, sin as a driver should be looked at and reconsidered and seen for the manipulation and control behind it.
Since sin is simply "missing the mark", we as humans, since we are not perfect, will inevitably miss the mark, by accident or by simply not knowing better - as we do not desire to "miss the mark" of what is, net, good for us.
But the reality is that man simply makes mistakes, has false beliefs about how to satisfy his needs in a way that works - and he can only do better if he "knows" better. It is not that he is not responsible, but to punish somebody for what they do not know still does not educate them. And sin is a label mostly used for punishment, not simple guidance and helpfulness.
WHAT IS THE WORD OF GOD?
Since most of the religions rely on man having received the word of God directly, the question then becomes which of the men reflects the actual word of God (and did he do it accurately?) because all of the men could not have received different stories from one God.
Surely, one religion can't be the only correct one just because people have chosen it and therefore it must be the correct one just because they "know", somehow, that it is, with no scientific evidence to back up the conclusion.
Well, how do some people "know" what is right and other people of equal intelligence "know" something else is true?
The answer, of course, is that they do not actually know.
And another factor is that man mistranslates and manipulates and changes original documentation. It appears that man is the source of the documents more so than God and therefore they do not have the power of the word of a perfect entity - except for one religion that might have it down perfectly, but which one?
"Mine, of course" is the response, but the people who say that have chosen different religions! How can they all be right if they differ????
(Another question you might ask of yourself relates to what would be logical for God to ask: Is God Compassionate? This would suggest that man's version of sin does not align with what God would say.)
SO IT IS THE WORD OF MAN
So, each writer and each society sets their own standards and some cloak it in terms of God having set it, so that the punishment for violation is much greater, for what is a greater punishment than to have an eternal life that is not so good or not being able to have a truly blissful eternal life? And if we really want to motivate people, we will speak of hellfire and damnation!
Sin is a concept for the purpose of inflicting punishment for the purpose of having society work better (which of course is a "good" purpose). But if we want society to work better, it would seem wiser to teach men what they do not know so that they then have the proper thinking to be able to do the right thing.
THE SIN OF IT ALL
Sin as a concept and the way it is misused and abused looks like it is sinful.
The people who live in fear of sin, who live in guilt and obligation, and fear of their fellow man judging them for their "sins" or their weaknesses are not happy people, though their behavior for society may be better. But overall there is more damage done in living in fear and constant stress of anxiety and guilt and having to seek approval (or at least not be rejected)!
Dropping the manipulative "sin" idea in favor of doing what is more practical and more in line with reality is highly recommended.
We could live in a society where man works on the basis of the test of "does in work or doesn't it work" to get the desired results. We could live in a society that does not demand retribution but seeks only effective control, all with compassion. We could live in a society where we teach and give the knowledge of what works, where we help our fellow citizens to do what is right and what works, but with judgment and "make wrong" - doing it only for a good purpose, for the good of the man and for the society of men from which the individual benefits.
And we could teach people not to be the victims of guilt and shame and a society that does not quite have it right yet.
And that is what I am seeking to do in my work.
AND THEN THERE IS THE QUANDARY AMONG CONFLICTING NEEDS
But what about the man who needs to feed his family and knows of no other way to do it than to rob from another. Isn't that doing the greater good, as a tradeoff of a negative to get a bigger positive. Surely, no God would punish a man for that, yet we do need to control this in an attempt to not have others hurt by the robbery, but where do we draw the line. Should we educate or just punish? The Law Of Retribution - Total Bullbleep!