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Sin

Sin

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Sin is a term used mainly in a religious context to describe an act that violates a moral code of conduct or the state of having committed such a violation. In monotheistic religions, the code of conduct is determined by God. Colloquially, any thought, word, or act considered immoral, shameful, harmful, or alienative might be termed "sinful".

Common ideas surrounding sin in various religions include:

  • Punishment for sins, either from other people, from God either in life or an afterlife, or from the Universe in general
  • The question of whether or not an act must be intentional to be sinful
  • The idea that one's conscience should produce guilt for a knowing sin
  • A scheme for determining the seriousness of the sin
  • Repentance from (expressing regret for and determining not to commit) sin, and atonement (repayment) for past deeds
  • The possibility of forgiveness of sins, often through communication with a deity or intermediary; in Christianity often referred to as salvation

Crime and justice are related secular concepts.

Contents

[edit] Etymology

The English word sin derives from Old English synn., recorded in use as early as the 9th century.<ref>Editorial board. Oxford English Dictionary (1971) ISBN 0-190-861212-5. Earliest citation c.825.</ref> The same root appears in several other Germanic languages, e.g. Old Norse synd, or German Sünde. There is presumably a Germanic root *sun(d)jō (literally "it is true").<ref>Bartleby - Sin</ref> The word may derive, ultimately, from *es-, one of the Proto-Indo-European roots that meant "to be," and is a present participle, "being." Latin, also has an old present participle of esse in the word sons, sont-, which came to mean "guilty" in Latin.[citation needed] The root meaning would appear to be, "it is true;" that is, "the charge has been proven." The Greek word hamartia (ἁμαρτία) is usually translated as sin in the New Testament; it means "to miss the mark" or "to miss the target". [citation needed]

"Sin" was also the name of the Babylonian moon god. Some students in recent times have postulated a connection with the modern English word "sin"[citation needed], but this is likely a folk-etymology.

[edit] Buddhist views of sin

Buddhism doesn't recognize the idea behind Sin because in Buddhism, instead, there is a Cause-Effect Theory, known as Karma, or action. In General, Buddhism illustrates intentions as the cause of Karma, either good or bad. Furthermore, most thoughts in any being's mind can be negative.

Vipaka, the result of your Karma, may create low quality living, hardships, destruction and all means of disharmony in life and it may also create the healthy living, easiness, and harmony in life. Good deeds produce good results while bad deeds produce bad results. Karma and Vipaka is your own action and result.

Pañcasīla (Pāli) is the fundamental code of Buddhist ethics, willingly undertaken by lay followers of Gautama Buddha. It is a basic understanding of the Noble Eightfold Path, which is a buddhist teaching on ways to stop suffering.

Pancasila
  1. I undertake the training rule to refrain from destroying living creatures.
  2. I undertake the training rule to refrain from taking that which is not given.
  3. I undertake the training rule to refrain from sexual misconduct.
  4. I undertake the training rule to refrain from incorrect speech.
  5. I undertake the training rule to refrain from intoxicants which lead to carelessness.
Noble Eightfold Path
  1. Right View
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Work
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration

These ultimately lead to cessation of suffering and thus is a way to be free of Samsara. After that, Nirvana is achieved.

[edit] Jewish views of sin

Judaism regards the violation of divine commandments to be a sin. Judaism teaches that sin is an act, and not a state of being. Mankind was created with an inclination to do evil (Genesis 8:21), and the ability to master this inclination (Genesis 4:7) and choose good over evil (Psalm 37:27) <ref name="englishhandbook">- English Handbook of Jews for Judaism</ref>. Judaism uses the term "sin" to include violations of Jewish law that are not necessarily a lapse in morality. According to the Jewish encyclopedia, "Man is responsible for sin because he is endowed with free will ("behirah"); yet he is by nature frail, and the tendency of the mind is to evil: "For the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Gen. viii. 21; Yoma 20a; Sanh. 105a). Therefore God in His mercy allowed man to repent and be forgiven."<ref> http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=812&letter=S&search=sin</ref> Judaism holds that all people sin at various points in their lives, and hold that God tempers justice with mercy.

The generic Hebrew word for any kind of sin is avera. Based on verses in the Hebrew Bible, Judaism describes three levels of sin. There are three categories of a person who commits an avera. The first one is someone who does an avera intentionally, or "B'mezid." This is the most serious category. The second is one who did an avera by accident. This is called "B'shogeg," and while the person is still responsible for their action it is considered less serious. The third category is someone who is a "Tinok Shenishba," which is a person who was raised in an environment that was assimilated or non-Jewish, and is not aware of the proper Jewish laws, or halacha. This person is not held accountable for their actions.

  • Pesha or Mered - An intentional sin; an action committed in deliberate defiance of God; (Strong's Concordance :H6588 (פשע pesha', peh'shah). According to Strong it comes from the root (:H6586); rebellion, transgression, trespass.
  • Avon - This is a sin of lust or uncontrollable emotion. It is a sin done knowingly, but not done to defy God; (Strong's Concordance :H5771 (avon, aw-vone). According to Strong it comes from the root (:H5753); meaning perversity, moral evil:--fault, iniquity, mischief.
  • Cheit - This is an unintentional sin, crime or fault. (Strong's Concordance :H2399 (חַטָּא chate). According to Strong it comes from the root khaw-taw (:H2398, H2403) meaning "to miss, to err from the mark (speaking of an archer), to sin, to stumble."

Judaism holds that no human being is perfect, and all people have sinned many times. However certain states of sin (i.e. avon or cheit) do not condemn a person to damnation; only one or two truly grievous sins lead to anything approaching the Biblical conception of hell. The Biblical and rabbinic conception of God is that of a creator who tempers justice with mercy. Based on the views of Rabbeinu Tam in the Babylonian Talmud (tractate Rosh HaShanah 17b), God is said to have thirteen attributes of mercy:

  1. God is merciful before someone sins, even though God knows that a person is capable of sin.
  2. God is merciful to a sinner even after the person has sinned.
  3. God represents the power to be merciful even in areas that a human would not expect or deserve.
  4. God is compassionate, and eases the punishment of the guilty.
  5. God is gracious even to those who are not deserving.
  6. God is slow to anger.
  7. God is abundant in kindness.
  8. God is the god of truth, thus we can count on God's promises to forgive repentant sinners.
  9. God guarantees kindness to future generations, as the deeds of the righteous patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) have benefits to all their descendants.
  10. God forgives intentional sins if the sinner repents.
  11. God forgives a deliberate angering of Him if the sinner repents.
  12. God forgives sins that are committed in error.
  13. God wipes away the sins from those who repent.

As Jews are commanded in imitatio Dei, emulating God, rabbis take these attributes into account in deciding Jewish law and its contemporary application.

A classical rabbinic work, Midrash Avot de Rabbi Natan, states:

One time, when Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai was walking in Jerusalem with Rabbi Yehoshua, they arrived at where the Temple in Jerusalem now stood in ruins. "Woe to us" cried Rabbi Yehoshua, "for this house where atonement was made for Israel's sins now lies in ruins!" Answered Rabban Yochanan, "We have another, equally important source of atonement, the practice of gemilut hasadim (loving kindness), as it is stated 'I desire loving kindness and not sacrifice'".

The Babylonian Talmud teaches that "Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Eleazar both explain that as long as the Temple stood, the altar atoned for Israel, but now, one's table atones [when the poor are invited as guests]." (Tractate Berachot, 55a.)

The traditional liturgy of the Days of Awe (the High Holy Days; i.e. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) states that prayer, repentance and tzedakah (charitable actions) are ways to repent for sin. In Judaism, sins committed against people (rather than against God or in the heart) must first be corrected and put right to the best of a person's ability; a sin which has not also been put right as best as possible cannot truly be said to be repented.

[edit] Jewish conceptions of atonement for sin

For more details on this topic, see Repentance in Judaism.

Atonement for sins is discussed in the Hebrew Bible, known to Christians as the Old Testament. Rituals for atonement occurred in the Temple in Jerusalem, and were performed by the Kohanim, the Israelite priests. These services included song, prayer, offerings and animal sacrifices known as the korbanot. The rites for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, are prescribed in the book of Leviticus chapter 15. The ritual of the scapegoat, sent into the wilderness to be claimed by Azazel, was one of these observances (Lev. 16:20-22).

A number of animal sacrifices were prescribed in the Torah (five books of Moses) to make atonement: a sin-offering for sins, and a guilt offering for religious trespasses. The significance of animal sacrifice is not expanded on at length in the Torah, though Genesis 9:4 and Leviticus 17 suggest that blood and vitality were linked. It should be noted that modern conservative Jews and Christians argue that the Jews never believed that the aim of all sacrifice is to pay the debt for sins - only the sin-offering and the guilt offering had this purpose; modern scholars of early Jewish history, however, often disagree and argue that this division came later. Later Biblical prophets occasionally make statements to the effect that the hearts of the people were more important than their sacrifices - "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams" (I Samuel 15:22); "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings" (Hosea 6:6); "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart" (Psalm 51:17) (see also Isaiah 1:11, Psalm 40:6-8).

Although the animal sacrifices were prescribed for atonement, there is no place where the Hebrew Bible says that animal sacrifice is the only means of atonement. Hebrew Bible teaches that it is possible to return to God through repentance and prayer alone. For example, in the books of Jonah and Esther, both Jews and gentiles repented, prayed to God and were forgiven for their sins, without having offered any sacrifices. <ref name="englishhandbook" /> Additionally, in modern times, most Jews do not even consider animal sacrifices. On the High Holidays of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and the period between these two holidays known as the Days of Atonement, repentance of sins committed is based on specialized prayers and hymns, while some Jews contiune the ancient methods of sacrifice. An example of a common method of "sacrificing" for the sake of repentance is simply to drop bread into a body of water, to signify the passing of sins and the hope for one to be written into the Book of Life by God once again. This is especially emphasized on what is arguably the holiest Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur.

Repentance in itself is also a means of atonement (See Ezekiel 33:11, 33:19, Jeremiah 36:3, etc.) The Hebrew word for repentance is teshuvah which literally means to "return (to God)." The prophet Hosea (14:3) said, "Take with you words, and return to God." Judaism teaches that our personal relationship with God allows us to turn directly to Him at any time, as Malachi 3:7 says, "Return to Me and I shall return to you," and Ezekiel 18:27, "When the wicked man turns away from his wickedness that he has committed, and does that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive." Additionally, God is extremely compassionate and forgiving as is indicated in Daniel 9:18, "We do not present our supplications before You because of our righteousness, but because of Your abundant mercy." <ref name="englishhandbook" />

Note that modern Judaism's views on sin and atonement are not identical to those in the Hebrew Bible alone, but rather are based on the laws of the Bible as seen through the Jewish oral law.

[edit] Christian views of sin

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[edit] In general

In Western Christianity, sin is often viewed as a legal infraction or contract violation, and so salvation tends to be viewed in legal terms, similar to Jewish thinking. In Eastern Christianity, sin is more often viewed in terms of its effects on relationships, both among people and between people and God.

The Greek word in the New Testament that is translated in English as "sin" is hamartia, which literally means missing the target. Consequently, salvation is viewed more in terms of reconciliation and vastly improved relationships. These two perspectives are not necessarily mutually exclusive. 1 John 3:4 states: "Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness." (ESV) The law is the moral law of the ten commandments in Exodus 20:1-17. Another example of this is in Romans 6:23 where it says the wages of sin is death. Both Eastern and Western Christians agree that sin obtructs one from having a relationship with God.

[edit] Roman Catholic views

Roman Catholic doctrine distinguishes between personal sin and original sin. Personal sins are either mortal or venial.

Mortal sins are sins of grave (serious) matter, where the sinner is aware that the act (or omission) is both a sin and a grave matter, and performs the act (or omission) with deliberate consent. The act of committing a mortal sin cuts off the sinner from God's grace; it is in itself a rejection of God. If left un-reconciled, mortal sins result in eternal punishment in Hell.

Venial sins are sins which do not meet the conditions for mortal sins. The act of committing a venial sin does not cut off the sinner from God's grace, as the sinner has not rejected God. However, venial sins do injure the relationship between the sinner and God, and as such, must be reconciled to God, either through the sacrament of reconciliation or receiving the Eucharist.

Both mortal and venial sins have a dual nature of punishment. They incur both guilt for the sin, yielding eternal punishment, and temporal punishment for the sin. Reconciliation is an act of God's mercy, and addresses the guilt and eternal punishment for sin. Purgatory and indulgences address the temporal punishment for sin, and exercise of God's justice.

Roman Catholic doctrine also sees sin as being twofold: Sin is, at once, any evil or immoral action which infracts God's law and the inevitable consequences, the state of being that comes about by committing the sinful action. Sin can and does alienate a person both from God and the community. Hence, the Catholic Church's insistence on reconciliation with both God and the Church itself.

According to Roman Catholicism, in addition to Jesus, the Virgin Mary also lived her entire life without sin. It is believed that Jesus assumed her directly into heaven after the end of her life on Earth; see Assumption of Mary. The belief in Mary's sinlessness is shared by many Eastern Orthodox theologians, but is not universally held and is not generally considered to be a point of dogma. In addition, the Orthodox view of the sinlessness of the Theotokos is not quite of the same nature as that held by Roman Catholics, since the Catholic teaching of the Immaculate Conception is not an Orthodox doctrine.

See also: Seven deadly sins

[edit] Eastern/Oriental Orthodox views

The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox use sin both to refer to humanity's fallen condition and to refer to individual sinful acts. In many ways the Orthodox Christian view of sin is similar to the Jewish, although neither form of Orthodoxy makes formal distinctions among "grades" of sins.

The Eastern Catholic Churches, which derive their theology and spirituality from same sources as the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox, do not use the Latin Catholic distinction between Mortal and Venial sin. However, like the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Catholic Churches do make a distinction between sins that are serious enough to bar one from Holy Communion (and must be confessed before receiving once again) and those which are not sufficiently serious to do so. In this respect, the Eastern Tradition is similar to the Western, but the Eastern Churches do not consider death in such a state to automatically mean damnation to Hell.

[edit] Protestant views

Many Protestants teach that, due to original sin, man has lost any and all capacity to move towards reconciliation with God (Romans 3:23;6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3); in fact, this inborn sin turns humans away from God and towards themselves and their own desires (Isaiah 53:6a). Thus, humans may be brought back into a relationship with God only by way of God's rescuing the sinner from his hopeless condition (Galatians 5:17-21; Ephesians 2:4-10) through Jesus's ransom sacrifice (Romans 5:6-8; Colossians 2:13-15). Salvation is sola fide (by faith alone); sola gratia (by grace alone); and is begun and completed by God alone through Jesus (Ephesians 2:8,9). This understanding of original sin (Romans 5:12-19), is most closely associated with Calvinism (see total depravity) and Lutheranism. Calvinism allows for the "goodness" of humanity through the belief in God's common grace. Methodist theology adapts the concept by stating that humans, entirely sinful and totally depraved, can only "do good" through God's prevenient grace.

This is in contrast to the Catholic teaching that while sin has tarnished the original goodness of humanity prior to the Fall, it has not entirely extinguished that goodness, or at least the potential for goodness, allowing humans to reach towards God to share in the Redemption which Jesus Christ won for them. Some non-Catholic or Orthodox groups hold similar views.

There is dispute about where sin originated some refer to Ezekiel 28 that suggests that sin originated with Satan when he coveted the position that rightfully belongs to God.

[edit] Defined types of sin

  • Original sin -- Most denominations of Christianity interpret the Garden of Eden account in Genesis in terms of the fall of man. Adam and Eve's disobedience was the first sin man ever committed, and their original sin (or the effects of the sin) is passed on to their descendants (or has become a part of their environment). See also: total depravity.
  • Concupiscence
  • Venial sin
  • Mortal sin
  • Eternal sin -- Commonly called the Unforgivable sin (mentioned in Matthew 12:31), this is perhaps the most controversial sin, whereby someone has become an apostate, forever denying himself a life of faith and experience of salvation; the precise nature of this sin is often disputed.

[edit] Christian teachings on atonement, or the remedy for sin

In Christianity, atonement refers to the redemption achieved by Jesus Christ by his crucifixion and resurrection. Its centrality means that it has been the source of much discussion and some controversy throughout Christian history. Christians begin with the proposition that the death of Jesus Christ was a sacrifice that relieves believers of the burden of their sins. But what was the actual meaning of Christ's death? Why did He have to die? The meaning of an event of such transcendent significance to Christians is hard to capture in any one verbal formula. But several have been ventured. Ironically, what Jesus himself is said to have taught on the subject of atonement when he was alive, differs from all of these. He stated that in order to find forgiveness from God for our sins, we first had to forgive one another. (Mt. 6:14-15).

Also, note that some scholars such as Thomas McElwain consider the belief that Jesus has already paid the whole price for sin as a later belief, one completely unknown to Paul, Jesus or any of the disciples of the first century. They argue that "the followers of Jesus Christ went on participating in the sacrificial system of the temple in Jerusalem until its destruction in AD 70" and "the apostolic church, for more than a generation after the ascension of Jesus, still offered the Old Testament sacrifices." The epistle to the Hebrews clearly teaches that Jesus replaces the temple service, its sacrifices and its priests. But they argue that "the historical fact is that such belief came only in connection with the destruction of the temple." The composition of the book of Hebrews has been dated to shortly after the Pauline epistles were collected and began to circulate, circa AD 95 which is after the destruction of the temple.<ref name="r6">Reported by Aboo Hurayrah & 'Aa'ishah & collected by al-Bukhaaree (eng. trans. vol.8 p.315 no.474)</ref>

Some later teachers who came after Jesus are as follows:

  • Origen taught that the death of Christ was a ransom paid to Satan in satisfaction of his just claim on the souls of humanity as a result of sin. This was opposed by theologians like St. Gregory Nazianzen, who maintained that this would have made Satan equal to God.
  • Irenaeus of Lyons taught that Christ recapitulated in Himself all the stages of life of sinful man, and that His perfect obedience substituted for Adam's disobedience.
  • Athanasius of Alexandria taught that Christ came to overcome death and corruption, and to remake humanity in God's image again. See On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius.
  • Augustine of Hippo said that sin was not a created thing at all, but that it was "privatio boni", a "taking away of good", and uncreation.
  • Anselm of Canterbury taught that Christ's death satisfied God's offended sense of justice over the sins of humanity. Also, God rewarded Christ's obedience, which built up a storehouse of merit and a treasury of grace that believers could share by their faith in Christ. This view is known as the satisfaction theory, the merit theory, or sometimes the commercial theory. Anselm's teaching is contained in his treatise Cur Deus Homo, which means Why God Became Human. Anselm's ideas were later expanded utilizing Aristotelian philosophy into a grand theological system by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, particularly in his masterpiece, the Summa Theologiae, which eventually became official Roman Catholic doctrine.
  • Pierre Abélard held that Christ's Passion was God suffering with His creatures in order to show the greatness of His love for them. This is often known as the moral influence view, and has dominated Christian liberalism.
  • Martin Luther and John Calvin, leaders of the Protestant Reformation, owed much to Anselm's theory and taught that Christ, the only sinless person, was obedient to take upon Himself the penalty for the sins that should have been visited on men and women. This view is a version of substitutionary atonement and is sometimes called substitutionary punishment or a satisfaction theory, though it is not identical to that of Anselm. Calvin additionally advocated the doctrine of limited atonement, which teaches that the atonement applies only to the sins of the elect rather than to all of humanity.
  • Arminianism has traditionally taught what is known as "Moral Government" theology or the Governmental theory. Drawing primarily from the works of Jacobus Arminius and Hugo Grotius, the Governmental theory teaches that Christ suffered for humankind so that God could forgive humans while still maintaining divine justice. Unlike the perspectives of Anselm of Canterbury or Calvinism, this view states that Christ was not punished for humanity, for true forgiveness would not be possible if humankind's offenses were already punished. Christ's suffering was a real and meaningful substitutionary atonement for the punishment humans deserve, but Christ was not punished on behalf of the human race. This view has prospered in traditional Methodism and all who follow the teachings of John Wesley, and has been detailed by, among others, 19th century Methodist theologian John Miley in his classic Atonement in Christ and 20th century Church of the Nazarene theologian J. Kenneth Grider in his Wesleyan-Holiness Theology. Variations of this view have also been espoused by 18th century Puritan Jonathan Edwards and 19th century revival leader Charles Grandison Finney.
  • Karl Barth taught that Christ's death manifested God's love and His hatred for sin.

The several ideas of these and many more Christian theologians can perhaps be summed up under these rubrics:

  • Victory: the idea that Jesus defeated Death through his death, and gave life to those in the grave. Both following models may be understood as variations of the Victory idea:
  • Participation: the idea that God's death on the cross completed his identification with humanity - God's participation in our sin and sorrow allowing our participation in his love and triumph;
  • Ransom: the idea that Jesus released humanity from a legal obligation to the Devil, incurred by sin. (Theories involving ransom owed to divine justice are generally classified under Punishment, below.)
  • Punishment: the idea that God assumed the penalty for human sins on the Cross, and volunteered punishment as the price paid to release humanity from so that the faithful might escape it;
  • Government: the idea that God forgives the penalty due humans for their sins, provisioned on their acceptance of that forgiveness, but that Christ suffered on the Cross in order to demonstrate the seriousness of sin;
  • Example: the idea that Jesus' death was meant as a lesson in ideal submission to the will of God, and to show the path to eternal life;
  • Revelation: the idea that Jesus' death was meant to reveal God's nature and to help humans know God better.
See also: Penance; Repentance; Reconciliation; Sacraments (Catholic Church)

[edit] Islamic views of sin

Islam sees sin (dhanb, thanb ذنب) as anything that goes against the will of Allah (God). Islam teaches that sin is an act and not a state of being. The Qur'an teaches that "the (human) soul is certainly prone to evil, unless the Lord does bestow His Mercy" and that even the prophets do not absolve themselves of blame the (Qur'an 12:53). Muhammad advised:

"Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and rejoice, for no one's good deeds will put him in Paradise." The Companions asked, "Not even you O Messenger of Allah?" He replied, "Not even me unless Allah bestows His pardon and mercy on me." <ref name="r6" />.

In Islam, there are several gradations of sin:

  • sayyia, khatia: mistakes (Suras 7:168; 17:31; 40:45; 47:19 48:2)
  • itada, junah, dhanb: immorality (Suras 2:190,229; 17:17 33:55)
  • haram: transgressions (Suras 5:4; 6:146)
  • ithm, dhulam, fujur, su, fasad, fisk, kufr: wickedness and depravity (Suras 2:99, 205; 4:50, 112, 123, 136; 12:79; 38:62; 82:14)
  • shirk: ascribing a partner to Allah (Sura 4:48)

It is believed that Iblis (Lucifer, Satan) has a significant role in tempting humankind towards sin. Thus, Islamic theology identifies and warns of an external enemy of humankind who leads humankind towards sin (7:27, 4:199, 3:55 etc.) The Qur'an in several verses (2:30-39, 7:11-25, 20:116-124) states the details of the Iblis’s temptation of Adam and in (Qur'an 7:27) states that the Iblis’s pattern of temptation of man is the same as that of Adam, i.e. Allah decrees a law for man but instead man obeys his own base desires and does not guard himself against the allurements of his enemy. Iblis deceives human being with vain hopes whereby he is led astray and fate helps him in that respect. Thus he transgresses some of the limits set for him by Allah and disobeys some of Allah's commandments. He therefore becomes justifiably liable to Allah's judgment and afflictions. But as proposed in the Qur'anic version of the story of Adam, man can turn towards Allah by the words inspired by Allah after being failed in Allah's test, because He is Oft-Returning and Most Merciful (Qur'an 2:37).

Muslims believe that Allah is angered by sin and punishes some sinners with the fires of جهنم‎ jahannam (Hell), but that He is also ar-rahman (the Merciful) and al-ghaffar (the Oft-Forgiving). It is believed that the جهنم‎ jahannam fire has purification functionality and that after purification, an individual who has been condemned to enter جهنم‎ jahannam is eligible to go to جنّة jannah(the Garden), if he "had an atom's worth of faith". Some Qur'anic commentaries such as Allameh Tabatabaei 4:10, 2:174 state that the fire is nothing but a transformed form of the human’s sin itself:

"Those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, eat up a Fire into their own bodies: They will soon be enduring a Blazing Fire!" (Qur'an 4:10)
"Those who conceal Allah's revelations in the Book (The Bible), and purchase for them a miserable profit- they swallow into themselves naught but Fire..." (Qur'an 2:174)

Some Islamic scholars such as Ibn Sina and Eghbal believe that jahannam (Hell) is not material.

In Islam there are opposing views that if a person commits a sin, he will be out of Islam. For example, Khavarej states that a single major unforgiven sin will automatically make a Muslim an unbeliever.

[edit] Islamic conceptions of atonement for sin

Qur'an teaches that the main way back to Allah is through genuine tawbah (repentance) which literally means 'to return'). See Repentance in Islam for further discussions.

Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Turn ye to our Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (will), before the Penalty comes on you: after that ye shall not be helped. (Qur'an 39:53-54)
"Verily! Allah Accepts the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and repent soon afterwards, to them Allah will turn in Mercy, for Allah is Full of Knowledge and Wisdom. And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil, until death faces one of them and he says "now have I repented indeed", nor of those who die rejecting faith: for them have we prepared a chastisement most grievous."(Qur'an 4:17-18).

Islam does not accept any blood sacrifice for sin. The Islamic understanding of forgiveness is that it is made on the basis of divine grace and repentance. According to Islam, no sacrifice can add to divine grace nor replace the necessity of repentance. In the Islamic theology, the animal sacrifices or blood are not directly linked to atonement (Qur'an 22:37: "It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah. it is your piety that reaches Him..."). On the other hand, the sacrifice is done to help the poor, and in remembrance of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son (according to the Muslims, Ishmael) at Allah's command.

In many verses of the Qur'an, Allah promises to forgive the sins of Muslims(those who believe and do good works) (47:2, 29:7, 14:23 etc.)

Prayer and good deeds can also be atonements for sins (Qur'an 11:114). The Islamic Law, Sharia specifies the atonement of any particular sin. Depending on the sin, the atonement can range from repentance and compensation of the sin if possible, feeding the poor, freeing slaves to even [[stoning to death]] or cutting hands.

Some of the major sins are held to be legally punishable in an Islamic state (for example, murder, theft, adultery, and in some views apostasy; see sharia). Most are left to Allah to punish (for example, backbiting, hypocrisy arrogance, filial disrespect, lying).

[edit] Islamic Major sins :Al-Kaba'r

There is considerable difference among scholars as to which sins are Al-Kaba'r (major sins).

According to Sahih Bukhari there are seven al-Kaba'r (major sins) according to this tradition: ><ref> ISBN 1-56744-489-X The Major Sins Al-Kaba'r By Muhammad bin 'Uthman Adh-Dhahabi, rendered into English by Mohammad Moinuddin Siddiqui </ref>

"Avoid the seven noxious things"- and after having said this, the prophet (saw) mentioned them: "associating anything with Allah; magic; killing one whom Allah has declared inviolate without a just case, consuming the property of an orphan, devouring usury, turning back when the army advances, and slandering chaste women who are believers but indiscreet." ,"

'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas said:><ref> ISBN 1-56744-489-X The Major Sins Al-Kaba'r By Muhammad bin 'Uthman Adh-Dhahabi, rendered into English by Mohammad Moinuddin Siddiqui </ref> <ref>Muhammad Tahlawi The Path to Paradise by M.Tahlawi, Trans. By J. Zarabozo [IANA books]</ref>


"Seventy is closer to their number than seven,"

[edit] Hindu views of sin

In Hinduism, the term sin or pāpa is often used to describe actions that create negative karma.

Sin, in Hinduism, besides creating negative karma, is violating moral and ethical codes as in the religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In fact, it is much described in the scriptures that chanting the name of Hari or Narayana or Shiva is the only way to atone for sins, prevent rebirth and attain moksha. For reference, see the famous story of Ajamila, described in a story described in the Bhagavata Purana.<ref>- Ajamakila</ref>

Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami explains in the lexicon section of his book, Dancing with Siva, that "sin is an intentional transgression of divine law and is not viewed in Hinduism as a crime against God as in Judaeo-Christian religions, but rather as 1) an act against dharma, or moral order and 2) one's own self." Furthermore, he notes that it is thought natural, if unfortunate, that young souls act wrongly, for they are living in nescience, avidya, the darkness of ignorance.

He further mentions that sin in Hinduism is an adharmic course of action which automatically brings negative consequences. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami explains that the term sin carries a double meaning, as do its Sanskrit equivalents: 1) a wrongful act, 2) the negative consequences resulting from a wrongful act. In Sanskrit the wrongful act is known by several terms, including pataka (from pat, "to fall") papa, enas, kilbisha, adharma, anrita and rina (transgress, in the sense of omission).

He comments that the residue of sin is called papa, sometimes conceived of as a sticky, astral substance which can be dissolved through penance (prayashchitta), austerity (tapas) and good deeds (sukritya). Note that papa is also accrued through unknowing or unintentional transgressions of dharma, as in the term aparadha (offense, fault, mistake).

Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami further notes that in Hinduism, except for Dvaita school of Shri Madhvacharya, there are no such concepts of inherent or mortal sin, according to some theologies, which he defined as sins so grave that they can never be expiated and which cause the soul to be condemned to suffer eternally in hell.

Adapted and cited from lexicon section of his book, Dancing with Siva., with italics to indicate non-quotes.

[edit] Atheist views of sin

To the atheist, the concept of sin is not very meaningful; sin is generally regarded by most people as a theological concept, and atheists are by definition not followers of a theology. Non-believers may certainly regard action as being right or wrong according to their particular moral system, but they generally do not think of them as being "sinful" per se, particularly if "sinful" is taken to mean "acting against the wishes/commands of my deity."

It is, however, important to note that "atheism" is as vague a category as "theism": just as there is no universal doctrine of "theism" (apart from the mere assertion that some divine entity exists), there is no universal doctrine of "atheism" and no single view on the concept of sin.

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[edit] See also

[edit] Notes and references

<references />

[edit] Bibliography

  • Hein, David. "Regrets Only: A Theology of Remorse." The Anglican 33, no. 4 (October 2004): 5-6.

[edit] External links

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