Focus on the good you can do today.

doctoro's picture
Posts: 195
Joined: 2006-12-15
User is offlineOffline
Focus on the good you can do today.

Focus on the good you can do today, not the sins of the past or the punishments of the future.

The following is an e-mail I wrote to a Christian minister friend of mine regarding the doctrine of sin.

"Sin is obsession with the past.

The only actions that serve any purpose are to make amends with the people you may have hurt to the best of your abilities and move on with your life. It makes no sense to obsess over the fate of a non-existent soul when there is plenty of good you can do here on Earth after you forgive YOURSELF for anything you’re guilty about.

Actions that do not harm others are not deserving of punishment or any lost sleep.

The Christian scenario depicts human life as something much more depressing than atheism ever could.

Atheist existentialists state that we are thrust into existence without our choice and without any clear purpose set down for us. This is a liberating belief. You may choose your own path, not slavishly submit to the path of an imaginary being.

Christianity, on the other hand, states that we are thrust into existence with “sin” already tainting our every action when we are incapable of acting or being accounting for our actions. At birth, we are amoral beings who do not even understand what morality is. It is preposterous to say that an amoral baby is tainted with some metaphysical stain on his immortal soul and that he or she is corrupted. To me, this belief is much more depressing than believing that no meaning is given to us in life. FURTHERMORE, the theist believes that God has a path for you, a destiny if you will. This impies determinism that is not present in existentialist thought.

By far the worst aspect of Christian belief is that when I do attain the age of accountability for my actions, and I start sinning; I am forced to act in the world. I cannot choose to sit on my sofa and not go out in the world because I am afraid to sin and taint my immortal soul. I have to work, eat, and sleep. Most people need other human relationships.

I find it much more forgiving and befitting a rational philosophy of life to assume that throughout my life, the fulfillment of my own needs and desires as a human will conflict with others. I will try to balance my needs and desires with the needs and desires of others. When I fail or make mistakes, I will not beat myself up over it, beg for forgiveness from an imaginary deity, or worry about the fate of my immortal soul. I will pick myself up by the bootstraps and look at the rational consequences of my mistakes.

There is absolutely NO rational reason why I’d be more concerned with an imaginary soul and its abiliity to be tainted MORE than I would be concerned with the ACTIONS I can take in this world to alleviate the harm that I have caused. Worrying about damnation is a great impediment to the rational, real world solutions to our perceived misdeeds.

What actions can we take after making ethical mistakes? We can apologize. We can do restitution to correct the situation. And if the apology or restitution is not accepted, the only thing we can do is A) learn from the mistake and try not to commit the same mistake again , B) forgive ourselves & move on with our lives and C) try to make the world a better place with future actions.

By virtue of existing, we are forced to make decisions that affect the balance of our needs and desires with those of others. Let us spend time thinking on how to better improve this balance, rather than selfishly concerning ourselves with an afterlife that may or may not exist.

If God DOES exist, I think he would want me to conduct myself in the manner described. For after death, I will have an eternity to glorify or be punished. God has to be a pragmatist. Would not God want you to employ the life philosophy that I have described? Would not God want you to look at your misdeeds and rectify them with real world actions, not praying and worshipping so that you can indirectly be forgiven? Look at your “sins” and take actions in the real world to fix them, don’t worry about what’s going to happen to you in an imaginary world.

Of course, all of this falls on deaf ears. I will no doubt be either receiving no response whatsoever, a two sentence blurb with vague terminology that requires me to make all sorts of assumptions, or I will get a lecture on justice, sin, and punishment in an imaginary realm.

Friend, concern yourself with the good that you can do today; NOT PUNISHMENTS IN THE FUTURE OR THE SINS OF THE PAST."


CrazyRoper's picture
Posts: 72
Joined: 2007-02-02
User is offlineOffline
Very nice.  If you wouldn't

Very nice.  If you wouldn't mind, I would like to use some of this if I ever have to defend myself or if I ever finally tell my family I'm an atheist.

"I, on the other hand, do not feel it necessary to construct a lofty meaning for myself. I prefer the style of the butterfly myself. I will eat what I want, flit about aimlessly, and enjoy the sunshine. Then, I will die. " - Nero, RRS Forum User

Susan's picture
Posts: 3561
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Well done. Thank you for

Well done.

Thank you for that post.