Saturday, April 6, 2019
A Sense of Sin Essay Example for Free
A reason of guilt EssayNo one doubts the presence of poisonous in the world. We experience it in a variety of ways national and international conflict domestic and street violence political and corporal corruption and a host of manifestations of sexism, clericalism, racism, ageism, and other violations of justice. All such forms of brutality, dis stage and discrimination, look intom from a theological prospect, are rooted in vileness. But do we ever recognize the sin and name it as such? 1Retrieving a Sense of SinFor some reason, sin seems to feature lost its suitcase on us as a way of accounting for and naming so much of the evil we know. Among the many other reasons, the eclipse of the religious world view through the rise of the secular relish accounts significantly for the loss of the feel of sin. In fact, in his post-synodal exhortation, Reconciliatio et Penitentia (1984), Pope joke Paul II ascribe secularism above all with contributing to a loss of a sense of sin.2 The secular spirit questions the relevancy and moment of all Christian symbols, and even of religion itself. One effect of this secular spirit on the meaning of sin, for example, has been to reduce sin to some form of psychological or social disorder. The therapeutic place which pervades the secular spirit looks on behavior as either healthily adaptive-problem-solving behavior, or as unhealthy, nonadaptive, and problem-creating behavior.3 It does non call the latter sin.For a survey at major attempts in the past twenty long time to explore the mystery of sin, see James A. ODonohue, Toward a Theology of Sin A catch at the Last Twenty Years, Church 2 (Sp aureole 1986) 48-54. 2 The other factors of a non-ecclesial nature which John Paul II lists as errors made in evaluating certain findings of the human sciences, deriving systems of ethics from historical relativism, and identifying sin with neurotic guilt. Within the thought and flavor of the Church, certain trends have al so contributed to the loss of the sense of sin. Among these he lists the movement from seeing sin everywhere to non recognizing it anywhere from an emphasis on caution of external punishment to preaching a sleep together of divinity fudge that excludes punishment from correcting erroneous consciences to respecting consciences but excluding the craft to tell the truth.Two other ecclesial factors are the plurality of opinions existing in the church on questions of ethical motive and the deficiencies in the practice of penance. To restore a healthy sense of sin, the pope advocates a sound catechetics, illume by the biblical divinity of the compact, by an attentive listening and trustful openness to the magisterium of the church, which never ceases to shed light on consciences, and by an ever more than careful practice of the sacrament of penance. See Origins 14 (December 20, 1984) 443-444, quotation at p. 444. 3 The research of the team headed by sociologist Robert Bellah whi ch has produced Habits of the Heart (Berkeley University of California Press, 1985), a study of the American beliefs and practices which knuckle under shape to our character and form our social order, shows that the therapist is the raw(a)est character forming American culture. See Chapter Two cultivation and Character The Historical Conversation, pp. 27-51, especially pp. 47-48.2 Moreover, the secular, therapeutic perspective tends to look on persons more as victims of unconscious or socio-cultural influences than as elements of free consummations. Psychiatrists Karl Menninger in Whatever Happened to Sin4 and M. Scott Peck in People of the Lie5 motivation to make full allowance for those conditions which cause people to do evil. Yet both insist on a strip of state which cannot be negotiated away to these determining influences. While the behavioral sciences provide us with helpful explanations of human behavior, they do not circulate a full account. Sin is real, and we need a fresh way to get at it and call it what it is. What do we need to grasp in order to retrieve a sense of sin in an adult manner? Contemporary clean theology says a sense of responsibility.Christian theologians find in responsibility the natural theme of Christian combine and the central characteristic of the moral life. A leading Protestant theologian of this century, H. Richard Niebuhr, has done much to give impetus to the responsibility motif in Christian morality. 6 He summarizes the constituents of responsibility by describing the agents actions as a response to an action upon him in accordance with his interpretation of the latter action and with his expectation of response to his response and all of this is in a continuing community of agents. (The Responsible Self, 65) Since matinee idol is present to us in and through all that makes up our lives so that we are never not in the presence of immortal, our responses to all our actions upon us include our response to god. As Niebuhr asserts, Responsibility affirms God is playacting in all our actions upon you.So respond to all actions upon you as to respond to his action (The Responsible Self, 126). If beingness responsible sums up the quality of character and action marking Christian moral living, sin leave alone mark the failure to be fully responsible. Responsibility as a motif for the moral life has found its way into Catholic moral thinking with the strong support of the biblical renewal in the Catholic Church. Bernard Hring, who has been instrumental in transition Catholic moral thinking, has used this notion of responsibility with great success in reconstructing Catholic moral thought. Along with other Catholic theologians, Hring has found in the biblical renewal a fresh theological framework and an orientation for reasonableness the moral life.7 We turn, then, to the biblical perspective on sin.Menninger, Whatever Happened to Sin? ( new(a) York Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1973). Peck, People of the Lie ( refreshed York Simon and Shuster, 1983). 6 See especially Niebuhr, The Responsible Self (New York Harper Row, 1963), pp. 61-65. 7 Bernard Hrings literary productions are vast and wide-ranging. His early three-volume work, The Law of Christ (Westminster Newman Press, 1961, 1963, 1966), was one of the first major works by a Catholic moral theologian to rethink morality in light of the biblical renewal.His most(prenominal) recent three-volume work, Free and Faithful in Christ (New York Seabury Press, 1978, 1979, 1981), is an expression of Hrings more mature thought. This work is not a revision of The Law of Christ, but a completely new work. Charles E. Curran, a student of Hring, has followed his teachers lead in making efforts at renewing moral theology in light of the biblical renewal. Some of Currans pertinent articles are The relevance of the Ethical Teaching of Jesus and Conversion The Central Message of Jesus in A New Look at Christian Morality (Notre Dame Fides Publishers, Inc., 1968), pp. 1-23 and 25-71.Sin The Biblical PerspectiveFrom the Bible we see that Christian morality is primarily a vocation. This means that our life is a response to the word of God spoken to us preeminently in Jesus, but also in and through the people and events of our lives. From the perspective of vocation, wherein God calls and we respond, responsibility replaces obligation as the primary characteristic of the moral life. Also, the relationship that we establish with God in and through our responses to all things becomes the focal point of the moral life.From this point of view, practicing the presence of God becomes essential for Christian responsibility, Christian moral growth, and our awareness of sin. A consistent theme of contemporary theology has been that we cannot have a proper understanding of sin unless we have a proper understanding of the nature and implications of the engagement God has established with us. Covenant and heart are the dominant met aphors of biblical faith for understanding the moral life. They provide the biblical horizon against which to recognize sin.CovenantThe two frequently used terms for sin in the Old Testament point to violations of relationships. Hattah is the most common term. Its meaning, to miss the mark or to offend, points to a purposeful action oriented toward an existing relationship. The existence of the relationship makes the offence or failure possible. Pesa, meaning rebellion, is a legal term denoting a deliberate action violating a relationship in community. The New Testament term for sin is hamartia. It connotes a deliberate action rooted in the heart and missing the intended mark. 8 These terms acquire theological significance when used in the context of the concordat which expresses the most personal kind of relationship between God and us.The primary aim of the covenant is that God loves us without our having done anything to attract Gods attention or to win that love. Gods covenant is a bond of completely gratuitous love, pure grace. But Gods scuttle of love (grace) does not destroy our freedom. Unlike the Godfather, God makes an sally we can refuse. Gods offer of love awaits our acceptance. Once we accept the offer of love we commit ourselves to living as the covenant requires. The covenant context lifts the notion of sin out of a legalistic framework to set it on a level of a personal relationship with God.In worshipping the golden calf (Ex 32), Israel missed the mark of covenant love, or sinned, not so much because Israel broke one of the laws of the covenant, but because Israel broke the personal bond of love of which the law was an external expression. The law was not to be the final object of Israels fidelity. God was. Sin in the Bible is not merely breaking a law. Sin is breaking or alter the God-given bond of love. The law was an aid to Israels fidelity and pointed to the responsibilities of being in relationship to God.