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Author Topic: Sin: Subjective or Objective  (Read 2557 times) Average Rating: 0
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prodromas
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« on: September 22, 2007, 03:20:19 AM »

I read a quote from an Orthodox Christian and i'm not sure of the source to paraphrase:

"One man's sin is not another man's sin"

It was in reference to sin and how it is subjective. For a long time I believed all sin to be objective (x wrong for everyone) but after this quote it seemed to really change my idea. What is the consensus of the church and/or OC net posters?
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2007, 03:47:48 AM »

In general, it's both.  Specifically, some sins, whether we do what we ought not do or we don't do what we know we ought to do, are sins for all people, while other sins are dependent on the specific circumstances and character traits of each individual person.  I would like to give examples, but I'm afraid I'm too tired and need soon to sign off for the night so I can get some sleep.  I'll try to revisit this subject tomorrow.
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ytterbiumanalyst
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2007, 10:42:38 AM »

One thing that is subjective is addiction. If I am addicted to something, let's say alcohol for argument's sake, then it would be a sin to drink it, knowing that it would control me. If you are not addicted to alcohol, then it is not a sin to drink (as long as you're of age), because it would not control you. You could exercise self-control (a fruit of the Spirit), whereas I would be giving up self-control by drinking. Therefore, it is a sin for me but not for you.
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2007, 02:33:32 PM »

I agree with Ytterbiumanalyst. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that's exactly what St. Paul was talking about in Romans 14:1-13. Sin is what I do against God's will, or, in other words, what I do that makes me not God's. If I drink in moderation (or, in Paul's words, "eat everything"), but drinking does not make me a godless addict, then I am still God's and, therefore, my drinking is not a sin. If I become a drunkard when I drink, then it's better for me to abstain from drinking (or, in Paul's words, "eat only vegetables").
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 02:34:09 PM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2007, 03:00:43 PM »

I'd be curious to see the full context of the original quote. However, I would say that Orthodox ascetical literature stresses the importance of intent and the interior world at least as much as it does action or law. Hence, the spiritual importance of nepsis, or interior watchfulness.

Anyway, the immorality or holiness of many actions do indeed depend on a person's heart. Think, for example, of the famous stories in the Gerondikon that speak of this or that monk who went into a brothel, scandalizing the town, in order to bring a friend lost in sin to repentance.
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2007, 03:02:44 PM »

Right, but it's important not to rationalize. Some things are sins for everyone, like adultery and homosexual behavior. Though many theological liberals would say otherwise, it's a sin for Adam and his 20-year partner Steve's nightly "love-making" just as it is a sin for Tom's romps in the public toilets and gay bathhouses.

I remember a story about a group of priests. On Sunday they decided to go golfing (I guess they didn't have to say Mass in the afternoon). They asked another priest to join them, but he hesitated. Going golfing on the Sabbath troubled his conscience. He felt that it would be better for him to pray the Office and tend to parishioners. But the other priests were insistent, so the priest gave up and went with them. I don't remember what happened next, but he was either hit on the head by a golf ball or struck by lightning. Anyway, it was seen as a sign from God that he should have followed his conscience and not gone. For the other priests, it was not a sin, but for him it was.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2007, 03:14:39 PM by lubeltri » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2007, 06:13:14 PM »


I remember a story about a group of priests. On Sunday they decided to go golfing (I guess they didn't have to say Mass in the afternoon). They asked another priest to join them, but he hesitated. Going golfing on the Sabbath troubled his conscience. He felt that it would be better for him to pray the Office and tend to parishioners. But the other priests were insistent, so the priest gave up and went with them. I don't remember what happened next, but he was either hit on the head by a golf ball or struck by lightning. Anyway, it was seen as a sign from God that he should have followed his conscience and not gone. For the other priests, it was not a sin, but for him it was.

I agree. I heard a saying, in this regard, that if you are doing whatever - no matter how innocent it is commonly accepted to be, - and it troubles your conscience, then, if you are continuing to do it, you are actually sinning.
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2007, 04:02:18 PM »

I've heard someone say that if someone recieves of communion who hasn't confessed, or forgiven their brother, etc. that everyone partakes of that sin who partakes of communion. 

Not to put it harshly, but this is blasphemous.  Communion is for the remission of sins, and if the priest's sins are examptified through communion, so can anyone who recieves.  But, at the same time it can be a fire for them. 

I don't know if this was a good example...but it helped me...
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