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Paradigm of Sin
What if the Supreme Being's problem is that mankind has chosen to believe that His character is less than ideal, less than we would really like it to be? Humans tend to view God, and all religions teach views of God, as being the quintessential egotist, a ruler rather than a server, a law giver rather than a bringer of freedom, a demander rather than a lover, a controller and the inevitable winner in a power struggle, he who must be obeyed, ad nauseam. They project incredibly negative or evil facets of character upon him. For Christianity some of these negatives culminate in distorted or slanted translations of the gospels, the inclusion of writings inspired by the concepts of sinful men as being the word of God, and especially the horrible doctrines such as a second death or literal fires burning human beings throughout eternity, etc, which cover up the wonderful message and promises of Jesus and negate their fulfillment.
Sin and Sinning
Foundational to the proper theology is the
definition and usage of sin that Jesus gave to us. The word that Jesus used which is
translated sin is the Greek word αμαρτια
and ηαμαρτια. These words
intrinsically mean " a missing of the mark", and were used primarily to
indicate a lack of understanding. Thayers Greek-English Lexicon has: 1.
an error of the understanding.
Therefore, the proper understanding of sin is one of if not the most important of all in our theological thinking. No valid theology can get off the ground unless this concept of sin is incorporated at the very beginning.
Paradigm Problems in New Testament Translation
It has long been known that the highest level secular Greek scholars laugh with derision and scorn at the way the New Testament is translated. Besides a limited, "inbred" and misinformed lexicon, one of the biggest problems of translation is Bible idolatry. "Bibliolatry" brings the unwarranted assumption that the Bible is consistent in its teachings, doctrines, dogmas and theology, and that the Bible is its own best commentary on other passages. Most of the rest of the problems are introduced because of the traditional but false paradigm of god long held by the OT and the world's major religions.
How bad is it? Here is one instance of the translation being 180 degrees wrong in literally every New Testament translation out there. The problem appears in John 8:11, where Jesus ostensibly says, "I don't blame you either, go, and sin no more".
The Foundation For Different Translation
1) Jesus came to change our concept of god and our paradigm, not to "pay some ransom price" or to "balance the books" or to satisfy some larger than god justice system. He was frustrated when Philip came and asked him to "show us the father, and we will be satisfied", and responded, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not understand me, Philip? He who has seen [understood and experienced] me has seen the father. HOW can you say, 'Show us the father'?"
It is in this way that Jesus came to solve the sin problem. Of course he always reflected truly the character of god, and thus "sinning" stopped in his presence. There was no reinforcement of wrong concepts when he was around. When he came, he even pushed the limits of respect for our freedom by cleaning out the temple's dreadful business of merchandizing the forgiveness of God. This business was promulgating and reinforcing the message that a displeased god was placated by the purchase and waste of a sacrifice acquired under religious extortion at an exorbitant price. Even the forbearance of Jesus couldn't abide this!
2) Jesus wanted open minded followers, He invited many to leave their petty and poor lives behind them and to come and follow him. If he had had his way, all would have followed and listened to him and entered the Kingship. He did not even send Judas away, and he also invited that most unlikely candidate, the rich young ruler, to come and follow him. He sought out the Samaritan woman at the well, and if she had followed his instructions, she and her lover would have been privileged to have had special and private discourse with him, which discourse would have opened the gates of the "kingship of the heavens" or empowerment.
3) The Koine Greek verb, which means "to pass, to move toward or away in relation to", can be translated in English as either "come" or "go" or "pass", depending on the intent of the speaker.
If sin is having a bereft or barren concept of God, then where should Mary have gone away from Jesus to get it enlightened? To the then current religious leaders and experts? To the Pharisees? No! Thus, in the light of the 3 foundation points above, the most reasonable translation should be, "come, and sin no more."
One of the worst, most evil mistranslations done by New Testament translators of Christendom is the one in John 20:23. Given that the definition of sin is having a wrong concept or understanding of God, the proper translation should be: "If you dismiss any sins [wrong concepts], let them be dismissed. If you have retained any sins [wrong concepts], let them be retained." Jesus is NOT authorizing us or any so called priests to forgive the sins or misdeeds of others. Rather he is at the end of his ministry, his all out effort to cleanse our thinking of dreadfully wrong concepts of God, and now can do more. This is his benediction, his coming to terms with the fact that the disciples and followers had retained a great deal of misunderstanding in their thinking. He is addressing this regrettable result, and Mankind has paid a heavy price for their carelessness, dullness, intellectual irresponsibility and spiritual apathy.
In the context of the Thoreau quote above, our foibles, weaknesses, peccadilloes, misdeeds, bad habits, failures, wounded ego problems, vices, etc., are just the branches, not the root. These are the factors that Jesus was referring to when he told the ailing man, "My son, your sins are continually being dismissed."
Some would have you believe that God can read our minds and that He is displeased when we even think nefarious thoughts, unbidden though they may come. Others that we displease heaven when we eat between meals, or make love on the Sabbath. Bottom line implication? The human race is insane for believing such nonsense as it does about the creator, the unfallen realm and what they care about, and what the real answer is.
The issue should be clear. The creator either made
us to be obsequious servants, servile "pets" and/or inferior underlings,
directed and demanded to submit to his will (which would be considered
imposing in lieu of his power and potential anger) and/or be afraid, told
what to do and what not to do, and destined to have most of what we want
as long as it does not encroach upon his superiority and will; OR he
designed us to be his equals, truly free moral agents made to follow the
desires of our own hearts, with freedom and sovereignty, destined to have our every
intrinsic desire and need
fulfilled, with no one telling us what to do "or else".
Sin is failing to understand that the Creator's
Aspects of Sin
Sin is choosing to believe God is not
100% good, or not believing that god is as good to us personally by our
definition of good as he really is. Sin is choosing to believe that God
can be the problem instead of the solution. Sin is wrestling with the
issue of whether we are any good in God's eyes, instead of having the
guts to stand up and wrestle with whether or not God is any good for us.
Sin is insisting that God is that oxymoron, a benevolent dictator ruling
by law; or believing that God is a lawgiver enacting rules, limiting
free will, backed up by punishment and violence. Sin is insisting that
we must submit to God's will and obey God even when it conflicts with
our own will and desires.
Morality and Ethics
The correct understanding of sin, alongside our training and overall cultural conditioning, has a very great and ultimate effect upon our morality and ethics. This concept along with the presentation of Godliness given by the J person will work to correct and overcome whatever unsavory aspects of our psyche we find we have accumulated in ourselves.
In his conversations about ethics, Jesus usually only scorned the then current ethics of the Jews, and seldom if ever talked directly about morality. Ethics and morality should not be conflated!
It should be self-evident that life fulfillment should define and determine morality, not some written code of morality determining what happens in life. This literally means that whatever is ethical and sustains and/or enhances life for all concerned is moral. This means that in this world no specific rules can be absolutely valid. The most immoral thing that can be done is to impose rules of morality upon humans that God created to live freely by their will and their own free-flowing feelings and emotions. To do so suggests a treatment more appropriate for machines than for children of God.
When all is said and done, we all including any conceivable God want the same thing, WE WANT TO FEEL GOOD! The only ULTIMATE defensible purpose of life is to increase morale. Whatever ultimately increases morale without violating human ethics IS moral!
So, we should be able to consider the possibility that we are suffering from a race-wide psychological problem caused by buying into a fundamentally wrong concept of God, a wrong paradigm or an "old wineskin" if you will. Within this false paradigm we are all programmed for failure with defeating sentiments. We are going to wait a long time if we are waiting for God to initiate any further rapprochement. Jesus laid it all on the line for that already, and his last words were, "It is finished!"