Why Should I Avoid Sin If I’ll Be Forgiven?
The blood of Jesus has paid for my sins, so I can do anything I like without worrying about the consequences.
This is a Q1 violation if you believe that some things are wrong whether or not you will be punished for doing them, if you are wilfully misrepresenting your religion, or if you are using a religion that condemns your behavior as justification for your behavior.
This is a Q2 violation if you would not want someone of a different religion to use their salvation as an excuse for escaping moral culpability. It is likely also a violation if you consider atheists (and those whose religion does not include post-life punishment) to be immoral when they act without fear of divine consequences.
This statement has a several implied assumptions:
- That someone for whom "the blood of Jesus has paid for my sins" would want to sin.
- That this payment applies to both past and future sins, regardless of the nature of those sins.
- That a) there is no reason not to commit immoral acts if there will be no punishment, b) acts for which you will not be divinely punished are not immoral, c) nothing that a true Christian does is immoral, and/or d) an immoral act is permissible if a penalty has been paid before the act is committed.
Taking these in order, does your religion hold that someone who has accepted Jesus can no longer do wrong, will no longer desire to do wrong, is no longer responsible for the wrong they do, or something else? If you are using a religious system to justify your behavior, you need to make sure that your behavior is consistent with that religious system. Otherwise you are not practicing religious morality; you are picking and choosing religious beliefs in order to justify your actions.
Are you sure that the payment for your sins applies to all possible future sins? For example, if you were to deny the existence of God and turn to a life of crime, would you still face no punishment in the afterlife? If there are at least some possible future sins that have not been paid for, which are they?
Do you truly believe that avoiding divine punishment implies that you do not need to behave by moral rules? If you believe this, then by Q2 you are inviting atheists, those who do not believe in divine punishment, and others who share your beliefs to do whatever they want without fear of your condemning their behavior.
If you think that acts for which you will not be divinely punished are not immoral or that nothing a true Christian does is immoral, you are in an even worse position than someone who believes that avoiding divine punishment makes moral rules irrelevant. You not only cannot condemn the behavior of others who think as you do, you can’t even call them immoral.
If Jesus has already paid for your sins, are you allowed to commit sins since they’re already paid for? Similarly, if someone is wrongly imprisoned for murder and serves her sentence, would she be morally justified in committing a murder since she’s already paid for one?
With all this in mind, which of the following statements are morally valid?
- I sometimes take money from my mom’s wallet because I know she’d forgive me if she found out.
- You can’t buy your way into Heaven with good works, so there’s no reason I should give my money to charity.
- The main characters in The Godfather were all good Christians.
- I believe in reincarnation and karma, so I’m going to go ahead and steal this bicycle — I’ll pay for it in my next life.
You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.