As a former student of Theology I find it fascinating how much of a role guilt really has in the Judeo-Christian mindset. In fact this doctrine of guilt is so important to Evangelicals that if you do not accept the notion that your mind, will, and desires are all corrupted by sin then you in fact are lost and especially in danger of judgment.
So let’s be objective here for a second. If I don’t agree that all humans (myself included) are infected with a sin virus then I stand as one who is especially dangerous in the area of morality and accountability? This just does not seem to jive with the facts!
Think about it, what does one really stand to gain by accepting that they are in fact corrupted, depraved, and blinded by sin? The simple answer is guilt and shame. However, let’s hash this out just a little more.
This isn’t just any guilt that we are being told to accept by our religious friends. No, the nature of Biblical guilt is generational. It’s inherited and contagious like a disease. It festers and grows simply by being human and this guilt meets its final demise by applying the wrath of some kind of unseen angry being to it.
Yes, this notion of justice says that it is absolutely necessary for Jesus to wield the sword in the end. Don’t be fooled by that passive martyr from ancient Israel that promoted peace and good will toward men. Also, let us consider this pattern of martyrdom that Jesus is said to have instituted.
Accepting my guilty part as a corrupt sinner is then said to be the evidence of God’s grace in my life. It is as if scales are falling from my eyes and I see reality as it really is! I’m a guilty, pathetic, evil worm that deserves to burn in hell eternally mostly because I was born like this. Hallelujah friends! Praise the Lord. Jesus made a loophole for me when he died on the cross.
Now that my sins are erased there is a wonderful option to consider. I wonder if I should go into the jungles of South America and try to make secluded tribal people think just like me. They have to know they are guilty! They have to. There is no bending on this rule after all it is the heart of the gospel message.
If they do not accept me then I could very well lose my life. I could die! It’s perfectly fine though if I do die, Jesus said there is a great reward for doing this. My religion has made the one life I actually know I possess fairly dispensable, it just depends how I want to use it.
Objectively speaking, if I am to remain consistent with accepting my depravity and guilt I will stand to gain a lot of shame all at once. This shame is good. It teaches me my need for someone to crucify their body on a block of wood on behalf of my guilt. This person is presumably innocent, I didn’t ask him to spill his blood on my account, I am told that he did it because he loves me and scapegoating is the only way for me to be redeemed in the eyes of God.
Suddenly, I don’t think I’m truly guilty in the first place, do you? I also don’t really sense a deep need to be forgiven for a sin virus at all, do you?