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?

6 thoughts on “Reason vs Guilt

  1. Hello friend 🙂

    To clarify, when you refer to “guilt”, are you referring to the feeling of guilt, or the fact of guilt? They are not the same, and I want to make sure I’m interpreting what you’re saying correctly. To illustrate, the sociopath who committed murder is guilty of a crime in a factual sense, even though he feels no guilt; and the pushover who feels badly for finally standing up for herself may feel guilty, even if she’s done nothing wrong.

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  2. As a Calvinist the arche “everyone is a bad person type,” I have never liked the “evangelical” focus on sin. It makes religion all about you. Honestly, sin is an annoyance to a Christian not much else.

    Jesus never tells anyone to confess their sins, etc. just to knock things like adultery off. The idea of “confessions” and “absolution” was one of the whole reasons protestants split. And because it never was in the bible, folks have to point to tradition.

    Honestly though, it’s self centered mish mash. “My sins held him to the cross” uh… no, God freely forgives sin in the OT. There’s more going on than “you.”

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    1. So, let me see if I’m understanding you correctly? It is simply the mechanism of how sin, guilt, and depravity is presented to us that can be the problem? Rather than focusing on how I am so evil, the focus should be, Christ is supremely good? I think I’m tracking with you in that regard because I don’t think any good Calvinist would reject the ‘T’ in Tulip. In your view humans are still totally depraved with an inability to be anything different. Forgive me if I offend your sensibilities but in my opinion a God that directs this whole process of salvation and damnation is enormously wasteful if you hold to a conservative view. It is somehow perfect to elect some and either pass by, or double predestine others for an eternity of conscious torment? Finite beings are punished eternally for finite actions? This doesn’t add up in my mind. We can call this the glory and majesty of God, but it is quite another thing to see this as reasonable, good, and just. At least not in any way that is relevant to most of humanity.

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      1. Well, a good Calvinist if not calvin would point out that conceptions of hell have more to do with culture than scripture. Also, eternal and temporal frameworks don’t blend well. Anihilationism has strong points. But regardless the idea of eternity as endless temporal progression is rather simplistic.

        There is also your criterion that subjects things to human relevance and views. Even in a purely materialistic mode we have to admit limited info, so there’s the question do we have enough info to judge justice etc. when that’s so subjective among us.

        And the retrobate are not wasted, they serve a purpose… They highlight to the elect (who all things serve) mercy and justice. And there’s no idea we are owed anything, that’s why the sin dynamic I say is overplayed. There’s no idea we are owed forgiveness or upcommance, both are blessings. I don’t think those in hell will have complaints really. I wouldn’t. I don’t serve for reward, but because I can do no other and it’s fulfilling.

        But I’m not really going to appologize the idea God does what he wants for his reasons, any less isn’t a God. At some level I think you are welcome to your complaints, and at another theophanies etc. are kinda “tough tities” subjects that don’t serve any purpose.

        There is a gospel that blesses and condemns, a forbiden tree in Eden, and evil in the world. The question is what do you do, not how it could be. But an admission of mear mortality many dislike.

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      2. And I’m real hard to insult. I am only turned off folks that argue to argue or similar things. Honest questions at least require a honest answer, I just can’t say people will like them… And I can’t demand I like them either

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  3. Sorry it’s been so long Vonleonhardt2! I still find this topic rather interesting so I am responding to your above comments. You have an interesting way of reasoning from your Calvinistic perspective. I also enjoyed the doctrines of grace for a time. Actually, right before my own knowledge crisis led me out of belief. That aside, my critique of your present perspective would be that I sense an air of untouchability. I mean, I get it. A reformed perspective views this whole salvation thing as cocked, locked, and loaded. God has got this, right? I think that the human predicament should call out to the Reformed community a little more. We all find ourselves in this particular world, with this particular set of circumstances after all. If heaven and hell is untouchable with no ability to actually relate to our actual plight as human beings, then the kind of selective system that salvation turns out to be appears to be quite absurd at least in human terms. It just goes to show that if this God is in fact real, then it was His glorious will to eternally punish the majority of the human race. He made them for this plain and simple. This perspective of eternal damnation becomes wasteful in the sense that inherent in the nature of God is that he loves and values the whole of his creation so little. This glory really isn’t that glorious, especially if this being intentionally chose to not bring all of his creation into his glorious love. Love loses its flavor here. For love is only elected toward a few and acts as a machete toward all the rest. The same can be said of kindness, mercy, and grace. Finally, I am not personally writing out of disappointment. I am writing out of an honest assessment that this kind of perspective is simply not relatable to most human beings. It’s a perspective that keeps the hurdles in place.

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