Sin Against Whom?
As I may have mentioned, I was reared in a Christian household. At church, I would sometimes hear the phrase ďsin against God.Ē We were told to pray to resist sinning against God. Stealing is a sin against God. Lust is a sin against God. Pride is a sin against God. Lying is a sin against God. You get the picture. The concept appears outside of Christianity as well. Some religions describe pork or women in loose clothing as abominations to God. The idea that various items or behaviors are offensive to God seems to be very straightforward to the religious, but I find the concept to be extremely odd. Sin against God? What, does a person harm God somehow with his sins? Suppose I were to go on a gluttonous rampage and eat at a buffet for two straight hours. Oh, thatís a deadly sin against God! But what injury does it cause to him? Does God get some kind of rash or headache every time I overeat? Can anything I do ever hurt God in the slightest? Of course not, heís eternally all-powerful by definition. I canít affect God in any way. If that is so, by what right or reason can God have a legitimate grievance against me? I donít think itís possible. In fact, I donít think God is capable of even having preferences about conditions in our world. Iíve used this point to make an argument against the existence of the biblical character of God:
1. God is a being that is, always has been, and always will be omniscient and omnipotent.
2. If a being is, always has been, and always will be omniscient and omnipotent, it cannot be positively or negatively influenced by anything in the universe.
3. If a being cannot be positively or negatively influenced by anything in the universe, it cannot determine that anything in the universe is good or bad.
4. God has determined that many things in the universe are good or bad.
5. Therefore, God does not exist.
I donít think anyone would disagree with premise 1. Premise 2 may require more explanation. God, as biblically imagined, is beyond the reach of the universe not simply because heís really powerful, but because his existence and feelings are not controllable by anything outside of himself. That is, while humans must deal with biological necessities and environmental conditions, God is permanently exactly what he wants himself to be. He canít be surprised; he canít be harmed; levels of pleasure and pain, if they exist in God, depend only on his will, not external factors. Therefore, as premise 3 says, God has no basis to determine things in the universe to be good or bad. In fact, thereís no reason to create the universe at all. The existence of Earth or anything that happens on it is superfluous to Godís disposition. Therefore, the being conceived in premise 1 cannot meaningfully determine preferences in the universe as the biblical God does.
Another absurdity in the concept of sinning against God is the fact that God is supposed to have designed the universe. I make this point in another argument against Godís existence:
1. God is the omniscient, omnipotent creator of the universe.
2. All events that occurred since the beginning of the universe have been causally determined by God's designs.
3. Some of the events in the history of the universe have been displeasing to God.
4. An omniscient, omnipotent being would not cause an event that is displeasing to him.
5. Therefore, God does not exist.
Premises 1 and 3 are generally held by theists. Premise 2 is true under the assumption that God created everything in existence and the laws of the universe. Premise 4 basically says that it is nonsense that an all-knowing, all-powerful being would produce an event he doesnít want to happen. Therefore, God must find the universe to be perfect, he isnít all-knowing, he isnít all-powerful, or he doesnít exist.
All in all, itís ridiculous to say that anything is preferable to God and itís ridiculous to try to do anything for Godís sake. If God existed, he couldnít be affected by anything we do. Moreover, everything we do would be a product of his design. Iím tired of hearing the idea that we can ďsin against God.Ē Itís time to discuss the sins religion has done against us.