Well first of all, sin is a man-made social construct. Of course it is. You don’t put a fish in jail for killing and eating other fish. Or even in the case of our closest relatives, the ape; when a man kills the head of a family we don’t reward him with alpha male status over that family. See, it’s very easy to identify what is a social construct and what is not by applying the question to other mammals. For instance male and female ducks are not assigned their sex… they’re born with them and their colorful feathers will inevitably show themselves. Such is the case for all mammals. Therefore, sexuality is not a social construct. The advent of gender fluidity, however is.
Ok so now that we have this figured out, let’s explore this concept of sin and whether or not sinning could ever be a good thing. First of all what does the word itself mean? Sin could be roughly defined as “the opposite of a good deed.” And since the opposite of “good” is “bad”, sin would therefore be a bad deed or the intentional omission of a good deed especially when needed (e.g. not stopping a bad action when being witness to it). Seems straightforward enough. But then you might find yourself asking:
What is good and what is bad?
It’s an important question, I once met with someone who told me she didn’t believe there was such a thing as good or bad. That these were merely social constructs that had no inherent meaning or validity. I strongly disagreed with her and did my best to explain why. In fact I can prove that there is such a thing as good and bad in the world and they can be defined easily without resorting to man made constructs.
First off, let’s admit that sin and virtues are indeed social constructs as I proved above, and perhaps the best social constructs ever devised by humans. These are ideas that took many thousands of years to define and refine and as such continue being perfected to this day. Many cultures around the world are still living with constructs from the Middle Ages (parts of the Middle East) and some are even stuck in tribal systems (parts of Africa and South America). It’s not surprising that cultures with the most modern social constructs are also those cultures that have rendered the inventions that will ultimately propel our species into other planets and star systems. In fact, I would argue that our ideas of virtue and sin are among the most important jewels of the intellect ever produced, for without their foundation, we wouldn’t have ever devised these life saving technologies like farming, electricity and computing. Just think of it, why would anyone have ever devoted the time to build a large farm if their neighbor could set it all on fire out of jealousy? Or kill the owner and claim the food for herself? Without the foundations of virtue and sin, these great things would have never emerged in our history.
So you’re probably wondering:
If sin and virtue are social constructs, then how is it possible that good and bad are not?
I think my definition earlier was a bit simplistic. See, virtue is the social construct that enables us to do good. Whereas sin is the social construct that enables us to do bad. So the construct is the tool. The good and bad are the action, verb, the result, the fruit.
So yes, I can prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that good and bad are NOT social constructs because what is good and bad is not exclusive to humans only. It’s true to every living thing that has ever been. And it is quite simply this: Good is “to live” and bad is “to die”. Virtues are those things that allow humanity to multiply and prosper and sins are those things that lead to our demise and death. There are, of course, examples that are extreme like murder, and less extreme like abortion. And if decisions become difficult to discern good or bad from, (like that of a mother’s life being medically at risk from the pregnancy) the right answer is to save the mother at the expense of the child, because she is still able to produce life later on and also needs to care for the life she has already brought into the world and that of all the other people, friends and family that rely on her in her able adult life as a functioning member of her society.
So you see, no matter the circumstance, the formula works. What is good is what protects, nurtures and promotes human life in a manner that is noble and conducive to prosperity, peace and growth. And what is bad is what does the opposite. All of nature works this way. It’s the fundamental morality of life. Be with life, and you will be with light. Be with death and you will be with darkness.
But the Universe is always killing things. Does that mean the Universe is bad?
It’s not our place to tell the Universe what to do. Sins and virtues are social technologies humans created to help themselves prosper within this violent Universe. These aren’t tools to help the Universe. Trust me, the Universe doesn’t need our help!
I’m assuming then that you believe polygamy is better than monogamy?
No, because history has shown that boys born in polygamous families grow up to be violent and murderous. And that girls grow up to be oppressed by those men because that family structure doesn’t produce noble men. These conditions lead to more wars and death and diminish the quality of life. In other words you can’t be all about quantity in the absence of quality. Monogamy has proven itself to be the most effective method of raising bright minded and peaceful children because in such a system women select the men. In polygamy, men select their women. And let’s face it, women are far more likely to make a rational decision about picking a mate than a man is. Sadly women have also begun to forsake reason as of late, in their efforts to become like men.
So I can’t have kids. That means I’m bad?
No, but it would be bad if you wanted everybody to be like you and promoted it as the ideal way of life. Do you understand the difference? The universe doesn’t judge or care. Good and bad aren’t measures; they are directions, a compass by which we can guide our decisions and what we advocate to others.
Ugh! I hate you. I’m going to stop reading this crap.
Ok suit yourself. I WAS about to answer the original question. Can sin be good? I find this question to be fascinating. Because of course the answer is yes. But not for reasons you might expect. Of course, because as a social construct you have to first ask the question “who’s sin?” The sins as defined by the Nanti tribe in the Amazons? Or those of Catholic priests in the Vatican? Who’s sin can be good? When you can answer that question, you can then truly begin to find the flaws in social constructs and propose improvements that lead us to a more prosperous future as a society. I can already identify many sins in our modern western society that would be good. Worse still, I find many things championed as “virtue” but are actually harmful to humanity. Can you identify these?