On Love And Guilt
The guilt often associated with sin is not part of Christianity. It is primarily borne out of religious dogma and other related superstitions which in the West is also associated with Christian or Judaic religions (they are not the same) and part of that religious cultural mindset. It is self serving and therefore irresponsible for religious institutions to place such a universal guilt onto the shoulders of people for what is essentially a universal fact of physical human existence. Every person living on Earth carries a burden as part of their life – no one is exempt. This burden is partly inherited from the so called “sins of the forefathers (and foremothers), partly learned and partly from ourselves. This burden shows itself as an emotional impairment or impediment to the absolute spiritual godliness that is within everyone in whose image we have been created.
Although suggesting that everyone is essentially a “sinner;” that is to say; that we are all imperfect due to individually varying inborn destructive tendencies is sobering. But, to turn this into a tool of manipulation by ascribing universal guilt to everyone because of it would be the same as condemning water for being wet or fire for being hot. The tool of guilt was and is used to extort loyalty, money, obedience, service and much more from people by people who were and are just as guilty of the same faults. This grossly hypocritical and underhanded manipulation has been and still is a blight on Christianity. This very point undermines the message of love that is the essence of this extremely beautiful faith and is likely the very reason, or at least a principle cause of why it is losing followers and why so many never pursued Christianity more deeply into our modern times.
On the positive side, (there is always a positive side), because of this “guilt” some people were forced inward to examine and take stock of themselves in order that they might take inventory of what their character make-up actually was and is. This contemplation is not without worth. It is the very foundation of spiritual awakening – the actual rebirth of the spirit – because in it is the seed of self awareness. (So many people insist that accepting Christ is all that is needed for being spiritually reborn. It may come as a shock for these to learn that acceptance of Christ is a given basic basic and is merely a prerequisite before entering “Christian kindergarten.” After that the real work starts.)
Along with the association with guilt there is also an attached element of shame. By associating the state of sin with guilt and shame a person is prompted to delved a little deeper into themselves to better understand why this state of sin exists within them and what is it’s nature. It is healthy to question one’s self. It takes humility to introspect. Humility, being the main ingredient in love is also the fundamental ingredient in true Christianity. Humility should not be confused with the false piety that many religious people wear on their sleeve. Like any other virtue humility is beast practiced “quietly” from the heart.
By not defining “sin” it is easy to use the word guilt in association with it. Once defined we have a better picture of what we are dealing with and can better cope. It is like putting a face to an invisible enemy. Sin itself is best and more accurately described as a state of suffering produced by an inborn condition inherent in the very stuff we are made out of. This state of sufferance does not necessarily produce a physical pain but more a state of emotional unease created by such emotions as fear, anger, jealousy, gluttony, avarice, laziness and so on. All of these states bring discomfort. Being in these states consciously and or unconsciously is to be in a state of sin. While in this state the better part of the spiritual powers inherent in being human are kept from us because we cannot be trusted with them.
Guilt is not a natural extension of sin or the result of sin, suffering in a less than godly state is the result of sin. Anyone who would presume to place guilt on another person for this is usually blind enough not to realize that they are in an even worse condition that the one they are condemning. Guilt is therefore a state of suffering that is imposed by one person onto another and has nothing to do with anything Christian.
Christian religions have also made the word “guilt” stick by associating the crucifixion of Christ for the sake of our sins to it. Clearly, if the Lord had Himself crucified for the sins we committed, knowingly or not, the religions are quick to point out that we were the reason for His death. This however, would be like a mother holding her child hostage forever because of her labor pains in that child’s birth. If the Savior died for our Salvation out of love for us, then it would make sense that the Christian God of supreme love cannot at the same time also be a hypocrite or a petty God. It would not make sense that He would die for our sins just to make us feel guilty about it. Christ is not a hypocrite. He cannot be Savior and condemner at the same time. Guilt, therefore has no association with a loving God. Christianity is therefore a guilt free religion. Furthermore, if being born in a state of sin as a condition of physical life on Earth is sanctioned by God, then there must be a much higher purpose behind it. A purpose that the preachers, priests and ministers who spread guilt, damnation, fire and brimstone have no concept of. Will someone please tell the churches that!