The wages of sin is … whatever?

Jessa Crispin at The Smart Set:

Western society does not have much time for sin. Not the sins themselves, of course – those we like very much. We pursue them, wrap our arms around them, brag about how Courtney Love we got the other night. But when it comes to the idea that fornication or ditching work or imbibing excessive amounts alcohol should bring spiritual guilt, confession, and penance, that’s as outdated as the whole masturbation-will-send-you-straight-to-hell thing. ….

Sin is a cultural construct, and what is considered a sin in one time or place seems like a good time in another. As much as the Church has used the idea of sin as a form of control, it’s hard to take the idea seriously much anymore. So if I vote for a pro-choice candidate, I’ll suddenly lose the ability to receive the sacrament of communion and therefore go to hell? Yeah, right. Embracing sin is instead seen as freeing and, in its way, a form of spiritual evolution. As Aviad Kleinberg writes in his new book Seven Deadly Sins: A Very Partial List, “Sin can be the expression of an ardent desire for freedom, for liberation from any rules but the rules of our own desire. In its most heroic manifestations it becomes an act of creation – creation of the individual self at the price of being cast out of the common paradise.”

Ms. Crispin’s essay is bracing, yet there are those who argue, persuasively, that the docrtinre of original sin is validated simply by reading a daily newspaper.

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