What is sin? Dictionary.com defines sin as follows.
“Transgression of divine law… any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle… any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.; great fault or offense.”
From this definition, it is clear sin is not so much considered as simply “missing the mark,” its true definition, but is instead considered a “wrong act” which obviously cannot be judged as such without a standard.
What is this standard? In Judeo-Christian theology it begins with the Ten Commandments, which is a list of what “thou shalt not” do. If taken in its black-and-white interpretation, the Mosaic Law is very clear. The problem with taking these laws as literal black-and-white fact however, is the impossibility to be a living, breathing human without also being a transgressor. For example, God’s natural law requires all things kill to live, as one cannot live without another dying. All beings must eat and consume other living things to continue their lives. “Thou shalt not kill” is just one of the laws which are, through no choice of our own, impossible to keep. Some would argue this is not a correct interpretation of this commandment, as it refers to vindictive or malicious murder of another human being, not an animal or other organisms. After all, throughout the Old Testament, animal sacrifice is advocated, and even described how it is to be performed in detail. Still, even of those laws which are supposedly “possible” for human beings to keep, all of the evidence around us proves the fact God’s “law” is an impossible standard, since nobody keeps all of these commandments perfectly. If following these standards was so important to God, why were we created by God with no ability to adhere to these standards, making it necessary for him to have his son brutally tortured and crucified to satisfy his anger at our inability to do what he failed to make us capable of doing in the first place? This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, since as we discovered before, a so-called “perfect” God would be incapable of creating beings of such imperfection. It is an absurd contradiction which alone invalidates the whole of Christian theology.
If we are to take the Genesis story of the fall at face value, then humanity was set up for failure from the beginning by a perfect God who made humanity imperfect, with the ability to sin. This is impossible because as we have also discovered before, what is capable of imperfection cannot come from what is perfect. What is capable of sin cannot come from what is sinless. So, we see through all of these inconsistencies and contradictions, the Judeo-Christian conception of God is a complete falsehood and impossibility. Still, even if we say such an impossible notion is possible, can we see just how “perfect” and “without sin” Jesus supposedly was? We shall together examine some of the actions Jesus is said to have done within the Bible, and ask ourselves if these actions would be considered “sin” if committed by any other human being. What would Jesus do? Let us see what the Bible says.
From Mark 11:12-13.
“The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.”
Later on, the disciples discover the tree Jesus cursed had withered and died.
In this passage, Jesus is hungry, and decides the best thing to do in this situation is to curse the tree so it never bears fruit again. He doesn’t help or nurture the tree to bear fruit, which would have been the loving thing to do and would have benefited both himself as well as the tree. Nor does Jesus, the son of the All-knowing Creator of the Universe, possess the understanding it was not the season for figs to begin with. That would be like cursing an apple tree for not bearing apples in winter. It makes absolutely no sense. Some commentators have tried to rationalize this absurd action by saying while it was not the season for figs, it was not the season for leaves either, and to bear leaves without bearing fruit is like a person who promises to do good, but does not. Even if that symbolism was what Jesus was trying to illustrate, the very act of cursing itself is unloving and not “Godly,” and accomplishes nothing, no matter what convoluted rationalization we provide for such a useless action. Love nurtures and makes things grow. Condemnation, cursing and judgment only tear down and destroy, are of the ego and nothing else, and have nothing whatsoever to do with “Godliness” and actual love. And how do we know this passage cannot be the inspired Word of God? Because by their fruits we shall know. Cursing is never the fruit of love, but of ego, pure and simple.
Let us look at another passage from Matthew 21:1-3.
“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
No matter which way you slice it, when you take something and never return it, it is stealing, plain and simple. When you say you are going to return something, and do not return it, it is lying. Stealing and lying are both sins according to the Ten Commandments, regardless of who does it. There is no record of Jesus ever returning the donkey and colt to their owner within scripture. To speculate he “must have known the owner,” as some commentators have lamely suggested is a weak attempt to justify what cannot be proven as fact.
Here is another story, from Matthew 8:28-34.
“When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.”
First of all, Jesus is shown in other Biblical stories as having cast out demons without having to send them into other animals. Why would he have to do that now during this story? What is the point of having innocent animals killed? As the Son of the “all-powerful God,” Jesus could have done anything in this situation. Why would Jesus even listen to the request of a demon, and give them what they asked? As the Son of God, he shouldn’t be listening to anything demons tell him. In sending the demons into the pigs, he effectively destroyed and “stole” someone else’s property. How do we know these pigs were someone’s property? Because the passage states there were those tending to the pigs. Again, stealing is sin according to the Ten Commandments. Having innocent pigs killed as a result of one’s actions is not very nice either, as it is animal cruelty. Surely the son of the all-powerful God could have used a different method to drive out demons than to send them into pigs that would run down a steep bank and drown themselves.
And from Matthew 15:21-28.
“Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
Insulting this woman by referring to the Canaanites as “dogs,” and not of “the Chosen People” is neither loving nor Godly, no matter how one spins this story. While insulting someone is not a specified sin in the Ten Commandments, it is certainly in direct contradiction to the spirit of love. It is safe to say insulting someone because they are not of a specific racial group is in the spirit of sin as it is certainly prejudiced. Jesus may have been knowingly testing this woman’s faith, as some commentators suggest, but surely Jesus could have used something other than insults and notions of “superiority” of one racial group over another to illustrate his point. This leads to the question of why one’s “faith” need be tested at all. Why is it not enough we simply “ask and receive” as Jesus promises? From Matthew 21:22, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” This woman demonstrated her faith already by simply asking Jesus for help, but he had to insult her on top of it, making her essentially beg for help before he would bestow his blessings upon her. When looked at objectively, this is true arrogance, on top of being both insulting and humiliating to the Canaanite woman. Why must we be tested on top of asking for what we need in prayer, made to grovel at our “masters” feet to freely provide us provision because it is the loving and kind thing to do? We wouldn’t do this to our children. Why would a supposedly “perfect” God do anything less for his children than we would do for ours? It makes no sense, and if taken literally, reveals a very unflattering and pitiful notion of a so-called “loving God.”
It is a striking fact that in every movie about Jesus, none of these stories are ever portrayed. In almost all church services, most of these scripture passages are also rarely read, or are only read in part, and out of context. Why is this? Because everyone knows they are controversial since they reveal Jesus as an imperfect man who also sinned, just like everyone else, not the “spotless lamb of God” as he is so often portrayed. Those who would interpret the Bible as “inerrant” cannot escape the dark side of Jesus, choosing instead to cherry-pick the passages of a loving Jesus while ignoring the angry, sometimes condescending, judgmental Jesus. The truth is, nobody portrays Jesus honestly based on the complete scriptural story. They cherry-pick what supports Jesus’ “sinless” image, while ignoring the passages which reveal his harsher, darker, sinful side.
Was Jesus truly without sin? If sin is defined as above, then we can hardly say Jesus was without sin if the Bible is to be taken literally, as the inerrantists would have us do. If we are to take the scriptural accounts we looked at earlier as literal fact, then we can clearly see Jesus’ actions and intentions were not always Godly, nor sinless. The problem for inerrantists is they cannot escape the contradiction of their indefensible position. On the one hand they want to say the Bible is inerrant, and Jesus is sinless, and on the other hand, they cannot intelligently justify the ignorant, bigoted, sinful acts of the supposedly “spotless Lamb of God.” To say Jesus was still somehow “sinless” when it is clear by God’s own standards as outlined in the Ten Commandments he was not, is to hold Jesus to a different standard than everyone else. It is to somehow, in some convoluted way, say it is “okay” when these same acts which would be deemed sins if done by a regular person are instead done by Jesus.
Take for example, Jesus taking the donkey for his entrance into Jerusalem. First of all, the notion any enlightened person such as Jesus would ever make a special, ceremonial, grand “entrance” to a city at all, whether on a horse or a donkey is egotistical, and bears witness to the non-truthfulness of this story. But if we concede the story is factually correct, and Jesus did not return the donkey, of which no record exists in scripture, then he effectively stole the donkey. Stealing is sin, pure and simple. Commentary I have read states Jesus was “master of creation” and so had a “right” to whatever he wanted, making such an act as not returning the donkey sinless. It is very convenient to hold double standards to keep the “sinless” status of whomever we wish intact, but this trick is not truthful, nor accurate. If it is true for one, it is true for ALL. In truth and in fact, there are no double-standards. There is nothing and nobody “special,” different, or “better” than anyone else at the essential level of existence, as we have explored several times before in this book. All is One.
Then again, traditional religion is no stranger to this, as holding self-contradictory double standards is their modus operandi, and most necessary to uphold an illusory, non-truthful view of God, as we have also discovered previously in this book. We looked before at the double standard of saying God does not himself require a creator, while everything else in existence does. This is a complete self-contradiction. If it is true for one, it is true for all. If all things require a creator, then by that very definition, God Himself requires a creator as well. That which is a self-contradiction proves its non-reality. The lie is always self-contradictory. Truth is never self-contradictory.
The endless problems and contradictions of Christianity reveal it for what it is… without sin? Not even close.