Does Sinning Less Make One Morally Superior? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-26-2006, 10:08 AM
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Okay, by asking this, I am not sure if I am simply entering a rough bar on a Friday night and telling the guy next to me I think he's a wimpy schm*ck. But, after reading (pick any of a dozen posts out there), I really need to ask this question: In general, is someone who sins less than somebody else morally superior to that person? I have my own opinion -- which is probably predictable -- that I will share later on.
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#2 Old 03-26-2006, 10:10 AM
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First thing that comes to mind for me is what we consider sins.
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#3 Old 03-26-2006, 10:14 AM
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I'd have to know how "morally superior" is defined.



I don't really believe in the concept of moral superiority of persons, though, only actions.

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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#4 Old 03-26-2006, 10:18 AM
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That's crazy, Froggy.. maybe we read the same posts, because I was just thinking about that too.



My thought on it would be that it doesn't matter. What does saying "I am morally superior to X person" do for anybody or anything? I think most of us would agree around here that some actions can be morally better than other actions, but to extend that label to people is both useless and self-serving. Most people, no matter who they are, could come up with a dozen reasons why they're better than other people--and maybe the way they live their lives is morally better--but in the end it doesn't do anything except help them inflate their own ego.
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#5 Old 03-26-2006, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaya View Post

First thing that comes to mind for me is what we consider sins.



The actual sins are irrelevant. If you think it's wrong to hop on one leg, you would consider that a sin. The question is then, do you believe there are "sins" -- ie., things that are wrong for a human to do? If you don't, the question becomes irrelevant.
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#6 Old 03-26-2006, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froggythefrog View Post

The actual sins are irrelevant. If you think it's wrong to hop on one leg, you would consider that a sin. The question is then, do you believe there are "sins" -- ie., things that are wrong for a human to do? If you don't, the question becomes irrelevant.

How is consensus of what a sin is irrelvant? I don't see how moral superiority can exist without a comparison.



eta: I do believe in morals though I don't know why.
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#7 Old 03-26-2006, 10:42 AM
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It seems 'sin' means in this context "anything you consider immoral".

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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#8 Old 03-26-2006, 10:54 AM
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If you think hopping on one foot is a sin, and then you go and hop around on one foot when you think no one is looking, I guess that would make you less morally superior.
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#9 Old 03-26-2006, 11:53 AM
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Main Entry: 1mor·al

Pronunciation: 'mor-&l, 'mär-

Function: adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin moralis, from mor-, mos custom

1 a : of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior : ETHICAL <moral judgments> b : expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior <a moral poem> c : conforming to a standard of right behavior d : sanctioned by or operative on one's conscience or ethical judgment <a moral obligation> e : capable of right and wrong action <a moral agent>

2 : probable though not proved : VIRTUAL <a moral certainty>

3 : having the effects of such on the mind, confidence, or will <a moral victory> <moral support>





Main Entry: 1su·pe·ri·or

Pronunciation: su-'pir-E-&r

Function: adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French superieur, from Latin superior, comparative of superus upper, from super over, above -- more at OVER

1 : situated higher up : UPPER

2 : of higher rank, quality, or importance

3 : courageously or serenely indifferent (as to something painful or disheartening)

4 a : greater in quantity or numbers <escaped by superior speed> b : excellent of its kind : BETTER <her superior memory>



I don't know if I can answer this yet. I need to see where the rest of the posts are going. Considering that you specifically point out that the question stems from any number of posts on this board, I would imagine there isn't going to be one answer, but rather a multitude of answers depending on each person's personal belief system, hence the posting of the definitions of moral and superior. If half the people don't believe in God, they certainly don't believe in sin. Or is this just for those of us who do believe? I think some people are more "good" than others. I don't know if I would go so far as to say they are morally superior. That sounds rather arrogant. I need to give this a little more thought. So I'll come back to this a little later on. I know, that's probably cheating, so maybe I'm morally inferior?
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#10 Old 03-26-2006, 12:06 PM
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I see all my choices as sins in some light, so I don't really consider myself morally superior. Just conflicted and unhappy. Not sure if that answers your question.
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#11 Old 03-26-2006, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froggythefrog View Post

Okay, by asking this, I am not sure if I am simply entering a rough bar on a Friday night and telling the guy next to me I think he's a wimpy schm*ck. But, after reading (pick any of a dozen posts out there), I really need to ask this question: In general, is someone who sins less than somebody else morally superior to that person? I have my own opinion -- which is probably predictable -- that I will share later on.



I'll stick my neck out and say "yes."



I can imagine all kinds of scenarios where the difference between the two persons would be trivial. I suppose also you could come up with a scenario where the "sin" was also a crime, and the only reason Person A committed fewer of these crimes was he was caught and imprisoned earlier in his criminal career than Person B, etc. And no, I wouldn't say lack of opportunity amounted to moral superiority. But at the level of generality that you state the question, leaving quibbles aside, I'd say the answer is "yes."
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#12 Old 03-26-2006, 12:21 PM
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I'm going to say "yes", in general. Kind of depends on what you mean by sin though. Quite frankly, someone who tries to lead a good life is morally superior to someone who goes around murdering, raping and stealing indiscriminately. It's a pretty blurry question, but in general, yes.

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#13 Old 03-26-2006, 01:05 PM
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How do you define "sinning?"
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#14 Old 03-26-2006, 01:36 PM
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Hmmm... for me the answer is absolutely sometimes. I don't feel morally superior to the couple who is "living in sin", but I do feel morally superior to the couple who are married and cheating on their spouses. It really depends. Even though I'm a Christian, I have a very much "live and let live" attitude. Although I'll admit I get pretty grumpy when I think people aren't being good to their kids.
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#15 Old 03-26-2006, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludi View Post

How do you define "sinning?"

that's been covered lol
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#16 Old 03-26-2006, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludi View Post

How do you define "sinning?"



Answer is in post #5 of this thread. Basically a sin is anything you would consider "wrong" for whatever reason for anyone human to do.
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#17 Old 03-26-2006, 01:49 PM
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"In general, is someone who sins less than somebody else morally superior to that person?"



It makes them boring.
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#18 Old 03-26-2006, 03:16 PM
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Since it seems like a rather general question and probably depends somewhat on ones belief system, (to me anyway), I'll say "yes" in a rather generalized way...

I could go round and round with this - I think some people may have a better character than others, but that doesn't necessarily mean they "sin" less, does it?

The lines are sorta blurry - some people do just seem more "good" than others, I don't know if I would say that makes them superior - that seems a bit judgemental.
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#19 Old 03-26-2006, 03:35 PM
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Oops, sorry!



I think that's kind of a weird definition, I tend to think of "sin" as going against the wishes of God (YHWH) not just doing something "wrong." Some people think spitting in public is "wrong" but I'm not sure it could be considered a "sin." Sorta depends on which list o' sins you're looking at...





So my answer is "I have no idea."
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#20 Old 03-26-2006, 03:38 PM
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Yeah, it's hard for me not to think of 'sin' as a transgression against my church's teachings.
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#21 Old 03-26-2006, 03:59 PM
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Whatever you'd like to tell yourself that sin is, it comes down to:



* estrangement from God



*an act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of God's will



*commit a sin; violate a law of God



You can even just google "sin definition" and get that!



Is anyone above sin? Nope.

Is anyone less sinful than anyone else? Nope...it's all equal in God's eyes.



Moral superiority is another matter. It's more subjective. Now THIS is where your hypothetical situations can infringe... is it moral to love to people? Marry two at the same time? "Society" as a whole says "no". Yet, Mormons are Christian and say that it is.

Is it moral to practice birth control? "Society" says "yes"...Catholics say "no".



Generally I don't think moral issues and sins are the same thing. Maybe someone should clarify the difference before this discussion can be more revealing?
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#22 Old 03-26-2006, 04:05 PM
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Who falls into the category "theologian?"



Anyone who makes a study of the nature of God and religious questions.



Which could mean any of us. Including me, for that matter, since I seem to spend a heck of a lot of time at it for some reason....



So then we get into all kinds of questions about what we mean by the word "God" and it all gets very complicated....
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#23 Old 03-26-2006, 04:36 PM
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I believe that sin is a violation of the law of God. We are all sinners in God's sight because no one has perfectly kep His law. Since God demands perfect obedience to His laws, anyone who breaks even one command is just as guilty as one who breaks all of them (though we've all sinned more than once obviously). So all are equally guilty and condemned in God's sight. But thankfully, though we are guilty, God has made a substitute to bear our sins for us, Jesus Christ His Son. He took our sin (those of us who trust solely in Him) and paid the price for it on the cross and clothed us in His righteousness (since He was without sin). So now, we appear before God as righteouss because of what Christ has done. I am no better in and of myself than anyone else, but by God's grace, I am reconciled to Him and I am covered by Christ's righteousness.



In the Bible, Jesus tells the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The tax collector was an immoral man and the Pharisee was righteous by the world's standards. But when they went to the temple to pray, the Pharisee looked down on the tax collector and prayed "Thank you, Father, that I am not like him." Then he went on to list all the good things he did. But the tax collector prayed "God have mercy on me, a sinner." Jesus said that the tax collector was the one who went home justified before God. No matter how good we are, we are not good enough to live up to God's standard and anyone who has broken God's standard is guilty. The attitude that someone is a worse sinner than yourself is unbiblical. True humility causes one to recognize their sin. It is pride that says , "I am better than him/her."
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#24 Old 03-26-2006, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karenlovessnow View Post

Yeah, it's hard for me not to think of 'sin' as a transgression against my church's teachings.



Well, your church's teaching does allow you to follow an informed conscience so you could transgress a church teaching and still not be "sinning".



Back to the OP: I like what rawgirl says, especially the second part. And I like to remember what Paul says -- something like "if I've committed one sin I've committed all sins".



And I guess it gets back to what would be the point of figuring out who's morally superior. We cannot read the heart, mind and soul of another so how would we ever figure out where we fit in? Acting as peacefully as possible (in your own estimation) and being an influence for peace through your actions and gentle words is enough.



Look at the example of your fellow Quaker, Tom Fox, who gave his life to bring a message of peace to a war torn country. And after he was killed his family and friends (and other CPT members) didn't condemn his killer(s) -- they didn't express any kind of attitude that suggested they felt morally superior.
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#25 Old 03-26-2006, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karenlovessnow View Post

Yeah, it's hard for me not to think of 'sin' as a transgression against my church's teachings.



Then so it is.... Is one who transgresses against your church's teachings less often than another morally superior to that person?





Really, what I was referring to here is what one might consider a "sin" in the vegan sense. Ie., are vegans really morally superior to lacto-ovos? Are lacto-ovos really superior to omnis? I was trying to take it out of that context into a more general one. Though "sin" by its very connotation suddenly lands it in the church pew... And by saying "What you consider a sin", I was not implying "What is a sin is up to you..." but rather, if you go to Church, a sin is one thing. If you are atheist, but still believe in morals, it's another thing entirely.
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#26 Old 03-26-2006, 05:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rawgirl View Post

I believe that sin is a violation of the law of God. We are all sinners in God's sight because no one has perfectly kep His law. Since God demands perfect obedience to His laws, anyone who breaks even one command is just as guilty as one who breaks all of them (though we've all sinned more than once obviously). So all are equally guilty and condemned in God's sight. But thankfully, though we are guilty, God has made a substitute to bear our sins for us, Jesus Christ His Son. He took our sin (those of us who trust solely in Him) and paid the price for it on the cross and clothed us in His righteousness (since He was without sin). So now, we appear before God as righteouss because of what Christ has done. I am no better in and of myself than anyone else, but by God's grace, I am reconciled to Him and I am covered by Christ's righteousness.



That's my answer as well.....



Essentially, I would say that one sin is enough to make anyone unrighteous, and all of us have sins, therefore, no one would be morally superior to another.
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#27 Old 03-26-2006, 05:57 PM
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All I'm concerned about is my own behaviour and how it stands up to my personal ethics/morals. How other people behave is between them and their God(s)/conscience/parole officer. Therefore, I don't consider myself "morally superior" to anyone because I don't worry about comparing "sins".



Besides, I've noticed that some people who preach about the evils of committing sins in public are often committing worse ones in private. (Not aimed at anyone here, by the way).
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#28 Old 03-26-2006, 06:05 PM
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No, a person is neutrel, but the actions of a person is can be judged as positve or negative.
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#29 Old 03-26-2006, 06:27 PM
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Besides, I've noticed that some people who preach about the evils of committing sins in public are often committing worse ones in private.



Very true. I have a few of those folks around me in my life.
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#30 Old 03-26-2006, 06:28 PM
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I think trying to determine if one is "morally superior" to another person would fall under the category of "judging" and pointing out the speck in another's eye while ignoring the log in one's own.



But we're all guilty of that from time to time.
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