Originally published on February 28, 2008 on my previous blog, seerum.livejournal.com.
From Dictionary.com: Repentance
There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote repentance. (1.) The verb _metamelomai_ is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3). (2.) Metanoeo, meaning to change one's mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun _metanoia_, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised. Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one's own guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God's mercy in Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments. The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).
End of Repentance
As a new goal of my life, I will tear down this concept. It is used by the faithful to get away with pains against their fellow man/woman. It is used by the faithful to commit acts that are against human nature. It offers a "get out of jail" free card to sinners.
So, what is sin?
Again, from Dictionary.com....
1. transgression of divine law: the sin of Adam.
2. any act regarded as such a transgression, esp. a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.
3. any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.; great fault or offense: It's a sin to waste time.
–verb (used without object)
4. to commit a sinful act.
5. to offend against a principle, standard, etc.
–verb (used with object)
6. to commit or perform sinfully: He sinned his crimes without compunction.
7. to bring, drive, etc., by sinning: He sinned his soul to perdition.
In general, I can understand and appreciate the concept that humanity is flawed. That we were born imperfect and, therefore, need some help with gaining "divine perfection". God knows that we're going to eventually do something religiously or morally reprehensible, so It sent an avatar to make the burden less cumbersome. Through Jesus, or other avatars, you can ask God's forgiveness for breaking divine laws, which govern how we ultimately should get along as human beings.
But laws are human constructs. They define our reality. And, often, words are vague or fallible or just plain wrong. The simpler the law, the easier the application. The more comprehensive the law, the more apt for holes and scenarios where people can take advantage of the imperfections of human construction.
Thou shalt not kill? Simple enough. Never kill another human being. Zero. But, over the ages, Biblical followers spun that into "kill in God's name". Which evolved into "my interpretation of God's word is right and yours is wrong and you should be killed for noncompliance" (through Crusades, Inquisitions...). Check out this website as a great example:http://www.christianissues.biz/ind…. In this light, the Biblical God is more of a tyrant than a gracious father.
These words will most likely be taken out of context and misunderstood. I'll be painted as some sort of anti-Christ. I'm sure there's a stake somewhere with my name on it.
To me, the bottom line is this: Nobody's perfect, we all know that. Mistakes are part of human nature. But there's a coincidental, thoughtless mistake (such as accidentally stabbing yourself in the leg with a scissors when you're staring a hot girl in sixth grade). Or not reading directions carefully enough and baking a pie instead of a fruitcake. Or making a left-turn onto a one-way street.
We all make mistakes. There's a vast difference between a mistake and a "sin" though. Imperfection is part of human nature and cannot be controlled. Sin, however, can be. As human beings, we make choices every day and those choices ultimately affect our fellow man, woman and child. But, ultimately, that choice directly affects ourselves. We decided to sleep with someone even though we're married. We decided to take from the register at work because the business won't miss that twenty-spot.
The Golden Rule
Spin through the rules and you will see that the golden rule--Do unto others--is the ONLY one that God would actively impose.
Don't want to be murdered? Don't kill.
Don't want be stolen from? Don't steal.
Don't want to be cheated on? Don't cheat.
And on and on from there.... The moral pairings versus the choices we make are endless. The Bible and other religious works scare us into following a certain set of rules based on that society's direction at a certain point in time. They are not meant to be taken literally or applied without a hint of tolerance.
Organized religion is theocracy without locus. Repentance is forgiveness for an act you willingly chose to perform.
Here's the paradox: if you knew you were going to perform that act ahead of time, shouldn't you have stopped yourself BEFORE the act and, thus, shouldn't have needed to repent?
Repentance is a spiritual pass for mortal irresponsibility. If there were no such thing as repentance--the ability to get away with something you know in advance is wrong--then there would be no need to ask for forgiveness from your God, from your family and/or from your friends.
We need spiritual and theological evolution. We need it now. We need each human to take ownership of their actions. Not to pass off their actions on their "imperfection" and asking for forgiveness from someone they have never met and from someone that they won't meet until your dead.
Don't waste your prayers asking for forgiveness from the afterlife when you could live a harmonious and forgiving mortal life.
Live cleanly and in harmony with others (and with our planet) and there is no need for repentance.
It is up to you. According to theological texts, we were blessed with autonomy. Use your choice to benefit our world.