So what do you do at the end of the day, when you know that some things aren't intellectual as much as they are experience? A lot of people have been hurt, both in and by the church. And though I argue, at the end of the day I pray and ask for forgiveness. When I know I'm not being kind enough, caring enough, giving enough, when I see that sarcasm creeping in, when I'm not nearly as patient with my kids as I should be...It's been said that as much as people discount the Christian doctrine of the sinfulness of human beings, that's it's probably the theological concept that's the most empirically verifiable. Could it be that despite the failings of the church historically, despite our personal failings as Christians, that there really is something to this idea of looking inward, of personal responsibility, of turning in the other direction, of breaking down and freely admitting our desperate need for redemption.
In concluding, I thought this was interesting. It's a graph showing degrees of corruption around the world. I had been curious to check out such a graph to see how historically Judeo-Christian countries fared compared to other parts of the world. It appeared to me at first glance that there seems to be some truth to my thought that we in the west would have lower percentages of corruption, but my second thought was immediately that it's not at all simple. Corruption seems to be a big problem in many parts of the world. But it does make me wonder if people need to be told, "thou shalt not." Otherwise, it's very easy to pale in shades of grey, might being right, victims being guilty, and reason leading to rationalization. Contrary to this idea that the concept of sin as a degradation of human beings, quite arguably it represents accountability and standards of conduct that make for a more livable society, a more human way to live, to breathe, to travel and to be.
Feel free to share your thoughts,
And here's a couple of lectures as well, that do a much more thorough job of explaining the contrast of ideas that I was outlining, if anyone's interested.
Comparing eastern and western religions (chart):