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Sin Boldly

Courtesy of Keith Pavlischek at the First Things blog:

From the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
Q. 14. What is sin? A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.

From the Baltimore Catechism:
Q. 278. What is actual sin? A. Actual sin is any willful thought, word, deed, or omission contrary to the law of God.

From Senator Obama:
Q. Do you believe in sin? OBAMA: Yes. Q. What is sin? OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values.

Not that there is anything to the chatter about Senator Obama’s “Messiah complex,” mind you.

Comments (14)

So I guess I can assume this will be the pattern through the rest of the election season? Accusations and arguments that sufficiently clear to preach to the choir, but vague enough that no one can argue against them?

Q. What is sin? OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values.

The planted axiom here being Vice, according to the Obaman Gospel, can be hailed as Virtue (e.g., Abortion -- i.e., the murder of infants) and, thus, sin, for him, would be not submitting his entire being to those vices he proclaims as virtue and preventing their mass adoption by American society.

A corporal work of mercy for him is, therefore, promoting this and other such vices and ensuring his Gospel is forever enshrined in the 'moral' fabric of society (i.e., the Obaman dogmatic teaching being "vices are okay", "evil is good") and this nation's legal construct (e.g., no restrictions against any form of abortion).

I would sincerely like to comment on Obama's reponse, but typing right now is very difficult while I'm still convulsing in laughter.

Earlier in the interview he said: "I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I’m not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I’ve got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others." So unless he mischievously wanted to contradict himself, he views sin as a betrayal of the values he has that are informed by being a student of Jesus, not all of his values per se.
P.S. The Dude Abides, best blog name ever.

I think it's a statement of relativism, though not very well-put. Basically, I take him to be saying that he doesn't believe in sin at all in the traditional sense, but that he feels like calling things "sin" if they are out of alignment with his own subjective values.

but if, in general, his 'subjective' moral system maps well onto a more robust metaphysically grounded ethic, then who cares? we're not still searching for a philosopher/king, are we? if anything, our current president proves literacy might well be optional.

Overall it is pretty interesting interview. One of the points of emphasis he kept making was that certainty was a bad thing. I disagree with him in that respect, but I can understand that having that foundation he would be reticient to cite the law of God, as if it were externally accessible. That isn't the narcissistic - well perhaps that - interpretation, let alone a messianic one. Read plainly, it is rejection of messianism, although one can find some secular messianism in the interview that would be common to many Americans.

M.Z. Forrest:

Read plainly, it is rejection of messianism...

Would you agree that this statement by Obama seems to hint at syncretism?

Obama said: "I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people. That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there’s an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived."

...he would be reticient to cite the law of God, as if it were externally accessible.

Well, it is. What kind of Christian would think it isn't?

Would you agree that this statement by Obama seems to hint at syncretism?

Most definately.

Well, it is. What kind of Christian would think it isn't?
A Universalist for one, I would speculate.

Forrest, the whole problem is that his rejection of messianism is too all-inclusive. It seems to preclude the possibility of any actual Messiah, or at least one whose words and whose law can be "accessible" to the rest of us, which is just a wee bit out of step with anything resembling Christianity.

If everyone's going to heaven, I don't want to go. I have my standards, after all. :-)

That's good stuff, Frank! Thanks for passing it along.

Take care,

Steve

Forrest, the whole problem is that his rejection of messianism is too all-inclusive. It seems to preclude the possibility of any actual Messiah, or at least one whose words and whose law can be "accessible" to the rest of us, which is just a wee bit out of step with anything resembling Christianity.

Agreed. And in addition, it's the very same conviction that signals the ascension of the purely immanent messiah. Without Incarnation there is no contact with the Divine and transcendence is therefore impossible. Subsequently, the saviour we get is utterly of this earth, for a messiah we will have.

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