I'll just grab a little text I send to the Maybe Logic course Tale of the Tribe.
The three monotheistic world religions christianity, hebraism and islam all use the concept of sin to keep their cattle on a leash.
The Pentateuch contains a huge amount of rules to follow to keep god happy. Two distinct types of evil (but both considered equally bad) coexist within the Hebrew Scriptures: Moral sin (a conscious, intentional, personal attitude and act, close to the concept of sin for christians) and uncleanness (which has nothing to do with motive or intention). Some types of uncleanness, still according to the mosaic code, can only find a solution in the physical elimination. Probably originally a rather cruel but effective way of preserving the community by getting rid of contagious diseases…
The word Islam originally means "submission to the will of Allah". Therefore Islam defines sin as an act in contrast to this will. This leaves all interpretations open to the religious leader exercing his power. By following moral guidance through revelation the believer could remain free of sins. A sin occurs when someone causes harm to themselves or to others or to any part of creation. The guilt depends on the intention of the sinner, based on the human capacity to plan in the future. This infers that anyone who tries to improve himself, others and all of creation cannot commit a sin, no matter the consequences.
For christians the original sin makes it somewhat complex, for not only do we have to deal with our own desires, we seem basically doomed unless we follow Jesus' footsteps. The idea of buying your way to paradise by the use of indulgences arised in 992, and we should realise they haven't officially been eliminated. The building of St Peter's Basilic had mainly a source in the selling of those. Pope Paul the sixth's
Bottom line, whatever you do in life, it will raise consequences, either rewarding or punishing.
Could we compare the western sin to the eastern concept of karma? Here humans primarely have to deal with errors they made in a previous incarnation, skimming off the accumulated karma by a diet of suffering in acceptance - or building up new one by fighting against it. Many neopagans incorporated a similar belief which usually only extend to a person's present lifetime. The
I do feel a bit more respectful for such a concept, a bit more cosmic than the narrow-minded abrahamic severity. Socially it still seems totally unacceptable to me, the way western churches have enslaved complete populations by inoculating them with the belief virus (I suppose mosbunall here know the history of
I prefer the viewpoint of my kabbalah teacher. Sin, guilt, reward, punishment… all partake of the wheel of Karma, the rapid wheel of slow evolution. All have their usefulness, in that they can help learn the lessons necessary to evolve. A kabbalist's basic purpose further up on the Jacob's consciousness ladder should make it possible to escape that wheel, preferably while alive: the "realization" that karma ultimately does not exist at all, at all.
" There are no mistakes, save one: the failure to learn from a mistake”