“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
If the word “sin” offends you, substitute “wrong” for it and you have the inescapable problem of morality—the human internalization of the notion that nobody’s perfect, that people do “wrong”. There is in us a sense of right and wrong that is not a product of culture. Not only do we judge ourselves thereby, but we expect others to know, and abide by, the rules as well.
The immediate argument with this thought is that there are too many diverse cultures, religions, beliefs, and opinions to settle on one “right” idea. The problem with that argument is that the differences are fewer than proponents would have us believe and agreement across all these lines is greater than we acknowledge.
The atheist may not believe in a god, but purposely trip him as he passes by, and you will discover he has a very keen sense of right and wrong that agrees with that of Jesus.
My friends into quantum mechanics or reincarnation rely on people vibrating at a higher vs lower frequency or being reborn as a higher of lower life form. Though they may deny it, they get the idea of “higher and lower” from their personal idea of morality. If they behave according to their standard (which like the atheist’s view mirrors Christianity) they will vibrate at a higher, more universe pleasing frequency. If they don’t, if in a moment of weakness they lie, cheat, or deceive, well… they don’t really talk about that. Somehow it gets erased or is balanced out if they give alms.
Even the sociopath has a sense of right and wrong—unfortunately he only applies it to “real” people and there’s a good chance he’s the only real person in the world. What he does to others doesn’t count because they are not real in the same way he is.
Contrary to the general opinion of Christians, they are among the few who face up to their sins. They do not deny they sin, but their disciple allows for a means of dealing with it other than indifference or willful ignorance. I am not saying that they don’t try to hide their sins. I just mean that they, like most folks, discover this just doesn’t work well.
Absolution of sin within Christianity means more than, “Oops, I’ll do better next time”. Sin cannot be “made right.” However, it can be atoned for by Godly sorrow for the sin, repentance (turning away from that behavior), restitution or atonement with the injured party, and behaving differently the next time they face the same temptation—and believe me, face it they will—until they do get it right.
The problem with morality is that it hinders people from acting guilt-free and behaving in any manner they choose. Which is a real downer when you really want to do something a bit shady, and you know in your heart it isn’t the right thing to do. Morality binds us to responsibility for our actions and bars the way to escaping guilt and shame for our wrongs.
The heathen rage and in vain people imagine that they can break the bonds and cast away the cords of the law of right and wrong. God, having a sense of humor, laughs at their efforts. (Psalm 2)
Speaking only for myself, I’d like to see the sane, rational soul living free of all morality. That would be the most unique human being in the world. Of course, I would test the tenacity of his belief knowing he cannot call me (nor even think me) unfair, cheater, hater, bigot, racist or apply any other tag to my “wrong behavior”. Wrong does not exist except in conjunction with right—ah, the problem of morality—again.