Sin

Christians believe that sin was brought into the world by Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden of Eden. Man is now separated from God and therefore cannot have a relationship with him. The ultimate punishment is eternity without God. God gave his son so as a sacrifice for the bad things that people have done. A pardon or someone to take the blame.

I struggle with the concept of sin. Not that I don’t understand it but the fact that some Christian’s seem to regard some sins worse than others. As a humanist do believe that actions do have a consequence. Those actions that Christians believe are the most sinful seem to be to have the least consequence. The fact that two men or two women living together will have some sort of consequence on society. To fundamental / evangelical christians they believe that society will break down and the traditional view of marriage is destroyed.

In the UK we have had Civil Partnerships for nearly a decade. It was at the early part of 2014 that marriage equality was given legal assent. But some parts the church still continue to focus their energies on fighting gay rights. I think now it has become an unhealthy obsession to some.

Some of the most damaging of “sins” seem to be over-looked; Domestic abuse, theft, drug trafficking, fraud and sexual crimes. These all have long-lasting consequences for the victim of these acts. Yet the perception is that church isn’t interested in talking about an condemning these in the way that it condemns those people who cannot help who they fall in love with.

“Currently, regular church attendance in the United Kingdom stands at 6% of the population with the average age of the attendee being 51. This shows a decline in church attendance since 1980, when regular attendance stood at 11% with an average age of 37. It is predicted that by 2020, attendance will be around 4% with an average age of 56. This decline in church attendance has forced many churches to close down across the United Kingdom, with the Church of England alone being forced to close 1,500 churches between 1969 and 2002. Their fates include dereliction, demolition and residential conversion.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_Kingdom)

We are a post-christian nation. More people recognising that they have no religion. The concept of sin is an outdated one soon to become a historical notion or philosophical stance.

A long time ago

In my youth I felt god calling me to enter into some full time ministry of the church. The idea seemed nice to settle down in a sleepy village like St Mary Mead grow my teeth in buck-toothed fashion and be a vicar.

The issues that surround the ministry didn’t enter my mind. These similar issues of politics where also prevalent in the teaching profession. Dealing with the fallout of back biting, gossip and betrayal.

I didn’t enter the ministry and I left teaching nearly a decade ago. I am glad for both.

Reading an article in the Church Times today I was saddened saddened again that it’s writers still use language which can divide.

“As the first same-sex marriages loom…” This is it’s openly line. Loom? Like a spectre of darkness waiting in the wings ready to cover any unsuspecting victim that maybe unfortunate to be caught in it’s path.

I am not even going to read the rest. I will put a link to it at the bottom of this article so you can read for yourself.

Soon it will be time for the established church to decide on woman bishops. I wonder if there are any out there that this is “looming” upon? Will they see it in the same light as Same Sex Marriage? It is something that the church is careering towards without thought and process?

I won’t ever go back to teaching and I certainly won’t ever go back to being a full time member of the church. I just hope that in due course we can remember those who are looking in and seeing all the negativity.

Church and “the gays”

I have been watching the Supreme Court case of the Christian B&B owners who have been sued by a gay couple on the grounds of discrimination. I am sure that people in the UK are aware of this case.

There have been long and complicated arguments over the past hour in the court and the one thing that has struck me more than anything else is that it is sad that it has come to this.

The Christian B&B owners are an elderly couple who some would say hold rather conservative and old-fashioned religious beliefs. The argument in the court has been about whether a gay couple would be treated in the same way as a married couple. As this has happened many years ago and the marriage equality act hadn’t been implicated some say that it couldn’t be the same as a married couple and therefore choosing to deny a room to a gay couple is tantamount to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

I feel it is sad that it has come to this point. Very sad. These sort of cases are continually pushed into the media causing hurt and division but I don’t blame the reporting of such cases as they are certainly in the public interest to be heard. What I do feel is the continuing isolation between the mainstream church and gay community is certainly apparent and wrong. Both sides could learn a lot from each other and have a lot to give.

A community where compassion forgiveness and understanding seems to be lacking. The established church is continuing to be increasingly irrelevant not just to young people but to all generations. The Christian argument is that scripture is clear and its moral code and the understanding of this doesn’t change. What the Christian couple have failed to understand is the hurt in which their religious beliefs has caused to the original gay couple involved but to the community.

Murder, rape, torture and child neglect or abuse is morally repugnant and wrong. The majority of a sane normal society would find these acts abhorrent. What the Christian couple have said is they believe that people who are gay are also part of the problem sin and apply this to unmarried straight couples as well. But how many hotels and B&B now in this ‘enlightened’ age would turn away a couple who is unmarried? It would certainly become more difficult to determine whether a straight couple were married compared to a couple who are in a gay relationship.

Also in what circumstances would you impose Christian teachings to someone who is staying in your home? I am sure some wouldn’t allow unmarried couples to share the same bed but would we also expect people to observe sabbatical laws? Or perhaps not to covet the hotel owners shiny new car on their drive?

Let’s face it the church has the biggest hang-up about sex. Particularly sexual relations between people of the same gender. Does the established Church continue to ploughs its beliefs no matter what the consequence or outcome believing in a divine rule or do both sides try to come to a rational and sensible understanding?

My belief is that there should always be dialogue. It’s those who close the door and turn away others that I find morally reprehensible