Website owner:  James Miller

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On sin, wrongdoing and conscience

sin. n. 1. A transgression, especially when deliberate, of a law having divine authority; a transgression of the law of God. v.i. 2. To commit sin; transgress, neglect or disregard the divine law.

wrongdoing. Behavior that is morally or legally wrong

immoral. adj. 1. Violating the moral law; contrary to conscience or public morality. 2. Sexually impure; licentious.

Immoral, amoral agree in meaning not moral. The immoral person violates moral principles knowingly; he is consciously wicked, dissolute, evil, etc. The amoral person lacks the sense of right and wrong and thus may violate morality without evil intent.

Note that the concept of sin presumes that there is a God and that that God is concerned about how man behaves himself on this earth and has informed mankind of what right conduct and wrong conduct is. Thus a person who doesn’t believe in a God (an atheist) would have a problem with the concept of sin.

conscience. n. A knowledge or feeling of right and wrong, with a compunction to do right; the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action.

Is man informed by some inner voice about the right and wrong of various kinds of conduct? If so, where does that voice come from? Where does this inner knowledge come from? If there is no God, where do you suppose such knowledge would come from? If man is simply some soulless, physical organism in some godless universe, how do you account for such a voice? Would you wish to contend that such a voice does not exist? Are all our ideas of right and wrong simply cultural ideas, subject to change as social ideas and values change, with no better foundation than that? Are all our ideas of right and wrong simply opinion? Would you want to contend that? Is it just personal opinion that stealing from another is wrong, or is this an absolute principle that we know intuitively? Is it just personal opinion that murder is wrong? For thousands of years thoughtful people from many different cultures, from ancient China to ancient Egypt to ancient Greece, have been in remarkable agreement as to what right conduct and wrong conduct is. How do you account for this?

True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrong-doing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment.       Cicero

Since an intelligence common to us all makes things known to us and formulates them in our minds, honorable actions are ascribed by us to virtue, and dishonorable actions to vice; and only a madman would conclude that these judgments are matters of opinion, and not fixed by nature.


In the West immorality, depravity and wickedness are everywhere. Wicked men challenge God, challenge his law. Why do they do this? They want to justify their sin. They want to erase it, tell themselves it is not sin, contend that their immoral behavior is OK. Instead of admitting they are sinning, doing wrong, they want to claim their conduct is just fine. Fornication, adultery, homosexuality is rampant in the West and they want to justify this kind of conduct. They are violating laws that good, thoughtful men of all cultures have known from the beginning of time. They are just deceiving themselves. They are just doing what bad men of all ages and all cultures have done. They may be intellectuals but intellectuals can be just as perverted and self-deceived as anyone else.

May 2017

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