For many, sin is perceived as something you can avoid simply by not believing in God. Sometimes, the rationale goes further, and sadly, Buddhism is dragged into this. The argument goes something like this: every sinful act can lead to positive consequences. Stealing helps to distrubute wealth. Or without sin, there is no goodness, they're two sides of the same coin. Or sin depends on your perspective - what's wrong from one perspective is right from another.
Until the sin is committed against us. To the betrayed wife, adultery is no longer subjective. The person whose goods have been stolen is no longer ambivalent about theft. Even if the goods were stolen by them in the first instance.
On the other hand, if we own up to our sins, we can be assured there will be forgiveness. If God forgives us our sins, then even the condemned criminal, by the very imposition of our condemnation, if they accept it, they are on the road to recovery.
It is actually quite amazing how much we forgive in life. And I'm not thinking of Christians here. Yes, there are those Christians who, by their example, are loving and forgiving. But there are also those who are judgmental and condemning. And so it is with every race and religion.
So, sin is real. And it has nothing to do with whether or not you believe in God. But so is forgiveness. And it doesn't matter there either if you believe in God or not. It's just that you don't get to feel the grace if you don't believe.
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