How do you define Sin?

Dr Siras was filmed inside his house, participating in a homosexual act with a willing partner, for which he was suspended from the university.

Allahabad High Court issued a stay order against his suspension.

A week later he was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

And Aligarh Muslim University has an ‘intelligence unit… that spies on students and teachers‘ personal lives…

I wonder if somebody somewhere is feeling guilty about this death. :(

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Our Pink (or Saffron?) Chaddi Guys will find a like minded soul in Iran, in Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi. “Many women who dress inappropriately … cause youths to go astray, taint their chastity and incite extramarital sex in society, which increases earthquakes,” [Link]

[And a much better link ;)]

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Would Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi  say these men in Afghanistan are incited by little boys?

Bacha bazi is an old Afghan tradition of taking young boys, dressing them up like girls, and making them perform for older men in tea rooms, weddings, and other private venues. The boys are “owned” by single or married men who trade or keep the boys as concubines. According to reports, the boys’ ages range from eight to 19, when they “age out” of the practice and are released.

“The bacha dancers are often abused children … one boy was sexually assaulted by a mechanic in his town. The boy’s family blamed him and turned him out. He was forced to live with the man who attacked him. ” Now I am with someone else, and he taught me how to dance,” the boy, now 16 years old, said. [http://original.antiwar.com/vlahos/2010/04/12/a-deal-with-the-devil/]

Thanks for tweeting these links Nisha.

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A 15 year old in Faridabad walked to a nearby park at 2 am, to abandon her  daughter  minutes after the baby was born. Because she wasn’t married. [Link]

Khushboo, a South Indian actor was taken to court for recommending contraception for girls like her, because teenage sex bothers some of us.

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A 12-year-old Yemeni bride died of internal bleeding following intercourse three days after she was married off to an older man, [Link]

“A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of twelve who pleases him, or a man of twenty-four a girl eight years of age; if (the performance of) his duties would (otherwise) be impeded, (he must marry) sooner.(Manusmriti, IX.94)

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Can something that hurt nobody be sinful?
Is it sinful for some of us to claim to know what is best for the rest of us? Even if we bring god into it?

41 thoughts on “How do you define Sin?

  1. But the moment we bring god into it, we allow for the existence (and eventual imposition) of an external morality. Since there are no rules governing what religion finds acceptable, something that doesn’t hurt anyone can easily come to be called sinful.

    And just because there’s no explicit mention of god doesn’t mean that the mentality of religion is absent. Society can be as exacting any other god, and many people blindly follow its dictates.

    In my opinion, there is one statement that the Delhi HC made in the judgment decriminalizing homosexuality that absolutely puts the point across. We must memorize this statement and quote it all the time. Here it is:

    “Constitutional morality trumps public morality”

    Homosexuality which doesn’t hurt anyone per se is moral and ethical according to the constitution of India. It doesn’t matter whether the public finds it moral or not. Constitutional morality trumps public morality. And so it was decriminalized. End of story.

    Our good friends in the khaps need to get this into their thick skulls. Or maybe the do get it – which is why they threatened to tear up the constitution…

    Me – Love that like! “Constitutional morality trumps public morality”

    This is why I feel so grateful to our founding fathers! Imagine any of these others having the right to impose their will on us with whatever excuses…

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  2. It’s not about ‘sin’. It’s about so-called ‘morality’, a morality whose definition changes with time.

    And, even if things like pre-marital sex are called ‘sin’, it’s the purview of religion that needs to be changed. We can’t hurt/harass/exploit anyone in the name of anything, not even religion.

    I’ve got sick of incidents like these.

    Me – I feel those who do give themselves the right to interfere in other people’s lives generally have motives other than what they show… Death of Dr Siras saddened me – I hope those who created the Intelligence Unit are punished.

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  3. You have spoken of things very close to my heart and there’s so much I want to share…. but not now am too disturbed for my thoughts to flow out cherently, but I will promise.

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  4. IHM, the strangest thing is that these ‘laws’ ‘rules’ ‘directives’ are all made by the ones whom they suit and suit very well.
    Sin is for others, not for the rule makers. Didnt we already know that?

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  5. Good to see that the links were put to good use.

    The issues around child abuse or sexual abuse are one of the abuse of morality, of any kind. Morality is combined with violence and used as a metaethical claim whenever male privileges are threatened. So child abuse and sexual abuse are exempt from being immoral but ‘dressing up, using make up, same sex relations, etc’ become immoral.

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  6. I want to throw up on most of the above things that you have pointed out!!! Disgusting people making their own frigging laws…and for God’s sake don’t use his/her name and do such things…

    Me – God’s name (or culture or moral values) is used to make sure nobody objects, if they do, they can be taught a lesson :| Have you read ‘Kite Runner’? When I read it I didn’t realise it was actually common – I thought that was one rare crime :|

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  7. Wow. Humans act in pretty disturbing ways toward one another. In my parents’ hometown, a gay man was beaten on the street and his attacker was not charged with a hate crime because the court felt there was no proof the random beating had anything to do with being gay.

    As for sin, I do believe in God and I do believe in sin. Sin is a personal thing that distances your soul from God’s Soul. I think of it as though God were a song and sin is when you are off-key. A sin is not something to be punished for; sin is its own punishment.

    Crimes and acts of violence against other people in the name of religion are reprehensible. They are blasphemy. What about the Catholic Church and their massive cover-up of sexual abuse by priests? That drives people away from God and those are acts that cannot be committed by someone whose soul is in harmony with God’s Soul.

    All religions are beautiful “on paper” but the problem is that they are full of humans and humans are horrific to one another.

    Me – I read this morning about children from such crimes taking Fathers to court. I think any such criminals should be punished, no matter who they are. No humans should have the power to decide how sinful another one has been – those who give themselves such powers have been turning out to be the worst abusers :(

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    • That reminds me of Shiv Sena ‘activists’ attack on a New Year celebration party near Mumbai where the Shiv Sena ‘activists’ had allegedly physically harassed women there in the process of stopping the party celebration.

      It’s unfortunate to see the existence of such parties (Shiv Sena, Sri Rame Sene, etc.) whose prime focus is to make definitions of ‘sin’, ‘morals’, ‘decency’ for us.

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  8. Ironic, how in a land where the supreme court goes ahead and legalized gay marriage, people get killed for being homosexuals!! Is this all a F$^&$& ing joke??!!!

    As for religious fundamentalism, they are all the same everywhere! F^$*$^%$*ing outrageous!!

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  9. Speaking of Manusmriti, I remember one of the talks by a Dr. Sukumar Azhikode, he said, If ManuSmriti was known to the world, they will kick India out of UN ;)

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  10. As nauseated as everyone else.

    Never heard of the Afghan bacha dancers, and wish I hadn’t. And people continue to believe only girls are sexually abused.

    And the Iran earthquake thing is insanity…you know once a relative who is more or less a Hindu fundamentalist said something similar about that massive earthquake in Turkey, and said those Muslim people deserved it because they were ‘over’mining’ the earth…I was aghast at her inhumaity and lack of compassion in even thinking such thoughts.

    Me – Like UmmOn also pointed put, it always strikes me that the Fundamentalists all over the world do not realise how alike they are.

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  11. whatever you want to do, but don’t do fearing reprisal, is sin.
    and

    all these guys, don’t realise they are more alike in their hatred, than different in their dictums.

    Me – I always notice this!! They all hate pleasure, freedom (for anyone but themselves), and always those who preach claim they are the most priviliged, and god said so. Why don’t we tell them, God told us from today our positions are changed?

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  12. That was so disturbing, IHM. Infact the first time I read about boys being abused was in Khaled Hosseni’s books, and it left an indelible mark on me. And now, this post. Which is a little eerie, as I’m just into reading ‘The Lovely Bones’ and I’m feeling angry, helpless and frustrated all at the same time.

    Is there any hope????

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  13. I thought universities were centres of learning, not spying…

    What is sin? Hmmm…It depends on who you ask…

    Officially, sins are violations of religious laws (formed by men)…When you commit a sin, you ‘miss the mark’, the mark being the standard of perfection established by God (men)…It may also be defined as disobedience or rebellion against God (human ‘moral authorities’) as well as independence from God…

    Notice all the references to God and religious laws…Ordinary people are duped into thinking by religious leaders that the scriptures were written by God when we don’t even know if God really exists…Scriptures were written by ordinary mortals to control society and these laws keep on changing to fit the views of religious leaders…How many of us really know what the laws are? We believe what we are told…

    What is the one common factor between jihadis, swamis and the priests of the Roman Catholic Church? Their obsession with sex…If sex is bad, why did God create something that is required to mate in order to continue the existence of the species? Why create a creation that has a sex drive, and reproduces sexually, if sex is detestable in his eyes?

    I personally hate the word ‘sin’ because of its religious connotations and the way preachers use it to control people…If an action doesn’t hurt another human being, then how can it be bad (sinful)? People should just start using their brains a bit instead of believing blindly in irrational views of religion and religious leaders…

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  14. P.S. One should also keep in mind that religious and moral laws were written by people who were under the impression that the Earth was flat and used arsenic to medicate…Things need to change…What was right then may not be right now…

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    • What laws should we follow, could you elaborate?
      Me – Laws to follow to avoid sinning? I feel if what we doing does not hurt another, we have not sinned.

      Or should we simply make up our own laws as per our whims and fancies? No need for any objectivity? Secondly, should be behave like our natural selves? Rape, murder, stealing, lying etc etc, These also exist in the state of nature?
      Me – KC rape, murder, stealing and most lying does hurt another person, so they can never be right. Premarital sex between two consenting, uncommitted adults of any gender does not hurt anyone, so it is not wrong. Taliban and our local fundamentalists, Khap Panchayats etc all see anything related to sex as wrong – they stone, kill, rape, ostracize innocent people – would you call that a sin?

      And lastly, I do not understand the need to bring the Manusmriti into everything. It is a smriti and not a shruti? It is just a codebook, nothing more. Would anyone quote something sensible from it. I am sure there would be something sensible in it too.
      Me – If a book says ten sensible things and then just one rule like the one I have quoted here, it becomes more dangerous, because then it is seen as a ‘sensible’ book and there are many who would take whatever it says seriously.
      The truth is many religious texts might say something that is unacceptable in a civil society. And it’s wiser to see them objectively. Common sense is more reliable in most such cases.

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  15. What is sin ? Sin is a perceived norm that defies the common collective thoughts of a community. The concept of Sin changes with time and society. What could be sin then, may not be sin now and viceversa. While some sins remains sin since then and now.

    As our society evolved, there came a systematic rule book to deal with sin. Some dealt it with the lawbooks of land, while dealt it with the law book of religion etc.

    I would define something as sin when it infringes the rights of another person

    , harms a person – mentally, emotionally and physically.

    And it is appaling to see such sins quoted in your article. Barbaric.

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      • Ok…. i understand that you have completely missed out my point. Read again what i meant. I said an action would be a sin if it goes against the fundamental right of another and harms the person mentally, emotionally and physically.

        I fail to understand what made you feel offendedd with my words :S *sighs*

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  16. Shocking to know that CSA is an organized business in Afganistan. I had read about it in Kite Runner, but I thought it was in the same league as the rest of world (prevelant but condenmed and punished for). I am just too angry and at a loss of words right now.

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  17. Mostly sins seems to be called as such when they are acts that harm either oneself or others! The more inexplicable ones dictated by religion that state they are for one’s spiritual good, and the ones that say that noncompliance harms one’s soul etc are the hardest to rationalise and some are just forcedto take them on face value !

    However, we as humans do not have absolute rights to point fingers, force culture, religious dictates on others, as innately our faith is but an intimate relationship with our creator! He is the final judge on whether their choice is, in his eyes, an unforgivable sin or not! Like they say, if he can wait till judgement day why do we rush to judge?

    IHM all the above incidents are so painful to read and know exists! Such a sad pseudo modern world!

    Me- Indy I feel if what we do hurts ourselves, than how can that be a sin? Many would call that ‘sacrifice’ too and women are supposed to a lot of good to others by sacrificing themselves….

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    • Haha…yeah true! Sacrifice is equated to good! :) but I guess i’m unable to come up with a good example right now, but say a drug addict/alchoholic/gambler hurting himself by abuse wud be almost like a sin in that sense!

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  18. Hv been reading all those in different links. But to see them all together under the heading of sin – My God, how sinful ppl are and how dare they justify their actions under the cloak of religion and other silly reasons.

    Those bacha dancers are really very saddening.

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  19. Feel sad, reading this, IHM. For this crime ‘religion is no bar’ for the men, whether they are godmen, priests or imams or the children from any religion is OK. Sick people.

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  20. I’d rather not say anything because it never seems enough.
    Just to add one thing, so many religions, even the so-very-nice ones, every one of them ask the women to stay away, not so very nicely, because they incite men. Excuse me, you, “the priests” can be incited to “do” stuff, with the women just being? Hmm, speaks a lot about your character, oh sorry, sbout the women’s figure, is it? Or is it wiles? Or just their existence??
    Who strays, I wonder…

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  21. I dont think we can define sin.

    What is wrong to one maynot be wrong to another. But however it is, sin or not, people pay the price for what they do …If I hurt some1, I’m going to get hurt the same way … that’s all … That was about sin.

    But on this issue, I think no1 should have interfered .. it’d have been diff if he had a family and this had come out in the open, as it’d have harmed them …. but now ?? What if instead of a guy, it had been a girl ??

    And the worst thing is , these news die out after sometime …

    this was an incident which could have changed a lot of mindsets … a lot of narrow minded people who made life diff for a lot of homo sexuals could have been silenced …. but unfortunately, this would die out ….

    Somehow, I see Dr Siras as a martyr

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  22. “Constitutional morality trumps public morality”

    Beautiful, wonderful and a delightful statement

    Law never talks about sins; it never penalizes for sin. It only cares about crimes

    Sin is an act against the god; but then whose god are we talking about? and who decides which act is against god and which is not? and if it is an act against god, how can the society punish for sin; shouldn’t it leave that responsibility also to God?

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  23. Sacrifice is a sin when it leads to injustice because then you become an accomplice in the act. That is why I believe no body should be asked to, and nobody should sacrifice beyond a point.

    I dont have a real world example, so I am refering to religion here. In Mahabharat, if Arjun had refused to wage the war, that would have been a sacrifice on his part, but a sin against the humanity, for it would have come in the way of serving justice

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  24. Sins come from the moral order of religion that forces us to behave good artificially rather than behaving naturally. This sin theories of religion makes my head goes round. All religious books are full of sins by prophets, angels and Gods but they are pardoned…WTF. And here people considered it heresy to say truth against their beliefs. Muslim can say infidels to all others quoting Quran; Hindus can say others ‘Mlech (म्लेछ)’ [used for foreigners] and ‘neech’ based on the births quoting Manu Smriti, shastra and purans. Christianity also quoted against Jews in the Bible… And here And when I say these acts committed in the name of religion are wrong.. I am blasphemous and religious feelings hurt. No reform can be brought up without shaking these blind believers.

    And there are these examples showing wrong things… And people have more faith in their religion than their brain. people sacrifice for love but these idiots sacrifice love first for society, caste, creed and religion…

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  25. While growing up I had known sin to be anything, which was done beyond the unwritten code of conduct that ruled my home. Later in law school I came to know sin as anything, which has been done beyond the written codes past and present.
    Both the above make little sense to me now when I work closely with people.

    It is strange that having sex with animals (bestiality) is considered to be a sin under our penal laws for the effects it is to have on our society. But then the offender cannot be booked under cruelty to animals Act! The reason maybe because just like the people quoted in your post, the lawmakers believe that the animals are responsible for enticing the offenders!

    It irks me but its true that a closer reading of our penal laws will tell you that prostitution is not a crime per se. The Indian law prohibits seducing and soliciting clients for the purpose of prostitution and a deeper reading would go on to mean as if the law makers meant that prostitutes may exist, but must not be seen. For if seen it is they who are responsible for enticing men and not the men who seek to pounce on every pound of flesh that comes it’s way!

    I seek to ask these men/women who always tag enticement as the reason that how did this little 5 month old baby entice it’s molester? (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1703595.stm)

    I feel it is sin to be even born with a mind that can think like this and till we invent a sono-graphic machine, which can hint at such convoluted thoughts being framed at the womb itself, we have to live with sinners! After the invention though it’ll be another battle to legalize abortion on the above grounds!

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  26. Pingback: “If I was born somewhere else, sometime later, in a more liberal family, in a more equal world.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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