Friday, September 24, 2010

The old and hated doctrine of sin

One of the really surprising things about the
present bewilderment of humanity is that the
Christian Church now finds herself called
upon to proclaim the old and hated doctrine of
sin as a gospel of cheer and encouragement.

The final tendency of the modern philosophies,
hailed in their day as a release from the
burden of sinfulness, has been to bind man
hard and fast in the chains of an iron determinism.

The influence of heredity and environment,
of glandular makeup and the control
exercised by the unconscious, of economic necessity
and the mechanics of biological development,
 have all been invoked to assure man
that he is not responsible for his misfortune
and therefore not to be held guilty.

 Evil has been represented as something imposed on us
from without, not made by us from within.
The dreadful conclusion follows inevitably
that as he is not responsible for evil; he cannot
alter it. Even though evolution and progress
may offer some alleviation in the future there
is no hope for you and me now.

 I well remember how an aunt of mine, brought up in
an old-fashioned liberalism, protested angrily
against having continuously to call herself a
miserable sinner when reciting the Litany.

Today, if we could really be persuaded that we
are miserable sinners, that the trouble is not
outside us but inside us, and that therefore, by
the grace of God, we can do something to put
it right, we should receive that message as the
most helpful and heartening thing that can be
imagined. -- Dorthy Sayers