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December 31, 2006

Can An Atheist Sin?

I wondered about this question, is it theological? Perhaps there are moral implications? I just couldn't reconcile the answer because the whole notion of sin is (at least in my mind) theological. Therefore, someone that doesn't hold theological tenants to be true cannot hold themselves accountable to these tenants. That would indicate that indeed, No, atheists cannot sin.

Digging further, specifically analyzing the definition of sin [reference.com]:

  1. transgression of divine law: the sin of Adam.
  2. any act regarded as such a transgression, esp. a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.
  3. ...

It's the second definition that gets atheists held up. Being atheistic [reference.com] does not (again IMHO) dictate that an individual is not moral, just that they don't believe in a higher power. Morals may have tangential relationships to religious societies, but are not intrinsically religious.

Therefore, Yes, an atheist can sin.

Posted by Guy at December 31, 2006 12:36 AM