When looking at society today, it becomes obvious that “sin is an all-but-extinct term in the American vocabulary.”1 The concept of sin today is interrelated to the view of humanity. Within culture in America today, common thought is that humans are ultimately good at heart2 and if you could remove the negative external influences, you could have a utopian-like society.

Another reason that the concept of sin has diminished from the public is the common understanding of moral responsibility. “We live in an age that strives to ease or eradicate moral and spiritual culpability”3 It used to be that most understand that there was a common base for morality, while God’s nature might be debated, there was an agreed upon understanding in the public that people ought to measure up to moral standards like the Ten Commandments. However, in the Post-modern movement in society, people have shifted from believing in external morality to internal morality. That is, rather than morality being defined for them based on a religion or God, that morality is defined based on what feels right to them.4

Thus, when morality becomes subjective based on the meta-narrative that feels right to each individual, there can be no common understanding of right and wrong, thus the diminishment of the concept of sin from the public square. As sin is defined as “failure to measure up to God’s standards,”5 so if there is no agreed upon God or standards, how can there be an agreed upon sin?

  1. Daniel Akin, ed., A Theology for the Church (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2014), Kindle, Location 14412

  2. Ibid., Location 14434

  3. Ibid., Location 14417

  4. Al Truesdale, With Cords of Love: A Wesleyan Response to Religious Pluralism (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press, 2006), Kindle, Location 1088

  5. Daniel Akin, ed., A Theology for the Church (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2014), Kindle, Location 14430