'Sin' takes another hit (as do people without the feel-good gene)
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08-03-2015, 10:57 AM
'Sin' takes another hit (as do people without the feel-good gene)
And yea, there was gnashing of teeth and wailing, and the women beat their breasts, and the preachers sought to distract by calling ever more maniacally for tithes and more, as God's gap shrank yet again and "soul" and "sin" were once again diminished.

"In short, some people are prone to be less anxious simply because they won the genetic sweepstakes and randomly got a genetic mutation that has nothing at all to do with strength of character. ... The fact is that we are all walking around with a random and totally unfair assortment of genetic variants that make us more or less content, anxious, depressed or prone to use drugs."

From "The Feel-Good Gene," New York Times, March 8, 2015.

God does not work in mysterious ways — he works in ways that are indistinguishable from his non-existence.
Jesus had a pretty rough weekend for your sins.
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08-03-2015, 01:12 PM
RE: 'Sin' takes another hit (as do people without the feel-good gene)
I suspect that a lot of subjective happiness / tranquility or depression / anxiety just boils down to brain chemistry.

I had a conversation with a guy in his 60s this morning who was an avid runner until a health crisis took him back down into the realm of mere mortals again recently. He so misses his endorphins from his "runner's high". He seemed baffled by my declaring that I have never experienced any kind of high or upside from running or any other kind of exercise; the most I can hope for is not to feel any worse after my every-other-day 40 minutes at the gym. He has invariably felt reinforced by and rewarded for exercise; I have, to put it charitably, not felt that way, and in all honesty often feel negatively reinforced.

My reality is no less valid than his; it is just different. The same goes for introversion / extroversion and other axes like that.

The concept of "sin", especially "original sin", is simply a bronze-age attempt to understand personality and coping differences. Calling something weakness or wrongness relative to some subjective norm is no different than trying to explain mental illness in terms of demon possession.

All of which is not to say that some behaviors aren't harmful to yourself and others, and should not be encouraged. Or that some behaviors violate social mores or contracts and shouldn't be sanctioned. That's a separate issue.
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08-03-2015, 03:52 PM
RE: 'Sin' takes another hit (as do people without the feel-good gene)
I think of people as brains with attendant skeletal structures, muscle and skin. If I like your personality, I like the way your brain is wired and the nurture and education it received. I have no basis to recommend punishment for your brain (you), and if my brain doesn't like your brain, hopefully my brain's response will be more sympathetic than angry.

Sin is one of the silliest and most damaging of mankind's inventions.
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