HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

LOVE SINNER AND HATE SIN - IS IT AGAINST THE NOTION OF FREE WILL?
 
Do we have free will?  Is that the accurate way to frame the question?  Let us assume we must have or do have free will.  We think our choices are our creation and that we could choose other than what we do choose.  Maybe free will is not the best thing to call our capacity to do things without being programmed or forced in any way.  Maybe it is clearer if we talk about being a responsible doer who must be accountable for what they do.  It is not so much about a faculty as it is about being a doer.  Free will is about you as a PERSON and describes you as a PERSON.  Free will is how you are a person and makes you a person. In other words you could say it is best to drop the talk about free will and talk about free doer or free chooser.  That highlights how personal this is.  Free will is not a faculty like seeing.  You are not "seeing" as such but you are doing so you are a doer.  Free will then is not a faculty in the way seeing is.  Free will is misleading for it focuses on a person's ability to be free when in fact the subject is that the person is free will in other words a responsible doer.  Free will then is essentially another word for person - to reduce it to a faculty or ability is like reducing a same sex attracted person to gay sex. Free will is people.  Most of us by instinct see it that way without realising we do.  That us why we see what a person does as a communication about them as a person - it is about what way they are a person.  The sin or crime cannot be separated from the perpetrator for to be a bad doer is to be a bad person.

 

Religion, particularly and notoriously Christianity, insists that you must love the sinner and hate the sin for to accept sin in any way makes you a sin as well because of your attitude.  This is not a call to virtue or acceptance of another person at all but a call to suppress and repress.  Repression only makes the problems worse.  The negative feelings are still there and they gain in power for they are denied and will explode. They come out in worse and more insidious ways. 

 

A sinner is a person who commits sin of his own free agency or free will. Free will is only revered by religion because it wishes to blame evil and sin on us and say that God is innocent. When you tell religious people that an all-good God who has the power to eradicate all evil cannot be really good when he lets the innocent suffer terribly, they reply that he gave us free will to use it wisely and we don't. So it is our fault. The free will doctrine is about saving God's reputation.
 
People who claim to love the sinner and hate the sin deserve to be met with scepticism and disbelief because they do not believe in free will for our sake but God's. If I love you and if free will to be righteous or unrighteous is a honour then I will not regard you as free solely or mainly to salvage God's reputation and to be able to argue that he is good despite the evil in the universe.
 
God by definition alone ultimately matters for he is all-good therefore it is a sin to uphold free will for the sake of human dignity more than his dignity. Ultimately it should all be about God and honouring him.
 
Free will is the power to do a or b without it being all or largely compulsion or down to programming. It is understood by many as involving a choice between good or evil. For religion, it is the power to serve God or defy him which is sin. Though religion calls sin evil, the non-religious understanding of free will and the religious is not the same. For religion, good done without reverence for God is counterfeit good and is really evil. And evil is not just doing harm. For religion it is breaking the law of God. The lawbreaking is the real problem not the harm. For the non-religious, evil is just whatever is done to deliberately hurt others.
 
Clearly, if you can love the evil person and hate his evil, that does not mean you can love the sinful person and hate his sin. Indeed if you hate sin not primarily because it harms but because it is against a rule, then you are being malicious. You must be categorising the person as a sinner in order to hate them. Admit it.
 
Assume free will is about making a choice between right and wrong and God and Satan etc.
 
If the sinner is to be separated from his sin as if they are not connected then this is only right if sinners and sins are not connected and there is no free will.
 
And if you think somebody can be a sinner without their sins being part of them or what makes them what they are then clearly you are insane. What do you call them sinners for? If belief in free will requires such insanity then clearly even if we have free will we are too deranged despite outward appearances to use it. Belief in free will blocks the use of free will.
 
Free will, if real, must be about not merely doing evil or good but becoming evil or good.
 
Free will to mean anything must mean the choice to be lovable or despicable. But if we are to love our enemies and to love the wicked then we are denying them their choice. We are not respecting their free will at all. What we are doing is making their freedom to do evil or to be despicable pretty pointless. It is like giving somebody the freedom to steal and not thinking of them as a thief but as somebody to be loved. You can’t give somebody this freedom unless you are willing to think of them as a thief. Sinners must have the right to love themselves as well no matter what they do if we are to love them. What kind of free will is this that doesn’t allow the despicable to be despised? It’s nonsense. They are being treated as if their evil doesn’t matter. How can evil matter unless you hate the producer of the evil? If free will is the reason why there is suffering in the world not God as believers say then how can they claim that we must love the sinner and detest the sin? They are destroying their belief and they are admitting that their God is evil and cruel and that they want to turn a bind eye to it.
 
The believers would say that free will can be summarised as the power to hate the sinner and the sin or love sinner and hate the sin. But we cannot love the sinner and hate the sin. Sin means that which is to be punished and its wrong to let it be unpunished - only the sinner can be punished. So to punish the sin is to punish the sinner. If one is hated so is the other. The believers are forced to reply that God makes loving the sinner possible by some sort of miracle but that would be God doing the impossible – doing something contradictory. No other miracle would have any value as evidence for his power if he can do something as incoherent as that. Neither God or his actions would make sense. Whatever miracles prove it is not God. In so far as God's power helps you to act and be good, it is not you that is doing it. If God enables me to love my enemy then it is not really me that is doing it. The miracle denies our free will. How can we be free if we need a miracle to choose to love sinners and hate their sins?
 
The miracle notion says we are incorrigibly evil unless God reaches down to us to force us to be good like we are drugged puppets. That is a very nasty and negative doctrine though the cynic may cherish it!

 

Free will is a function for deciding what you will do. It is about deciding first. It is not about morality first. Giving it a religious role is vile for it suggests, “If you do x then you have done wrong in the eyes of God and that is what matters.” God based forgiving and seeking his pardon is inherently degrading. It involves denial of what free will is all about.
 
Religion urges us to love sinners and hate their sins on the grounds that the alternative is to praise sin and to encourage the sinner to do it. It is a strange kind of love that is not just done but has to be treated like the best option. A wife wants to be simply loved by her husband because she is loved. It is not about him doing it because the alternatives are to not care about her or to hate her. See the point? If the love is suspect then surely the alleged hate for the sin not the sinner is really in fact hate for the sinner after all!
 
The attempt to say we love sinners and hate sin and believe in free will has evil implications. The attempt needs to stop.