Religion says that God lets us harm one another because he wants us to freely choose whether we will do good or bad. This is the free will defence. God gives us morality so we are told. Therefore he authorises punishment as a necessity and must punish evil people so that the injustice of the good and bad being treated alike is avoided.

Oddly some say that sin punishes us not God. How core is the idea of sin punishing itself to some forms of Christianity? It implies that God may not will the punishment. So it amounts to worshipping an unjust God and one who has to observe punitive justice doing the justice itself. It is a core matter for issues of justice and love are central questions for any faith.

This seems to describe how natural laws are not human laws or created by people but if you break them you get dangerous and bad results but this is a natural result of what we do and is not a punishment.  They still call it punishment though!

In contrast to Christian doctrine which says evil is nothing in the sense that it is the absence of a good that is not there, Jesus said that a person who is evil is in fact a slave to evil. This treats evil like it was some kind of controlling power that knows what it is doing.  Unless evil is some kind of person made that way by God or unless Jesus and he are programming it to know what to do this makes no sense. The slave type of thinking leads you to not seeing that anybody is evil but as a sort of puppet. You are lying to yourself for if evil acts like a person possessing you then maybe it is a person and there are evil people after all! So Jesus and co, why are you trying to make out that evil is like some puppeteer ghost? Why are you trying to get the bad man or woman off the hook? Why are you saying that evil is not real but just good in the wrong place and time when you turn it into some kind of real god? It contradicts the notion that evil people such as rapists and murders and child molesters damage themselves more than the victim for they make themselves bad and filthy and degrade themselves thus even if they feel good about it. The good feelings are adding to the degradation. It in a sense then tells them they are good deep down and thus this damage is not real or true. It in a sense is evilly telling them that they can do evil and remain basically wonderful and good deep inside. Evil is like a cloak over how you shine so angelically. That is not evil at all but playing with words.

Christians say that God is always for us and what is best for us so God did not curse us with death and punishment for sin. Sin does that. That idea tells us that sin must be an intelligence and a power after all. It is like God when it can punish and kill those who serve it and "reward" them like that. Sin is turned into a higher power so if it is that clever we cannot really think our love is true and genuine for thinking that could be a trick.

Religious people say the person with a dark soul thinks they are not effected and can be happy. They are supposed to be damaged at their core and the not realising is part of the damage. This dreadful argument implies that the child molested by a rapist has no deep and profound damage inside - their "soul" is okay. It is the soul of the attacker that is in question. The attacker is the one worse off. This seems to mean that you need good values to be a true human being and if you choose to push them out of your soul you are less than a person. Your dignity and potential are damaged.
Surely if God sets up sin so that we will suffer for it then that is punishment. Punishment whether indirect or direct is still punishment. Those who say sin punishes us not God are trying to manipulate us and play on our hatred for being punished as if justice is suspended for us.

Annie Besant claimed that that only real way for sin to be punished is for it to injure and damage yourself as a person who is moral in nature. Similar doctrines appear in spiritual circles and Catholic writings. The idea is that harmdoing or sin is an attack on yourself, your personhood and your identity. She is right in a sense that it is best for sin itself to punish you and be allowed to and to say that is what punishment should be. But it is not. The fact remains we all feel that if it does not feel bad then it is not punishment. Happy people who have done harm do not feel damaged. Jail is not punishment in any important way if you love being there and it is so good that it does not matter if you are guilty or innocent. For sin to self-punish we would need a radically different psychology than the one we have.
The notion that evil always and inherently has the seeds of its own destruction and consists of them for it is destruction is interesting.
It has certain implications.

• You don’t need faith in an intervening God. Evil will vanquish itself without any help from God.

• You don’t need to intervene either.

• You don’t need the concept of justice or fairness as such. Sometimes the thought of being unjust is enough to make people behave! Evil does not need this deterrence for it can deter itself by being something that eats itself up.

• Don’t need a God to forbid or condemn evil or to command somebody to be good instead of evil.
• Bad people need pity not punishment. Let them suffer and learn the hard way for it is the only way to really learn. They will learn from experience.
• Your motive when you are silent and do nothing as others sin could be to see them destroyed by their evil.

• Trying to convert sinners could be vindictive if leaving them to wallow and learn through experience is the best way to learn.
• Love the sinner and hate the sin is nonsense for it presupposes justly dealing with the sinner. The idea is that sin deserves censure and the person deserves to be criticised for it so that they can comport themselves in a dignified way that is free from sin.
The fact remains that we all see this self-punishment as a pack of lies. It is not the same thing as being found guilty and condemned.
It is true that a sin ideally should punish itself. Suppose in an imaginary world it does. Then the problem with that is that it rules out any need for a God or society to punish. Indeed if they do then that is just revenge and vindictive. It implies that a person - and that would be everybody! - who does not understand that all evil you do as beneficial as it looks damages your core personality cannot administer justice and indeed should not be let in a courthouse door.
Spiritual people do tend to see punishment as damaging your soul and being internal retribution which shows they have to stop pretending that sending people to jail is intended to do justice. It is spite.
Another expression of the doctrine of sin being inherently punishment is this: Evil consumes the person who harbours it by embracing it and doing it. It is like acid that devours. But it is self-defeating and self-destructive for it kills itself with killing its victim. It is like a disease. It ends itself by becoming nothing when it kills the victim.
This idea says that evil is in fact comprised a lot of stupidity and you cannot truly be evil and smart in doing so. Again the trouble is that you cannot call yourself fair and justice and punish a person for mere unintelligence! It would be revenge! And what are you even calling stupidity evil for? The two are not the same even if they are inseparable.

God has to punish sin or he is unfair. Forgiving is seen as a different matter for the person has reformed and needs a second chance. And this second chance becomes another second chance and so on on and to absurdity. No sane or fair God can give a person a second chance every day of the week for the same sin! Repenting and forgiving are meant to be painful processes so in a sense they are punishment too. That aside if we punished every sin we would only end up making people hide their sins. Punishing somebody for swearing and taking God's name in vain seems too harsh which is why it will probably only result in the person cursing God inside and internalising their sin more. Resentment against the punisher will arise. But these consequences have absolutely nothing to do with proving that it is wrong to punish everything if possible. It is like arguing that maths should be made easier for most students fail their exams. You are left with a new bad consequence: telling people that their disobedience will be rewarded and that you are blaming punishment for the bad consequences which in fact are not really consequences but just the result of people refusing to take their just deserts. The argument is bizarre in the light of the fact that God will punish all unforgiven sin - and in a sense even the forgiven - for he is perfect justice. How deeply do believers really love God and how much do they really want him to be fair?


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