The word sin is very deceptive. What does the word mean to a Protestant? And what does the word mean to an Atheist, or a non-believer in God? By mentioning Protestants and Atheists in the same sentence, I would presume any reader to formulate conflicting definitions to what accounts as a sin. Evangelicals will not hesitate to tell someone that some of the few sins are listed under the 10 Commandments in the “good” book (i.e. thou shall not lie, thou shall not kill). But how do you approach an Atheist who does not believe in the God presented by Protestants, or the Holy Bible? I write this because according to The Press Enterprise, California was ranked to be the 2nd most sinful state in the country, right in front of Nevada, which contains Las Vegas (nicknamed Sin City). The number one most sinful state according to the newspaper was Florida.
This study came from an online financial advisor known as, WalletHub. The website compiled various social, economic, and demographic data, to determine which states are considered to be the most sinful. WalletHub determined behaviors of sin included, debt-to-income ratio, inactive adults (laziness), violent crimes, and addictions, such as gambling, smoking, or alcoholism. I am curious to know what percentage of adults actually find these behaviors or factors to be sinful. Do Las Vegas natives believe gambling and drinking to be a sin? For some, it is part of their daily activities. California was presented to rank high in a few sinful categories. The “Sunshine State” ranked 2nd in vanity (#1 New York); 5th in lust (#1 Texas); 9th in jealousy (#1 Florida); 10th in anger and hatred (#1 Tennessee); 14th in greed (#1 Nevada); and 25th in laziness (#1 Nevada).
Nevada ranked #1 in a few individual categories, but do ALL people classify certain behaviors to be sinful? Do gamblers consider their actions sinful or joyful? Do alcoholics/smokers classify their actions as sinful or joyful? Do adult stars consider their lustful behavior to be sinful or joyful? Some residents in Nevada, and tourists, reside in the state, solely, to engage in these particular activities. So do millions of Las Vegas tourists visit the city with the intentions of finding entertainment, or wickedness? Some religious individuals would consider these actions to be against the word of their God. On the other hand, an Atheist would believe some of these activities to be joyful and harmless. Which brings another question; who has the right to classify or determine a sin; a Protestant, Buddhist, Muslim, or an Atheist?
The United States’ classifications of sin are based upon religious morals, primarily Evangelical or Christian beliefs. The Founding Fathers did not believe secularism (separation of church and law) was the apposite method of law and order. They believed the conjoining of religious values into their law books would certify the United States as pure and righteous. Perhaps that could have been the case in 1791, when the Bill of Rights was ratified, but in 2018, I am not sure the same beliefs and rules are being consumed by every American citizens. What is GREED to a business executive who continues to pay their employees minimum wage? What is INEQUALITY to a majority Caucasian nation who continues to support an economic system that belittles minorities? And what is a LIE to a pastor who continues to miseducate people about the foundation of planet Earth and the original human being? Throughout history, a religious or political prophet has always been able to take advantage of his followers using religions and laws.
Please, understand I do not mean to offend any religious or non-religious individual. But it is important to understand the United States embedded a legal system that never believed in secularism, or the separation of church and state. Up until the 21st century, not one human being on the entire planet has been able to give definitive evidence to show which religion is correct. Yet, America’s laws are derived from a Protestant culture. Thou shall not lie, steal, or kill. Unfortunately, in 2018, we have Protestant politicians LYING to the American public; we have Protestant priests STEALING an honest pay from churchgoers; and we have some Protestant police officers violently MURDERING unarmed individuals. This is not a defamation to any religion, but to individuals that claim to represent these religions, and go against their own code.
When a country has laws based upon one particular religion, yet, people who do not properly uphold the values of that same religion, a conflict of interest is sure to be in existence, and there will be ambiguity on what morals the country should condone as a group. Check this, California was ranked to be the 2nd most sinful state, but was ranked by WalletHub to the 4th happiest. Minnesota was ranked the 37th most sinful state, but was ranked to be the happiest state in the country. Both states were ranked to be the top 5 happiest states, albeit one state is committing various “sins” and the other seems to be “righteous”. The marginal divide between sin and happiness can expose Californians on how they perceive a sin. Perhaps Californians do not perceive vanity, lust, and greed to be sinful characteristics. Meanwhile, the people of Minnesota seem to be doing the “righteous” things to keep them from being sinful, still they share almost the same amount of happiness as California. If California and Minnesota do not perceive sin to be the same, is it possible one set of people can take advantage of another set of people, and feel no shame about their superiority? Certainly there are individuals in the United States, and around the world, that take advantage of kind-hearted believers. So, what is a sin?
- Business Section. California is No. 2 state for sin, by this ranking. The Press Enterprise. February 26, 2018.
- McCain, Adam. 2018’s Most Sinful States in America. WalletHub. 2018. https://wallethub.com/edu/most-sinful-states/46852/#methodology
- Lehrman Institute. The Founder’s Faith. The Lehrman Institute. 2018. http://lehrmaninstitute.org/history/the-founders-faith.html