5 Lies Americans Believe About Sin

a marble relief of the last judgment, people screaming in terror.

According to a new LifeWay Research poll, most Americans admit that they are sinners. Some disagree, however, and even those who admit they are sinners have many misconceptions about sin.

Here are five things Americans believe about sin which are dangerous and false from a Christian perspective.

1. Sin does not exist.

While most Americans do believe sin exists, one in ten (10 percent) said that it does not. "Nones," those who do not identify with any particular religion, proved most likely to say sin does not exist (32 percent).

Technically, sin is offending against God, breaking His moral law. If someone does not believe in God, he or she will not believe in sin, either.

In his book Orthodoxy, Roman Catholic author G.K. Chesterton called sin a fact, "as practical as potatoes." He argued that original sin "is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved."

"If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions," the Catholic writer argued. "He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat."

The very idea that sin does not exist is preposterous. Adolf Hitler killed over 6 million Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals. Paul Pot in Cambodia killed 2 million of his own people. Joseph Stalin killed at least 20 million through mass slayings and labor camps. China's Mao Zedong killed an estimated 50 to 70 million people. That's just the 20th century.

Violence and evil of all kinds spills off the pages of history. The ravages of racism, torture, misogyny, atomic bombs, genocide, and more give the lie to any idea that sin is just a cultural construct.

It may sound nice to say that there is no absolute morality, but if it is true, then there is no objective ground on which to condemn Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. Indeed, an atheist would lose even the ability to condemn the violent rape and murder of his own sister as objectively evil.

Sin exists — common sense and Christianity are clear on that.