You wanna mess up your kids? Tell them every stray thought will land them in hell and then show them the works of Heironymous Bosch.
Once upon a time, sin was a big deal to me. I was convinced, utterly convinced, that every little sin was sending me to Hell. I absolutely, sincerely convinced that Satan watched everyone at all times and listened to our thoughts and that any stray thought or negative emotion of any kind- no matter how fleeting- could land me in Hell. Immediately.
I was nine.
Yes, my childhood was a happy one. Ever try not thinking about Satan? Good luck with that.
Ever try not feeling angry about anything ever? Better luck with that one.
Keep in mind, that's not unusual Christian theology. Plenty of Christians belief that even feeling slightly angry at someone else is the same as murder. (coughRayComfortcough) Even more feel that finding a woman vaguely attractive is exactly the same as a gangbang with five hermaphrodite hookers, a goat and a pineapple- and it's all the woman's fault, btw.
Now, I know this guy comes from the Ray Comfort school of "ever been angry? enjoy hell, sucka!" school of theology, which is why I find this post a little bit . . . disingenuous.
The following comes from page 1951 in the John MacMarthur Bible Commentary and addresses the fact that born again believers do not habitually sin.Why Christians Won't Habitually Sin
This passage begins with the phrase "Whoever commits sin" (v. 4). Commits translates a Greek verb that conveys the idea of habitual practice. Although genuine Christians have a sin nature (1 John 1:8) and do behave sinfully, their confession of sin (1 John 1:9; 2:1) and acceptance of forgiveness prevent sin from becoming the unbroken pattern of their lives (John 8:31, 34-36;Romans 6:11; 2 John 1:9). God builds a certain growing awareness about sin that provides four effective reasons why true Christians cannot habitually practice sin:
1. Genuine Christians cannot practice sin because sin is incompatible with the law of God, which they love (1 John 3:4; Psalm 119:34, 77, 97; Romans 7:12, 22); whereas habitual sin betrays the ultimate sense of rebellion - living as if there were no law or ignoring what laws exist (James 4:17) - in short, lawlessness.
2. Genuine Christians cannot practice sin because sin is incompatible with the work of Christ (1 John 3:5). Christ died to sanctify (make holy) the believer (2 Corinthians 5:21;Ephesians 5:25-27). Habitual sin contradicts Christ's work of breaking the dominion of sin in the believer's life (Romans 6:1-15).3. Genuine Christians cannot practice sin because Christ came to destroy the works of the arch-sinner, Satan (1 John 3:8). The devil is still operating, but he has been defeated, and in Christ we escape his tyranny. The day will come when all of Satan's activity will cease in the universe, and he will be sent to hell forever (Revelation 20:10).
4. Genuine Christians cannot practice sin because sin is incompatible with the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who has imparted a new nature to the believer (1 John 3:9; John 3:5-8). This new nature shuns sin and exhibits the habitual character of righteousness produced by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24).
So, who sins? Everyone. Who doesn't lie, who doesn't get angry, who doesn't feel lustful? Surely some of the people who claim to be Christians must actually be Christians, and I've never noticed a difference in behavior between Christians and nonChristians, have you? Christians have a higher divorce rate, there are more Christians in prison and the more religious a country is, the more crime it has. Christians sin, just like the rest of us.
What this is, really, is a No True Scotsman and a Guilt Complex. This allows you to say, "But they're not really Christians" any time I point to a clearly sinning Christian, "real Christians don't sin!" Sure. Unless conversion is actually being replaced with a pod person, yes, Christians sin like the rest of us.
[Note: before you go all apeshit in the comments section, follow the link, see why that is a logical fallacy and not acceptable in argumentation and DON'T USE IT.]
The Guilt Complex of this is a little more subtle. It explains the constant rerererererededicating their lives to Jesus that so many Christians engage in. You'd think once or twice or three times would be enough, but no, they're dedicating their lives to Jesus on a weekly basis. How many times does it take, really? 58,000 apparently. I can tell you what the internal struggle is, because I've lived it.
Christian: Oh, not again!Atheist: What?Christian: I keep sinning. I'm not really a Christian!Atheist: You believe in Jesus, right? You accept him as your Lord and Savior, right? Sure you're Christian. Fairly obnoxious about it, actually.Christian: No, no, no! I can't be a Christian, I keep sinning!Atheist: Sinning how?Christian: I keep finding women other than my wife attractive!Atheist: Srsly?Christian: How did you say that without vowels? Never mind, yes, it's sinning! It's adultery!Atheist: Dude, finding an attractive woman attractive is no big deal. You're not fucking them, are you?Christian: NO!Atheist: Yeah, you'll be fine.Christian: No, I won't be fine. I need to become a Christian, or I'll burn forever in hell when I die! I could die at any moment! Please, God, save me!Atheist: Um, yeah, well, call me when you're done with that.
These poor people, they're absolutely tormented. Tormented by assholes who tell them, over and over again, that being human is proof of their worthiness for eternal torment. It's sick.