Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Yes, it's strange and wonderful to wake up on the other side of the Looking Glass and see that there are no universally valid rules. On the other hand, before you feel too clear about your lack of responsibility for your ecclesiastical friend's fate, remember that there is such a thing as being an occasion to other people's sin.

I think that one still bears thinking about.

I don't have an answer, I am just thinking about it.

You might want to, as well.
At some point.



  1. I would love to think about it if I had any clue what you're talking about.

    I suppose I'm not "you" in this post...



  2. Sorry, Flipster.
    It's code for Catholic boys.

    The discussion comes, I THINK, out of Romans 7, where Paul talks about the strength of sin.

    But the churchly bit is this, from a VERY cursory Googling of "occasion for sin":

    "The occasion of sin is inseparable from free agency under the restraint of law.

    The occasion itself:

    1. is coupled with voluntary action and itself is not immoral or sin.

    2. is not linked with depravity nor does it imply any defect in original constitution.

    Remember Heb 4:15:

    For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

    3. Every being in the universe who sins, whether devil or man, sins solely because he dislikes the restraint of law and shrinks from the self denial necessary for obedience.
    This is the occasion for sin.

    The real sin is the disobedience itself: the determination to break the law and have his own way as Isa 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, every one, to his own way, and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

    4. Therefore, all created free moral beings will have the same inclination to throw off the restraint of law."

    The issue, however, at heart, is that it is not just what you do, where you know that the thought is considered as bad as the deed. The problem is that moving from thought to deed involves other people, and you provide an occasion for THEM to sin.

    That is where it gets messy.
    And, presumably, damnable, to use a term no one much likes these days.


    what's the world without a little hellfire?


  3. Wow. I'm still clueless.

  4. OK, let's try again.
    Sorry about cutting and pasting in a hurry. The issue is this:

    It's not just a question of what you do and how that affects you, it is also a question of how what you choose to do affects other people.

    For instance, MANY years ago, when I first took on board the rather startling idea that God really considers the thought as bad as the deed [others can find you the chapter and verse, I'm sure], I started thinking, "Well, why not just BOOGIE then?"

    And the answer is: what you choose to do may lead others to sin who otherwise would not.

    There is a particularly sticky saying of the Naz that to cause the fall of one of your weaker brothers is a Very Bad Thing: I believe the phrase used is that it would be better for you to have a millstone hung around your neck and be tossed into the sea than to face the punishment for that...

    Mving from thought to deed involves other people, and you may [even unwittingly] become "occasion" for another's sin.

    We are not talking about body parts here, guys, but about taking responsibility for your own actions and for your relationships with others.

    And all I said was that I was thinking about it. Not that I had an answer...

  5. Thanks Troll. That helps.

    Thanks to my God for the fact that he/she doesn't consider the thought as bad as the deed (I HOPE!).


  6. Never knew what I was missing as a Jew. The scary part is that after reading your explanations, I think I actually get it. The sin of enabling.

  7. HakaN:

    Only today could an "occasion for sin" be described as the "sin of enabling," but I admit there has to be some overlap. [Except that in the first case, it is not that the enabling IS sin, but that it may LEAD someone else to sin.]

    It was all so much easier when we all knew our catechism [which in my case would have to be before 1517 AD.]

    Hang in there.