Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Has the 'notion of sin' been lost?

Is sin dead?
By Cathy Lynn Grossman

Is sin dead? How can Christians celebrate Jesus' atonement for their sins and the promise of eternal life if they don't recognize themselves as sinners?

Take it from Pope Benedict XVI. He says the modern world "is losing the notion of sin." And not just personal sins such as greed, lust or the rest of the infamous Seven Deadlies, but social sins, too, such as polluting the planet or allowing injustice to flourish.

A new survey by Ellison Research in Phoenix finds 87% of U.S. adults believe in the existence of sin, which is defined as "something that is almost always considered wrong, particularly from a religious or moral perspective."

Topping the list are adultery (81%) and racism (74%).

But other sins no longer draw majority condemnation. Premarital sex? Only 45% call it sin. Gambling? Just 30% say it's sinful.

"A lot of this is relative. We tend to view sin not as God views it, but how we view it," says Ellison president Ron Sellers.

David Kinnaman, president of Barna Research, a company in Ventura, Calif., that tracks Christian trends, draws a similar conclusion: "People are quick to toe the line on traditional thinking" that there is sin "but interpret that reality in a very personal and self-congratulatory manner" — I have to do what's best for me; I am not as sinful as most.

Indeed, 65% of U.S. adults say they will go to heaven, and only 0.05% believe they'll go to hell, according to a 2003 Barna telephone survey of 1,024 adults.

See: Has the 'notion of sin' been lost? -

What Americans Call Sin

USA Today

• Adultery: 81%

• Racism: 74%

• Using "hard" drugs, such as cocaine, LSD: 65%

• Not saying anything if a cashier gives you too much change: 63%

• Having an abortion: 56%

• Homosexual activity or sex: 52%

• Not reporting some income on your tax returns: 52%

• Reading or watching pornography: 50%

• Gossip: 47%

• Swearing: 46%

• Sex before marriage: 45%

• Homosexual thoughts: 44%

• Sexual thoughts about someone you are not married to: 43%

• Doing things as a consumer that harm the environment: 41%

• Smoking marijuana: 41%

• Getting drunk: 41%

• Gambling: 30%

• Not attending church or religious services regularly: 18%

• Drinking any alcohol: 14%

What are your plans for the future?

Medicare benefits are expected to depleted by 2019, and Social Security by 2041
Chicago Sun Times

Resources in the Medicare trust fund that pays hospital benefits are expected to depleted by 2019, and reserves in the Social Security trust fund are expected to be exhausted by 2041, according to an annual report from trustees.

Both dates are the same as last year.

"The financial difficulties facing Social Security and Medicare pose enormous challenges,'' the trustees said in their report. ''The sooner these challenges are addressed, the more varied and less disruptive their solutions can be.''

We’re spending so much money on Social Security and Medicare that the programs - which are larger than any other line item on our national budget up to and including defense spending and war spending - are actually going to run out of money. And the solution? Make Americans pay more for the programs while getting less out of them.

See: Social Security to run out of money