Americans Say Sin is Relatively Bad

Sam Rainer

March 22, 2008

Ellison Research recently released a study on how Americans view sin. Lynn Grossman of USA Today writes an excellent report utilizing the research on the notion of sin. Below is one quote from her piece:

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.

Other good discussions on this research and related subject matter can be found here and here.

One comment on “Americans Say Sin is Relatively Bad”

  1. Haven’t we Christians been rank-ordering sin for decades within the church? We condemn premarital sex, adultery, drug use, pornography, alcohol, etc. but don’t do a whole lot about “lesser sins” i.e. gossip, jealousy, lying, gluttony and so forth. There is a human (sinful nature) tendency to classify our sins–“I would never murder anyone!”–so as to make ourselves feel better about the “lesser” wrongdoing in our hearts. When the church starts treating ALL sin as sin, and not as “an error in judgement” or “a white lie” then maybe we’ll have more credibility with the secular world. I’m not advocating legalism here, either. We need to make sure that the sin we are confronting is actually addressed in the Bible. I guess some fundamentalists would suggest that I’m sinful because I have cut my hair, pierced my ears (and nose,) and wear pants! I guess what I’m saying is that we shouldn’t be surprised that the concept of sin is relative in secular society when it is within the church, too.

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