Christian Sin shapes and has shaped all of the people around me with varying degrees of success. By success I mean the direct influence of behavior that is tilted toward a moral and compassionate relationship with others. But as time has shown over the centuries Humanity as a whole has not gotten the message. We are still "self" driven and our connection to all of God's Creation is weak at best.
The idea of SIN as a breaking of the Covenant with God which deserves punishment should focus everyone on the 'right' behavior. Yet humans are still swayed heavily by their own biology. This biology of each and everyone of us begins our journey with self interest and self preservation as the driving priority of our lives. Thus we cannot extricate ourselves from our own sinful nature.
This prevailing behavioral and spiritual Doctrine which I see as a statement of the essential "flawed creation" that humans are, has at its core, the idea that our relationship to our creator has to be a disciplinary one "until" we surrender to the will of the Lord. Until we are saved.
This biology of extreme self interest and self preservation however, lies within the structure of the human brain and the developmental process that brings the human being from embryo to a fully adult human. This developmental process was initiated (created) by our Creator. Humans were left to negotiate the path on their own with varying degrees of success. Only a few out of the billions have achieved a deep understanding of the gifts that are inherently ours to experience. Though everyone understands the gift of choice, few practice the depths that we can experience when we fully utilize that gift. Though responsibility is clear in everyone's mind the scope of that responsibility is often very limited. Though we all know what our Ego and Self Image is, what our identity of self is, few realize that this is not the end product in our development but only the first rung in our understanding of who and what we are in relation to all other aspects of Creation.
"Original Sin". A "Flawed Creation". And yet we are asked to love thy neighbor. Sinful, and yet we are expected to follow the ten Commandments. We can experience the crippling effects of sinful behavior and its attendant guilt (some cannot experience this) and yet we are absolved if we do the right thing, confession and surrender.
Religions have a mixed position on all of this, they are not consistent except at their very inner core - Our Creator. Each through declares themselves to be the one true religion and the only path to salvation. Salvation is almost always not of this world for the flawed creation is not just humans but life and death itself. It is not just how we manage life but also how we manage death that is the measure of humanity.
Our developmental process takes us through the time when we are physically growing, when our brain is maturing, when our mind is learning to be on its own. Our parents, our community, our culture shape every aspect of who and what we are and are to become. Though they do not know much more than we do, they provide the structure and safety net that allows us to explore and grow.
What we fail to keep in our minds and hearts is that this umbrella or safety net is only the beginning and we have miles to go before we sleep. Before we can move beyond what got us here (adulthood) we have to absorb our upbringing, dress ourselves with it, live it, and then let it go. This is always difficult and painful and most often requires some event in our lives that triggers a reassessment, possibly a loss or an extremely painful experience. To go beyond our "selves" is this always necessary?
No, we can each lead a good life without ever making such a transformation. But if we do make the transformation and continue to grow morally and spiritually the latter half of our lives is less stressful, more peaceful and filled with the awe of creation. This state of mind or level of consciousness is not possible if our entire focus is on "our selves" as separate from all else.
Though I feel that the doctrine of "a Flawed Creation" does not suit our current level of consciousness I do see within "confession and surrender" a letting go of this thing we call our self image and its"Center of the Universe" role it plays in our lives. Love and Compassion and a connection to all of creation is the current model all of our relationships can follow. Gratitude is ever present in this view of our place in this Universe. Grace is the acceptance that we do not know everything but are here to learn and grow.
A deep respect for life and its partner "do no harm" can guide all moral decisions. Because we do not always know the outcome of our decisions, it is best to leave the judging to a higher authority, preferably one not of this world.