A Quest

understanding reconstructions in life

contention and counterargument

A few months back, I was asking myself on the validity of “hating the sin but not the sinner.” How can you say that you love the person but not what s/he is doing because that’s a sin, when the person believes that that sin is part of her/his personhood?

Just recently, as I was conversing with someone on the topic, a thought came to me. It is often stressed, when disciplining children, that the behavior was wrong, and not the child herself/himself. It is important that the child understands that a parent (or any authority figure) does not like what s/he did, but not of who s/he is. Isn’t it the same thing as hating the sin but not the sinner?

It might not be so because the basic assumptions are different. In the behavior-child distinction, there is a distinction! An adult has the power to tell the child that what s/he did is not part of who s/he is. The adult knows better; the adult facilitates the norms of society; the adult socialize the child. However, the same assumption is absent in the hate the sin and not the sinner paradigm. Here, two adults may be in conflict, and both holds a different reality from another, thus, a difference in beliefs. Because of these unreconciled beliefs, conflict is inevitable.

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