I’m really not impressed with the idea that Jesus forgives or that on Judgment Day all our sins will be accounted for equally. I can understand it might give the believer some immediate comfort but it seems to me totally unethical.
If I wronged you and said you shouldn’t worry because I’ve been forgiven…by someone else…you would probably feel outraged.
Likewise I’m not interested in the idea that another person will present me with a list of my misdeeds at some unspecified time in the future and assess them. I’m an adult and am quite aware when I do something wrong and believe in addressing it in the here and now.
Part of the real issue revolves around self-guilt. This is the true judgement and it’s immediate and “eternal”. Bad deeds we commit have implication for our fellow human beings. It’s from them we have to begin to make peace and also with ourselves. But even so, the deed remains in our conscious minds until we die – this is indeed the living hell.
For me, there is no comfort in the concept that on a final day all my misdeeds will be considered equally. Not all my misdeeds are equally bad – some are far worse than others!
I’m more concerned with my daily relationships with other human beings, how to act with integrity and honesty and, when I mess up, to confront both with the victims of my “sin” and also to reflect on why I did it. Through this act of self-awareness and reflection I strive to overcome my faults.
I appreciate that religions may be attempting to say the same thing, using stories or metaphor, but personally I don’t need this long-winded approach.
I don’t need anyone else to forgive me for my “sins”. No one has the right to take that process away from me because the process itself is the way I grow. Nor do I need the comfort of going through the process but knowing that an external force has already said it’s OK.
Perhaps this was the only way to convince those Bronze Age ethnic groups travelling around the desert but I like to believe we have grown up and can face issues squarely in the face.
The basis of our morals has to be grounded in the relationships we form with living people. This is the only authentic morality we can practise.