Skáldskapr: Reversing the effects of “sin”

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This episode speaks to the preconceived notion of defining “sin” as per the generations of church leadership has. It speaks as how this international form of population control began a legacy of defining “good versus evil” that has now transcended throughout the world. We also outline the need to get out from under this defined mind control protocol, with the powerful tool of shame/guilt as its leading point of impact with our behavior patterns. My major concern is the power that this concept has had on the world throughout the history of humankind, burying many under mountains of these value judgement leading to depression and lack of self-worth. But before we go any further, let us seek wisdom and guidance of our discussion by the all-father, Ódinn.

{Ódinn Invocation chant}

In the overall discussion about sin, we need to understand exactly what is being conveyed when using the term, and the individual using it.  Obviously the idea of sin really originated the development and practice of Judaism in the Middle East. Within the Torah, it is referred to as chet, meaning that something has come off the straight path, however there is a path to a necessary redemption. The fracturing of Christianity brought the evolution of this concept to the next level by placing the burden on the newly born child already having it embedded, this is referred to as the “original sin”. Early in the Christian Bible we see the snake tempting Eve with a bite of the wisdom tree apple. So, from that day until now Christians are born into sin. The practice of Muslim adopted a very similar view to the Judaism followers, discounting the original sin theory as silliness, as someone commits a crime, the punishment is not passed to the children, but retained by the individual who committed the sin. Sin is the single highest psychological influence in modern day humans, as an arbitrary value assignment by one person to another. The arbitrary value is assigned by generation to another, or community to community. There is also a substantial negative connotation association with this idea of sin.

Their are several problems with the idea behind their definition of sin. However, the most substantially damaging is the randomness of its application. Herein lies the conundrum about understanding what sin is, and when one should apply it. Just so that we’re all on the same page here, sin is not evil, yet sometimes it is. It might have powerful evil influences, but for the most part, it could be a sin to leave the toilet seat up in an all female home. The randomness is what gets so many people.

Historically the mentally ill were assigned as getting their punishment for previous sin. Sin assigned by that Bible thumping grandma is more more aggressive that those shared by someone else, which has led to hundreds of generations assigning the value of sin arbitrarily. In many cases, we find the devotion of the individual dictates the extreme of their enforcement of the application, and the association of this value of sin. In almost every generation since its inception, the Christian church has condemned a group of people to death, by one means or another. After the Salem debacle, the “Bible Belt” spread west across North America. As these missionaries traveled into unsettled lands, they forced the indigenous  peoples to forego their own worship, or perish. This “settlement” of the lands throughout North America continued this assignment of this negative value to the “heathens” of the west.

Many have told me that they have spent in inordinate amount of time avoiding sin. However, the level of which they consider the application depends greatly on their own individual history. While some defined “coveting” as wanting to take it, versus others who told me that they didn’t even think of having other items, there is a huge disparity in the application of those ideas behind sin throughout the world. The downside to living a life avoiding this “sin”, meant that you manufactured, and carried a lot of guilt throughout their existence.

Others, particularly those who were criminals, or wannabe bad boys, spoke of committing sins purposeful, knowing that they were indulging in sinful behaviors. More dangerously, they knew, or thought they knew, the definition of sin. However, based on the idea that they were inherently born with sin, they found no real reason to categorize their lives by it. However, there was a definite knowledge of committing sin, and to some extent it played a part in their de-evolution into the seedy world of sinners. But ultimately, they knew they were sinning, and although didn’t admit to it directly, carried the guilt.

Most people I have spoken with over the years about this subject has admitted to being influenced by sin, and sometimes restraining themselves, particularly the more violent sin types, however, let themselves indulge in the lighter defined sins. However, probably more have admitted to having to curtail their behavior because the underlying sense of guilt.

The most challenging, yet effective methods of successful with deploying the shame/guilt cycle was the arbitrary assignment of the negative connotation association with sin. From the Bible thumpers in the midwest to the atheists in the south west, the application of sin, and the psychological damage is

Finally, another one of the most problematic issues with the concept of sin is the different levels of adherence by those who should know the rules. In a previous life I had many conversations with the men who had studied and practiced that theology, and even they could not agree to what sin was. The downside to this was that is sent a contradictory message to those who followed them. As the generations moved away from mainstream religious practices, the intrinsic guilt of committing sin remained. This negative connotation began to chip away at the psyche of those impacted. These negative thoughts began to compound each other, many times without the direct knowledge of the individual, leading to depression and lack of self-esteem, thereby creating a negative vortex that locks the individual into that negative, and depressive corner.

As mentioned, the randomness of its application leads to a subconscious adoption by the individual, which then begins to stack up. As young children, we are taught by our parents, and other adult members of our community was is bad, or good. The issue here is that those bad or good assignments of value are based solely on those people who assign this value, and may have no bearing in reality. They may be crazy, so therefore we are taught that “crazy is good”. The vicious cycle continues for thousands of generations. As the generations attempt to separate themselves from this, they begin to accept credit for their fortunes, but the lingering factor of guilt remains. As if the very foundation of what we know to be bad or good, right or wrong, is founded in these early concepts of their definition of sin. This is what I see quite often when I discuss the understandings of the men and women who return from combat duty. They have these foundations established by life lessons taught by individuals who have been taught from ancestral generations, and some of it isn’t based on the holy texts.

In most of the pre-Christian heathen practices we find that the practitioners believed in “the self”. Meaning that they were ultimately responsible for the actions, and their inactions. They survived, by themselves for themselves with no good or bad, it was more like what worked, and what didn’t. More importantly, the idea that one was born with an additional burden of sin was preposterous. They had no psychological guilt of owing anything to a created fable who was supposedly the only way humans would see god. Insane, yet, I’ve experienced tons of arguments from the devout followers who have told me that the peoples born before the fable was born, are condemned to be apart from god. This is one of the control mechanisms designed to “scare” one into believing or practicing if they have any hope of seeing their god.

The psychological impact of sin on primarily Americans. I believe that this impact has reverberated through the American culture with the arrival of the Puritans who escaped England to practice religious freedom. However, almost immediately began to demonstrate the same controls that the Church of England had pressed onto them. From these early days of settling the new world, we find soon thereafter that they had already begun the process of eliminating non-believers, with the persecution of the outsiders culminating in the Salem Witch Trials. Soon thereafter they began the persecution of differences, with the attack of the indigenous peoples and their beliefs. Their separatists mentality used the confusion created between the settlers and indigenous peoples to classify them as heathens, and further demoted their beliefs by calling them savages, while setting about “converting” them.

There is hope. There is a way out of being dragged down the psychological wormhole that we call sin. The first trick is to remove the guilt and shame of being wrong. I know this simplifies it quite a bit, so lets look a little deeper, and identify how I broke the cycle of guilt/shame. The good news with this is that, when you break that cycle, you break the cycle in all parts of your life.

Going back to my personal ancestry we find a people who lived their whole lives in the quest for honor. Now, this isn’t to say they were always attempting to secure honor in battle, but in all aspects of their lives. While many only know of the violent aspects, but there were hundreds of other aspects that they were just as honorable in. When the Vikings were keeping their neighbors on “pins and needles”, they fought with honor, in that they never backed down, or were cowards. However, when they let their enemies sleep in, the Vikings were back on their farms harvesting in the fall, and planting in the spring. There was honor in that too. Today, we don’t need to be the wealthiest, the strongest, the fastest, or anything else for that matter. You simply carried your fair share of the clan, and took care of those things the gods placed in your care. This promoted the underlying idea that they didn’t need guilt or shame to keep them as a productive member of the clan, they had honor in what the did.

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