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when is it a sin, and when is it surviving?

I need lunch, I swipe an apple? sin? I see a child in need of food, I swipe them an apple. Sin? I go back years later to pay for the items I never had the means to pay for, sin gone?

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Asked by Anonymous at 12:20 PM on Sep. 6, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (11)
  • Maybe you should have just prayed for an apple to miraculously fall out of thin air...


    Answer by IhartU at 12:23 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

  • Philosophically speaking it is a sin under any circumstances. Perhaps that is one reason sin is forgivable. Obviously in those cases you can ask for forgiveness immediately & sincerely. However your desire to not sin should inspire you to look for other ways of obtaining food that don't require sinning (food banks, etc). Paying for something you previously stole does not wipe out the sin of having stolen, though it is an obvious way to show contrition & sincere regret.


    Answer by nysa00 at 12:26 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

  • ihartu, that happened to me once :-) not in the literal sense. but I had no money for lunch. the kids had free lunch at school but i had none for me and no money for dinner. I prayed, I prayed and prayed again.there was a refund check in the mail when I got home that afternoon. GLORY TO GOD in the highest!

    I was running on E , 2 day until payday. I prayed and did laundry. Out of my jeans fell a 10 dollar bill!

    You are so right, pray! God will provide!!

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:28 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

  • I've been in this situation. I'm Wiccan. So sin is not a concept I believe in. I do believe in Karma. And I think in those instances taking what you need is not bad. Obviously the person you took it from would be owed a debt. If you don't forget that and repay then when you can then all is balanced.


    Answer by SalemWitchChild at 12:30 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

  • Wanted to add: Taking what you need is one thing. Taking for greed is certainly bad.

    Answer by SalemWitchChild at 12:31 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

  • I should add that I was addressing "sin" in the modern Western interpretation as understood by Abrahamic religions & the societies influenced by them. Personally, I don't believe in it, as it would suggest a being or consciousness that judges our actions. I actually agree with Jack Sparrow - take what you can give nothing back :)


    Answer by nysa00 at 12:39 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

  • I would still consider it sin but when you ask for forgiveness and repent that is when sin is gone.

    You know there are many stories of miracles happening with food just appearing, multiplying and blessing people. It does happen. God does provide for us so we do not have the need to steal.

    Answer by Shaneagle777 at 1:41 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

  • No matter what religion or lack thereof you are; consequentialism has been proven to be a flawed moral code. The end does NOT always justify the means and the means does NOT always justify the end. The fact that you were starving does not immediately make stealing a moral act. Undoubtedly, it does not remove the harm of what you stole from the person you stole it from. Deciding your situation must be worse than theirs and that their belonging needs to be yours by force puts you in a place of judgement. So should you starve instead of stealing? That's up to you if you decide that "stealing" is the LESSER EVIL than "starving." However, just because something is a "lesser evil" does not make it therefore a "moral" deed. As far as Christianity goes, yes, it is still "sin," even if you are starving. The Bible tells us that God cares for even the sparrows; how much more will be care for us who are made in his image? (cont)

    Answer by NovemberLove at 1:50 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

  • Speaking morally without the context of religion, an immoral deed is never "gone" just simply "reconciled" or "made up for" if you were to return to pay for the apple later. Paying for it later does not excuse stealing or make the act of stealing any more just or moral.

    Speaking in terms of "sin" and Christianity, Jesus wipes our sin clean. We still often suffer the earthly consequences of our actions, and rightly so (i.e. going to jail for stealing or having to do community service). The Bible says that if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrightenousness. According to God, our sin is therefore "gone." According to other human beings who tend to keep records of wrongs; that's up to them to decide if they're going to forgive or not. :-)

    Answer by NovemberLove at 1:54 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

  • (cont) Questions I ask myself when pondering "is stealing ALWAYS wrong?"

    What about the shop owner? Is it OK to automatically assume that they must be doing well and that they can do with this loss (Hierarchicalism)? What if everyone who was starving went into the store and stole and it was a common practice (Kantism)? Do shop owners automatically owe something to anyone who needs something without having a say in the matter?

    Answer by NovemberLove at 2:04 PM on Sep. 6, 2009

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