Challenge accepted, Abonilox. I’ll take a few stabs, at least.
A good topic to start with is the evolution of the concept of sin. How encumbered is our culture with the biblical concept of sin? I don’t know. I’m curious about it.
It seems to me that our culture is stuck somewhere in a mushy middle between a faithfully biblical concept of sin, and an honestly atheistic one. The way I read the Bible, it presents sin as the biggest of big deals. Sin is not some paltry list of things to avoid, such as perhaps cursing, drinking, and sex outside of marriage. Or even add in sins of omission, and therefore avoid failure to go to church, and perhaps failure to tithe money. I bet that Jesus would either laugh or weep at such an emaciated Christianity. Peter might draw his sword.
Biblical sin is instead a concept sunk all the way to the heart of cosmic purpose, and human purpose. God didn’t show up here, and ask man to add some religion to his busy schedule. God created the whole fucking universe, and human existence within it, precisely as He pleased. Biblically, the whole God thing, or the whole religion thing, is not some extracurricular activity added in to life. It is life. Working or eating or sleeping are no less religious than praying or proselytizing.
Which is to say that all of life is amenable to analysis using the concept of sin, and its related concepts of righteousness, obedience, faithfulness, etc. All of life, then, is a journey, a quest, a striving to move away from sin and toward holiness; to grow in maturity and faithfulness; to follow Jesus.
This biblical concept of sin does not lead to the sorts of lives lived by those in our culture who babble about the Bible or sin. They pare down the biblical concept to something much more manageable, and much more marketable.
On the other side are moralizing atheists. (I came across a comment somewhere that New Atheism might as well be called New Christianity—ha!) Such atheists are obviously not trying to espouse a full biblical morality, but they are in fact espousing moral positions that can only be adequately grounded in the sort of supernatural beliefs that they reject.
Here’s how I see the big picture. We are social animals, and evolution has hard-wired us with certain moral inclinations. In addition, we’ve ended up smart enough to reflect on those inclinations, to question them, to justify them, etc. On the one hand, we can give them a sound justification based upon a theistic God, for one. On the other hand, we can bite the bullet and admit that they have no justification. They are just evolved inclinations. They are just one set of instincts among others, in one sort of animal among others.
But regardless, we still have the underlying inclinations. Very few Christians will go substantially beyond evolved gut feelings to actually follow the teachings of Jesus. And few atheists will intellectually question evolved gut feelings and accept nihilism, let alone act in ways that it uniquely permits.
Is our culture encumbered with the biblical concept of sin? Probably all cultures have moral concepts that could be adequately grounded in the Bible, but not in philosophical naturalism. I expect this to continue to be the case for our culture indefinitely, no matter how professed faith in the Bible might wane. But at the same time, no cultures go whole hog on biblical morality.