I am lecturing in place of Dr. Tupper in the Systematic Theology class tomorrow at Wake Forest University’s Divinity School and his absence lined up with a lecture on sin. I think I am going to use this quote to point out the inevitability of sin for social beings such as ourselves and the relationship of sin and evil within the world’s social ills, but the last sentence is real zinger.
Social sin consists in an arrangement of a society or culture in which one or more groups of people are systematically excluded, oppressed, or violated in their humanity. Such a situation is evil because it diminishes or destroys human beings as measured against the intrinsic value of the human person. It is sin because we know that ultimately the arrangement of society depends on human freedom and can be changed. In other words, human beings are responsible for this situation. But this responsibility is precisely social and not individual. The paradox consists in sharing some measure of responsibility for a social situation as a member of a society, while not having any controlling individual freedom or power relative to the same situation. Frequently this intrinsic tension is either not experiences or simply denied in highly individualistic cultures., Roger Haight ‘Human Freedom and a Christian Understanding of Salvation’