As you may know, I greatly enjoy Japanese culture. I don’t watch too much anime as I mainly play their video games. However, I wait each month for the new chapters to come out for my favourite ongoing shonen: Noragami (ノラがミ).
My favourite character, Kazuma, makes an assertion that the servants of the gods (shinki/神器) don’t sin if they believe it was in the best interest of their god. In other words, it’s okay to do bad things if you think it’s right (for those in ethics: ends justify the means). It took me some time to come to that interpretation of his words and also my response.
I want to agree with Kazuma because he’s so smart and perfect. After all, faults and sin are merely constructs of our minds, crafted by social history. However, I’m happy with a construct like morality and others like good versus evil. It would be easy to get into a tangent discussing these constructs alone but this is titled Faults and Sin. Therefore, we will merely discuss those two topics. Feel free to engage me in the comments though. Just remember my rules please.
In my experience, I’ve found that many cultures place blame for the owners of particular actions and therefore assume fault for an action. That’s exactly right but do not fall for the common connotation that fault is a bad thing. It’s my fault I have a paying job as a banker. It’s my fault that I’m working on a book that I love. It might sound weird to hear that but it’s exactly true and it’s exactly right that these are good things.
Divorcing the religious connotation of the word “sin” from its meaning, all it means is that a person did something wrong. There’s the saying “Everyone makes mistakes” and there’s also “there are mistakes you can never come back from”. There are those who say “all sins are equal” and there are also those who determine the gravity of a sin. Most modern legal systems determine the gravity of sins. If you’re really feeling abstract, that, my dear, is the crux of separation of church and state.
To make sense of all this, I rebut to Kazuma: you may believe that faults of action depend on the morality of actions but that’s wrong. You live in a system where gods exist and therefore divine law applies. What your gods determine as good or bad are the rules you must follow, not what you determine sin to be. It may be that gods determine morality from humans and must follow human law because gods are also constructs of humans themselves but because humans have made gods divine, you must still follow what your god tells you to do. Straying from your god’s word is your sin and you own that fault. That is your role as a servant, a shinki, a guide, and an exemplar.
It is my personal belief that if humans are the creators of divine law, then the constructs we create are what will be. What we make of morality is what we make of it. That can go in any direction you like. It’s like asking: who came first: God or us? The chicken or the egg?
You may take it as, “Well this post is kind of circular,” but it’s not. It is a big claim to make that humans create divine law as opposed to an external authority.