Some Erroneous Concepts of Sin

Famous attorney Clarence Darrow delivered the following address to the prisoners in the Cook County Jail:

There is no such thing as a crime as the word is generally understood. I do not believe there is any sort of distinction between the real moral conditions of the people in and out of jail. One is just as good as the other. The people here can no more help being here than the people outside can avoid being outside. I do not believe people are in jail because they deserve to be. They are in jail simply because they cannot avoid it on account of circumstances which are entirely beyond their control and for which they are in no way responsible … There are a great many people here who have done some of these things (murder, theft, etc.) who really do not know themselves why they did them. It looked to you at the time as if you had a chance to do them or not, as you saw fit; but still, after all you had no choice …. If you look at the questions deeply enough and carefully enough you will see that there were circumstances that drove you to do exactly the thing which you did. You could not help it … [1]Gerald Dworkin, Determinism, Free Will and Moral Responsibility, Prentice-Hall, p. 1.

This address is supportive of the doctrine of causation, determinism or inevitability. During Our investigation into the five major theological-philosophical errors concerning the nature of sin, notice how this concept of causation and inevitability plays a prominent role.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Gerald Dworkin, Determinism, Free Will and Moral Responsibility, Prentice-Hall, p. 1.

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