“There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment about the nature of sin, for example,” said Oats.
“And what do they think? Against it, are they?” said Granny Weatherwax.
“It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray.”
“There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.
“It’s a lot more complicated than that –”
“No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”
“Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes –”
“But they starts with thinking about people as things …”
And the Anchoress continues:
It’s the source of every sin. I used to think the source of sin was connected to vanity, pride and selfishness…but even those things are all about treating others as things, or even treating ourselves as mere things. We forget that we are created creatures, begotten - as in loved into being. In our exceedingly polarized world we increasingly lose sight of that, to the point where we cease to see each other as human beings at all - which always leads to bad stuff.
I'm reminded of the Panjabi greeting, "Namaste". It means, roughly, "The divine in me recognizes the divine in you".
It would also mean, "you are not a thing to me, but a portion of the divine." With that idea kept firmly in mind, it would become impossible to sin against another.
The trick is to mean it.