(from a conversation with rsjm)
There's probably no way to express my thoughts on sin without offending, so I'm sorry in advance.
A perfect god doesn't need sin. Nor does god need worship or sacrifice or dietary laws any of those other things humans do to try and show god (and themselves) that they believe.
What most people think of as sins, are either just rules made by priests and leaders as ways to keep the population in line, making them think the way the people in power want them to, or rules we make for ourselves so we feel we're in step with 'God's Will'. Even the Ten Commandments boil down to the concept "play nice". It's a simple truth. Play nice.
Why would a perfect god care if you wear your hair long, or eat meat on Friday or not, or if you've ever been married before? Why would god care about my sex life? These things are so far beneath god. A perfect god takes us one on one, yet sees us as part of the whole. A perfect god has no need to judge or punish, because those things are human concepts. A perfect god sees and measures us in ways we can't possibly imagine. And a perfect god can reach into us, reguardless of what we believe.
I think what we, as humans, can do, is find that spark of the perfect god inside of us. Each of us will find it in different ways. R's found it in Christianity, and it's good for him. Even an internet bystander like me can see that joy and strength it brings to his life. He's reached the spark. And there are places you can go, churches, mosques, forest shrines, rivers, where you can feel the tangible warmth of that spark, even if it's not a place of faith for you.
I feel it is wrongwrongwrong to follow a religious path that brings you no joy, and doesn't cause that upwelling of spirit. If following your path's steps doesn't make you feel closer to god, on a personal level, then you need to re-examine your path.
Father Greeley talks about it in his books (from a Catholic perspective) as a "passionate love affair with God". If you're not feeling that, you've not found god.
When I touch that spark it is the most powerful, amazing, all encompassing sence of warmth, peace and perfection you can possibly imagine. My heart and soul knows I've touched eternity. I know, and I believe with my whole being in that spark, I'm just still learning how I want to express my connection to that spark in an outward way.