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Sin and Cheating - Episode 3

Hello, and welcome to the third episode of the Two Goats and a Donkey podcast! This episode we'll be discussing the concepts of sin and cheating. Are these hard and fast concepts? Are they human-only concepts? Does sin actually exist? Is cheating a sin? Is cheating even real, or just something we've made up to distinguish other terms like loyalty? What about swearing? I've stated from the beginning that this podcast is not g-rated and I swear on it sometimes. Is my using the word "fuck" a sin? We'll explore this concept as I finish off a bottle of Salt of the Earth red moscato. Drink along with me, if you like!

Sin and cheating both originated with the idea that Adam sinned by eating the forbidden fruit that Eve supplied him. He was told by God that eating of the tree would kill him, but Eve was tricked by the serpent and ate of the tree, then gave the fruit to Adam, and they then knew they were naked and they were ashamed. Let's stop here for a moment. To begin with, did God lie by telling Adam he would die upon eating the fruit? A literal interpretation would say yes, since Adam did not fall dead upon tasting the flesh of the fruit. However, a more abstract interpretation would say it wasn't a lie, because once Adam and Eve knew good and evil, they were now a threat to the kingdom of heaven because they could eat from the tree of life and become immortal. The tree of life was not forbidden to them when they were still ignorant, but once they knew good from evil, they would be a threat if they could live forever. Therefore, the penalty of death, of mortality, was placed upon them. So, is Genesis basically saying that simply knowing the difference between good and evil is a sin? How could that be? How can knowledge itself be sinful? And then there's the question of free will. Can a human that doesn't know good from evil truly have free will? So therefore, wasn't it part of the plan of God for humans to distinguish good from evil? And if so, why should God punish Adam and Eve for pursuing the knowledge they needed to truly have free will? Obviously there are mysteries here that human minds must ponder, mysteries that go beyond the parameters of this podcast. Let's get back to sin itself. The motives of God are for another time and place, but it would be interesting to indulge in that investigation, since God seems to punish mankind for doing what it appears God intended them to do all along - rather like when God punishes the pharoah for doing the things that God himself made the pharoah do during the Book of Exodus.

Anyway, sin seems to be cultural, in that whatever ruling class is in power seems to ascribe what is considered to be sin. For instance, for the last couple of centuries, being gay has been considered a sin. Even in our own enlightened modern age, where homosexuality has become far less taboo than it once was (but still not completely gone from being taboo), many loud conservatives still proclaim that being gay is in and of itself a sin. Others say being gay itself isn't a sin, but acting upon those feelings is a sin. And who isn't familiar with the term "Love the sinner, hate the sin", which of course was created entirely to give a false idea of tolerance for gay people, gay couples. "Don't hate the person, hate what they do!" Really? Homosexuality is not, and never has been, an actual sin. Neither is nor has acting upon the "feelings". "Acting upon the feelings" - such a bullshit thing. We don't describe heterosexuals in a loving relationship as "acting upon their feelings" of being straight. We describe them as being a couple, being a husband and wife, being in love. So why the fuck does a happy homosexual couple scare the bejeesus out of so many conservatives? Why do so many of them still consider that a sin? Because they are frightened of not having control. Let me say that again. Because they are frightened of not having control. Fear is the control mechanism of so many conservatives, and using gay people as fodder for sin, for all that is wrong with the world, is how they try to maintain their control. That's why Pat Robertson, bless his heart, once said that a hurricane struck the United States because of gay people. That we were the cause of a huge storm that God apparently threw at the east coast because he was mad that gay people were allowed to live and thrive in America. That's a perfect example of the old conservative regime attempting to control people. Fear. And what causes the most fear? The thought of sin. Of course, like I said, sin is subjective to the ruling class. Divorce is specifically stated in the Bible as being sinful, except in certain cases, yet so many of the conservatives that try to control through fear of sin have been divorced, and rarely is it due to those certain cases. And most of those ruling conservatives have amassed a large amount of money, and they love that money and want to hold onto it by whatever means they can - yet the Bible specifically says the root of all evil is the love of money. This fearmongering by the conservative class in America is what led to the utter foolishness of electing a reality TV celebrity to the highest office in the nation. And he tried using fear to stay in power - and was so successful in using that fear that on January 6 of 2021, a small insurrection tried and failed to subvert the will of the American people by attempting to force congress to dismiss the legally elected president and put that false idol, that golden (orange?) calf, back into the seat of power. Thank God they failed. Not that I have a whole lot of faith in the current president, but at least he's not causing 19 scandals a day through Twitter or through other means.

I mentioned swearing earlier. Many people consider swearing to be a sin. Is it? I wouldn't think swearing in and of itself is sinful. I myself use swearing for emphasis. And sometimes in anger. Now, using it in anger just may be a sin. It's interesting to note that one of the ways that Peter tried to distance himself from Christ the night He was captured was to swear to show that he was not one of the disciples. The Bible of course does not share with us what words Peter used, but Peter at least thought that by swearing he could be seen as not one with the Lord. But is it true that godly people don't swear? I think it's a bunch of bullshit. Godly people are people, and therefore they will do all the things people do, even if they'd prefer not to confess to them. However, like Amy Grant once famously said, Christians can be sexy! So therefore godly people can swear. Again, to me, I think intent is the important factor here. Saying something like "He's so fucking sexy!" is far different than saying "Fuck him! He doesn't matter anyway!" Who agrees with me on this?

One cannot simply discuss the concepts of sin without also discussing the concepts of cheating, or at least I can't. Cheating in a relationship, cheating in games, cheating in school, cheating in business - is cheating actually a bad thing, a sinful thing, or is it merely a human construct in trying to keep rules in place for society to function? Relationship cheating evidently used to be pretty common practice, so much so that it was immortalized in a good bit of music. I was reminded of that this past weekend when I was in Tractor Supply getting some chicken feed and I heard a song from my childhood that I hadn't heard in decades - "Heaven's Just a Sin Away" by The Kendalls. The song is so catchy that when I was a child I actually thought it was a gospel song! The song is a cutesy rendition of a woman being tempted into cheating on her husband with another man. And of course there are tons of others. At least half of the songs of another country duo from my childhood, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn - hell, I still listen to them because they make me feel good - were about cheating. Songs like "Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries", "Backstreet Affair", and many others, were all about cheating on spouses. "Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries" contains the lines "Where you been, where you been. It's the same ole question again. What's the use baby, what's the use, They ain't never gonna turn us loose." and "They won't leave us alone, They want us to come home" and "Conway, I don't know. Loretta, I don't know, If I can keep honey, from lettin' it show, What's our plan, tell me what's our plan, Now you know they won't understand." And so many movies have glorified cheating, although through the decades, songs and movies have pulled away from glorifying it and have taken to vilifying it instead. So once upon a time, cheating was considered something people did, and the spouse would basically shrug and go on with their lives if and when they discovered the affair. Nowadays, cheating is grounds for breaking up, for divorce, for moving on with their lives. But cheating is still a part of our culture, even if the results from it have changed. So is cheating actually sin? Or is it simply part of our human culture, neither sinful nor good, just something that everyone, or nearly everyone, does at some point in their lives?

Some of you may recall from the last episode that I had tossed my boyfriend out of my apartment the night before Valentine's in 2004. He had been cheating on me, granted at that point only over the internet, with a married woman who lived in Washington, DC, at the time. However, Greg made plans with her that included her leaving her husband, him leaving me, and they would move to San Diego, California. He let her know that he was only using me, that only I thought of us as a couple, that he was just using me for a place to live and for food. He had quit his job the day before he moved in with me and had seduced me a little before that and certainly once he moved in. In private he had me believing we were a couple, even though he tried to convince my friends that we were just roommates. I tell ya, there were red flags galore from this guy! But he was young and cute, and I was very lonely at the time, so I fell for his lies. We lived together for many months before I finally started seeing the reality of it, and even though my friends were trying to tell me he's no good, I just couldn't bring myself to think badly of him. It wasn't until I had seen a transcript of an internet chat with the woman (for the life of me I can't remember her name now) where they were cementing their plans and where I saw he referred me to me as "fuckface" and a few other unflattering names that I finally realized the truth and kicked him out. The spiteful little bitch took a bunch of my stuff when he went, including my toothbrush! I mean, who does that? Anyway, I was pretty pissed about it for years, but eventually I came to the conclusion that things happened the way they did to give me some perspective on things. Now, was the cheating he did sinful? Was it wrong? Or was it simply his way of dealing with the fact he was basically prostituting himself for room and board? He also claimed to be straight, but few straight guys swallow, so I dunno if he was just that good at being gay for pay or what? Was his cheating wrong? Yes. I will say unequivically, his cheating was completely and totally wrong. Was it sinful? Now we come back to the conservatives and their ideas of sin. Since he was already "sinning", in their eyes, by having sexual relations with another guy, I don't think they would consider his cheating on me with a female as being sinful in the slightest. They'd probably consider his cheating as being attonement for the sin of having gay relations. What do I say? Fuck yeah his cheating was sinful! Haha, but of course I'd feel that way since I was the one being cheated on. Shit, I'd say his entire relationship with me was sinful since it was underhanded and sly. So in a way, I'd agree with those conservative voices who would call our relationship sinful, but obviously for different reasons. And once more we come back to sin and cheating being subjective to perspective.

What about cheating in business? They always say a successful businessman is not an honest businessman. "They" always say a lot, though. "Start a podcast!" they said. "It'll be fun!" they said! Haha, no, I love doing this podcast, so it is fun, but is it true that in order to be a success at business you have to be dishonest? I don't think it's necessarily a prerequisite. I think honest people can be successful business people, it just might take a little longer for them to become successful. But, we're not here to determine the merits of that, we're here to discuss if being dishonest, or cheating, in business is a sin, if it's wrong. Or is it just part of the human condition? Scholars and philosophers spend their entire lives debating this stuff, so obviously I'm not going to have the golden answer here in this podcast, but I will say that I think it's human nature to cheat in a small-scale way at least. Is it wrong? Again, perspective. In the grand scheme of things, the entirety of human existence has been possible through cheating. Humans started cheating the moment they began making tools that gave them an unfair advantage over the animals they hunted, or over the animals they competed against in hunting. Using fire to drive mammoths, or bison, or any other large herding animals over cliffs to slaughter them is cheating. Hiding within a bush to shoot an arrow from your bow into the neck of an elk a hundred feet away is cheating. Bringing a gun to a knife fight in the streets is cheating. I remember watching the first Indiana Jones movie, and cheering along with the rest of the audience in the theater when Indie takes out his gun and shoots the guy with the clever scimitar moves. We were cheering a cheater. But, perspective. We didn't even for a second consider that cheating. We considered it being smart and being pretty damned funny to boot.

So cheating has been important for humans to evolve. Cheating has been important for human society to advance. But should cheating have limitations of tolerance? Should Adam and Eve have been expelled from Paradise for cheating on the rules God gave them? Should I have kicked Greg out for cheating on me? Should a husband leave his wife when she cheats on him, especially if he's already been cheating on her all along? Has our society just become a society of cheaters? In school, cheaters are punished when they are caught. Those punishments can vary greatly from a paddling (if they even still do that in schools) to losing a letter grade to being expelled or suspended. Cheaters in relationships may be punished when caught, or the cheater's significant other may choose to try and work things out instead. Cheaters in the business world may be punished by losing sales, or being fired, and then there's the opposite end of the spectrum where they may be glorified and rewarded for whatever cheating they did. Perspective. It's all about perspective. So I'll end this podcast with those thoughts, and if you'd like to share your own thoughts, you may drop me an email at Unfortunately the full Two Goats and a Donkey was already taken, much to my surprise! Also, be sure to follow me on social media! On Facebook, you can find me at all as one word. On Instagram, it's two_goatsandadonkey. Again, inexplicably, Two Goats and a Donkey as a single word was already taken, so I had to use the underscore. Until next week, have a wonderful day, and stay safe! Goodbye!


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