Sin and Immorality (Index Post)

Previously on this blog I’ve written about morality, but in a highly abstracted, mathematically-inclined way.  This week I’d like to take a more personal tack.  I think I’m unusual among most atheists in that I see a great deal of truth in Catholic and Christian teaching about original sin, some worm at the heart of the apple.  It’s why I’ve found some parts of Christian ethics extremely helpful in my own life.


  1. Opening Myself to Sin – Treating moral questions as economic ones
  2. Dirty Hands and Drone Strikes – What happens when we remove ourselves from the consequences of our decisions?
  3. Dirty Hands and Drone Strikes (Part 2) – Why immoral actions can be explained, but not excused
  4. Why is there Evil? – I have sympathy for the Christian use of the word “Fallen.”  Here’s why.

Still coming up:

  • why I see people as intrinsically flawed
  • compromises, callousness, and sins of omission
  • Horcruxes, murder, and the Vietnam war
  • how organized religion can weaken people’s morals
  • can fiction help us be more moral?
[The top image is from the Stanford Prison Experiment, which will certainly come up this week]

Ridiculously Over-Engineered Approaches To Empathy
Gateway Drugs to More Ethical Lives
Building a Both/And Philanthropy
Is "Kindness-Adjacent" A Useful Category?
About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011 and lives in Washington DC. She works as a news writer for FiveThirtyEight by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."

  • Anonymous

    Buddhist morality is based on reciprocity, as was all early religion (i.e., blood for rain). This is not a morality based upon social conditioning. It just changes the parties in the exchange from humans-to-God(s) to human-to-human. Don't let you BF just take the moral high-ground unopposed.