This paper presents findings from an exploratory study of sin. Based on nine in-depth interviews with self-identified religious people, we demonstrate that respondents define sin as (1) nonconformity, (2) relative to other social realities, and (3) taught by moral authorities. In so doing, respondents’ definitions reveal that sin, despite its use to justify all types of social policies, is a social construction that has no established concrete meaning in daily life. In conclusion, we argue that social scientists would benefit greatly from systematic analyses of the meaning (lessness) and significance of sin in people’s lives as well as within existing social scientific literature, and propose avenues for research concerning this term.
Research Report, Religion, Sin, Deviance, Meaning-Making
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Recommended APA Citation
Sumerau, J. E., Mathers, L. A., & Cragun, R. T. (2016). “Can’t Put my Finger on It”: A Research Report on the Non-Existence and Meaninglessness of Sin. The Qualitative Report, 21(6), 1132-1144. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2016.2385