Love the person but hate the harm they do to themselves?  Is that how to understand loving the sinner and hating the sin?

Religion says that God only hates sin for it is bad for his children so it is about them not him. But if that is true what does he punish it for? Punishing in his case is his trying to force people not to sin by making an example of some.  So if he is not that bothered about free will one wonders why he lets sin happen in the first place.


Sin is not really sin if it is just about harm. A man hitting a child is about more than just him hurting the child.  It implies that if you could magically repair the child when the hitting stops or stop the pain then hitting is fine.  Why does God never reason with you why you must not do wrong but commands instead? Why does he even get involved? Why is he not as worried about earthquakes and diseases?


God hates sin.  Though God hating is a metaphor it reflects the fact that if God could suffer intensely for our sins by hating them he would.  That implies that we who can hate should hate them intensely.  If hating sin leads to hating sinners or is hating the sinner but being in denial then belief in God is responsible for all the harm done in the world by believing people who oppose those who they see as sinners.


What about the argument that if hitting a child can be magically prevented from harming then the problem is that the hitting says about the person hitting?  That view leads to a person only caring about their own virtue and that is actually a crafty form of selfishness.  St Denis said we must not admire or revere the perfections of creatures.  That becomes a form of idolatry where human good qualities end up being preferred to God.  And you want to be like them so you can admire yourself too.  Even if there is no God one still ends up not caring if there is as long as one is seen as good and one sees oneself as good.  The principle is still trampled on.

Love the sinner and hate the sin is the corner stone of Christianity and other religions.  It is the cornerstone of faith in God.
Those who confuse it with, "Love the person but hate the harm they do to themselves" need to see that pain is not the sin. The rule is not necessarily religious - even the biggest sceptic about right and wrong can hate to see a person suffer.
To oppose somebody’s self-destructive ways is seen as good. But to oppose is to oppose the person. Opposing is violent in the sense that you want to hurt the person by stopping them doing what they want. It’s evil even if it is for their own good in the future. It is like hitting a child so that he learns how to forgive. Opposing is not good - its evil though the results of doing it may be good. Good is not snow white but one of countless shades of grey.
Catholics are to love the sinner and hate the sin. Their God does that too.  Everybody feels that they do not like such an idea for it contains a hidden premise: treat a person as if they are not bad at all but their actions are.  Putting it that way shows the rank hypocrisy.  People are given a law that is going to fail.  That is bullying in itself.
The person who thinks love sinner and hates sin makes sense is making a mistake. They mistake hating what a person is doing to themselves for hating the sin. It is not the same. You can hate a person hurting themselves without thinking of it as a sin or something morally bad.
A sinner is a person perceived by God as a morally bad person who deserves to suffer for what they have done and hopefully will suffer for it. You cannot hate a sin. What you hate is what a sin says about the sinner. It’s the sinful character that is hated. In other words, it’s the person.
Love sinner and hate sin is confused with a philosophy of hating the harm a person does to themselves and loving the person. But that philosophy actually contradicts it! To hate sin is about wishing it was possible for the sin, which is really the person, to be paid back. Love the person but hate the harm they do to themselves is about wishing the harm could be taken away.
Imagine the two rules could agree.
Then which rule is the most important?
If God is unimportant to you then it will be, "Love the person but hate the harm they do to themselves."
If God matters to you the important rule will be, "Love the sinner or breaker of God's law. But hate his law-breaking for it offends God." That is what love the sinner and hate the sin means.
If you love people, then cease to regard God as important. 
Love the sinner and hate the sin is no true friend to those who wish to stop people being harmed.  Religion if it is good to sinners is good in spite of its beliefs thus it can take no credit.

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