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Life of Faith

Whatever Became of Sin?

Modern men and women have tried to get rid of their guilty consciences by abandoning the concept of sin.

By Colin D. Standish

There have been many attempts to either ignore guilt in the human experience or to rationalize it away. Since it is sin that causes guilt, modern thinking has concluded that one way to get rid of guilt is to abandon the concept of sin. 

Nearly 50 years ago, in his famous book Whatever Became of Sin?, Dr. Karl Menninger noted that there had been a noticeable shift in emphasis of the role played by both clergymen and the church in the treatment of mental illness. Popular learning was against notions of guilt and morality and “ one talk[ed] about sin.”1 Yet he saw in sin and the morality gap some of the greatest problems faced by the human race, especially in the field of mental health. Menninger issued a strong call for the clergy to reassume spiritual leadership, so essential to the mental health of the community at large

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  1. Karl Menninger, Whatever Became of Sin? (Hawthorn, 1973), p. 228.

  2. Ibid.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Ibid.

  5. Ellen G. White, Education (Pacific Press, 1903), p. 15.

  6. Ibid., pp. 15, 16.

  7. Ibid., p. 80.

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About the author

Colin D. Standish, PhD (1933–2018) was the founding president of Hartland Institute in Rapidan, Virginia, and the coauthor with his twin brother Russell R. Standish, MD (1933–2008) of 76 books on a variety of religious topics. Visit to view and purchase them.