Working On Sunday Is A Sin. Admit It.

When folks say atheists lack the moral foundation provided by Christianity, I always point to working on Sunday.  The Bible condems it, one of the Ten Commandments is devoted to it and it’s been preached against since from day one.  Then, it became morally OK.

To see how morally wrong it was, hear about Lyman Beecher, a nationally known preacher in mid 1800’s.

For Beecher, the most important moral issue confronting America was not slavery, or…wages and working conditions, but the shocking disregard for observance of the Sabbath.  The sabbath…was nothing less than “the great sun of the moral world…the cord by which heaven holds up nations from the yawning gulf of corruption and ruin.”*

At the time he gave some assembled preachers that message, he saw a moral crisis, Sunday mail delivery by the government itself.  The Post Office provided some Sunday mail service  because it was helpful to businesses and to rural people who came into town only on Sunday.

Preacher Beecher embarked on a nationwide campaign to stop this immoral practice. But, in spite of “the word of God”, the majority liked Sunday mail service too much to think it a sin.

The Christian method of deciding what is sinful and immoral has not changed since then.  There are practical reasons to ignore many Biblical rulings on morality.

Atheists and Christians arrive at their moral values in the same way, by figuring it out for themselves.

Freethinkers; A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby, 2004. Holt, p. 79.































15 Responses

  1. “The Bible condems it, one of the Ten Commandments is devoted to it” What about that 10th commandment, which is routinely violated by a lot of people these days?

  2. Henry

    Resting in the Lord on only one day a week? Now that is a sin.

    What is sabbath? Sunday? On which calendar, the Gregorian or the Julian? What about the Pastor working on Sabbath? The black-and-white thinking freethinkers doth struggle.

    1. Henry 10:36 You mention all the complications that make it hard to obey this commandment, which calender, etc. Is your conclusion it is simply too difficult to know when the Sabbath is so it’s OK to just ignore that commandment?

      1. Henry

        “Is your conclusion it is simply too difficult to know when the Sabbath is so it’s OK to just ignore that commandment?”

        Nah. You were the one legalistically keyed in on a particular day. My argument was that we should rest in the lord more than once a week.

        I must say, Jon. You sure doth watch us Christians carefully. I would have to say you have some striking similarities to the Pharisees and Saducees.

        1. Henry 1:23 So, it’s not a sin to work on Sunday, so long as you “rest in the Lord” (I’m not familiar with that one) more than one say a week. As you often ask me, where is the scripture for that?

          1. Henry

            “So, it’s not a sin to work on Sunday”

            Did I say that? I don’t believe I did. You may want to study Mark 2, John 5, John 9, and Hebrews 4. That should clear it up for you. 😉

  3. loki

    The entire chapter 2 of Colossians is appropriate to this and other agruments that entwine Old Testament law with the fulfillment of the law through Christ. Verse 8 is appropriate here, (“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”) However most appropriate to the subject at hand with John’s post; is verse 16, “Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moorn or a Sabbath day”.
    John’s point is valid only in his mind, and others like him.
    Thank you very much.

  4. entech

    It is no coincidence that seven plays such an important part in the Abrahamic religions. It is much more than simply a day of rest on the seventh day.

    In addition to the weekly Sabbath there are seven ‘annual Sabbaths”, recognised by most Jews and some Christians, some are fixed and some moveable.

    Then there is the seven year sabbatical, in this year fields are left fallow, theoretically all debts are to be paid or forgiven at the end of the sabbatical year. According to the Torah after six years slaves are to be released on the seventh year – not sure if that one carried over to the modern slave trade.

    I have read somewhere, can’t remember now, that there was also a 49 year Sabbath, at this time all land was supposed to be returned to the original owner, not sure if this was effectively some kind of 50 year lease rather than freehold or the original owner is deemed to be God and all land belonged to the Priests.

    The importance of seven goes back to hunter gatherer communities, the phases of the moon were very important to hunters where seeing your prey easily (conversely, being easily seen) was essential to success. As agriculture developed the sun cycle became to be more important, to every season. Many of the seven annual Sabbaths are what are called moveable feasts; Passover and Easter are calculated from both the sun cycle and the phases of the moon and so move back and forth year by year.
    An interesting aside is the Chinese Calendar, the lunar new year or Chinese New Year has a similar movement to Easter/Passover both are combinations of solar and lunar cycles – the Chinese Calendar is made up of 12 months each 28 days long, literally a lunar calendar. The New Year is considered to be the beginning of spring, the time of renewal and regrowth, so to keep the calendar new year close to the physical new year (equinox?) they have a “leap” month, some years have a 13 month calendar.

    It is the most sensible and the easiest thing to meld your religious festivals with naturally occurring phenomena. That is why we have the similarity between Pagan and Christian Festivals. It is not that Christianity begged, borrowed or stole the old festivals and incorporated them to make the new religion similar and thus more attractive to the old, but that they are all related to the same basic natural phenomena of solar and lunar cycles. It is all there and has been observed by all societies, not related to any given religious system but systems from Mayan to Mosaic have been related to the weather.

  5. entech

    Poor Jon no wonder you are so conflicted a Sadducee and a Pharisee?

    Sadducees are conservatives; they read only the Torah some ideas:
    God no involvement in everyday life
    No resurrection
    No afterlife – so no reward or punishment.
    No spiritual world

    Pharisees are more like religious liberals, taking both the written and oral traditions.
    God controlled all things, but individual decisions affect the course of a life
    Resurrection of the dead is possible.
    Afterlife, with appropriate reward and punishment on an individual basis is real.
    Angels and demons do exist.

    Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee.

  6. chris

    So after church when you all go out to eat are the servers getting you food going to hell. How about the gas station you got your gas at. What about the docter who gave birth to the child on a Sunday?

    1. Henry

      “are the servers getting you food going to hell.”

      Don’t know. Unable to determine. That is God’s call. I would have thought the servers went to church already once in the week, along with a couple of bible studies under their belt. Please don’t judge them.

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