Two-Sided Forms

Social Systems Theory

Religion observes through the form of transcendence/immanence. The “ground of all being” is transcendent; this is what we do not see or experience in daily life, but, according to the religion system, we can get a glimpse through the curtain in brief experiences of grace. The transcendent is the unmarked side of the form because it cannot be explained or described. It’s an empty space. Everyday experience is the marked side, and religion devotes itself to describing the sins, transgressions, corruptions on this side. It develops elaborate classifications of sins, such as mortal/venial, the seven deadly sins, etc. In other words, religion first distinguishes this world of sin and corruption, marking it off from the perfect transcendent reality. Then it re-enters the form on the marked side to make further distinctions among sins. So sins in general are distinguished as mortal (unforgivable) and venial (forgivable) sins. Venial sins are marked, and…

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