The other day I was on a message board reading a thread about the special needs people and sinning. More specifically, it was in regards to people with mental disorders/conditions and if they are sinning because they are unable to help it. I think one of the comments summed up the general consensus of that thread.
“If they don’t know what they’re doing, then it isn’t sin”
Though no scripture was quoted to back this up, I suspect they probably got it from Romans 7.
7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.
I don’t think you can quite get to what that quote was saying from scripture, though. You see, if you follow the reasoning that if something isn’t sin if the person doesn’t understand that it’s sin, then there is no reason to ever for any reason to preach the Gospel to those who haven’t heard it. Why should we ever let anyone hear the gospel if they don’t know what they are doing is sin if they can be saved by lack of knowledge? I think it comes back to that age of accountability thing. If you claim children are saved until a certain age, then you have to explain why. And then if you have people who have mental deficiencies, you have to make allowances for them as well. They don’t know they are sinning so they are in fact sinless.
The road starts branching to many paths and as these paths branch off, Christ is needed less and less. We can ignore the command to preach to Gospel to all the world because now all the world doesn’t need it. They are saved in their dumbness.
This is not what the Gospel teaches. There is only one path to salvation. You’ll lack of understanding doesn’t make your sin any less sin. It’s still there. Roman 7 continues to show us that our sin is still there, even if we don’t know it.
13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.