A postulated state of being that results from the breaking of some rule from a moral code. In the Western dualistic religions which were influenced by Zoastrianism, sin is created only by Satan or His equivalent (Ahriman, Shaitan, etc.) and the presence of sin prevents souls from reaching heaven.

From a pragmatic perspective the concept of sin provides two important mechanisms for social control. First, those in charge are able to give a particular set of social regulations an undisputable stamp of divine authority. Second, those in charge are often able claim the power to absolve sin, and, thereby, cheaply reward conformity to the canon.

The Catholic church has the most elaborate dogma of sin. Under that dogma sin may only be absolved through a sequence of exclusively Catholic rituals including confession, penance and the eucharist. Sins in Catholicism are divided into venal and mortal with mortal sins being sufficient in themselves to bar entry to heaven unless the sin is repented, atoned for and absolved.

There have been several lists of The Seven Deadly Sins over the centuries, but one is: pride, envy, lust, greed, sloth, anger and gluttony.

Polynesian cultures thought that it was absurd that any action that did not hurt another human being could be considered evil. Thus, when Missionaries tried to tell them that dancing or taking pleasure in sex was sinful they just laughed. The Hawaiians framed the following moral paradigm in response to the missionaries' efforts: "No hurt, no sin."