What happens to a society that pooh-poohs sin, considers it an out-moded concept? It tends to under-estimate the value of "virtue and a higher motive for being," and so is defenseless against wicked intents. The following passage from the 1st Edition of Science and Health explains with stunning clarity:
"Sin is thought before it is deed, and you must master it in the first, or it conquers you in the second instance. Jesus said, to look with foul desire on forbidden objects, breaks a moral precept; hence, the stress he laid on the character of a man that is hidden from our perception. Evil thoughts reach farther, and do more harm than individual crimes, for they impregnate other minds and fashion your body. The atmosphere of impure desires, like the atmosphere of earth, is restless, ever in motion, and calling on some object; this atmosphere is laden with mental poison, and contaminates all it touches. When malicious purposes, evil thoughts, or lusts, go forth from one mind, they seek others, and will lodge in them unless repelled by virtue and a higher motive for being. All mental emanations take root and bear fruit after their own kind. Consider, then, the guilt of nurturing evil and impure thoughts, that send broadcast discord and moral death."
No wonder the admonition of Paul to the Philippians, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," carries with it some urgency. Our thoughts are ever active and we alone are responsible for them. Thankfully, Paul continues with the encouraging, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."