Religions and Sin

Christianity: The Chess Game

A young man said to the abbot from the monastery, “I’d actually like to be a monk, but I haven’t learned anything in life. All my father taught me was to play chess, which does not lead to enlightenment. Apart from that, I learned that all games are a sin.

“They may be a sin but they can also be a diversion, and who knows, this monastery needs a little of both,” was the reply.

The abbot asked for a chessboard, sent for a monk, and told him to play with the young man.

But before the game began, he added, “Although we need diversion, we cannot allow everyone to play chess the whole time. So, we have the best players here; if our monk loses, he will leave the monastery and his place will be yours.”

The abbot was serious. The young man knew he was playing for his life, and broke into a cold sweat; the chessboard became the center of the world.

The monk began badly. The young man attacked, but then saw the saintly look on the other man’s face; at that moment, he began playing badly on purpose. After all, a monk is far more useful to the world.

Suddenly, the abbot threw the chessboard to the floor.

“You have learned far more than was taught you,” he said. “You concentrated yourself enough to win, were capable of fighting for your desire. Then, you had compassion, and were willing to make a sacrifice in the name of a noble cause. Welcome to the monastery, because you know how to balance discipline with compassion.”

Judaism: Forgiving in the Same Spirit

The Rabbi Nahum of Chernobyl was always being insulted by a shopkeeper. One day, the latter’s business began to go badly.

“It must be the Rabbi, who is asking for God’s revenge,” he thought. He went to ask for Nahum’s forgiveness.

“I forgive you in the same spirit you ask for forgiveness.” replied the Rabbi.

But the man’s losses just kept increasing, until he was reduced to misery. Nahum’s horrified disciples went to ask him what had happened.

“I forgave him, but he continued to hate me deep down in his heart.” said the Rabbi. “Therefore, his hatred contaminated everything he did, and God’s punishment became more and more severe.”

Islamism: Where God Is

At a small Moroccan village an imam was thinking about the only well of the entire region. Another Muslim approached him and asked:

“What is in there?”

“God is hidden in there.”

“God is hidden inside this well? That is a sin! What you may be seeing is an image left by the unfaithful!”

The imam asked him to get closer and lean out on the edge. Reflected on the water, he could see his own face.

“But that is me!”

“Right. Now you know where God is hidden.”


  1. Millie says:

    I would like to know if Mr. Coelho is a christian..that is a person who believes that Jesus Christ , the Son of God , is our Saviour and that regardless of our status in life we all need a Saviour and that is why God because He loved mankind so much sent Jesus Christ to die to take away our sins and free us from bondage…do you believe this sir? E.Mail me at [email protected]…have a blessed day and I want you to know that God loves you more than you can imagine..more than any human being..and it is unconditional…and we have been given the New Testament as our Guide .

  2. Ola says:

    Che bellissima storia davvero!!ci dai sempre una lezione nell’amore e nella tolleranza.Sei grande.Grazieeee Paulo.

  3. tabi-labkhand says:

    How much beautiful r those stories.How much forgiveness and compassion make us flying upper and upper.
    How much thanks to u Dear Paolo for sharing these beautiful stories.
    How much i am eager to fly and recieve to the top of humanity , to the saintly spirit but i havent succeeded yet. Bless for me please.

  4. Daniel says:

    If you forgive you are forgiven that is the Law.

    Ask yourself ” what happens if you dont forgive yourself ? Are you then still in debt ?


  5. Luz says:

    Coelho is an amazing author – a person who to me has been such a great inspiration. The writings engage the mind and provokes thoughts. I am a huge fan of his work. And its awesome to have a small amount of inspiration during these difficult times concerning the polar opposites of religious views. When in truth we are all connected to each other by some means or forms. We are all one and yet we choose to divide ourselves and separate ourselves from the whole. Loved reading the stories. It calms me. ;]

  6. Shine says:

    Such beautiful stories……………………… ;), love Avantika