I tend to define sin as conscious choices that pull me away from God in some way and for which I am responsible - and I tend to categorize those things as acting against my own conscience. I tend to define transgression as unintentionally acting in a way that would pull me away from God in some way and for which I am not accountable - and I tend to categorize those things as the gap between my conscience and God's will.
I really love the distinction between sin and transgression in
Mormon theology, and I tend to place more things in the realm of
transgression and fewer things in the realm of sin than most members.
I believe there is absolute good and absolute bad - but I like James' definition of sin in his epistle: knowing to do good and not doing it.
reason I distinguish so explicitly between sin and transgression is
that I believe in the concept of "atonement" that doesn't punish people
for transgressions - those things that are wrong in an objective
sense but are not understood to be wrong by the people who do them. I
link "sin" to "judgment" and "guilt" - so I define it as acting in
opposition to one's understanding and conscience.
I also see a big difference between "wrong" and "sin" - and, like transgression, the central difference is intent and/or understanding.
think the best example in our theology (and law) is the case of
diminished capacity, especially with clear cases of mental disability. I think all of us are "disabled" in ways we
don't understand fully, so I think "sin" occurs less often than we tend
Don't get me wrong: I support defining "sin" and
"crime" communally and making general standards to ensure safety and
stability. However, I believe in recognizing them as generalized
communal standards and not eternal absolutes that apply equally to every
person - and even the law recognizes that the same action isn't the
same thing and shouldn't incur the same penalty when something about the circumstances surrounding the actions