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"As for `sin', he thinks it not a useful notion. He admits, of course, that some kinds of
conduct are desirable and some undesirable, but he holds that the punishment of
undesirable kinds is only to be commended when it is deterrent or reformatory, not when
it is inflicted because it is thought a good thing on its own account that the wicked shouldsuffer. It was this belief in vindictive punishment that made men accept Hell. This is partof the harm done by the notion of `sin'."
Is the meaning of the red phrase that it is thought that making wicked suffer is good in itself whatever this suffering is going to reform them or not ?
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But do note that the beliefs being described say that this is NOT a good thing.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
yes, of course , I'm aware of that
Thank you very much