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what's the point?

Seems to me the point is to legitimate and justify Jesus. Of course, there can be concepts of Man not living as "pure" as he may have done In The Beginning but there are other ways to explain that.

Simply as the Creation story tells it... A Loss Of Innocence if nothing else. But, it's interesting to note that there isn't much of a concept of the Original Sin in the Original Abrahamic religion - Judaism.

So it's pretty curious how Christianity has created this THEORY...

Why is it necessary?

(See above)... By and large, the Christian theology of Jesus as the Savior/Son Of God would not exist without it. At least not in the same form. The Original Sin is basically what the whole religion of Christianity (with Christ Dying For "Our" Sins) is predicated on.

Take away the Original Sin concept/theory and you definitely don't have the same Jesus if even a need for a Savior-Calvary-Jesus.

Do you believe in it?

Flatly, No! Too many holes and leaps in logic which run counter to the concept of GOD. A JUST GOD. A God who doesn't make mistakes God, etc.

BTW - if Jesus died for our sins then why are we born into a state of sin?

I believe the confusion really rests on conflating the ideas expressed in the idea of "The Fall Of Man" and the notion that we are "born in sin and shaped in inequity."

The way I see it, it's the old proverbial NATURE vs. NURTURE debate. Me, I come down on the NURTURE side. To whatever extent we are born "in sin" then that's a product of the historical web of "bad" choices made in generations before us. Those are things... cards we are dealt with that we can't control. Things within the "nature" of society that have influence on us in ways we don't choose/control.

To suggest that our "nature" is somehow "sinful" is to say GOD MADE JUNK, biologically or otherwise. And, frankly, I believe GOD DIDN'T MAKE NO JUNK.

Too many holes are in the Original Sin THEORY...
The question of the position or disposition of infant/children/minors is one that's throws this theory off. It has to make too many exceptions that really end up contradicting the idea that it's "in our NATURE" as if "sin" is the sole thing that we are composed of... until we are endoctrinated with Jesus that is.

I guess man has no impulse (i.e. nature to know GOD). That alone is inconsistent with the idea that sin is our nature. FREE WILL suggests at the very least TWO NATURES.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
But wouldn't Christianity "work" just as well if we were born pure and through "free will" just end up making mistakes and sinning as we go through life? That construct would actually seem to fit even better with the Adam/Eve story as well.
Well, I think it would be hard to maintain the psychological effect that "you can't do it yourself"..."you need Jesus".

Whether it's fools gold or not, it would be harder to convince people that they need a go between - aka a Savior - when they don't feel guilty about their sins to the point of feeling like something is inherently wrong with them.

The idea of Human Being, being all that Free Will entails would at least cause some to take mistakes (even "sins") in stride. Those mistakes would be a function of Free Will that ultimately people can see as bad decisions or bad choices they have to learn from without the impending doom of Hell hanging over their head simply because they made a mistake.

Such an idea would eliminate a lot of the GUILT TRIP. A primary tool or weapon of Christianity, depending on how you look at it.

The idea is not completely at odds or incompatible with Biblical ideas but it doesn't mesh well with the Jesus Doctrine. It would prompt, at least in my mind, the question of why we are all in the position of Adam. Each of us living our lives as if we are the first man, so to speak without the sin burden of anyone or anything other than our own.

That is to say: How come God doesn't give us all the opportunity Adam had?

And, since we are given "Free Will" how is it that it seems like one sin is suppose to sink us or separate us from God as it did (or seemed) with Adam?

The bigger question comes in when we look at what seems to be the most universal concept across religions. The idea of a Final Judgement. What's the use of the Final Judgement where you are called to account for ALL your "sins" if by Free Will there are no chances for you to "make up" for those sin you committed. For the good to outweigh the bad.

I mean... what are you being judged on?
How perfect you ended up becoming? Surely not in any absolute terms...

You know... NO ONE can stand judgement for you. Not even Jesus, I believe. So what's the use of Jesus per se on Judgement Day if you're still going to have account for what YOU did?

Nothing in Christian dogma suggests that people won't stand judgement or get a Christ Savers card that's going to discount certain sins because one was a "Christian"...
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
But wouldn't Christianity "work" just as well if we were born pure and through "free will" just end up making mistakes and sinning as we go through life? That construct would actually seem to fit even better with the Adam/Eve story as well.

Confused
Reflecting on that again... I'm just as confused as you are. Somehow the DOCTRINE feels the need to say man is "sinful" by nature and therefore something other than "pure".

But then, again, when you ask what is the "nature" of a child... Christians who adhere to the Original Sin DOCTRINE would be hard press not to say that child is "pure".

All the more reason why the Orignal Sin THEORY is self-contradictory within the whole scheme of Christianity.
Just a couple of comments on the issue of origin sin. It is not a doctrine that is held by most Protestant denominations, as it was not embraced by most of the reformers. It is still the understanding in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Most contemporary Christian theologians realize that it is a highly problematic doctrine. Firstly, it is because the story of Adam and Eve is no longer held to be historical, but is mythological and etiological. As such, it is usually read as metaphor. In this context, the notion of Fall and original sin are taken to speak to what it means as human beings in the world. Etiologically, the question arises as to "why do people do bad things?" Or more specifically, "why do I do bad (sinful) things even when I want to (will to, as in volition) do the good?" This does not seem to make sense. So how do I explain it. One way is to say that something is wrong with the world (Fall/Broken) or something is wrong with human nature (original sin).

I think that as a myth, it is powerful, as long as one rejects the kind of biological, organic, essentialism associated with the Catholic doctrine. For me it says that even as babies, we inherit and formed by a world which does not seem to be quite right. Further, the sins of the father and mother are in a real sense visited upon their children (individual and systemic dysfunction, oppression, subjugation, domination, and exploitation). Also, psychologically, there is the human unconscious, the id, the seat of various drives and impulses which we find ourselves often warring against.

As for Jesus in terms of this, for me the emphasis is on his teaching and ministry. I do not adhere to a doctrine of substitutionary atonement. Thus, in terms of sin, I see Jesus teaching that we should be about love, compassion, healing, and forgiveness in the hurting and broken world. Moreover, in his living in this fashion, one has a glimpse of the nature of God, i.e. one sees God as he "incarnates" God.

Oh well, there are the $.02 of a man procrastinating from writing end of the semester seminar papers. Wink
Thank you KRESGE...

But it seems that most of the Prostestant religions in the US do have this concept of the Original Sin. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong but it seems pervasive.

Someone would have to specify which denominations didn't hold that concept. What denomination do you belong to Kresge?

Perhaps my views are prejudiced by my experience in the Black Church and TV ministries. I would be less informed about Catholicism...
quote:
Originally posted by Nmaginate:
Thank you KRESGE...

But it seems that most of the Prostestant religions in the US do have this concept of the Original Sin. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong but it seems pervasive.

Someone would have to specify which denominations didn't hold that concept. What denomination do you belong to Kresge?

Perhaps my views are prejudiced by my experience in the Black Church and TV ministries. I would be less informed about Catholicism...

I am an ordained American Baptist minister.

As you said, there is a difference between mainline denominations and what you see on TV. Also, while it may not have been explicit in what I wrote above, the doctrine of original sin is related to but not synonymous with the Fall. A strict understanding of original sin as given by Augustine is that humanity has not only inherited a tendency to sin, but that it has inherited guilt as well. In the Catholic understanding, this obtains because in some way, all of humanity was present with and thus culpable in Adam's rebellion. sck This particular understanding is not usually found in the Protestant churches. Also, the Catholic doctrine is tied to their understanding of sex and desire (the notion of being conceived in sin).

Many Protestant's believe that human beings are fallen, that human nature is somehow corrupt or depraved, but there are also many who believe that human beings are basically good (most liberal Protestants). But, as you note, these are not the people that one tends to see on TV.
quote:
But, as you note, these are not the people that one tends to see on TV.
Nor have I come in contact with Liberal Protestants who promote human beings are basically good. To me, that's inescapeable if you're reflecting on GOD and just asking basic questions as soon as someone introduces the Original Sin.

Frankly, I would have no real concept as to how prominent American Baptist is among African-Americans, e.g., or in general. I think as a whole Black churches tend to be more "conservative" and beholden to the Original Sin.

I think that feeling is widespread and just may not reflect your training and particular experience. I recall ROWE and I having a discussion about the psychological effect of the Preach Of Guilt and Condemnation. I believe there are women authors who are trying to combat the Guilt-laden ideas imposed in Black theological culture that women should sacrifice - suffer, etc.

It would be interesting to see, at least, how African-American Christian theology falls on the line of Liberalism. Doesn't seem like there is a strong emphasis on the "good". That's for sure my experience: That the Original Sin Doctrine is strongly held within the Black Church.
"Nor have I come in contact with Liberal Protestants who promote human beings are basically good" Well Nmaginate, let your fingers do the walking, look up "Church of Christ" or if you're feeling real adventurous "Unitarian-Universalist." The Church of Christ is fairly liberal, and the U-Us are so far out in left field most of them don't consider themselves Christian any more. bsm
quote:
Originally posted by SpinCitySD:
"Nor have I come in contact with Liberal Protestants who promote human beings are basically good" Well Nmaginate, let your fingers do the walking, look up "Church of Christ" or if you're feeling real adventurous "Unitarian-Universalist." The Church of Christ is fairly liberal, and the U-Us are so far out in left field most of them don't consider themselves Christian any more. bsm

Actually, the Church of Christ is fairly conservative. You are probably referring to the United Church of Christ. Very different institutions. You will also find this sentiment among some United Methodists, Episcopalians, and an odd Presbyterian congregation (at least one that has shucked of its Calvinist/Reformed past).

As I said, I tend to take the concept as a socio-historical and existential true as opposed to literally or essentially (as in essences) true.

A quick anecdote, I was a chaplain at a United Methodist college and would regularly attend 1st Methodist Church that was our campus. During the early service on Sunday, the pastor did an experiment. He asked all the people who believe that deep down people WERE basically good to move to one side of the sanctuary and those who felt that human beings WHERE NOT to go to the other. There were only like 4 of us on the WHERE NOT side and probably 60 plus on the WHERE side. I remember that the congregation was shocked that I believed what I did.

These where good white liberal middle class educated folk who I knew had a very different experience of the world than I did. This confirmed it again for me.
Originally posted by MBM:
posted April 19, 2005 03:53 PM
Original Sin: what's the point? Why is it necessary? Do you believe in it? BTW - if Jesus died for our sins then why are we born into a state of sin?


In short, Jesus did not die for our sins, that is a lie perpetuated by the Christian church just like the belief Jesus came to bring peace and establish Christianity for that matter. And yes, original sin is what it is original sin, it does not mean you are born a sinner in essence, but it is a constant reminder that although men should strive for perfection, we will ALWAYS fall short.
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
But wouldn't Christianity "work" just as well if we were born pure and through "free will" just end up making mistakes and sinning as we go through life?Confused


That reminds me so much of things my good friend, who is a practicing muslim (NOI), said to me when she explained the difference in my christian/baptist beliefs and hers.hummm...MBM you converting?
quote:
Originally posted by msprettygirl:
quote:
Originally posted by MBM:
But wouldn't Christianity "work" just as well if we were born pure and through "free will" just end up making mistakes and sinning as we go through life?Confused


That reminds me so much of things my good friend, who is a practicing muslim (NOI), said to me when she explained the difference in my christian/baptist beliefs and hers.hummm...MBM you converting?



I thought the same thing when I read that post. Muslims don't believe in that concept. Adam and Eve sinned, yes, and THEY WERE FORGIVEN because they repented. That sin was not passed down to every human thereafter. We are born pure and in a state of islam (submission to God), and it is through our cultures and families that we inherit religion. Left to our own devices, we would worship God in our own way.

Muslims do not believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) died for anyone's sins. Allah teaches that we are accountable for our own actions, and on the Day of Judgment, we will be judged accordingly. We cannot "pawn off" our mishaps and say, "Jesus died because I screwed up". You screwed up at birth? That is like a baby being murdered because his father is a thief! God is a just God, and IMHO, the concept of original sin is quite unjust.
quote:
Originally posted by virtue:
Peace.....

I cosign with SistaSouljah...

**SistaSouljah--You're Muslim?**

Nevermind I see your avatar has changed to reflect this....

As Salaamu Alaikum...my sister....

Peace,
Virtue


Wa Alaikum Salaam Sister Virtue...

I'm sure you can see why I was so impressed with your "Sister to Sister" thread. Those ideals are not foreign to Muslim women.

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