Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
“The idea of original sin--of guilt with no possibility of innocence, no freedom of choice, no alternatives--inherently militates against self-esteem. The very notion of guilt without volition or responsibility is an assault on reason as well as on morality. Sin is not original, it is originated--like virtue.” ― Nathaniel Branden
There are few things more pernicious, more insidious in our culture, than this bankrupt concept of ‘original sin’.
It may have served our ancestors millennia ago as as explanation of why we as a species fuck up so frequently, but it is an outmoded, dated concept submerged in superstitious nonsense.
As anyone reading this knows, it is hard being born human, because we collectively face so many obstacles growing up. Learning how to walk, talk, handle utensils, etc., most of that is a trial. But the budding personality? That constant search for identity? Mixed in with puberty, it is easy to state that it’s a sort of torment for just about everyone (anyone out there who had an easy time of it, please speak up. We could always call Ripley’s.). Generally, I think we can all agree, it’s a real trial just existing.
Of course two (or more) millennia ago, our ancestors (barbarians all) had a rotten time figuring this all out. Why do people fuck up so often? Why is it so difficult to just exist? Well, back then they just made shit up. There were all kinds of explanations, but usually humans go with the simplest explanation, regardless of how much sense it makes (or even if it doesn’t). Mostly the god nod of ‘original sin’ was reinforced at gunpoint, swordpoint or spearpoint, plus constant repetition, until everyone just accepts this at face value.
Now I’m going to skip the usual (and overdone) snickering at a talking reptile offering a piece of fruit to the original ingénue (ridiculous as it is), and address the special pleading folderol. So let’s subtract the supernatural, and watch as the craziness unfolds.
Hypothetically speaking: we have an adult raising a child. Once the child reaches some glimmer of sentience, the adult tells the child that s/he was born deficient. In fact, the child is told in great depth and measure that just because s/he exists, that child is completely screwed up. And why? Great-great-great-great grandma did something wrong, something that permanently stained all subsequent offspring to this day. And all the offspring have to make some sort of emotional commitment to a designated ‘designer’ in order to escape this genetic mishap. Mind you, there is no ‘cure’: there is only the temporary balm of throwing some emotion into the air, begging the very sky itself for some sort of alleviation. At least until the person dies.
Does anyone see the disconnect here? If it were ‘gawd’, then it’s okay. But if a real human did this sort of garbage, Special Services would be plucking the child from that human’s care. Because not only is that scenario stupid, it’s psychotic. Personally, I find it amazing that I even accepted this placidly back in the day, but that’s because the idea of ‘sin’ is so entrenched in our culture, that it’s generally accepted as ‘wisdom’, even though it is not.
So, it’s no small wonder, that when fed with a false premise (lay.ered by a perverse suppression of sexual drive), humanity has managed to harm itself, both physically and psychologically in the long run.
That we made it this far, with our capacity for self-destruction and self-deception, that is by far the greater testament to our species.
There is no sin – there is only responsibility.
Till the next post, then