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Is Humanity Fallen?


des
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Ok, here's another topic from the vast conversation starters proposed by my fundie sister.

She kept talking about well that's from the fall, or since the fall, or we are fallen so...

Another term she used was "sin nature" almost like it was one word.

I'm assuming the fall is represented in the Bible by the (IMO) allegorical story of Adam and Eve. And Eve (blame it on the woman!) takes of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. And wham!

 

Matthew Fox, who I read most of the earlier stuff (I think he is now doing "rave masses" and has kind of lost me) talks about Original Blessing, etc. One of his comments is that original sin is anthropocentric and ignores several billion years of God's blessings. (Of course, he would be wrong by several billion years as fundies like my sister think the world is only a few thousand years old --wasn't God clever with that fossil record). Fox claims that most of thsi got started with St. Augistine. I'm afraid I'm not much of a biblical scholar but I don't see much talk of sin nature, fall, etc. coming from Jesus' supposed utterances (I still believe the Bible was written by people, yet another topic).

 

Anyway, I have no problem saying we are all sinners (I am not really into that as my mantra), that we all fall short and so forth. I think it is just that we live in a society, in the world, and are surrounded by all sorts of forces that shape us and create dissonance between ourselves and God. I have actually read some of these fundies, who say that it is clear that even babies sin (I think they are thinking of age 2.) But I don't think of a two year old as really sinning. They say "no" a lot, they pull the cats tail, they have tantrums, but they don't really clearly know that what they are doing is wrong. It's more a function of establishing some independence. (Raises a question: Do we sin to establish independence from God? Alas I am giving myself a headache. :-))

 

And is this idea that we will inevidedably sin, different than saying we have a sin nature, or that we have "fallen". If God created us, he/she supposedly allowed us to be created with a inherent sinful nature, why the heck did God do that? Of course it nicely justifies Jesus' necessity, but I still don't like the idea that the Awesome God creates a Nasty Populous.

 

Your thoughts?

 

--des

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Oh yes! But all that is wrong with the Christian Fundamental's wrong interpretations of the Bible CAN be traced back to St. Augistine. In my classes at college on Surverys of Western religions we learned that St. Augistine was the one who promoted the following anti-social justices into the church...That he was the one who promted:

 

1. Hellfire threats

 

2. The idea that the earth is evil

 

3. The idea that women are all Jezbels and thus deserve no equality what-so-ever.

 

I am am sure there are more to add to the list but this is just for starters...

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Hi again! I just spent the past hour responding to your other post. I'll probably repeat some of that here. Hope you don't mind. :D

 

I'm assuming the fall is represented in the Bible by the (IMO) allegorical story of Adam and Eve. And Eve (blame it on the woman!) takes of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. And wham!

 

Original sin. What a pain in the butt concept. (Thank you Paul.) :P

 

The words "original sin" don't exist in the Bible or in Jewish writings.

 

A quote from Ben Zion Bokser that I like is: "The story of the fall of Adam expresses in allegorical form the constant necessity that man be vigilant against temptation."

 

Jewish ethics requires the idea that humans decide for themselves how to act. This is so because temptation, and with it the possibility of sin, allows people to choose good and thus have moral merit.

 

"Eve" was tempted and succumbed. "Adam" was tempted and succumbed.

 

"Eating" of the tree did not make them mortal. "Eating" of the tree did not give them free will. They were already mortal and already had free will. And they certainly did NOT pass on sin and death to their descendants.

 

There are so many layers to the Genesis story. It's fascinating.

 

An even deeper layer is Esoteric Judaism (and Christianity), but we won't go into that here.

 

Matthew Fox, who I read most of the earlier stuff (I think he is now doing "rave masses" and has kind of lost me) talks about Original Blessing, etc. One of his comments is that original sin is anthropocentric and ignores several billion years of God's blessings.

 

I've met him ya know. Matt Fox. I attended a workshop that he did, here in Utah. Really nice man. I would love to go to one of the Techno Masses. They sound way cool. It's his way of trying to involve the youth in something that can open their hearts to God. It's his way of helping them to experience mysticism.

 

I definitely agree that the concept of original sin is anthropocentric and it seems to have started with Paul.

 

Don't get me wrong, Paul had some beautiful thoughts about God. I truly appreciate his (and Luther's) view of faith as opposed to works to gain "salvation".

 

BUT (and it's a BIG but), if he hadn't proposed "original sin" in the first place, we wouldn't have to worry about being "saved" by faith instead of works.

 

Of course, he would be wrong by several billion years as fundies like my sister think the world is only a few thousand years old --wasn't God clever with that fossil record.

 

LOL! I'm reading "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" again. Have you read it?

 

There's this planet with WAY advanced technology that makes planets for people who want a custom planet to live on.

 

Turns out, they made the planet earth.

 

Recently, our current planet earth is destroyed by a group of intergallactic real estate developers. So this advanced race decides to make a new one. (I am skipping a lot of detail here.)

 

The reader walks in on the planet being made, pretty much as the makers are burying fake dinosaur bones. You get the impression they are doing so mostly to mess with the future human inhabitants. :D Maybe you could tell your sister about this theory and see what she thinks of it?

 

Fox claims that most of thsi got started with St. Augistine.

 

Here's a quote I found that sums it up:

Saint Augustine appealed to the Pauline-apocalyptic understanding of the forgiveness of sin, but he also included the notion that sin is transmitted from generation to generation by the act of procreation.

 

He took this idea from 2nd-century theologian Tertullian, who actually coined the phrase original sin. Medieval theologians retained the idea of original sin, and it was asserted by 16th-century Protestant reformers, primarily Martin Luther and John Calvin.

 

Anyway, I have no problem saying we are all sinners (I am not really into that as my mantra), that we all fall short and so forth.

 

I agree, if by sin we mean we sometimes do bad things to each other and to this planet.

 

But, now that I think about it, I really hate the word "sin" because of all the baggage that has come to be associated with the term.

 

(Raises a question: Do we sin to establish independence from God? Alas I am giving myself a headache. :-))

 

Sin to establish independence from God is definitely found in esoteric Jewish and Christian thought (especially Gnosticism). I find it intriguing, but a little TOO hidden.

 

And is this idea that we will inevidedably sin, different than saying we have a sin nature, or that we have "fallen".

 

First we have to define what acts or lack of acts are considered sinful.

 

If someone believes (perhaps like your sister), that BREATHING is a sinful act :rolleyes: than yes, we all sin.

 

But like I said above, that is "original sin", which I reject.

 

If you follow the STRICT Jewish definition of sin, then wearing cloth of mixed fibers is a sin, because disobeying any law in the Torah is a sin.

 

All humans "sin". Even if it is something as simple as yelling at someone who didn't deserve to be yelled at. But much of what is defined by religion as "sin", isn't sinful, imo. I guess that's why I don't much care for the term.

 

If God created us, he/she supposedly allowed us to be created with a inherent sinful nature, why the heck did God do that?

 

As I mentioned in the other thread, I believe that the very nature of reality is "libertarian free will" (or radical free will). I don't believe we have an inherrant sinful nature. I do believe we have choices.

 

Of course it nicely justifies Jesus' necessity, but I still don't like the idea that the Awesome God creates a Nasty Populous.

 

I don't think Jesus was born to atone for original sin. I don't believe in substitutionary sacrifice. I don't believe God would require such an act. It's sick, imo.

 

It was brought up in another thread that Jesus wasn't sent or asked to atone for mankind. But maybe, once he was here, he volunteered? I haven't explored that idea much. To me, it begs the question: What did he volunteer to fix? Original sin? I reject that. Karma? My jury is still out on Karma.

 

Was Jesus just a man? Was he divine? An avatar? I haven't decided yet.

 

I believe Jesus was a mystic, a healer, a teacher and a social prophet. I do believe following "the way" that Jesus taught can lead us to a life fully immersed in God. I think Christianity is more about a "Way" than about dogma or belief.

 

Aletheia

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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Hi again! I just spent the past hour responding to your other post. I'll probably repeat some of that here. Hope you don't mind. :D

 

I'm assuming the fall is represented in the Bible by the (IMO) allegorical story of Adam and Eve. And Eve (blame it on the woman!) takes of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. And wham!

 

Original sin. What a pain in the butt concept. (Thank you Paul.) :P

 

The words "original sin" don't exist in the Bible or in Jewish writings.

 

A quote from Ben Zion Bokser that I like is: "The story of the fall of Adam expresses in allegorical form the constant necessity that man be vigilant against temptation."

 

Jewish ethics requires the idea that humans decide for themselves how to act. This is so because temptation, and with it the possibility of sin, allows people to choose good and thus have moral merit.

 

"Eve" was tempted and succumbed. "Adam" was tempted and succumbed.

 

"Eating" of the tree did not make them mortal. "Eating" of the tree did not give them free will. They were already mortal and already had free will. And they certainly did NOT pass on sin and death to their descendants.

 

There are so many layers to the Genesis story. It's fascinating.

 

An even deeper layer is Esoteric Judaism (and Christianity), but we won't go into that here.

 

Matthew Fox, who I read most of the earlier stuff (I think he is now doing "rave masses" and has kind of lost me) talks about Original Blessing, etc. One of his comments is that original sin is anthropocentric and ignores several billion years of God's blessings.

 

 

I definitely agree that the concept of original sin is anthropocentric and it seems to have started with Paul.

 

Don't get me wrong, Paul had some beautiful thoughts about God. I truly appreciate his (and Luther's) view of faith as opposed to works to gain "salvation".

 

BUT (and it's a BIG but), if he hadn't proposed "original sin" in the first place, we wouldn't have to worry about being "saved" by faith instead of works.

 

Of course, he would be wrong by several billion years as fundies like my sister think the world is only a few thousand years old --wasn't God clever with that fossil record.

 

LOL! I'm reading "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" again. Have you read it?

 

There's this planet with WAY advanced technology that makes planets for people who want a custom planet to live on.

 

Turns out, they made the planet earth.

 

Recently, our current planet earth is destroyed by a group of intergallactic real estate developers. So this advanced race decides to make a new one. (I am skipping a lot of detail here.)

 

The reader walks in on the planet being made, pretty much as the makers are burying fake dinosaur bones. You get the impression they are doing so mostly to mess with the future human inhabitants. :D Maybe you could tell your sister about this theory and see what she thinks of it?

 

Fox claims that most of thsi got started with St. Augistine.

 

Here's a quote I found that sums it up:

Saint Augustine appealed to the Pauline-apocalyptic understanding of the forgiveness of sin, but he also included the notion that sin is transmitted from generation to generation by the act of procreation.

 

He took this idea from 2nd-century theologian Tertullian, who actually coined the phrase original sin. Medieval theologians retained the idea of original sin, and it was asserted by 16th-century Protestant reformers, primarily Martin Luther and John Calvin.

 

Anyway, I have no problem saying we are all sinners (I am not really into that as my mantra), that we all fall short and so forth.

 

I agree, if by sin we mean we sometimes do bad things to each other and to this planet.

 

But, now that I think about it, I really hate the word "sin" because of all the baggage that has come to be associated with the term.

 

(Raises a question: Do we sin to establish independence from God? Alas I am giving myself a headache. :-))

 

Sin to establish independence from God is definitely found in esoteric Jewish and Christian thought (especially Gnosticism). I find it intriguing, but a little TOO hidden.

 

And is this idea that we will inevidedably sin, different than saying we have a sin nature, or that we have "fallen".

 

First we have to define what acts or lack of acts are considered sinful.

 

If someone believes (perhaps like your sister), that BREATHING is a sinful act :rolleyes: than yes, we all sin.

 

But like I said above, that is "original sin", which I reject.

 

If you follow the STRICT Jewish definition of sin, then wearing cloth of mixed fibers is a sin, because disobeying any law in the Torah is a sin.

 

All humans "sin". Even if it is something as simple as yelling at someone who didn't deserve to be yelled at. But much of what is defined by religion as "sin", isn't sinful, imo. I guess that's why I don't much care for the term.

 

If God created us, he/she supposedly allowed us to be created with a inherent sinful nature, why the heck did God do that?

 

As I mentioned in the other thread, I believe that the very nature of reality is "libertarian free will" (or radical free will). I don't believe we have an inherrant sinful nature. I do believe we have choices.

 

Of course it nicely justifies Jesus' necessity, but I still don't like the idea that the Awesome God creates a Nasty Populous.

 

I don't think Jesus was born to atone for original sin. I don't believe in substitutionary sacrifice. I don't believe God would require such an act. It's sick, imo.

 

It was brought up in another thread that Jesus wasn't sent or asked to atone for mankind. But maybe, once he was here, he volunteered? I haven't explored that idea much. To me, it begs the question: What did he volunteer to fix? Original sin? I reject that. Karma? My jury is still out on Karma.

 

 

I believe Jesus was a mystic, a healer, a teacher and a social prophet. I do believe following "the way" that Jesus taught can lead us to a life fully immersed in God. I think Christianity is more about a "Way" than about dogma or belief.

 

Aletheia

Thanks are in order to St. Paul and St. Augustine for, well, screwing things up. I'm not sure but wasn't St. Augustine responsible for setting Mary Magdeline up as The Sinner?

 

I don't think the term "fall" is in the Bible nor is sin-nature.

 

>"Eating" of the tree did not make them mortal. "Eating" of the tree did not give them free will. They were already mortal and already had free will. And they certainly did NOT pass on sin and death to their descendants.

 

Eating the tree didn't give them free will because if it had they would not have been able to eat from it. A bolt of lightening would have come down. Or God would have grabbed them by their clavicles or fig leaves or something. I think they did not become mortal that way because they were made of dust and ribs, that's pretty mortal stuff. And sin, well if they disobeyed God then easily their children could have too. (In fact, their kids didn't turn out so well.)

 

>I've met him ya know. Matt Fox. I attended a workshop that he did, here in Utah. Really nice man. I would love to go to one of the Techno Masses. They sound way cool. It's his way of trying to involve the youth in something that can open their hearts to God. It's his way of helping them to experience mysticism.

 

 

I met him too, though at a conference with lots of other people. As for the Techno masses, well I'm not a youth anymore. He might of lost me, but I don't think he is all wrong for it.

And yes, I have read "Hitchhiker's Guide". :-)

As for Luther and Paul, the idea of saving by grace, nice idea, but then you have to have original sin. I agree with the idea of grace, but I guess I interpret that differently.

Grace being a gift from God-- it's God's presence in our lives in real ways, vs something given to us by Jesus dying on the cross.

 

>But, now that I think about it, I really hate the word "sin" because of all the baggage that has come to be associated with the term.

 

Yes, I tend to avoid it. I was using it here for argument sake but I really think it comes with lots of baggage both as to what is concidered a sin if you are one of those fundies and the whole sin nature thing. Doing wrong is ok (well I mean the term!), doing evil (except if they get into all that exocerism stuff), etc. I definitely do not agree with Leviticus on sin or that breathing is a sin(shudder). Just things like the following: we will all almost invariable lie (some of which might not be a sin), we aren't always good to each other as we should be, we are all at times hypocritical, etc. that sort of thing. And some of this is covered in the Bible and some is not.

 

Now I think the catch comes, are we all so bad/sinful that Jesus would need to die on the cross for us? That's something I don't buy. I also have trouble believing my sister goes to heaven while the godless Dali lama burns in hell. I don't believe in hell as an actual location either.

 

>I don't think Jesus was born to atone for original sin. I don't believe in substitutionary sacrifice. I don't believe God would require such an act. It's sick, imo.

 

Yes, when Jesus died "for the sins of the world", I have always interpreted that to mean that he got the establishment so p**** that they murdered him. I have never felt that meant original sin. The establishment was pretty much the world or the world they knew of anyway.

 

>Was Jesus just a man? Was he divine? An avatar? I haven't decided yet.

 

Definitely an avatar :-)

 

I also think that fundamentalist faith puts all cards in the crucifixation box. Jesus might have said the things he did, but they weren't as important as his life or teachings. I put it in reverse order. Jesus died BECAUSE of his life and teachings. He was a threat..

 

--des

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We sound like we believe the same things. Cool.

 

wasn't St. Augustine responsible for setting Mary Magdeline up as The Sinner?

 

I don't know. Anyone know the answer? I'll probably go Google it.

 

Eating the tree didn't give them free will because if it had they would not have been able to eat from it.

 

Exactly! But isn't it funny how many Christian sects teach that, until they ate of the tree, the didn't have the knowlege of "good and evil".

 

Some groups teach that they had free will first (like my old church), but many teach that it was the act of eating that GAVE them the free will to do evil. LOL.

 

>>>I've met him ya know. Matt Fox.

 

I met him too, though at a conference with lots of other people.

 

We had a very small group, maybe 30-50. One of the advantages of living in Utah is when "alternative" Christian thinkers come to town, not many of the Mormons go. :rolleyes:

 

As for Luther and Paul, the idea of saving by grace, nice idea, but then you have to have original sin. I agree with the idea of grace, but I guess I interpret that differently.

 

Yup. Like I said. No original sin, no need for "salvation".

 

I, too, interpret Grace differently.

 

I don't believe in hell as an actual location either.

 

Me either. That's one good thing that the JW's did for me. Oh, and meeting my husband too. ;)

 

Yes, when Jesus died "for the sins of the world", I have always interpreted that to mean that he got the establishment so p**** that they murdered him.

 

I agree. He was a radical. A reformer. A social prophet. He stirred things up and made people think. Some people liked what he had to say, some didn't. Those that didn't had him executed.

 

Aletheia

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On a lighter note, anyone remember the commercial from the 1980's where an old woman falls to the floor and yells: "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"

 

Was it an ad for Wendy's?

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No, that was an ad for some alert system for seniors. Wendy's had "where is the beef"?

 

 

--des

 

 

>On a lighter note, anyone remember the commercial from the 1980's where an old woman falls to the floor and yells: "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"

 

Was it an ad for Wendy's?

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On a lighter note, anyone remember the commercial from the 1980's

 

LOL! :lol:

 

OK. I'll take the hint.

 

Anybody have any favorite show tunes they'd like to share?

 

"The love boat, soon will be taking another run. The love boat, promises something for everyone...."

 

Aletheia

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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>We sound like we believe the same things. Cool.

 

One nice thing about this board vs UCC board. You don't have to defend your beliefs. I think you get deeper discussion. When all you do is debate discussions become arguments and everyone is a bit defensive.

 

>Exactly! But isn't it funny how many Christian sects teach that, until they ate of the tree, the didn't have the knowlege of "good and evil".

 

Yeah, it doesn't make sense. God tells you "no, don't touch that tree". And then they go out and eat from it, disobeying a direct order from God. If they didn't have free will how could they disobey anything? And if they didn't know evil how could they disobey God?

 

I find all sorts of silly things in that story on the literal level, on an allegorical level though something else. I don't know how these literalists make any sense of the Bible at all!

My sister has some interesting comments though. I asked her (she's very wealthy, unlike me) what about Jesus saying "give all you have to the poor". Oh no, that's just meant for one guy, that isnt' meant for everybody. Well then why are the say the letters of Paul meant for everybody, weren't they written for a specific group at a specific time? Oh no, these apply. And they say they don't interpret!

 

>Some groups teach that they had free will first (like my old church), but many teach that it was the act of eating that GAVE them the free will to do evil. LOL.

 

So ok they only had free will to do good. How is that free will? And if God says "don't do it" it was ok to do it? Hey I'm not one to do everything everyone tells me to but still...

:-)

 

 

--des

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Maybe it can be liken to the police telling people not to try and cross flooded cross roads with their cars while it's raining. If a person chooses cross anyways and gets in trouble...Does that mean it's the police fault or the person who chooses to cross the flooded stream?

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Oh yes! But all that is wrong with the Christian Fundamental's wrong interpretations of the Bible CAN be traced back to St. Augistine.  In my classes at college on Surverys of Western religions we learned that St. Augistine was the one who promoted the following anti-social justices into the church...That he was the one who promted:

 

1.  Hellfire threats

 

2. The idea that the earth is evil

 

3.  The idea that women are all Jezbels and thus deserve no equality what-so-ever.

 

I am am sure there are more to add to the list but this is just for starters...

Before I start my post, I'll declare myself. I am 23 years old, I am a convert to the Catholic Church. Basically, I believe most of the stuff that the majority (from my experience) of the posters here disagree with. No offense is intended although I do admit that I like stirring a pot. So that's fair warning.

 

I'll start by saying that you (BreahOfEden and the posters who agreed with you) offer no evidence about the above statements. Before saying that someone did something, especially someone as influential and well known as Saint Augustine, you should name some sources, and quote him if possible. It's all well and good to make some general sweeping assertions but it isn't very reasonable.

 

Some other posters have said that the concept of Original Sin is foreign to Scripture (Christian or Jewish), I would offer the following passages as rebuttal.

 

All Scriptural quotations taken from the Douay-Rheims Translation which can be found at www.scriptours.com.

 

Genesis 3:16-19

 

16 To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee.

17 And to Adam he said: Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee, that thou shouldst not eat, cursed is the earth in thy work: with labour and toil shalt thou eat thereof all the days of thy life.

18 Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herbs of the earth.

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.

 

We see here God is punishing Adam and Eve for what they did and we also see some of the punishments (v 16-17). But that isn't all, in the second part fo verse 17 God tells Adam that "cursed is the earth in thy work", God tells us that EVERYTHING is now cursed (tainted) by this particular sin (the Original Sin or the Fall). This curse is fully explained in verse 19 when the Lord tells Adam that "for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return." This idea of death (something which all humans are destined to experience) being the result of Original Sin is something that Saint Paul devotes much space and time to writing about (but I'm getting ahead of myself).

 

The second Scripture I would like for you to consider is from the Book of Psalms (50:7)

 

7 For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.

 

David tells us that even though he turned out to be chosen by God to be King of Isreal, even he was conceived in sin (ie: he was in sin from the first moment of his existence [conception]).

 

The third passage is from Job (14:1,4)

 

1 Man born of a woman, living for a short time, is filled with many miseries.

4 Who can make him clean that is conceived of unclean seed? is it not thou who only art?

 

Job writes that "Man born of woman" (v 1) lives "a short time" (that Death thing we saw in Genesis). He also asks God who can make "him" (v 4) (man born of woman, see v 1) "clean". He also notes that "man born of woman" (v 1) is "conceived of unclean seed" (v 4), how can even the seed of a man be unclean without Original Sin?

 

Moving along to Christian Scriptures,

 

Romans 5:14-19

 

14 But death reigned from Adam unto Moses, even over them also who have not sinned, after the similitude of the transgression of Adam, who is a figure of him who was to come.

15 But not as the offence, so also the gift. For if by the offence of one, many died: much more the grace of God and the gift, by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

16 And not as it was by one sin, so also is the gift. For judgment indeed was by one unto condemnation: but grace is of many offences unto justification.

17 For if by one man's offence death reigned through one; much more they who receive abundance of grace and of the gift and of justice shall reign in life through one, Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as by the offence of one, unto all men to condemnation: so also by the justice of one, unto all men to justification of life.

19 For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners: so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just.

 

Why is that if Original Sin does not exist, "death reigned from Adam unto Moses, even over them also who have not sinned" (v 14)? or that Saint Paul took such pains to explain that through one man (Adam) "many died" (v 15), that "judgement was by one unto condemnation (v 16)? or that "by one man's offense death reigned through one" (v 17)? "Therefore, as by the offence of one, unto all men to condemnation" (v 18 )? or finally "For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners" (v 19).

 

Saint Paul also writes in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22,

 

21 For by a man came death: and by a man the resurrection of the dead.

22 And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

 

Saint Paul tells us that through one man (Adam) came death (v 21), and all in "in Adam... die" (v 22)

 

Please also consider Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 1-3,

 

1 And you, when you were dead in your offences and sins,

2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of this air, of the spirit that now worketh on the children of unbelief:

3 In which also we all conversed in time past, in the desires of our flesh, fulfilling the will of the flesh and of our thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:

 

Paul tells us that without Christ we are dead in our "offenses and sins" (v 1), before Christ we "walked according to the course of this world" (v 2). The reason for this, though, is not only our personal sin, but as Paul tells in verse 3, we "were by nature children of wrath" [emphasis mine]. By describing "wrath" as our "nature" (v 3), Saint Paul shows us that in the very core of our beings, without Christ we are sinful (not through something we did, but because it is part of Man since the fall).

 

As far as the term "Fall" not being used for original sin, the argument is spurious at best. There are plenty of ideas and words found in the Scriptures which are routinely rejected by posters here (and many authors they admire) because of personal taste (from what I can see), so it doesn't really follow that you can demand a particular word to be in Scripture for the teaching to be true. Secondly, as a term, it is short hand for the theology based on passages which I have cited above and their intersection with the philosophy of much more learned men than myself who were given responsibilities (and abilities) by God to teach and preserve certain things within the Church.

 

 

This ended up being longer than I had hoped for, but there you have it. Feel free to explain to me why my exegis, quotes, or understandings are wrong.

 

pax Christi

jamesAMDG

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James,

 

You've established an excellent bibilical context for the concept of 'original sin'. Thanks for that. To understand what that means to many folks on this board you have to understand that as progressives we do not take the Bible as a whole entity that is inerrant and authoritative. So what you've established (at least for me) is that the concept of original sin was deeply entrenched in the culture from which those writings emerged. What the writers have observed is real, but their perspective of it (I suspect) is their own.

 

 

All,

 

Having said that, I do believe that humanity fell and that the Adam and Eve Story describes that fall. It describes that oldest possible human thought: the first conscious thought. The Fall is the story of the human animal becoming different than other animals with the dawning of individual consciousness and free will. The Fall is a way of talking about the process by which humans came to see themselves as separate from God and the Universe. I don't believe it was a punishment, but it has had some pretty painful consequences.

 

(Just some general sweeping assertions pulled together from nameless books, sermons, discussions, and personal thoughts) :P

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The words "original sin" are not found in the Jewish or Christian Scriptures.

 

Jew's have no concept of original sin, but they do believe in sin and punishment.

 

Gen 3:16-19 - Eve has her "birth pangs" increased for disobedience. Adam is told the "ground is cursed" because of him and that "by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground" from which you were taken.

 

God did not say: "Every woman is cursed because of you. All women will now have childbirth pains (where they wouldn't have any pangs before)."

 

God did not say: "All the ground is cursed for all eternity because of you. And Oh! You were immortal but now you're not."

 

Adam and Eve disobeyed and were punished. They lived their lives "East of Eden" in toil and hardship.

 

The second Scripture I would like for you to consider is from the Book of Psalms (50:7)

 

Actually, it's Psalms 51:5 - "Indeed I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me."

 

David, lamenting his sin with Bathsheba. An expression of the guilt-prone nature of humanity.

 

Job 14:1-5 - "A mortal, born of a woman, few of days and full of trouble, comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last. Do you fix your eyes on such a one? Do you bring me into judgement with you? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one can. Since there days are determined, and the number of their months is known to you, and you have appointed the bounds they cannot pass."

 

Job, wondering if a mortal man, finite in nature, can be known by God. "Can I be made clean in your eyes and no longer a sinful mortal?"

 

I thought these scriptures were interesting:

 

Deut. 24:16 - "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin."

 

2 Kings 14:6 - But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin."

 

Ezek. 18:20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

 

Ezek.33:20, "Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways."

 

Jer. 31:29-30 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge."

 

I never contested that the concept of original sin is taught by Paul in the Christian Scriptures, so I won't go there.

 

And like Fatherman said (and I said earlier), I believe the Genesis account to be allegorical anyway. I take the Bible seriously, but not literally. :D

 

Aletheia

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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James,

 

I'm not so much for argument as I have seen pretty clearly that no one really convinces anybody of anything. Most of us come from traditions such as yours (or have at least looked into them) and moved away from them, so it's not like we don't know them. I just looked this one over, but if you really like debating Christianity there is a forum that does just that:

http://debatingchristianity.com/forum/index.php

I think there are others where you can exclusive debate liberals.

 

I don't know how others feel but I think we have deeper discussions as we aren't always trying to defend our position. I hope that was said diplomatically enough, as I believe anyone is welcome to participate.

 

Now to some actual comments:

 

First of all, from glancing at the various scriptural contexts, I see a LOT of stuff about women and basically why the suffering in pregnancy. In my view, this was a big question to the ancients.They didn't realize stuff that we know today about pregnancy so they were forced to figure it out somehow. And when most early people tried to explain suffering they used blame, well it is woman's fault somehow. They also had to explain why there is suffering in the world period. Adam and Eve, as far as I'm concerned, is mythology to explain why things happened the way they did.

 

I think the term of "original sin" even if implied in the Bible, is given emphasis in some theologies more than others. The term isn't used, nor is "sin nature". There are other things that are written "God saw everything and it was good" (I think written after the Genesis two account), that might imply something different if given different emphasis. Also as far as I know, Jews do not ever believe in original sin. They do believe in sin. But there is a difference imo. So if the statements on "original sin" were entirely clear and unambigious, you would expect Jews to believe in it too. Your comments on the Fall as a story of when humans first became aware of themselves as different and as somehow separate from God and the Universe provides food for thought, Fatherman.

 

The other comment is that I agree that Progressives are do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. I believe the Bible was written by men who were sometimes inspired, sometimes confused, sometimes interested in Law, and is at many times quite contradictory.

 

 

--des

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Well this *is* the debate section, so he is posting in the right place. James' (?) post is pretty respectful of other viewpts. The point is that there is no attempts to convert according to the rules set forth. I guess I have a lot of experience (ie with my sister) of people who begin with making respectful statements and questions when their end motive is conversion. But I am giving James' the benefit of doubt that he would just like to engage in some friendly debate/ discussion, though it is difficult. I don't think you have to sign an oath of loyalty to Progressive Christianity or something. :-)

 

I just stated my personal feelings on this sort of debate that is basically to change someone else's mind (ie no party can ever change on this as we see things from a totally different world view). IF the Bible is considered inerrant and literally true and I see it as a book by men (yes men), then our views will be so dynamically opposed to each other that we could never share any commonalities. For example, on UCC.org we just had a rather long discussion on if the Bible was to be taken literally. We wound up with long and rather winded posts that basically just said things like: The Bible is to be taken literally, God can do miracles, it doesn't matter if there are inconsistencies as they just seem to be there.

To the other side saying that somethings were ludricrous from a literal standpoint. (There was a funny one on Noah's ark re how many space each animal would have.) That there were serious inconsistencies and that myth can be truth. But no one ever came closer to anyone's views.

 

 

Just my 1.99 ¢ --fwiw. :-)

 

 

 

--des

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"Before I start my post, I'll declare myself. I am 23 years old, I am a convert to the Catholic Church. Basically, I believe most of the stuff that the majority (from my experience) of the posters here disagree with. No offense is intended although I do admit that I like stirring a pot. So that's fair warning."

 

So would you discribe yourself as a "Progressive Catholic"? Or a Fundamental Catholic? Cause there are Progressive Catholics as well as Progressive Protestants and so on and as for me I welcome all Progressive christia from all religious backgrounds.

 

"I'll start by saying that you (BreahOfEden and the posters who agreed with you) offer no evidence about the above statements. Before saying that someone did something, especially someone as influential and well known as Saint Augustine, you should name some sources, and quote him if possible. It's all well and good to make some general sweeping assertions but it isn't very reasonable."

 

I'll will give you the background information. I took this class in the Fall of 2000. Most all of the students in the class were not well informed on bibical research. However, there was this one women I met in her 50's from Sweden who told me she was raised Catholic. The previous evening we had done our reading from our religious textbook and within that chapter was a piece on St.Austine. After both of us having read this, the Swedish Catholic women turned to me and said, "Oh! (in her thick Swedish accent) That Austine was a real jerk! He influenced the church with hellfire!" And I said, "And also the idea that the fall of man was all women's fault." "Yes! Precisely!" she replied. Now, what book was this? Well, I liked our text book SO well that instead of returning it for my money return at the end of the semester I chose to keep it. It is called, "Experiencing The World's Religion, Tradition, Change & Challenge," By Michael Moly. It is published by the Mayfield Publishing Company which can be found here

Mayfield Publishing Company

 

As far as the Fall of man and original sin concept....There is the Calvinistic view of salvation for only the elite but then there is also the more Progressive view known as conditionalism, which I subscribe to.

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Well this *is* the debate section, so he is posting in the right place.

 

LOL Des. :lol:I knew that, which is why I thought it strange that you seemed to suggest that James go to another board to debate.

 

I was pointing it out that he is in the right place.

 

I need to work on my irony skills I guess.

 

Aletheia ;)

 

PS: Is "no converting attempts" in the forum rules? (I haven't read them. Sshhhh, don't tell.) :o

 

How do you debate beliefs without coming across like you're trying to convert I wonder?

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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Well Alethia, if you look over there they have more knock out drag out debates than we do. I didn't know what James is looking for after all. You can even try to proselitize and convert if you want to (not sure how much good it would do). So that's why I suggested it, in case, James likes that kind of discussion (which I don't know), he said "likes to stir the pot".

I'm not sure I know just to what extent he means.

 

Some people really really like religious debates (I know some personally)-- so if you really do it's great over there. They also have some ground rules so it isn't total chaos. Here since we mostly share the same theology, the debates are more discussions, which I prefer. I see others are doing a nice job on this, like Fatherman.

 

Yes, I was taking you a little literally. I think since I am (high functioning) autistic, you'd have to *really* do irony well. I don't get it too quick.

 

Quote from the rules right over your head : "So here it is. Got a bone to pick? Got an opinion to spout? Have at it, but beware... We will continue to delete posts in all areas of the boards - including this one - that we do not feel are presented in a manner that is respectful of other viewpoints, or seeks to convert, or coerce, or attack."

As I said, I just got off of ucc.org where there was a bit too much coersion and attack, if not attempts to conversion (ucc is mostly liberal but there are more fundie elements). I also came from my sister trying to convert me, so I am, maybe, less up for this sort of thing than others. She is as much fun as a train wreck. :-)

 

Since James was respectful he was well within the rules, as long as his aim is not to convert us heathens. :-)

 

 

 

 

--des

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Des,

 

I'm sorry.

 

I was trying to be silly. :unsure:

 

I think I'm a pretty nice person and I often see the humor in any given situation.

 

I thought you and I had gotten off on the right foot and so I felt good about teasing a little. I didn't mean to offend.

 

Aletheia

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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So what you've established (at least for me) is that the concept of original sin was deeply entrenched in the culture from which those writings emerged.  What the writers have observed is real, but their perspective of it (I suspect) is their own.

Put another way: What you've established (at least for me) is that the concept of progressive Christianity is deeply entrenched in the culture from which your writings emerge. What you have observed is real, but your perspective of it (I suspect) is your own.

 

We don't want to commit the genetic fallacy. We all have experiences and perspectives within a particular culture, but that doesn't prevent us from finding truth. The question is then: who is right? I submit that the Jewish "culture" in many ways was more aligned with God's will than our own culture, since God had been specifically revealing Himself to the Jewish people for millenia and "grooming" them for the arrival of the Messiah. Since the concept of original sin is prevalent in their Scriptures which they regarded as holy and God-given, I believe they had a more accurate assessment of humanity's condition than our "enlightened" selves do now. Paul, a good Jew, also believed in original sin. He was also accepted by the Apostles (who had themselves been witnesses to everything Jesus taught and did) as a legitimate Apostle based on his encounter with Christ and subsequent writings. Therefore, I'm much more inclined to believe those with first- or second-hand knowledge of the "Source" (Jesus), rather than experiences or beliefs 2000 years later that have been influenced by various religions and philosophies.

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Des,

 

I'm sorry.

 

I was trying to be silly. :unsure:

 

I think I'm a pretty nice person and I often see the humor in any given situation.

 

I thought you and I had gotten off on the right foot and so I felt good about teasing a little. I didn't mean to offend.

 

Aletheia

Oh gee, Aletheia. Not to worry. I think you are very nice and your posts are wonderful. I also mostly agree with you, so you are obviously exceedingly brilliant. :-)

Although I have a good sense of humor, I am, what people say, pretty literal on things people say. So I naturally assumed you were serious. So I was going "debate section, well we are in the debate section what's she talking about." I am way too used to being autistic

to be bothered about this.(I believe autism-- at least the high functioning sort-- to be as much a gift as a disability, but that's a whole other story.) I was NOT at all offended.

You can still tease me, but I just might not get it.

 

I did think maybe you *were* confused about why i sent him somewhere else (or at least suggested he might look somewhere else). I do think some people LOVE arguing religion and politics. That someone would not be me, but they do exist. There are better forums for arguing than this one. For example, in some they will actually argue back!

 

So anyway, again I was not at all offended. Just literal. It is a puzzle to some people esp. initially. So no apology is needed.

 

 

--des

I seem to be literal about everything but the Bible. Wonder how that happened?? That's an irony I definitely get. :-)

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Humbling words, DCJ.

 

Yes, this really brings up the issue of discernment. We have to start with the assumption that the writers of the Bible were centered on Truth. What they experienced, observed, and felt has Truth as its core.

 

Imagine that Truth is like the center of an onion. Every layer of the onion is, in fact, a part of the onion. Every layer is both connected to and removed by the core by 0 to many layers. (gee this is a crappy metaphor!) The discernment of Truth involves identifying the layers and working our way to the core. When I meditate, whether on a specific Truth or just Truth itself I first do a little exercise where I imagine that I'm removing every layer of me (computer programmer, singer, father, husband, Christian, anxiety, ego, man, human, form) until I am right at the core (or just nothing). Here I can experience Truth. Likewise, when I study the Bible, I want to identify as many of the layers (culture, purpose of the writing, form of the writing, nature of the writer, relationship of the writer to the subject, etc.). Some of the writers (Paul for example) seem to have fewer layers than others. Paul seemed to live a life so in tune with Truth, so close to the core that the Truth is more easily discerned. With Paul, I consider his Jewish background, his connection with Greek culture, who he is writing to, and his mission.

 

DCJ, you are correct in pointing out that the writers were much closer to the events, people, and experiences that they were recording, but this doesn't exempt us from the responsibility of our own limited discernment.

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Actual Fatherman (the child is fatherman to the ...??) I don't think an onion is a bad analogy. If you think of it no analogy is perfect. It's one Jesus might have liked if he around a group of chefs instead of fisherman. :-)

 

I think, yes, that all the writers (with the exception of some of the Leviticus and similar scripture which was really only about Law) is about seeking the Truth.

The thing is it is not always easy to tell what those layers are.

 

For some of the Gospels, it might be (as I learned in Bible classes in college-- not sure what to think of these, as they were at a CS colllege) but anyway they made sense that they were all writing to different audiences. So that in one (?) it was more written for the common person (or as common as one who would read at the time). so there are the more folksy references to stables, and so on. Then one was to those who were watching for God's sign that this was indeed the Messiah, so there are lots of references to Issah. And references that we are sure to notice, like "as was written". And so forth. So there

is the layer of audience. I would think this is true of Paul as well, as he was writing for specific groups. So he mihgt have a layer of who he is trying to get attention to while he writes. This is the layer you call "relationship of writer to subject". I think it is that plus this actual thing of trying to influence the subjects.

 

Another layer might be that the concept of God evolves from the wrathful more manlike to a more loving God. In the earlier scripture, God causes floods and does other things to get rid of bad people or to isolate and protect good people. When we get to the NT we see Jesus talking to God as Abba (papa). I can't imagine Papa sending a flood.

 

But aside from layers we have what might be termed myth to get across a certain idea or perhaps to explain certain things. I think this is where the flood comes from. It would also explain both Genesis stories, which are different in the idea of creation. The first one is quite

succinct. God does this in 6 days, rests the seventh and everything is good.

In the second one, God walks about, he relates directly to his creation and the creation names other creatures, and eventually fowls up. Everything is clearly not "good". There is a talking serpent. There is a tree of Good and Evil, and the folks are temptable and listen to bad snakes. :-)

 

The culture layer isn't entirely understood. Certainly not accepted by Fundamentalists at all.

(In Fundamentalism the Bible is WYSIWYG. :-)) Paul was a male living in, well not sure exactly when, but a long time ago. He obviously hadn't heard of women's rights (or knew anything about the evils of slavery-- the only thing he worried about was that in God's kingdom there was no slave or free, male or female). I saw something about history where they were talking about judging the individuals for their own time and place. (ie not saying Jefferson was a bad guy as he had slaves.) I suppose the same applies to Paul. The trouble I have with it, is some of his more cultural established views, get translated by Truth by people who take them literally.

 

Yes, they were closer to the events, but that doesn't mean they didn't have their own culture that created its own biases and their own agenda (and gee, I don't mean that in an evil sinister way... but if they wanted us to pay attention to fulfilment of prophesy, say.)

 

 

 

--des

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"How do you debate beliefs without coming across like you're trying to convert I wonder?"

 

I think THIS forum IS a GREAT place to see that. For example we have one Progressive Christian who believes in a view of Christianity that also compliments Hindu thought. This person shares their view on this with passion. But when they are explaing this, "I" do not feel they are tring to get me to join a Hidnu+Christian Liberal Church. We have another Progressive christian here who's millennial view is that the book of Revelation is based on past things that have already occured instead the future. They have explained their position of this of which I have found greatly interesting and then there is me, A progressive Christian who millennial belifs closely match Hopi Native American. The three of us may different on our millennial views and also each of our own discription on what we each believe Jesus being the relm of God is..and yet all three of us find agreement on the 8 points of Progressive Christianity and that's what we all hold in commom. None of us think the other is not saved simply because they hold a different interpretation then ourselves..and that IS what differs US from fundamentalists..which i think is GREAT :)

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