On who’s authority can you or any other Christian say that what a Christian says is sin affects all of humanity?
Yeah, those are good questions, and I think why Adam & Eve are important to some people.
My understanding is that it’s just a part of the Christian worldview - an explanation as to why a good God coexists with a fallen humanity, as described in the biblical story. I certainly don’t think it would make much sense to a non-Christian (except perhaps Jewish people since they share the same scripture around the Fall).
I have an issue for claiming human nature is sinful, immoral, unethical. Human nature is something that evolved over a million years with humanity, culture and society.
There apparently are no answers, though.
I think that Genealogical Adam & Eve maybe puts a different spin on that, I’m not entirely sure. As I’m reading it, it’s saying that human nature evolving over millions of years and something “different” happening in the Fall (original sin) are not mutually exclusive. It would only be problematic if the sin nature was genetic or biological in nature.
How can a GAE of a few thousands years have any impact on human nature that has been evolving for 2 million years?
I’m not sure, I just really don’t want to speak out of turn with too many speculations. I’m not a theologian by any stretch of the imagination.
I’ve mostly been content with looking at the world around me, where injustice and pain and grief and selfishness are all so common. I know I want to be a better person than I am. I’m not sure if that’s original sin or not, but for me personally, it’s made sense for why Jesus sacrificed himself on my behalf.
Original sin isn’t talking about the origins of human nature, but a corruption of it. Christians have disagreed as to the depth/extent of that corruption, but it’s not talking about the origins of what it means to be human. If you look at the biblical account, it says that humanity was created in God’s image before the fall.
I agree with you on this 100%. If you need a faith belief to do this that’s okay. But there are a lot of really good people who don’t need a faith in order to be good, moral, just and tolerant.
Absolutely, I’ve been in churches much too long to believe that Christians somehow have monopoly on morals. In fact, there are some glaring examples when it was quite the opposite, as my atheist friends like to point out.
I am concerned about the intolerance, injustices, immorality coming FROM the churches now more than ever.
Really? How is Jesus dying supposed to make you a better person?
Gosh, doctrine of original sin and atonement theory? Yikes.
There are many different views on what the death of Jesus acommolished (I’m making the assumption it happened here) but they mostly center around the idea of reconciliation with God. Sin causes a break in relationship between God and the world, and specifically people. For the Christian this explains things like injustice, suffering, and evil in the world. So Jesus’ death and resurrection are seen as our path to “at one ment” (atonement) with a just God, restoring the broken relationship.
Here are a few of the most common ways Christians have understood what happened in Jesus’ death:
- Christus Victor - the power of Satan/Evil is defeated by Jesus’ death and victory over death (resurrection)
- satisfaction theory - Jesus’s death was as a substitute to satisfy God’s just anger towards sin.
- example theory - Jesus died to set an example of selfless love and as a validation of his moral teachings (turn the other cheek, etc).
For me personally, I think all of the above are true to varying extents. But more importantly, I find Jesus to be compelling. I think my life is better with him than without him, I think he taught good moral things that I want to incorporate into my own life, and I sense God’s love in the act of sacrifice, laying down his life for mine so that I can have a restored relationship with God.
I’m sure that doesn’t satisfy your question, but it’s the best I can do.
For me personally, I think all the above are just silly, though the last is a bit less so and the middle one (substitutionary atonement) a lot more so.
I am glad it works for you. Does your morality, ethics, and values change as you live in a changing world? What would change your beliefs, morals, ethics, and values?
Of course, I just wanted to give you a feel for how Christians look at that specific issue. It’s a bit hard because it’s multiple ideas that get wrapped together (sin, nature of God, etc). If I just look at atonement theories isolated from the rest of Christian belief they would seem kinda nutty. But there’s quite a bit more to Christian theology that make atonement more coherent and rational. I don’t expect that to make it less silly to you.
This is a very good and deep question @Patrick, I’m sure I’m not able to answer it completely.
I’ve often wondered, if I lived in a different part of the country (say more southernly) and in a different time (say mid 1800’s), would I have a different view of people who don’t look like me? It’s repulsive to read about some of the things that happened in that time and place, but how would I know that I’d be different? Are my ethics, morality, and values a product of my time and place? To some extent, I’m sure they must be, we are often shaped by our experience and the world we live in.
I think your point maybe is that Christians might be stuck in two-millennia old ethics. I think that can be a danger if we aren’t careful with interpretation and study. I’ve seen people find a verse to justify near anything, that doesn’t mean it’s right. On the other hand, from what I’ve read of history, people are people and we tend to do the same dumb things. Oppression, slavery, injustice, selfishness, these things may look a little different on the surface from generation to generation, but I think they underneath the have a lot of the same root causes. I think that’s why the Bible is so timeless. It can tell us about who we are, about why the world is the way it is, and it can give hope that maybe it doesn’t always have to be that way. I know everybody doesn’t see it that way, but I think that’s a bit of the Christian story. Other’s may chime in, I certainly don’t have it all worked out.
Thank you for having reasonable expectations. I agree that I don’t see a way to make it less silly.
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