Rumraket Asks About Original Sin

I happen to think the very concept of transmission of original sin is unjust. I am being judged for, and unavoidably tainted by in the core of my very soul, events that purportedly took place before I even existed.

Even more absurdly, someone else (a person distinct from the one claimed to have been initially wronged) is purported to have forgiven me for these transgressions.


Well, I would agree that original sin is unjust. The fact that God did not create it is important, in my understanding. It was Adam who created original sin when he fell.

The fact of the matter is that what our ancestors did affects us. That is just the way the world works, and it is not fair. The point of the Gospel is that it doesn’t have to be this way. There could be a better way.

Yes, but I am being judged for it. Transmitting it to me without my permission is wrong, and then judging and holding me responsible for it is too.

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I did not say you were being judged for it. Who told you that?

What I am saying is that the sins of your ancestors affects you, and all of us. Do you somehow doubt this?

So I have not inherited the original sin, as in I am not judged guilty for it? Have I actually inherited this sin, as in I am now too guilty? Having inherited a sin is to say that I have sinned, I have done something wrong, and I am guilty of having done so.

If you don’t agree, then what do you even mean by inheritance of original sin?

But you’re saying more than that, aren’t you? That’s so vague so as to be almost meaningless.


I wrote two whole chapters explaining this in the book. How did you understand them?

I have not read your book so I do not have an understanding of how you use these terms.


Wait… are you blaming Christianity for Original Sin? Well, of course! It’s too dumb for words.
And I fought it tooth and nail (using the Eastern Orthodox as a sane comparison)… but once GAE was formulated, it stopped being a deal breaker.

Rum, did you really miss the dozen or so times I have explained this on these pages?

You can’t come to a Christian vs. Christian dialogue and trash Christianity. It doesn’t build trust … it doesn’t build bridges.

THATS why GAE was formulated!

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I don’t know what you mean by original sin. Other Christians have told me how they undertand it, and I have an understanding of that term from when I was a Christian myself, but it might not align with yours, or @Swamidass’.

With that understanding from my own time as a Christian, and from similar ideas expressed to me by various other Christians, I am saying I find the concept repugnant and unjust.

But I am an atheist, not a Christian any more. So since I don’t actually believe that there is such a thing as original sin that can be transgenerationally transmitted to others, I am not blaming anyone for it. I am expressing a criticism of the concept, and I am asking for clarification now that @Swamidass has responded that he apparently is using the term in a different way from how I have understood it.

Yes, completely. Can you link me one of your dozen explanations of the concept? The one you consider your best, if there is such a thing.

Well first of all it was not at any point made clear that this is exclusively a Christian vs Christian dialogue. But even so I do not agree that I am “trashing” Christianity. Saying that I find some concept within Christian thought to be unjust, or meaningless, or undefined, or repugnant, is not trashing Christianity in any meaningful sense of that word unless all I am doing is literally just to throw single-word invectives around. But I tried to at least briefly mention why I find it unjust. I had hoped someone saw this as a challenge to provide some sort of rebuttal, and explain to me how it isn’t actually unjust to tarnish someone else with guilt of having committed sins before they even existed.

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I agree with you here.

For a dozen reasons, I’d like pick up this conversation with you once you’ve had a chance to read what I’ve written on this topic.

I’m sorry but this does not make any sense.

To talk about “those outside the garden” is to talk about people who are located somewhere when some event took place. It’s in the very label. They are defined by their location in space and time, not their genealogical line of descent. Presumably the distinction is important because they are not those who were in the garden and doing the sinning.

Hence those that were in the garden and sinning, would be unjustly transmitting their sins(assuming this is how it works) to those outside the garden, when they ventured out and had children with them. Those children would still be outside the garden, not having actually participated in perpetrating the original sins. Thus to say they now share in the blame, or guilt, or responsibility for, or what you might call it, of having sinned, is to my eyes completely unjust. What is it they, the people outside the garden, actually did that now makes them sinners?

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Okay. I take that to be a suggestion that I should acquire and read your book.

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@Rumraket I think your questions are meaningful and valid. I don’t think you are trashing Christianity by raising these questions. I’ve been aware of questions like these for a long time, and put a lot of thought into how I could start making sense of this to someone like you.

It is also a large and expansive topic. So it is hard to really engage your questions meaningfully in ad hoc forum comments. That’s why I am pointing you to the book. I think these questions are important to you, for good reason, and that’s why it is worth reading the book.


This is why I never did accept the doctrine of original sin, even back when I was Christian.


Same here. And get this, I once dreamt that I understood in what way it was just, and woke up frustrated that I could not remember the specific contents of the dream and what the explanation was. Sort of like it had that quality of one of those optical illusions where if you focus on it directly it disappears, and only really stands out in your peripheral vision.

@Rumraket and @nwrickert (@swamidass )

From my Unitarian perspective, Augustine made a giant mess of the whole thing.

But there is no need to grind on this topic like we were in BioLogos.

The GAE scenario works with, or without, Original Sin. So really, it’s a giant red herring guaranteed to make heat … not light.

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Of note, I present a view of original sin that contrasts with Augustine in important ways.


Which is all well and good… but I don’t want you to think you are obligated to do so.

If you do it to please the Non-Creationists, you will not win points from the Creationists.

If you do it as a challenge, it would be good to remind your audiences that it has no bearing on the intrinsic validity of G.A.E.

@gbrooks9, it is important to be kind to atheists, even though they are not creationists. Many of them have been very kind to me.

I understand your frustration when they interrupt an exchange about how to engage with Christians with questions that seem like objections to Christianity as a whole. I welcome these questions, and so should you. We can manage this by asking them to raise their questions in separate threads. Look at how @Rumraket responded here. He has no problem with this.

To the extent that good faith questions are being asked, I have no objection. Let them come. Let’s just keep in mind that atheist-Christian questions might be best served in threads separate from Christian-Christian questions.



How can I do anything but agree. We should be kind to atheists (as well).
They DO have a burning desire to promote truth.

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