A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Progressive Case for Original Sin

This post is in response to Shuck and Jive's post on original sin and my own musings on the subject. His site always provokes religious ideas in me.

Given an evolutionary account of the world, there is no pre-fallen world to harken back to. There's no individual moment that the strife, problems came to be. Suppose original sin is not indicating origins but instead is a descriptive account of human life and the world?

Is it a helpful account? I'd like to make a progressive case that it can be because it situates our problem not in discrete acts but in structural causes that are larger than individual decision: they are the kinds of structures one is born into, perhaps race, class, etc?

Ephesians 6:12a "our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against authorities and powers, against the world-rulers of this dark night" We're not looking to blame individuals. Instead we're asked to look at something more far reaching and deep seated.

Because we're dealing with something structural that affects the human condition, we all fall under judgment. There's a commonality there that might induce humility, in our judgments of other people.

And maybe it's possible to get out the trap of moralism, that tries to find bad individuals or bad discrete acts, and instead asks how we all participate in systems that can be the source of injustice. Those kind of systems are harder to name and extricate ourselves from.

But if the church was about working on these injustices with others, cognizant we are all participants in them, we might be forced to confront difficult issues, not easily resolved, giving us an honest perplexity that would be refreshing in today's environment.

This is my first take on original sin. I'll post some further thoughts on it in the future. Also I have a friend who has written on the subject of original sin as it relates to gender injustice. She will be guest posting on that subject for Religious Liberal Blog.


At 4:12 PM , Blogger miranda said...

i don't actually believe in original sin. it was a choice, a good one, to bring experience into the world, and open the way of progression. no progression can be made in a state of paradise.

At 8:05 AM , Anonymous Michael S said...

I don't think I understood that comment, miranda. Did you just say you didn't believe in original sin, only to then say what original sin did in the next sentence?

At 5:32 PM , Anonymous Amalek said...

I am under the impression that even the Jews believe that the story of Adam, Eve and the talking snake is only allegory. The Old Testament is actually the first covenant, which had faults. If it had been faultless, then there would have been no need for the new covenant. According to the New Testament, the Old Testament is suppose to vanish away.


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