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← A shameful Thought for the Day

Letsbereasonable's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by Letsbereasonable

Comment 6 by Richard Dawkins :

I think it is a great shame that Professor Dawkins can not just allow Christians one day of harmless celebration without saying unpleasant things about them

This is typical of the many attacks on the Guardian website. They all say something like this. Not a single one can think of any counter argument to what I actually SAID about original sin. If you look at what is "unpleasant" in my article, it is the doctrine of original sin itself. I didn't need to say anything unpleasant ABOUT it. It speaks for itself. Richard

I'm no theologian, obviously, but isn't Original Sin just a religious rationalisation of the fact that, while we are all born innocently disposed enough at the time, we are nevertheless born with the capacity to do future evil? Is not this capacity encoded within our genome at conception? In this sense, then, can we not say that we are born with 'sin'.

The Christian religion had to come up with an explanation for why people born 'in the image of God' have the capacity to be complete assholes. As with every other pre-Enlightenment religious explanation, that of this innate moral duality has had to back off in the face of scientific progress, especially in genetics. Unfortunately for Christians it's another piece of rational awkwardness, like that of the Resurrection, that they can't back-off from too far since it is central to their Faith.

I don't want summarily to rubbish everything the Christians say because I don't like the notion of miracles or the idea of angels, but most of their 'explanations' are rooted in some species of pragmatic rationalisation - derived from ancient Jewish wisdoms in the main - that bears at least some relevance to practical reality.

Are we born evil? Or do we, in the words of Oscar Hammerstein II, also not a theologian, "have to be taught"?

Apart from that, Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone.

Fri, 24 Dec 2010 17:20:22 UTC | #568488