On Original Sin

Because of what happened in Eden
When humanity toppled from grace
Every man, every woman, each baby
Bears the sins of the whole human race

Now, I know there are men who are wicked
And some women have evil within
But I cannot see damning a baby
Cos it’s born with original sin…

But they tell me we all need forgiveness
For an act which we cannot atone
It’s a sin that we all share the blame for
But the cure is in Jesus alone

Every man, every woman, each baby
Bears a sin that we never incurred
And for which we’ll be tortured forever
Which is just (taking God at His word).

But we don’t have to make restitution
And there’s nothing we need to repay
When you speak of forgiveness with Jesus
Debts are paid in a whole different way

So a lifetime of sin doesn’t matter
Even babies are going to Hell
Now, they tell me this view is consistent…
It’s consistently evil, as well

And we pray to the Lord for forgiveness
And pretend that it’s more than mere wind
Cos it’s just His opinion that matters
Not the people against whom we’ve sinned

And our notions of morals are useless
Only God has the absolute view
But since God’s fine with torturing babies
Humanity’s values will do.

So a commenter is practicing apologetics on another post here, but as far as I can tell, it’s a festival of own goals, continuing to cede the high ground. Today’s verse is mostly in response to a brief statement, “It is not the (finite number of) sinful acts that God will judge but the sinfulness of our human nature that keeps us separated from Him.”

In context, this was a response to the notion of infinite punishment for finite crimes. Think about it, though–as evil as we might be in a lifetime, that’s irrelevant; it’s the mere fact of being human that makes us damnable. So, yeah, babies.

And the commenter doubles down a bit later, clarifying that it is “man’s sinful condition resulting from the fall that predisposes us towards sin, preventing us from living up to His standards.” To be clear, then, we are deemed worthy of Hell because of something someone else did. Now, I had an ancestor who was an outlaw (if family historians are to be believed); to assert that, say, my daughter should be punished for this ancestor’s crimes would be utter silliness. Even if he killed people (he is alleged to have), to put her in jail for one day for his crimes would be unjust. But it is clear, in this apologetics exercise, that the fall justifies infinite torture for thousands of generations of descendants.

To call these things just is to strip the word of any meaning.


  1. The MadPanda, FCD says

    In all candor, beloved versifier of ours, I have my doubts that “own goal” is sufficient to describe the Epic Fail that unfolded. Yet as the man said, one cannot reason someone out of a position that did not derive from use of reason in the first place. If he could but grasp the whole concept of the Outsider Test that the Loftus keeps on about!

    Original Sin is one of those little ideas that makes the Gnostics seem more attractive than any orthodox strain of the social virus under discussion. It was also one of the elements of my religious instruction when I was but a mere cub that sat poorly enough to encourage me to ask discomforting questions of my elders…

  2. Ex Patriot says

    As far as i am concerned there is no original sin as it is all mythology thought up by man. And it not fair for all these so called religions to blame women for the faults of mankind, and I am not a women but a man who believes in womens rights

  3. Joan says

    EVE by Phillip Appleman

    Clever, he was, so slick
    He could weave words into sunshine
    When he murmured another refrain
    Of that shimmering promise, “You
    Shall be as god,” something with wings
    Whispered back in my heart,
    And I crunched the apple—a taste so good
    I just had to share it with Adam,
    And all of a sudden
    We were naked
    Oh, yes, we were nude before but now
    Grabbing for fig leaves, we knew
    That we knew too much, just as the slippery
    Serpent said—so we crouched all day
    Under the rhododendrons, trembling
    At something bleak and windswept in our bellies
    That soon we’d learn to call by its right name:
    God was furious with the snake
    And hacked off his legs, on the spot
    And for us
    It was thorns and thistles
    Sweat of the brow,
    Dust as dusk returning
    In that sizzling stifled snake
    Grown the whole black storm of the future
    The flint knife in Able’s heart
    The incest that slowed us all into a tribe
    A nation and led us all like driven lambs
    Straight to his flood.
    I blamed it on human nature even then
    There were only two humans around
    If human nature was a mistake
    Whose mistake was it?
    I did not ask to be cursed with curiosity
    I only wanted the apple
    And of course, that promise. To be like gods
    But then maybe we are like gods
    Maybe we are exactly like gods
    Maybe that’s our really original sin.

    I love this poem. Especially this line: “There were only two humans around. If human nature was a mistake. Whose mistake was it?

  4. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    Could someone point me to the part in the Bible where God tells Eve not to eat from the Tree?
    He certainly tells Adam, but I don’t recall him telling her. If he wanted her not to eat from it, shouldn’t he have, y’know TOLD HER?

    All of that is beside the point that nothing humans do is a surprise to this mythical genocidal sky daddy. He knew what humans were going to do the moment he created Adam, so to punish humans for doing exactly what he knew they were going to do is nonsense and completely unjust.

    Of course none of it is real, so it’s like arguing what unicorn poop smells like. Only less fun.

  5. Myoo says

    It’s not mentioned directly, but in Genesis 3 the serpent/devil/lucifer/satan/whatever asks Eve if she was allowed to eat the fruit and Eve replies with:

    but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”

    Although that’s not so much a command as a warning.

    And there’s also the whole “Jesus died for our sins” bit, which should have done way with original sin as well, surely?

  6. Kevin K says

    Well, again I’ll point out that prior to eating the IQ-raising sin-fruit, neither Adam nor Eve had any understanding of what “good” and “evil” were. That’s what the fruit endowed them with — the knowledge of good and evil.

    So, the truth of the matter is, according to the legend, god created the place called Eden and put humans in with other animals with no knowledge of good and evil. Meaning, that Eden itself was little more than a petting zoo, and humans just another species to tend.

    Blaming Adam and Eve for eating the IQ-raising sin-fruit is akin to blaming the Ford Pinto for its design flaws, instead of the engineers who designed it.

  7. David Hart says

    I fear I may have been partly responsible for triggering all this, by bringing up the doctrine of Hell in the first place. Still, you’ve got to get them talking, because, despite what Panda@2 says, sometimes you can reason people out of positions they didn’t reason themselves into, especially if you are able to disabuse them of the notion that they did in fact reason themselves into it. Not all the time, of course, some people are so deeply indoctrinated as to be unreachable, but it’s always worth a go.

  8. Paul Murray says

    God, like any patriarchial dictator, separates people into his *children* and his *enemies*. It doesn’t matter what they ahve done or not done, what matters is their loyalties. Their allegiance.

    Loyalties and allegiance. Political terms, because when God calls himself a “Father”, he means it in the same sense that any despot means it. Uncle Idi Amin. Papa Joe Stalin.

    Hell, then, is a *political prison*, a gulag, where King God throws his enemies for the crime of disloyalty.

    And that’s the only thing that matters, to god. Anything can be forgiven except for unbelief.


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