Monday, December 31, 2007

The Nature of Sin

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What is sin? The concept of 'Original Sin' implies that humans are predisposed to being sinners because of a choice that Adam and Eve made to eat an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. Whether you believe the parabole or not, there are important contradictions to recognise here.

1. How can a descendant of Adam & Eve be considered morally impudent as a result of others actions. There is no psychological scientific) basis for suggesting as much, and it is contrary to the popular belief that we have free will.
2. Original Sin is also a furfy because you humans cannot be judged for their actions if they are 'sinful by nature'. Moral concepts such as sin apply only to humans because they have a choice. If there is no choice, than humans are free of moral responsibility.

If you appreciate this, you realise that Christian philosophy is not a philosophy for humans, but to cast them into the Dark Ages, which is exactly where they went between 500-900AD. Consider that a human need only rationalise that they are 'sinful by nature' to accept their flaws as much as they might claim to be repentent. They cannot escape their nature, and if their nature is flawed, then they can evade moral responsibility for the most vile crimes against other men. Jesus is presented to us as a victim - never as a perpetrator - but if anyone has moral responsibility its the 'perfect' God that has no limits in their capacity to heal. Any suggestion to the contrary is blatant rationalisation.

The Virtue of Humility

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Why is humility a virtue? Why is it right to place the interests of others above oneself? Why is it virtuous for others to help you, but selfish for you to help yourself?

The first task is to actually define ones terms so we have a common understanding of what we are talking about. Part of the reason why moral confusion and conflicts in people's lives is that they lack the clarity in thinking required to resolve their conflicts. Poor definition of terms plays a big part in this confusion. The terms I would like to define are:

1. Selfishness: Most dictionaries consider selfishness as an interest primarily with oneself. No conflict there. But here is where the moral confusion arises because: Acting in one’s self interest need not be at the expense of others. Acting in one’s self interest might actually mean serving others. The people we help are not all of the same standing. Everyone has a hierarchy of values. There are people we hate, strangers, acquaintances, friends, family, lovers, and they all occupy some ranking in terms of personal importance. If we were to renounce our values, we would seek to place lovers at the top and we would treat all these people the same.
2. Humility: Humility requires one to attach less importance to oneself. Humility thus cannot be judged out of context. In what sense can we be said to have a heightened sense of importance. We can be overconfident in our capacity to deal with events, or in our relationships with events. Is that not the proper sense that comes from success, and when we fail, we adjust. What justification is there for thinking less of oneself unless it is considered wrong to attach any value to one's life as a moral code.

The reality is that people cannot reject selfishness or pride. Consider the paster that argues that we should believe in God. How can a humble soul with a diminished sense of his own importance get up and preach with such righteousness and certainty. The answer they would argue is that they are agents of God, that God is acting through them. If that is the case, why are they so imperfect by any moral standard. If they are not entitled to the reward of pride, what possible motive can they have for acting. Are they machines? If so they are outside the field of humanity or morality.

The reality is that religious values are not consistent with human nature - they are the antithesis of it. These 'moral' principles were in fact conceived by men to control men. The history of religious tenets suggest as much. Many of the ideas that are expressed in the Bible are not even original, rather they were developed over time. The implication is the Bible was merely a synthesis of pre-existing ideas that was packaged for political purposes by Roman scholars intent on controlling the Israelites through the church 'establishment'. Recognising the practicality of the strategy, the Church under the support of government, spread the same philosophy to other territories. Today the Church still has the distinction of being a tax free entity.
Attention all atheists!!
In fact anyone who has had an interesting encounter with a Christian which involved manipulation, deception or blatant rationalisation. This is research or material for a forthcoming book. I am not suggesting that all Christians are criminals, dangerous or threats to society, but I am suggesting that Christianity is a basis for moral inefficacy. There is a reason why Christian nations are always at war. There is a reason why former Christians (or children of Christians) have a tendency to drift into cults and extreme religious groups. Thank you for any life experiences you can recall. ----------------------------------------------- Andrew Sheldon