Born in Sin?

I’ve been following the comments to a post at violetwisp.wordpress.com (before you go there, be warned the conversation is very long — and some of it is totally irrelevant, but fun).

A frequent contributor to this particular posting is someone who goes by the handle of “Tiribulus.” In a comment made on November 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm,  this individual said,

“EVERYone descended from him [Adam] is conceived and born in sin and spiritual death.”

This is such a long-time traditional teaching of the church, I doubt any believer reading it would disagree. Yet I wonder how many Christians know where this “original sin” doctrine originated. (As a refresher — original sin is the Christian doctrine of humanity’s state of sin that resulted from the fall of man, i.e., Adam’s rebellion in Eden).

I decided to offer a brief history lesson on this subject. Much of the information is gathered from Wikipedia, but some is from other sources that I researched during the writing of my book.

The formalized doctrine of original sin was first developed in the 2nd-century by Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons, in his struggle against Gnosticism. Irenaeus believed that Adam’s sin had grave consequences for humanity, that it is the source of human sinfulness, mortality and enslavement to sin, and that all human beings participate in his (Adam) sin and share his guilt.

Later, another church father, Augustine of Hippo, further developed the doctrine. He taught the effects of Adam’s sin are actually transmitted to his descendants by birth, i.e, when the parents experience libido (or concupiscence), the “wounded nature” is transmitted to the soul and body of the new person.

Much later, Martin Luther asserted that humans inherit Adam’s guilt and are in a state of sin from the moment of conception. That is, all men are full of evil lust and inclinations from their mothers’ wombs and are unable by nature to have true fear and/or faith in God.

Many years later, Protestant reformer John Calvin said this in his Institutes of the Christian Religion:

Original sin, therefore, seems to be a hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused into all parts of the soul, which first makes us liable to God’s wrath, then also brings forth in us those works which Scripture calls “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19).

Of course, various denominations (Roman Catholics, Methodists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, Latter Day Saints, et al)  each have their own individualistic definitions of original sin.

What’s important to note, however, is that the inception of this doctrine came from none other than the bible’s famous writer, orator, self-proclaimed apostle, and hijacker of the Christian faith: PAUL. It was he who first presented this idea in Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:22. Early church fathers such as those named above merely took his words and refashioned them to fit their own personal beliefs … and thus today the concept is thoroughly entrenched within the Christian faith.

As many in Christianity believe, Paul was instructed in a “heavenly” message from a disembodied voice that he was to go to the gentiles and “open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light” (Acts 26:18). In his efforts to do so, Paul began teaching them that the Law was not the answer because it didn’t have the power to save; this could only be accomplished by believing in Christ’s death and resurrection (a dying-rising savior).

However, convincing the Jews the Mosaic Law was now defunct was an entirely different matter. For centuries they had been told that anyone who didn’t uphold the words of the Law by observing them was cursed! (Deuteronomy 27:26)

So what did Paul do? He developed the “original sin” doctrine. He told them sin was in the world before the law was given (Romans 5:13) – and it was all because of Adam’s wrongdoing in the Garden of Eden (Romans 5:12). He further asserted that with sin came death, and since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), the only way to life and salvation was by acknowledging that Yeshua was the Messiah/Savior.

It’s important to note here what the early Jews actually believed about sin:

According to early Judaic teachings (and maintained in modern-day Judaism), everyone is born innocent; that is, they enter the world free of sin.72 Throughout life, people may make choices that lead to sin, but it is not part of their inherent nature. To the Jews, sin is a violation of the divine commandments and is seen as an act (thought, word, or deed), not a “state of being”73 or part of the human condition. Further, God explained in Ezekiel (18:20) that sinners will be punished for their own sins, not for the sins of others.

—Things I Never Learned in Sunday School: Facts about the Christian faith that will surprise and astound you (OR, Writing…Etc, 2012) p. 62

***********

As indicated above, this concept of original sin is a mainstay of the Christian belief system. Yet few realize it was an idea born, not of God, but from a man who believed he’d had a “revelation” from on high. A man who taught doctrines and concepts that Yeshua, the messenger to the Jews, never mentioned, and who created a religion that Yeshua would never recognize.
________________________________

(72) My Jewish Learning, The Jewish View of Sin
(73) Wikipedia.org, Jewish View on Sin

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212 thoughts on “Born in Sin?

      • I know you mean that in jest, but the truth is, I recall a bath I was given when I was only 9 days old – I described my memory to my mother, and she said that that was the ONLY time that could possibly have happened.

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        • In jest, of course.

          That is…bizarre!

          Skeptical Q: Do you think you could’ve heard the story and internalized it as a memory?

          Non: do you have other memories from your infancy?

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        • do you have other memories from your infancy?

          One, but not exactly from my infancy. I was 3 or 4, and my mother took me to a funeral parlor. I recall vividly the brick building, the floral-print carpet and the darkened (shades drawn) room. My mother walked me to a coffin, where lay a lady, mid-thirties, and placed by her side a “Kewpie doll,” packaged in cellophane (yesteryear’s answer to plastic). I wandered off, as I was prone to do, into another room, and looked at empty coffins.

          My mother informed me, when I asked about it in later years, that she had a sister who, when she was a child on my grandparent’s farm, had suffered a high fever from smallpox and had become mentally retarded as a consequence, and spent her later years in a mental institution, with the mind of a child. But she died two years before I was born.

          (Could we hear some “Twilight Zone” music please?)

          Could my Mom have told me about her sister, my aunt? Of course, but she would have had no reason to mention the brick building, the floral carpet (red and gray), the closed blinds, or the Kewpie doll, sealed in cellophane.

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        • I mentioned the lady died two years before I was born, and I was three or four in the memory, so yeah, presumably.

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        • Did the memory actually happen?” – That’s what I’m saying, my Mom said it happened, but before I was born. False or not, why do I have the memory of something that happened before I was born? Sure, one can say I simply heard about it, but that doesn’t explain my detailed memory of the floral red and gray carpet, of the silence, of the shades and drapes being closed, of me getting bored and wandering off into another room – those details wouldn’t have been in any story I simply heard. I’m not suggesting anything, I have no explanation for it.

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  1. Nan, are you sure that this slew thinkers are just not exegeting scripture and the Jewish website you quoted succumbing to trendy philosophy? What about the Jewish creation myth? Psalms 14 and 53? What about when Jesus said there is no one who does good but God alone?

    Of course, in a post-scientific era we have to update our understanding of the creation myth and our sinful nature, but that doesn’t mean the basic idea is not true. If you understood there to be magic spirits inside a car that makes it move, this would not stop the car from working.

    It’s still a car.

    I believe it is because of human freedom that we have a sinful nature. That may sound impossible. The creation myth flows in a way that makes more sense – Adam and Eve sin, the world is cursed by God, part of this curse would include the genetic inheritance of a sinful nature. But let’s make something impossible, like a the gasoline engine, work. I think because of the whole of humanity sinning, God cursed the world from the Big Bang. It is retroactive in that sense and is called the “retroactive fall of humanity” theodicy. Of course, like any theodicy it is necessarily not satisfying to the heart. The point is not satisfaction, it is to understand plausibly why reality is the way it is.

    Probably the best author of our generation, a postmodern thinker no less, David Foster Wallace recognized one thing as what he referred to as capital T Truth. For a postmodern to say this is. . . earth-shattering. His Truth was that our default state is to live selfishly as if we are the center of the universe, and we have to put conscious effort into direct ourselves out of this default state. (Check out a YouTube video “This is Water”). You know what this is to me? This is a non-Christian recognizing the basic fact of our sinful nature. Our default state is our sinful nature.

    What really worries me is that you missed the Jewishness of this kind of belief that even what a postmodern author reluctantly and painfully called Truth. It worries me because what you say supports your central thesis that Paul “hijacked” Christianity. The fact that you published this thesis makes it much more difficult for you to ever recant what you’ve said because it would be such a blow to your ego. It would take a great humility to do something like this, and I don’t think this kind of humility is within the power of the human will.

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    • What about when Jesus said there is no one who does good but God alone?

      Excuse me, you must mean when some anonymous author SAID that Jesus said there is no one who does good but God alone. Sorry for the correction, I knew you meant to say that.

      I believe it is because of human freedom that we have a sinful nature.

      OR, some anonymous author SAID that a god set rules that humans disobeyed, and he called that disobedience “sin.”

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  2. Sheesh! Did you guys even read the post? Sounds like you couldn’t get past the title!
    Actually, I was born in sin — at least that’s what people used to say about the Los Angeles area. 😉

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  3. Nan, whether you see today’s Christianity as “Pauline” is not the matter. Your thesis is that Paul hijacked something, that he was not true to God and was not teaching the same gospel that Peter and the other apostles were teaching. Despite this, I think you must understand my point. It’s not about recanting something that you obviously know is true. It’s about recanting something that you don’t know is true that you argue for. I’m not requesting that you recant your argument or position. I was merely pointing out that it’s difficult for you to have any sort of mobility of belief at this point because you have an authorial reputation to protect.

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  4. No, it’s not a matter of Paul being true to God. In his mind he most likely believed in his mission. My point is he developed his own theology in order to attract the gentiles.

    As for your comment about me “protecting an authorial reputation” … ??? What an inane remark to make.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Question, for any who can answer it (and no, not a trick question, I don’t have the answer either) – Where was Paul/Saul, the zealot when Yeshua was overturning money tables, brought before the Sanhedrin, being offered up for release or execution? Surely he was in Jerusalem for Passover, why would he hold back and not become involved?

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  6. Paul, we are told, mingled in the company of provincial governors and had audiences before kings and emperors. Why is he never mentioned by Tacitus, Pliny, Josephus, or any other historian of the era? Perhaps Brandon can provide us answers for these.

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  7. In his Epistles, Paul paints a picture of himself as quite the mover and shaker, full of his own importance, and in all his letters, Paul hammers home the point that he is an apostle and that his appointment comes directly from the divine.

    Yet in the Acts, supposedly written by Paul’s devoted friend and follower – “Luke” – Paul is mentioned 177 times, and at no point, is ever called an apostle, except once, in 14:14, where his name follows Barnabas’ and the plural is used.

    I find that strangely suspect, but I’m sure Brandon has excuses explanations.

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  8. the inception of this doctrine came from none other than the bible’s famous writer, orator, self-proclaimed apostle, and hijacker of the Christian faith: PAUL.

    Nicely put. i often call him The Great Charlatan.

    Great post. Few, including me, have ever considered the fact that Jebus never once mentioned original sin. Of course, without that there is no religion. Can’t sell an imaginary cure until you have the imaginary disease.

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  9. @ Naievethinker

    The fact that you published this thesis makes it much more difficult for you to ever recant what you’ve said because it would be such a blow to your ego. It would take a great humility to do something like this, and I don’t think this kind of humility is within the power of the human will.

    Every comment you make, on every thread that you denigrate with your presence merely cements the belief that you are a hypocritical, sycophantic a-hole of the first order.

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  10. Every comment you make, on every thread that you denigrate with your presence merely cements the belief that you are a hypocritical, sycophantic a-hole of the first order.

    He’s back!

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  11. Well then. . . yeah, ok. . . It may be inane, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. What worries me, and this is genuine worry about someone being stuck, is that I can see this conclusion as biasing research into the idea of sinful nature. I almost didn’t say anything at all, which maybe everyone would prefer judging by the comments and “likes”, but I think it’s worth the risk to start a conversation because it’s not even necessarily about the content of beliefs more than it is about human dignity. No matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel. I don’t know, maybe it’s already made me more uncomfortable than it has you.

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  12. ” … and this is genuine worry about someone being stuck …”

    HA! Who’s “stuck”? And who’s biasing research? Have you looked in the mirror lately?

    As for “starting a conversation,” you’re not doing a very good job at it so far.

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  13. I can point to examples where I miraculously recognized bias in my work and was quite painful. I say miraculous, not in a literal way, but because it’s so difficult because our biases are unconscious and automatic. That’s what so sinister about them. You know, of all the books I’ve considered writing, I’m very glad that I haven’t written any of them. Partly because I’m a perfectionist and would have a hard time getting it out, but also because I’m terrified to sign my name on the page and commit. Because, someone that struggles with ego like me, will have a harder time recanting. Maybe I’m wrong about you. Maybe you’re perfectly willing to take your book off the market and write a new book to correct yourself.

    But, let’s just put that aside. That was really a side point anyway. Getting back to your post, and productive, non-emotionally charged, non-accusatory, totally neutral and scholarly grounds, do you think that the idea of a sinful nature is not derived from the OT just as much as it is the NT?

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  14. “but also because I’m terrified to sign my name on the page and commit”

    How sad.

    “Maybe you’re perfectly willing to take your book off the market and write a new book to correct yourself.”

    Have no reason to do so. Nothing I wrote came “off the top of my head.” I spent several years studying and researching before I ever put anything down on paper. I stand by the contents in the book.

    do you think that the idea of a sinful nature is not derived from the OT just as much as it is the NT?

    What do you define as a “sinful nature?”

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  15. Brandon since you keep quoting the bible, you think because it talks of sin it must be correct in supposing we are sinful and need salvation?
    If, for arguments sake, we granted you that we are sinful. Is it our fault that we are that way, according to your good book?

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  16. My belief is irrelevant to the task of tracing the origin of the idea of a sinful nature. From my first comment:

    What about the Jewish creation myth? Psalms 14 and 53? What about when Jesus said there is no one who does good but God alone?

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  17. Mak, that’s a good question. Like Hitchens protested, “God created us sick and commanded us to be well” then criticized this as unjustifiable. That humanity has a sinful nature is basically just a fact. It may be the only doctrine that is empirically true. Where our sinful nature originated is another question which you raise just like Hitchens did. Science and history strongly refute literal notions of what Nan irreverently dubs “that fairy tale about A & E”. But, that doesn’t mean the basic idea is not true. There’s an updated theological idea called the “retroactive fall of humanity” which states that our free choice to do evil has caused this reality to be cursed from the beginning and part of this curse is our own sinful nature. So, essentially what Nan reveres about the Jewish belief she quoted, is also true in the retroactive fall. We start with freedom and were give a choice, we chose evil, reality is cursed include our own nature.

    The short answer is, yes it’s our fault, according to the book and according to my view.

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    • Where our sinful nature originated is another question which you raise just like Hitchens did.” – I find, “What is the definition of ‘sinful?” to be a far more relevant question.

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  18. Brandon, is it considered sinful when a lion eats an antelope? Why not?
    Your biggest weakness is you are attached to theological ideas you are unable to think out of them.
    A man is what he is, he is not sinful. There is no merit or demerit.
    If there is a freedom, the freedom to live as one desires must and should be sacrosanct as long as one’s will do not override the will of others.

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    • …the freedom to live as one desires must and should be sacrosanct as long as one’s will do not override the will of others” – I would have to modify that by saying “the reasonable will of others” – should someone decide to punch me, I will certainly override their will to do so.

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  19. Brandon, maybe you are not aware, quoting the bible to me is not different from quoting a passage from Harry Potter as evidence.
    That the existence of Jesus is resolved negatively should tell you that telling me Jesus said this or that is a lot of BS for lack of a more polite word.

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  20. Mak, I don’t think it’s sinful when a lion eats an antelope. The lion does not have the cognitive abilities that humans have such as human conscience, ability to project the future, and so on.

    The sinful nature does not state that humans are sin, rather our default unconscious program includes sinning.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with your moral philosophy, and more importantly at first glance it appears perfectly compatible with a robust idea of sinful nature.

    I understand you view the bible as unprivileged, even among works of fiction, but I wasn’t aware you are a Jesus myther. None of these points are much relevant to tracing of the origin of the idea of a sinful nature. Someone wrote the bible. That’s about all that matters for my discussion with Nan.

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    • That’s about all that matters for my discussion with Nan.” – Ouch, Mak! Sounds like Brandon is saying that you are interrupting a private conversation. I thought this was a public forum —

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  21. “Our default state is self-centered.”

    Without selfishness our species would have died out a long time ago. It is instinctual and necessary at birth to be self-centered, but it’s not our default state. We are hardwired and rewarded neurochemically to be co-operative and considerate of others.

    “Contrary to conventional wisdom that humans are essentially selfish, scientists are finding that the brain is built for generosity.”

    I hope that in my lifetime I see a huge turn-around regarding the complete and utter disrespect and disdain so many indoctrinated Christians have for humanity. They do our species a great disservice and make things much worse. Garbage in, garbage out.

    Btw, Nan, excellent post and spot on.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Victoria,

    Without selfishness our species would have died out a long time ago. It is instinctual and necessary at birth to be self-centered, but it’s not our default state.

    I’m confused. If it is “instinctual” and present “at birth”, are you not referring to a default state?

    We are hardwired and rewarded neurochemically to be co-operative and considerate of others.

    True, it gets more complex. This does not disprove that selfishness occurs when we revert to our primal instincts and that we must use our frontal cortex to prevent this.

    I hope that in my lifetime I see a huge turn-around regarding the complete and utter disrespect and disdain so many indoctrinated Christians have for humanity. They do our species a great disservice and make things much worse. Garbage in, garbage out.

    Agreed, and the same goes for so many indoctrinated atheists.

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    • You shouldn’t be confused Brandon. You cry you get fed. You cry you get your diapers changed. You cry you get attention so that your brain will wire and develop to the age you can become aware that other people have needs too and can develop your innate capacity to empathize. But that is not sin. If you have to keep going to church and reading a book over and over to remind yourself how to behave, then something is not right upstairs as the article noted.

      It is just as much an instinct to be selfish as it is to be selfless. There should be a healthy balance. Now, perhaps you will default to utter selfish behavior if the conditions allow for it but not everyone does and the studies have demonstrated it.

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      • Ok, Victoria, we basically agree when you say:

        It is just as much an instinct to be selfish as it is to be selfless

        This is consistent with Christianity’s idea of sinful nature. I mean even in the creation myth Adam and Eve do good things before they sin and are cursed.

        I guess what needs to be added to any sinful nature discussion is the idea of common grace, which is the fancy term for people are good. The reason this is not talked about as much is that it’s not really a problem. God won’t be wrathful to you because you are good, it’s because of sin.

        If you have to keep going to church and reading a book over and over to remind yourself how to behave, then something is not right upstairs as the article noted.

        Yeah, they must have amnesia if they have to keep reading it over and over. It’s not like going to church is associated with giving to charity or volunteering. . . Oh wait 2013 Gallup poll
        Attend religious service weekly: 89% charity, 88% volunteer
        Never attends: 76% charity, 51% volunteer
        Impressive correlation! 🙂

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        • Impressive indeed. The American RCC raked in 171 billion dollars in 2010 and only contributed 4.7 to charity.

          Brandon, if you think that Christians are good because they are Christians, then yes, you are delusional. Altruistic people may identify with Christianity, but people are innately altruistic. Inappropriate behavior has many causes for which we now understand through the lens of science.

          I simply can’t stand it when people go around with an archaic understanding of the world yet has vast amounts of information available to them. It’s as if you need to believe humans are depraved from the get-go. Why? I suspect you deplore yourself and who’s fault is that Brandon?

          Liked by 1 person

        • “Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.”
          — G.K. Chesterton —

          Liked by 1 person

  23. Brandon: Re: Psalms 15 and 53 … who wrote these? And what had he been through before he wrote them? When one considers context (oh how I hate using that word but in this case, it is true) and what was going on in David’s life, the meaning becomes clear.

    It is not a condemnation against all humanity anymore that the A&E fairy tale. And yes, I mean to be irreverent … because it never happened. As someone once wrote, it is a fable (a story about mythical or supernatural beings or events) that purports to condemn humankind because of an intrinsically sinful nature.

    One ezine writer described it this way: “The Fall of Man is firmly embedded in the Jewish, Christian and Islamic holy books, and indeed our wider cultural consciousness, because, as a story, it has the fairy dust of genius.” Ahhh yes. Fairy dust. Sorta’ like the glitter that children love to put on their faces.

    There is no “original sin.” We are what we are because of human nature, not because of Paul and his weird theology.

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  24. @Brandon:

    Highly religious people are less motivated by compassion than are non-believers

    In three experiments, social scientists found that compassion consistently drove less religious people to be more generous. For highly religious people, however, compassion was largely unrelated to how generous they were, according to the findings which are published in the most recent online issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

    The results challenge a widespread assumption that acts of generosity and charity are largely driven by feelings of empathy and compassion, researchers said. In the study, the link between compassion and generosity was found to be stronger for those who identified as being non-religious or less religious.

    Overall, this research suggests that although less religious people tend to be less trusted in the U.S., when feeling compassionate, they may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people,”

    http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/04/30/religionandgenerosity/

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  25. Nan,

    Psalms 15 and 53 … who wrote these? And what had he been through before he wrote them? When one considers context (oh how I hate using that word but in this case, it is true) and what was going on in David’s life, the meaning becomes clear.

    I’m not sure if we know who wrote it. But, before we get into a dispute about interpretation, please let me bring up some new references. I will just copy them here for convenience:

    “The LORD looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God. They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.” Psalm 14:2-3 also 53:2-3
    “Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:5
    “. . . the LORD said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth. . .’” Genesis 8:21
    “The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse. . .” Jeremiah 17:9
    “. . . Moreover, the hearts of all are full of evil; madness is in the hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.” Ecclesiastes 9:3

    Multiple authors affirm humanity’s sinful nature, this is not a Pauline idea. Maybe Paul, or more likely a school of thought that he was trained in, connected the dots between his believe in the creation myth and human sinful nature. In other words, if “original sin” must include the creation myth, I’m highly skeptical that this is uniquely a Pauline idea. That’s a thesis that would require data and it can’t just be that Reformed Jews today disagree.

    The very best you could say IMHO is that Paul championed this belief. He’s certainly not warping Judaism into some wild unrecognizable thing. In fact, Jews almost certainly made of the vast majority of early converts. In the sociology of conversion, people are more likely to convert to a new religion with familiar ideas. What made Christianity a cult in the early days was belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection and divinity. Especially his death by crucifixion was a scandal among Jews because they expected their Messiah to be a warlord king.

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    • Multiple authors affirm humanity’s sinful nature

      A thousand authors, all writing of Santa Claus, doesn’t make Santa real or any of the stories true.

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  26. Victoria,

    Brandon, if you think that Christians are good because they are Christians, then yes, you are delusional. Altruistic people may identify with Christianity

    We have evidence for a correlation to which you assent, but you are just frankly asserting your opinion that it can’t be because of their beliefs. This is not skepticism and not scientific. This seems to be what you want.

    I simply can’t stand it when people go around with an archaic understanding of the world yet has vast amounts of information available to them.

    Maybe having all this information doesn’t help when it comes to the most important truths.

    I suspect you deplore yourself and who’s fault is that Brandon?

    Please try not to speculate about me.
    …………..
    I see your Googled study and raise you one Googled study:
    https://renebekkers.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/religion-and-compassion.pdf
    Evidence from the Netherlands, oh that glorious land. Please direct your attention to the graph “donated to international relief organizations”

    Even former religious folk outdid the “nevers”. Who knows, maybe all it takes is a few generations of no religion will erode a person’s motivation to give to charity.

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    • From your source

      “The research by Saslow and colleagues showed that empathic concern was less strongly related to helping among more religious respondents. The correlation of helping with empathic concern is weaker among current church members than among those who never considered themselves as religious. “

      Brandon, I served on the church board of several mainstream denominations for many years. Have you? I saw where the money went and why people donated. They primarily donated for carpet, and padded pews, toilet paper and proselytizing. They were encouraged to tithe. Less than 10% ever went towards charity.

      New Study: Three-Quarters of American Giving Goes to Religion

      “Unlike previous data sets, the current study captures a wider swath of religious giving—not just that to churches, synagogues, mosques, and the like, but to religiously-affiliated organizations like Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army. When that larger group is included, 73%—almost three quarters—of American giving goes to religious organizations.

      This point is significant for several reasons. First, it highlights the importance of religion in American philanthropic life. Religion is where Americans give, and a reason why they give. Along with the 73% statistic, the study revealed that 55% of Americans say that their religious orientation motivates their giving.

      Fully 69% of donations made for non-religious purposes went to religiously identified organizations. And if the Religious and Tea Party Right(s) have their way, these institutions, supported by non-religious-purpose donations, can fire gays, banish contraception from their employees’ health plans, and maintain discriminatory practices like refusing to allow children to be adopted by same-sex families.

      Incidentally, the religious right has had its way. The version of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) supported by the mainstream LGBT movement excludes all RIOs (religiously-identified organizations) from coverage.

      Probably the most notable statistics, though, are those which compare religious and non-religious philanthropy. Religion is supposed to make us better people, which includes, I assume, being more generous. So, is it the case that religious people give more generously than the non-religious?

      Well, yes and no. Remember that statistic, that 65% of religious people donate to charity? The non-religious figure is 56%. But according to the study, the entire 9% difference is attributed to religious giving to congregations and religious organizations. So, yes, religion causes people to give more—to religion itself.

      http://religiondispatches.org/new-study-three-quarters-of-american-giving-goes-to-religion/

      Brandon, again, being a Christian doesn’t make you a more compassionate, empathic person. Being a Christian makes you religious. Being compassionate and empathic makes you human. However, humans are not the only ones who show compassion and empathy.

      As far as my opinion goes, show me the goods Brandon. Prove to me that your god has an issue with sin. Do not use an archaic book that contains no original manuscripts.

      You wrote: “Please try not to speculate about me.”

      I’m not speculating. I am repeating what you’ve shared for the last year during discourse. You call yourself a sinner. You think humans are born with a sin nature. You claim, with virtually no evidence, that you know what god thinks and wants. You state:

      “God won’t be wrathful to you because you are good, it’s because of sin.”

      You make a lot of claims — god this and god that, and yet you are basing this on what? Opinion? Yes!

      One last note, and let me clarify what I can’t stand: I can’t stand people like you who think it’s OK for children to be taught they are sinful, shameful creatures in need of salvation — a bloody sacrifice — that they are born with a sinful nature. Such teaching negatively affect children’s brain development, and we have significant evidence now that this is psychological abuse and actually contributes to inappropriate behavior and mental illness.

      Psychiatrist Peter Loader states that people cover up or compensate for deep feelings of shame with attitudes of contempt, superiority,, self-deprecation, or obsessive perfectionism.

      Sound familiar, Brandon?

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Brandon, when you write

    Someone wrote the bible. That’s about all that matters for my discussion with Nan.

    You have in my view stopped to be reasonable. You are telling me, issues of fact don’t matter. You are going to stick to your silly book. You know sometimes I really ask myself why people bother to respond to you!

    I am not sure I saw you give a definition of what sinning is. Maybe when you tell me what that is, we may have a more reasonable discussion.

    Am not sure you know anything about my moral philosophy, if you did, you would not agree with it. Stop being presumptuous.

    And as our good host has written above, There is no “original sin.” We are what we are because of human nature, not because of Paul and his weird theology. I have typed it slower so you can understand it. There are many books of myth and some others tell better stories than yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Brandon since this post isn’t about the life of Jesus, I hope you are able to provide me with some evidence for a historical Jesus. You can post on your blog and notify me when you do.

    What, if I may, is the nature of man? IS your conclusion that we have a sinful nature based on a reading of some Jewish texts?

    Like

  29. Victoria,
    You argument that the difference in charity goes towards “religious causes” or church maintenance does not apply to the Netherlands study. And, your new study shows that religious versus nonreligious donate toward nonreligious charities equally. That means we can say that in the Netherlands religious people donate more no matter how you slice it whereas in the US the study suggests equal donating but religious people donate more towards their specific causes. I actually think this is a problem, so I’m right beside you. We [North American Christians] need to look more like the Netherlands Christians.

    being a Christian doesn’t make you a more compassionate, empathic person

    I never said yes or no. But, you are affirming this statement as if you have definitive evidence. That’s why it’s not skeptical and not scientific.

    You make a lot of claims

    What are you talking about? I am trying to have a discussion with Nan about the origin of a certain idea.

    I can’t stand people like you who think it’s OK for children to be taught they are sinful, shameful creatures in need of salvation — a bloody sacrifice — that they are born with a sinful nature.

    You said it yourself well, “It is just as much an instinct to be selfish as it is to be selfless. There should be a healthy balance.” So long as we don’t overemphasize sin or instill an artificial sense of guilt, I think it’s appropriate for children to understand God’s judgment against sin.

    Psychiatrist Peter Loader states that people cover up or compensate for deep feelings of shame with attitudes of contempt, superiority,, self-deprecation, or obsessive perfectionism.

    Sound familiar, Brandon?

    No, I have never in my medical career read this psychiatrist’s work.

    Like

    • “You argument that the difference in charity goes towards “religious causes” or church maintenance does not apply to the Netherlands study.”

      OK — then read this. According to the World Giving Index (Charity Aid Foundation) — the U.S. ranked #5 and the Netherlands ranked #6, http://www.cafonline.org/pdf/worldgivingindex2012web.pdf The Netherlands is one of the most secular countries in the world. Again, from your source, it states:

      “The research by Saslow and colleagues showed that empathic concern was less strongly related to helping among more religious respondents. The correlation of helping with empathic concern is weaker among current church members than among those who never considered themselves as religious. “

      “No, I have never in my medical career read this psychiatrist’s work.”

      He has 26 publications and 137 citations. He collaborated with 23 co-authors from 1979 to 2005 and has been cited by 327 authors. His fields are in Psychiatry & Psychology, Family Medicine & Diseases

      <cite"What are you talking about? I am trying to have a discussion with Nan about the origin of a certain idea."

      You know what I’m talking about and I cited you making a claim about god, which is by far not the first time. You come across as an authority on what your god thinks. You come up with some weird stuff that many Christians do not believe nor have ever heard. A lot of it Christianity according to Brandon.

      So long as we don’t overemphasize sin or instill an artificial sense of guilt, I think it’s appropriate for children to understand God’s judgment against sin.

      An artificial since of guilt? But then you go on to say that children should understand God’s judgement against sin. What exactly is the judgement for being human, Brandon? What do you tell children their punishment is for sinning or not believing in your god? Does it relate to Revelations 19 where Jesus calls the birds to eat the flesh of the carcasses of nonbelievers in your Jesus and Yahweh?

      Like

      • Brandon to Mak: “That’s about all that matters for my discussion with Nan.
        Brandon to Neuronotes: “What are you talking about? I am trying to have a discussion with Nan about the origin of a certain idea.

        Suppose he’s trying to tell you guys something?

        Does it relate to Revelations 19 where Jesus calls the birds to eat the flesh of the carcasses of nonbelievers in your Jesus and Yahweh?

        No, you silly goose – he has special bears reserved for shredding children, everyone knows THAT!

        Like

  30. Mak, I’m sorry I can’t give a thorough reply at the moment, but I will just say this. I didn’t mean to invalidate your points, please don’t see my response that way. I was just saying that for the specific conversation about who is the inventor of original sin, it doesn’t really matter who exactly wrote the bible more than it matters their dating and how they were interpreted. Maybe it matters that a historical person named Paul wrote Romans, but I don’t think anyone is disputing that.

    I’ll be back tomorrow, probably later than usual.

    I appreciate the conversation. Peace to everyone!

    Like

    • Maybe it matters that a historical person named Paul wrote Romans, but I don’t think anyone is disputing that.

      No, 7 of the 14 books attributed to him, but not that particular one.

      Like

  31. “The History of Shaming

    Children have been shamed for many hundreds of years. Historically, they have been thought to be inherently antisocial, and their behavior was seen through this lens. One seventeenth century author, Richard Allestree, wrote: “The newborn babe is full of the stains and pollution of sin, which it inherits from our first parents through our loins. In the Middle Ages, the ritual of Baptism actually included the exorcism of the devil from the child.

    Shame Doesn’t Teach about Relationship or Empathy: While shaming has the power to control behavior, it does not have the power to teach empathy. Like crying for sadness, and shouting for anger, most emotions have a physical expression which allows them to dissipate. Shame doesn’t. This is why the effects of shame last well into the long term.

    Recent research tells us that shame motivates people to withdraw from relationships, and to become isolated. Moreover, the shamed tend to feel humiliated and disapproved of by others, which can lead to hostility, even fury. Numerous studies link shame with a desire to punish others. When angry, shamed individuals are more likely to be malevolent, indirectly aggressive or self-destructive

    Researchers are increasingly finding connections between early childhood shaming and conditions such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. In his book, The Psychology of Shame, Gershen Kaufman goes further to assert a link between shaming and addictive disorders, eating disorders, phobias and sexual dysfunction.”

    The Secret Cost of Shame

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Having witnessed in a recent Catholic baptism of a young child and can with confidence say they (the Catholics in this situation) are still exorcising the devil from the child as part of their baptismal practice. Beyond imagining. As is the concept of original sin.

    NeuroVictoria, when I first sought therapeutic help the word “shame” was presented to me. Shame and guilt actually. I couldn’t even fathom at that point how it had anything to do with the concept of original sin. It was so deeply buried in the miasma of being deceitfully wicked, a wretched worm and a despicable Eve. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zoe – my son, then an agnostic (now an atheist), married a young lady who was Hispanic/American – and Catholic. Her mother came to visit in my son’s house, to be there for the birth (as did I, but the girl crossed her legs to make sure his heathen grandfather, who had a job to get back to, was long gone by the time HER son was born – don’t tell me women can’t do that!).

      After the baby’s homecoming, my daughter-in-law’s mother, following what I can only assume was an ancient Spanish/Indian custom (most Mexicans are of such mixed descent), rubbed the baby all over with an unbroken egg, to draw the evil into the egg, and then destroyed the egg.

      I have wished a hundred times over that I had been able to stay, as I would have said, “Here, let me see that,” taken the egg, fried it, eaten it and said, “Yum, deviled egg sandwich! Best evil I ever ate!”

      Liked by 2 people

    • “NeuroVictoria, when I first sought therapeutic help the word “shame” was presented to me. Shame and guilt actually. I couldn’t even fathom at that point how it had anything to do with the concept of original sin. It was so deeply buried in the miasma of being deceitfully wicked, a wretched worm and a despicable Eve.”

      Zoe, you pricked my heart when you shared this. For myself, it’s taken me many years to reverse the psychological damage done by the concept of original sin and especially the shame placed upon me as a woman. You nailed it regarding the fact that this diabolical concept is so deeply buried in our psyche — those of us who were taught this from a very young age may not realize that this teaching has played a major role in depression, disorders, phobias and dysfunctions.

      Yet, you see believers (who, themselves, openly admit they struggle with these same issues), continue to endorse this abuse. Researcher, Dr. Brene Brown spent 10 years doing research on vulnerability and shame. About mid-stream, she put the research on hold because she had a nervous breakdown when she realized she had also been consumed with shame. She said that shame is epidemic in our country (America). We don’t have to dig too deep to know why. I do get indignant when grown, supposedly educated adults think it’s their god-given duty to instill this sick teaching in the malleable minds of children, and especially during critical stages of brain development, when neural pathways can become permanent.

      [[[[Hug]]]]

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Sorry about the prick NeuroVictoria. It’s a habit of mine. 😉 (((hugs))) ❤

    I am familiar with Dr. Brown's work. Actually have one of her books and found it difficult to read, the one where she shares about her breakdown. I relate. I couldn't finish her book. I will but at the time I couldn't. There is much to absorb when we examine all that is within and it has always been a habit of mine when the strain is almost too much to bear, to wait until the burden can be handled.

    I was one of those Christians that connected to those who dealt with shame. I was one of those Christians who kept pointing out that Christ saw us in his righteousness. Often I could not understand why it was that salvation never seemed "to take" with those who were "born again." The shame, the guilt, this original sin thing was stained upon their very biology. They could not overcome because they kept going back to the sin and wallowing in it, based on that fact that only Christ could save them. Never ever could they step away from this catch-22 and save themselves. It's not possible. As for my former Christian group they knew nothing of the mind or body apart from sin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As for my former Christian group they knew nothing of the mind or body apart from sin.

      That’s because, as a group, they support and confirm that viewpoint among themselves – we do the same thing, if you think about it (except we’re RIGHT!)

      Like

  34. Brandon, this blog is an OPEN conversation. I appreciate that you have responded to the question of original sin, but it is not a conversation limited to just you and me. Others who visit this blog have the full right (and my blessings) to counter (or agree) with any claim made by any other person.

    As for my particular response to your claims, I will address them later as I have an appointment this morning.

    Liked by 3 people

  35. Brandon,

    You listed some scriptures to, apparently, justify your belief that humans are “sinful.” Haven’t you figured out by now that listing scriptures carries little to no weight with non-believers? More to the point, these are scriptures that are about (what some believe) the sinful nature of man. They do not confirm the idea of original sin, as Paul does in these scriptures:

    Romans 5:12: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin … (emphasis mine)

    1 Corinthians 15:22 – … for as all die in Adam (emphasis mine)

    How can you or anyone deny that Paul is connecting original sin to the creation myth?

    I notice you write “maybe Paul” or “more likely” and “connected the dots” in the justification of your belief that Paul did not invent the original sin doctrine. Pretty weak arguments.

    Also, you wrote: “and it can’t just be that Reformed Jews today disagree.” I admit I’m not totally familiar with all the “sects” of Judaism today, but there doesn’t appear to be any indication in the links I provided in my original posting that this is a “Reformed Jew” belief. In fact, it states very clearly in the Wikipedia article: “Judaism teaches that sin is an act, and not a state of being. Humankind was not created with an inclination to do evil …” Who better to know this than the ones who started this whole idea about God?

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Mak,

    Famous New Testament scholar, first century historian, and self-identifying agnostic Bart Ehrman wrote a book titled Did Jesus Exist to establish that a historical Jesus existed. He did an hour radio program that brushes over some of his case. Here it is:

    I transcribed some of it (although not perfectly) so you can find different places and maybe read some of his case here:

    Start to 20:00 talk about book and Richard Carrier’s response, Ehrman’s blog response to Carrier
    20:30 some reasons for historical Jesus, i.e. Paul meeting James the brother of Jesus, and Cephas and so on; we have writing that was two handshakes from Jesus
    23:00 Bob Price recording played, Ehrman responds
    “We have far more evidence [for Jesus] than for anyone we have in the ancient world with a few exceptions. . .”
    28:00 Bob Price downplays criterion of embarrassment as applied to crucifixion, Price states it fits a hero motif already in existence that is a literary invention, Ehrman “There is no fictional character in the ancient Greek novels that gets crucified and escapes . . . the idea that you would make up a character that gets crucified” isn’t what we are dealing with, we are dealing with a messiah that gets crucified, “We don’t have a record of any Jew prior to Christianity who thought that the Messiah was going to get crucified”. . .
    31:50 “The idea that Christians would make up the idea that this crucified man was the messiah just doesn’t make any sense. What does make sense is that they knew Jesus got crucified and thought he was the messiah, so they came up with the idea that he was a crucified messiah. . . If you wanted to make up a messiah, you wouldn’t make up a crucified messiah, you’d make up a messiah ruling as the king in Jerusalem, or who was a mighty priest who was going to lead the people, but you wouldn’t make up a crucified messiah.”
    34:30 Bob Price compares resurrection idea to Osiris. . . “This is problematic up and down the line again, I don’t know where he gets his source. . . but in fact the Osiris myth is not like Jesus. . . to say that Jews were familiar with the Osiris myth, I would like Bob to give a single reference from any Jew living within 200 years of Jesus who mentions the Osiris myth. . . all you have to do is read the ancient sources on Osiris, the most famous one is Plutarch, who has a very lengthy essay on Isis and Osiris, and when you read the essay it’s true that Osiris gets killed. What’s not true is that he gets raised from the dead. When Jesus gets raised from the dead his body comes back to life and he comes out of the tomb and he ascends to heaven. Osiris stayed dead. His body [. . . ] it was entombed, and there were various places according to Plutarch argued that his body was entombed, and they built shrines to this dead body. . . Now, Osiris himself, his soul, lived on and became king of the underworld, but his body did not come back to life. . . so where did the Christians get the idea [of resurrection] because that’s certainly not what happened to Osiris.”
    39:50 What is wrong with Carrier’s explanation of the Jesus story being related to gods dying and rising? “What typically gets argued by the mythicist is that there was a common motif in pagan religions of a god who dies and is raised from the dead, and that Jesus was invented as a Jewish version of that myth. What I argue in my book is that that view is wrong for two major reasons that are both pretty damning. One is that we don’t have evidence that pagans believed in a dying rising god at all, and secondly, Jesus wasn’t invented as a dying rising god because the earliest Christians didn’t think he was God. That was a later development within Christianity. So, with respect to the pagan myths, there simply is no plausible parallel to a divine being who dies and is raised bodily, physically from the dead. . . If you actually press a mythicist to give you an example [of a dying rising god in pagan mythology], they give you an example just like Bob Price gave of Osiris which is definitely not a case of somebody being raised from the dead.”
    43:00 Josephus’ testimony. . . interpolated but still refers to Jesus, counts as evidence. . . book 18 “Off the cuff reference to Jesus that presupposes the audience knows who he is talking about, again not the way that Christian scribes typically insert their beliefs into a passage.” This is second hand information, but counts as positive evidence

    Like

  37. Mak,
    You asked earlier what I think is the definition of sin. It means to disobey God, but for all intensive purposes and for common ground between you and me, we can just think of sin as any immoral action. Murder, theft, rape, hatred, violence, abuse, and so on. Even the lesser ones like verbal abuse, bullying, insulting, cutting people of in traffic, not paying bills, being selfish with one’s money, and so on.

    You asked “What. . . is the nature of man? IS your conclusion that we have a sinful nature based on a reading of some Jewish texts?”
    We need to be clear what is meant by a “sinful nature”. That doesn’t mean we don’t also have something like a righteous nature. It just means that we all tend to sin. We are drawn to it. We find ourselves sinning even when we don’t want to and this causes frustration and guilt. We ask those we’ve hurt for forgiveness. We regret some of the harm we’ve caused. Just look out at the evil in the world and your own life. That should be enough evidence for a sinful nature.

    Like

  38. Victoria,
    I don’t dispute the finding that church members may not act on their empathy as often in that study. But, even your second study showed equal amounts of charity between church members and nonreligious which doesn’t exactly square with your first study. Also the “act less often” result doesn’t square with the real world data from Gallop and Netherlands.

    I don’t think there’s a way to google out of this one. It’s OK though. It’s not a big deal.

    You know what I’m talking about and I cited you making a claim about god. . . A lot of it Christianity according to Brandon.

    Sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about. And, actually my views are largely orthodox. Although, when I first reconverted I was very far from it. I had to understand why each piece was important, and I was sort of forced into orthodoxy from there. It’s actually a coherent way to be a theist. Please don’t think that I’m now subjecting myself to dogma. That’s certainly way off as well.

    What exactly is the judgment for being human, Brandon? What do you tell children their punishment is for sinning or not believing in your god? Does it relate to Revelations 19 where Jesus calls the birds to eat the flesh of the carcasses of nonbelievers in you Jesus and Yahweh?

    I’m not sure if there is a judgment for “being human” or “being animal” or “bring a rock”. There is judgment for our actions, whether good or evil. For sinning children need to know that there are consequences right here with family, friends, and society. And, if they don’t fight it and repent, God will judge them after death. It’s just like a conversation about not playing in the street. For not believing in God? That’s trickier because it’s more difficult to say whether it’s due to sin (i.e., pride) or they are just natural atheists or something else. This is a situation where humans usually cannot make that judgment. We just have to respect it and work with it. Forcing a teenage atheist to go to church probably isn’t helpful for anyone.

    Revelation 19? Well first, we shouldn’t take it out of context.

    Like

  39. Nan,

    More to the point, these are scriptures that are about (what some believe) the sinful nature of man.

    Yes, this is why I listed those verses, simply to show that the OT does seem to teach sinful nature.

    How can you or anyone deny that Paul is connecting original sin to the creation myth?

    Can you please clarify something for me. I thought what bothered you was the idea of sinful nature, not original sin. I mean in your blog post you contrast modern Jewish belief in human freedom versus original sin, but isn’t it the sinful nature part of original sin that bothers you? Why does making it inheritable make any difference? That’s how I understood your criticism, but I could be wrong.

    Who better to know this that the ones who started this whole idea about God?

    🙂 Alright, but then I’m getting conflicting accounts. Take for example the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia entry on “sin”:
    “Man is responsible for sin because he is endowed with free will (“behirah”); yet he is by nature frail, and the tendency of the mind is to evil: “For the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. viii. 21; Yoma 20a; Sanh. 105a). Jewish theologians are divided in regard to the cause of this so-called ‘original sin’. . .”
    http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13761-sin

    Like

  40. Brandon, I haven’t watched the video. I will later. I have a few questions though even before I do, bear with me.

    The Jesus Bert Ehrman speaks about, was born of a virgin, did he walk on water, die on a cross and resurrect? Tell me about this Jesus. I want us to establish which Jesus he talks about.

    If we have both tendencies, why then call man sinful and not just man? It is no ones fault if what finds expression is what for most of us is considered immoral. What I am trying to tell you here, even given your definition of sin, that a man just is, neither sinful or otherwise but just a man with capabilities to act this or that way. It is the effect of the action that is for most put to question.

    Regret is useless, it is not different from crying over spilled milk.

    Like

  41. I think that “born-in-sin” Christians could learn a lot from this latest entry on Knowledge Guild:

    Philautia
    by Kuba

    Philautia is self-respect. The love we give to ourselves. This is not immediately vanity, like narcissism, but our joy in being true to our own values. The strength to care for ourselves so that we can in turn care for others.

    The clever Greeks realized there were two types. One was an unhealthy variety associated with narcissism, where you became self-obsessed and focused on personal fame and fortune. A healthier version enhanced your wider capacity to love.

    I cannot conceive of a greater loss than the loss of one’s self-respect.
    
- Mahatma Gandhi –

    The idea was that if you like yourself and feel secure in yourself, you will have plenty of love to give others (as is reflected in the Buddhist-inspired concept of “self-compassion”).

    Or, as Aristotle put it, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.”

    Liked by 1 person

        • You stopped writing your very good posts. It’s been ages since. I don’t think you realise they were a good reference for me

          Yes, my son, but you have grown since then – now snatch the pebble from my hand. Yoink! Missed it by THAT much –!

          Like

  42. Brandon,

    In my comment on 11/23 @ 3:06 pm, I asked you: “What do you define as a ‘sinful nature?’” (This question was in response to your question to me: “…do you think that the idea of a sinful nature is not derived from the OT just as much as it is the NT?”)

    You answered, “It means that everyone messes up. Our default state is self-centered. It’s part of being human.”

    From this point on, several people offered comments and the conversation got away from the subject of my post … which was about original sin, i.e., being born sinful, not about whether humans have a sinful nature. I tried to get us back on track in my comment of 11/24 @ 4:23 pm. Again, several others commented regarding human’s sinful nature. On 11/25 @ 3:07 pm, I once more discussed Paul and provided scripture reasons why I believe he is the one who formulated the original sin doctrine.

    So now we’re at your latest posting to me, where it becomes apparent we (you and I) have definitely gotten off-track.

    I thought what bothered you was the idea of sinful nature, not original sin. I mean in your blog post you contrast modern Jewish belief in human freedom versus original sin, but isn’t it the sinful nature part of original sin that bothers you? Why does making it inheritable make any difference? That’s how I understood your criticism, but I could be wrong.

    No, it isn’t the “sinful nature part of original sin” that bothers me. According to Paul, sin is an inherited trait passed on by Adam. In other words, no human is without sin. All have sinned … (Romans 3:23). However, based on Jewish beliefs, this is not the case – humans simply have the inclination to sin. This is where I think you’re missing the point. From the article you referenced:

    Jewish theologians are divided in regard to the cause of this so-called "original sin"; some teach that it was due to Adam’s yielding to temptation in eating of the forbidden fruit and has been inherited by his descendants; the majority, however, do not hold Adam responsible for the sins of mankind.

    (Emphasis mine)

    An added note – one has to be careful when reviewing Jewish websites. Are they speaking from traditional Jewish perspectives? Or are they using the Midrash? Or is the article written by a Messianic Jew? I believe the link I provided to Wikipedia in my original posting (and in other places I’ve researched) is information based on traditional Jewish beliefs.

    I hope I’ve now made myself clear.

    Like

  43. Hey … I have NO problems with anyone going off-topic! I just needed to make it clear between B & me what the real topic of discussion was. It was quite apparent he’d gotten off-track in his responses to everyone else and I had to rein him back in. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  44. Mak,
    Ehrman is a historian who endorses a specific historiography (a method for determining what we can know about the past). By Ehrman’s historiography, which is for the most part canonical among ancient historians, there are a few things that rise to the level of “knowledge” or “fact” about Jesus. These include that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and that Jesus was crucified by the Romans in Jerusalem. That’s really about it. Now, here’s where I want to make something very clear. The canonical historiography cannot say that Jesus did NOT say this or that or perform miracles, NOR does it claim to be able to do this. It merely isolates what is most probably historical fact.

    I’ve given both ears to Ehrman and historians in his circle. Ehrman is clear in his belief that historiography cannot prove a miracle, although other ancient historians like Mike Licona (who is an apologist) would disagree. They think we can use miracles when inferring to the best explanation. The form of their argument is an inference to the best explanation. You should check out YouTube videos on Ehrman debate Licona or Carrier debate Licona if you interested to hear more. Or, listen to Gary Habermas.

    As for sinful nature, yes I understand what you are saying. I agree with you that we can sort of overemphasize sin and guilt, and evangelicals like to do this because they think it evokes an emotional response of guilt followed by appreciation for the cross that they think is authentic. The thing is whatever makes us do good works is just not a problem for us. It really is how we screw up the world that is the problem. That’s why we believe Jesus had to die. But, maybe it’s a good lesson for the church, that we should be more explicit about what is good in humanity as well. I mean this is legitimate criticism.

    BTW regret is not a useless emotion. It helps to calibrate our behavior into accordance with our conscience. It also is a helpful indicator of when it is appropriate to apologize and seek forgiveness.

    Like

  45. Brandon, you have skirted the issue. Is Ehrman’s Jesus the one of the gospels or is his life of Jesus just like the one of Renan, Venturini and so on. The Jesus of the gospels is born of a virgin with no father, performs miracles, dies and resurrects. Is the Jesus in Ehrman’s book?

    Am not interested ion listening to Licona or Herbamas. Fact does not need miracle to accompany it and no amount of miracles can make a contradiction right.

    If you think Jesus died so that men stop going after each other’s jugular, good for you man.

    Liked by 2 people

  46. <blockquote?"It really is how we screw up the world that is the problem. That’s why we believe Jesus had to die"

    @Brandon,

    A bloody sacrifice rather than education? This is a barbaric strategy birth from ancients who didn’t know any better — long before we understood the causes of inappropriate, antisocial behavior.

    Sorry Nan — OT again. It’s mind boggling that people who have vast amounts of information available to them, and sport a PhD hold on to such primitive views. It’s also for this reason that we tend to see little progress in the way of implementing preventative methodologies that encourage prosocial behavior.

    If you want to look at it this way, Jesus had to die because his daddy, Yahweh, was illiterate.

    Like

  47. The problem with semi-brain dead individuals like Dearest Brandon is their flatulent ignorance is continually fueled by their incontinent arrogance.
    Let’s see if we can clear this issue of Original Sin up once and for all in plain simple language that even an erstwhile lookalike-(no)profit like Brandon should grasp.

    1.The Torah was written by Jews, for Jews and was never intended for Gentiles in any shape or form.
    2. Jews followed the Law. And the Torah had nothing to do with ‘salvation’.
    3.The Jews ( and even a theologian like Origen) considered Genesis analogy.They did not recognise or believe in the Doctrine of Original Sin
    4. Jesus and his disciples were Jewish. They believed in the Torah.

    Got it yet?

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Ark, couldn’t have said it better myself.

    You are totally correct. Original sin was never part of ancient Hebrew belief — which has been my point all along. It is Paul’s doctrine!

    Like

  49. Nan,
    Thanks for the clarification. You “believe [Paul] is the one who formulated the original sin doctrine.” It’s still not clear whether the Jewish idea of sinful nature bothers you. But, at least original sin seems to, and the blame is, of course, placed on Paul as he invented Christianity to attract Gentiles.

    The world’s foremost Pauline scholar, NT Wright, does not agree about original sin. He says that what Paul was describing was that Sin (capital S) came into the world. This Sin is an ethereal force that pervades the cosmos after Adam and Eve.

    Also, the Oxford Commentary disagrees with you:

    Paul argues on the basis of Gen 3 only that ‘sin came into the world through one man’. (There were of course two human players in the Garden drama. Eve has gone missing.) He does not propound a theory (‘original sin’) concerning the conveyance of sin, biologically or otherwise, from one generation to the next. The proof of the ubiquity of sin is the universality of its consequence: death (v. 12; Gen 3:3).

    You seem to be reading original sin into the text. But, why? Why would you do that?

    Like

  50. It is disappointing that Nan liked Ark’s abusive comment.

    What’s disappointing is your attitude. You have been presented with the truth, about this and every other related issue, on every non-theological post you have commented on and yet you continue to whine like a four year old.
    If you had the integrity to simply admit that what you believed is based solely on faith then you might garner a little respect.

    Like

  51. Mak, you rigged this question with assumptions to force me to go one way or the other. No thank you, it’s more complicated than your rigged question assumes. The all-mighty historiography can only draw out facts, it does not seem to be good at ruling out things, especially miracles.

    “If you think Jesus died so that men stop going after each other’s jugular, good for you man.”
    I’m not sure what to make of this.

    Like

    • “Victoria, what do you think a sacrifice is?”

      Jesus is a representation of women. Giving life and making huge sacrifices, including possible injury, infection and death, in order to bring life into the world and sustain that life. The bible writes about birth, new born babies, sucking breasts, security, comfort, safety, milk.

      It only takes common sense to see the symbolism, Brandon. And when you look at the history, goddesses were worshiped. But Yahweh — he’s a insecure, jealous god. He wants you to suck his breasts and make you feel like scum of the earth because you were not as perfect as his plump breasts.

      Like

      • I concur completely with what you’re saying, Neuro, but it goes far beyond that. I have maintained that the original god of the Jews was Amurru, god of the Ammurites/Amorites, of Syria. Note that Abraham’s nephew in Genesis, is always referred to as, “Laban, the Syrian.”

        Amurru was known as “El Shaddai,” and the god of the Jews, in Exodus 6:3 (in the original Hebrew), their god specifically states, “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Issac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El Shaddai, but by the name, JEHOVAH was I not known to them.”

        At this point in time, the nomadic Jews had joined forces, and possibly merged their tribes for quite some time, with another tribe known as the Midianites/Kennites, who worshiped an obscure desert god they called, YHWH.

        Interestingly, Amurru/El Shaddai had a wife, known as Asherah. Equally interestingly, the King, Josiah, guided by his “prophet,” Jeremiah, did everything in their power to eradicate every symbol of the fertility goddess, and wife of “El Shaddai,” now known as Yahweh, from the Jewish memory, tearing down the phallic symbols, the “Asherah poles” and burning them.

        A simple Google of “Asherah,” should fill in the gaps.

        The Jewish god, Yahweh/El Shaddai, is a conglomeration of two gods from two distinctly different tribes, hundreds of miles apart, even of different eras, as combined by Mankind’s imagination.

        Liked by 1 person

        • “Jeremiah, did everything in their power to eradicate every symbol of the fertility goddess, and wife of “El Shaddai,” now known as Yahweh, from the Jewish memory, tearing down the phallic symbols, the “Asherah poles” and burning them.”

          Yep — I was aware of her and had this source (below) tucked away in my files. I found it when we were having discourse (I’m thinking it was on Nate’s blog) about the ancient Israelites being polytheists, but then the subject got changed so I never posted it.

          “God’s Wife Edited Out of the Bible, Almost”
          http://news.discovery.com/history/religion/god-wife-yahweh-asherah-110318.htm

          Liked by 1 person

        • The only thing your article omits, Neuro, is that there were two such inscriptions, by two separate supplicants, each seeking a blessing.

          Like

  52. Ark, you are the most abusive dehumanizing person I have interacted with on the blogosphere. And, you haven’t paid attention to what I’ve said. You don’t have to act this way to be heard you know. I appreciate your view because you are a dignified human. If we met in real life I would buy you a coffee or a beer or something. And, when we finish talking we may have to agree to disagree, but it does not have to be so vitriolic. Please consider this.

    Like

    • If we met in real life I would buy you a coffee or a beer or something.

      Yeah, you said that to me once too – see how fickle you are?

      Like

  53. You seem to be reading original sin into the text.

    — Brandon

    Whaaat? It IS part of the text. Once again …

    Romans 5:12: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin … (emphasis mine)
    1 Corinthians 15:22 – … for as all die in Adam (emphasis mine)

    How much clearer can it be? Paul believed sin came into the world though one (the original) man, Adam.

    As Ark pointed out, the Torah was written by Jews, for Jews. Jesus was a Jew (thus, he followed the Torah). The Torah does not talk about “original sin.” Got it?

    The only reason I can think of that is affecting your understanding is you can’t seem to get away from the idea of a “sin nature.” Quite frankly, I don’t believe humans have a “sin nature.” Sin is a bible concept and I (as many others who have contributed to this blog) don’t believe the bible. IMO, there are good people and there are bad people. Period. “Sin” does not enter the picture.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “The only reason I can think of that is affecting your understanding is you can’t seem to get away from the idea of a “sin nature.”

      I agree. He can’t shake it because he’s got a massive neurological networking reinforcing stemming from his childhood and self indoctrination. Yes, there are prosocial people and there are antisocial people and we understand why this is. It has nothing to do with a sin nature, and everything to do with early childhood experiences, our biology and brain development or lack thereof, our environment, and what circumstances we were born in.

      They didn’t know any better back in Paul’s days than to understand with the education and brain development of a 5 year old.

      Like

  54. Nan, I get how you come to that interpretation. My question is why? If you have other interpretations available and authorities saying it’s not right, why? It’s kind of like me arguing with Richard Dawkins that the fossil record is best interpreted as representing punctuated equilibrium. Maybe, despite his authority on evolution, he is wrong. But, I must have an underlying reason to even make this argument.

    I mean you don’t even know if Romans 5 represents original Pauline thought or represents a broader school of thought. It’s just an assumption to think it’s Pauline.

    So, why?

    Like

    • Fourteen letters are ascribed to Paul. Of those, seven have been determined by serious biblical scholars as being likely forgeries. But of the seven remaining, “Romans” has been determined to be one, if not THE one, written by Paul, no matter how demented he may have been.

      How can you say, “…you don’t even know if Romans 5 represents original Pauline thought“?

      Like

    • Brandon, I forgot to mention, Yahweh promoted war which caused a lot of children to be orphaned (when has there never not been war in the lands of Yahweh) and toxic stress. We have loads of peer-reviewed studies showing that early childhood adversities including separation from primary caregivers, and/or not bonding with a primary caregiver, affects brain development and can lead to attachment disorders, other neurological disorders where hyper-reliigiosity is a major feature. All off this has been shared with you before, at length — but you reject it all because you are hell bent on believing in a sin nature.

      Yahweh, Jesus’ daddy, is the epitome of dysfunction, not perfection. Getting back to Original Sin:

      “Saint Augustine (354-430) was the first theologian to teach that man is born into this world in a state of sin. The basis of his belief is from the Bible (Genesis 3:17-19) where Adam is described as having disobeyed G-d by eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. This, the first sin of man, became known as original sin.

      Many Christians today, particularly members of the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian Churches, subscribe to this belief. They maintain that the sin of Adam was transferred to all future generations, tainting even the unborn. Substantiation for this view is found in the New Testament (Romans 5:12) where Paul says, “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. By one man’s disobediance many were made sinners.”

      Christianity believes that only through the acceptance of Jesus that the “grace” of G-d can return to man. A Christian need only believe in Jesus to be saved; nothing else is required of her.

      The doctrine of original sin is totally unacceptable to Jews (as it is to Christian sects such as Baptists and Assemblies of G-d). Jews believe that man enters the world free of sin, with a soul that is pure and innocent and untainted. While there were some Jewish teachers in Talmudic times who believed that death was a punishment brought upon mankind on account of Adam’s sin, the dominant view by far was that man sins because he is not a perfect being, and not, as Christianity teaches, because he is inherently sinful.”

      http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/Original_Sin.html

      Like

  55. Brandon. I can assure you on my life that I hate nothing or no one with the exception of maybe Manchester United on a bad day.
    If someone behaves like an arse then they will be treated like one.

    So, back to the question. Do you believe the Garden of Eden story is fiction of real?
    Simple question and all it needs is a simpler answer.
    Off you go.

    Like

  56. Ark, if you don’t hate me, then your language does not reflect this. I’m not a rival sports team, I’m actually another human on the other end of the internet who may just have some different ideas than you. That doesn’t make me an arse.

    As for the creation myth I don’t think it’s entirely helpful to force it into a dichotomy of literal or fiction. As a myth it functions on altogether different level than this. It contains truth, but it is constructed as a narrative that is not like video-recordable reality. I’m perfectly fine with the doctrine of evolution.

    Like

  57. Victoria,
    In a conversation it’s no use inundating me with your doctrine. If you want to convince me, please make an argument.

    Also, your google search reveals a disagreement with Nan. Why don’t you discuss with Nan that original sin came from Augustine and not Paul?

    Like

    • “Also, your google search reveals a disagreement with Nan. Why don’t you discuss with Nan that original sin came from Augustine and not Paul?”

      Brandon, reread the quote.

      In a conversation it’s no use inundating me with your doctrine. If you want to convince me, please make an argument.

      Brandon, we have been in dialog, often extensively, with you for about a year now. If you want to have a conversation, it’s no use inundating us with your doctrine. If you want to convince me and others, please make an argument that is NOT based on your indoctrination.

      Like

    • Did you not even READ it, Brandon? Is that REALLY how blinded you’ve chosen to be, regarding opinions that differ from your own? Had you done so, you’d have seen that St. Augustine traced back to Paul.

      SURELY you understand why Ark pounds you as he does – I’d do it myself but I’m simply too polished —

      Liked by 1 person

  58. @Brandon. Just because you get called names does not mean I hate you. Stop behaving like a plonker, strap on a pair and grow up.
    Now, enough of the bullshit semantic tap-dance and answer the damn question,
    Fact or fiction. Which is it?

    Like

  59. Victoria, I reread the quote and stand by what I said.

    You construct this narrative frequently that we have been in one continuous coherent debate. That’s just false. Now, I will admit that much of what I do is state my doctrine as a recoverted Christian and for various reasons depending on the topic. But, remember why I believe what I do?

    Let’s talk about you for a moment. You just tried to inundate me with your doctrine and the worst part is that you try to bolster your position with your google expertise without realizing that you haven’t really taken on any serious study of the ancient world. Which brings us full circle to my original question. Why did the ancients sacrifice? Look at multiple cultures and also the Levitical priesthood. Hint: try to find a sophisticated answer because the ancients were actually quite sophisticated contrary to the notion they had reasoning capacity of 5 year olds.

    Like

    • Brandon, I share and you ignore. If you can’t figure out why humans have used sacrifices because they lacked education than nothing I or others say can enlighten you. Seriously, do you not understand that people used scapegoats because they were illiterate?

      Now, if you want to have an intelligent conversation, leave out the freaking indoctrination and open a science book.

      You construct this narrative frequently that we have been in one continuous coherent debate. That’s just false.

      You are correct when you say that you have not been coherent in debate. Because, Brandon, if it doesn’t line up to your indoctrination — your brand of Christianity, you through it out the window.

      Now, I will admit that much of what I do is state my doctrine as a recoverted Christian and for various reasons depending on the topic. But, remember why I believe what I do?

      I know why you believe what you do. You have “experiences”. You come across as hyper-religious and your family has a background of mental illness. Your grandmother and your mother.

      Mental illnesses, in general, are thought to be caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors:

      Inherited traits. Mental illness is more common in people whose biological (blood) relatives also have a mental illness. Certain genes may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, and your life situation may trigger it.

      http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/basics/causes/con-20033813

      I’m sorry to be so blunt Brandon, but no one can be that naive considered the abundant amount of information we have today, unless they have issues.

      Like

      • …no one can be that naive considered the abundant amount of information we have today, unless they have issues.

        Especially if they’ve held a brain in their hands —

        Like

  60. @Brandon.
    Come on then, we’re all waiting for your answer. What’s the problem? Scared a straight answer wil, show you up?
    Let’s see a bit of honest integrity just once. You want respect. Earn it.
    It isn’t a difficult question.
    Garden of Eden. Fact or fiction?

    Like

  61. Victoria,
    I have more scientific credentials than you. I am a funded scientist and physician. I am also more qualified to understand mental illnesses than you. Your googling expertise amounts to pseudointellectual fodder and your arrogance is astonishing.

    If you want to have a serious conversation about the concept of sacrifice, I’m here.

    Like

    • Sorry Brandon — you can throw your credentials out all you want, but I have experiences and well over 10 years as a trained advocate for people just like you. You have identical behavior of those who are hyper-religious, a major feature of common neurological disorders. You and my late husband are nearly identical in behavior. I saw him go from agnostic to hyper-religious due to a neurological disorder. Reading your posts is just like deja vu.

      You have never had a thorough neurological evaluation, and besides that Brandon, it notes in the Official Journal of the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry that misdiagnoses among physicians is frequent because of these affective, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms related to hyper-religiosity a.k.a. neurological disorders. You battle with depression and all kinds of other issues which you have shared openly, and the only reason I am being so blunt with you is because I care.

      Your behavior is not only a mirror image of my late husband, but also the behaviors described in the emails I get from people who contacted me after reading the research — people who have family members who have behavior just like you. It’s one thing to be indoctrinated, but you have access to abundant information, and you ignore it. You say you work 80 hours a week. When exactly do you sleep? How can you spend so much time on religious subjects, posting extensively as you do, and also work 80 hours a week? Again, when do you sleep? That says a lot about your state of mind.

      Like

    • I am a funded scientist and physician” – A physician deals with the physical body, not the mind, and please refresh our memory as to exactly within what field are you a “funded scientist”?

      Like

  62. My question is why? If you have other interpretations available and authorities saying it’s not right, why?

    I mean you don’t even know if Romans 5 represents original Pauline thought or represents a broader school of thought. It’s just an assumption to think it’s Pauline.

    Brandon, you amaze me. The BIBLE, which I trust you adhere to (at least to some degree since you are a Christian, albeit reconverted) and which you have quoted from, is the authority  I’m referencing. Not other people’s interpretations. Paul made the statements I’ve recorded. They seem pretty clear to me.

    I’m curious as to why you would suggest Romans represents a “broader school of thought?” It’s in this epistle that Paul is building his case against the entire world that we are guilty before God. And why does he feel this way? Because death came through one man’s sin (Adam), thus we are all guilty. Yes, he also goes into long and drawn-out explanations in Romans why he believes we overcome this “original sin” through JC’s death, but you simply can’t get away from the fact he believed in and taught that the whole reason we NEED salvation is because of Adam’s goof-up.

    As far as Neuronotes “disagreement” with me about Augustine, note that the Google article says this:

    “Saint Augustine (354-430) was the first theologian to teach that man is born into this world in a state of sin.

    (Emphasis mine)

    You are aware, I trust, that Paul is recognized as an apostle (self-appointed), not a theologian. That you would even quibble over this is mind-boggling.

    Like

  63. Victoria, I appreciate that you care. And, I care about you, that’s why I want you to know that your statements often demonstrate intellectual arrogance. It’s not enough to assert the narrative of progress and insult the ancients. You must demonstrate it. But, academia would not accept your narrative. Anyone familiar with the masters of suspicion or Derridian ideas or the like will deconstruct your narrative of progress. Especially since Christianity is thriving in this scientifically enlightened world. Actually, science was created by Christians as were western universities, hospitals, and stable democracies. So, your narrative of progress is not just elusive, but the fact that it should be so obvious, is just an arrogant assertion.

    If you had gone to medical school, you might understand that psychoanalysis over the internet doesn’t really work. But, you don’t have that training. And, you don’t know if I have a mental illness or if my alleged mental illness is causing belief. But, you assert this nonetheless. When you compare me to your late husband, you are making a Freudian blunder called transference. That’s an important term to look up. I am not your husband.

    Just by using the term hyperreligious, you assume that there is a normal religiosity. So, how is it that you diagnose me as hyperreligious? What objective criteria do you have? Can you perhaps point to a DSMV diagnostic category? Or, have you read the DSMV?

    Like

    • science was created by Christians

      I don’t know where you were when history was being taught in your school, likely somewhere playing with a brain, but science was created by the ancient Greeks and kept alive by the Muslim civilization, while your Christians in Europe were burning alive any of those who disagreed with their fables by saying ridiculous things like the sun doesn’t actually orbit the Earth.

      I am not your husband

      If I had to venture a wild guess, it would be that every morning, Victoria leaps to her feet and dances a little jig in celebration of the knowledge that your above statement is one of those rare ones that was, is, and always will be, true.

      Liked by 1 person

  64. “Just by using the term hyperreligious, you assume that there is a normal religiosity.”

    Yes Brandon, there is a normal religiosity = belief in a god = indoctrination. You are not normal. You are obsessed. Btw, hyper-religiosity is a clinical term.

    Like

  65. Yep. Brandon is a fundamental whack job with hyper-BS fueled ego and thinly veiled misogynist tendencies. Avoids every direct question, and also has a minor god complex.
    Classic Dickhead.

    Like

  66. OK, you guys! Enough of this bickering and insults (Ark). Nate may allow it, but I don’t. I said I didn’t mind contributors straying from the topic, but this is going beyond that. Please stop.

    Like

  67. Victoria, I never said hyperreligiosity was not a clinical term. The fact that you think you can diagnose me as this or as “obsessed” is pure arrogance. You are not qualified. This is the kind of arrogance you need to turn from.

    Also indoctrination is not belief in a god. That’s an arrogant, condescending definition that you created.

    Like

    • “Also indoctrination is not belief in a god. That’s an arrogant, condescending definition that you created.”

      Repeat: Religiosity is belief in god = indoctrination.

      No indoctrination, no belief unless you have a neurological disorder or are superstitious and think that your right hemisphere, the other half of you, is interpreted as GOD. See split brain experiments where the right hemisphere believes in god but the left does not.

      Sleep deprivation — who appears? God.
      Fasting or extreme hunger — who appears? God.
      Oxygen deprivation — who appears? God.
      Get knocked over the head in the right spot and who appears? God.
      Have a seizure in the temporal lobes, and who appears? God.
      Abuse drugs and/or alcohol and who appears? God.
      Come in contact with infrasound in a specific Hz, i.e., ball lightening, and who appears? God. Come in contact with magnetic waveforms, and who appears? God.
      Have a melatonin imbalance and who appears? God.
      Come in contact with geomagnetic or tectonic strain/seismic activity and who appears? God. Get a specific (common) mental disorder and who appears? God.
      Get a severe injury and go into shock and who appears? God.
      Have a stroke in a sweet spot of your brain and who appears? God.
      Experience attachment disorders and who appears? God.
      Spend a lot of time in isolation and who appears? God.
      Experience sensory deprivation and who appears? God.
      Experience extreme temperatures, especially cold and who appears? God.
      Extreme fatigue and fear and who appears? God

      In other words, these conditions cause delusions. Live in a country where belief in god is not taken seriously, there will rarely be a belief in god. That is unless you experience some of the conditions above.

      But you, Brandon, believe in one god over thousands, perhaps millions that man has conjured up for various reasons. You call us arrogant, but think about what you are suggesting. You believe you have the right god.

      The point Nan is making is spot on.

      Liked by 1 person

  68. Nan, are you really saying that your interpretation over and against NT Wright and the Oxford Commentary is superior?

    Do you have reading problems, Brandon? I clearly said my “interpretation” is from the BIBLE … which clearly outlines Paul’s belief about original sin. For NT Wright or the Oxford Commentary or any other source to say this is incorrect is essentially taking away from Paul’s own words.

    Like

  69. S’okay, Nan. Brandon loves me really, hey, Brandon?
    He just keeps coming back to prove a point, dontcha, Brandon, baby?
    The day he answers a direct question – honestly – will be the day he hangs his ‘god’ out to dry once and for all.
    You can see he’s a fraud, Nan, surely?

    Meantime …. it’s all just fun, really. 😉

    Like

  70. There is so much vitriol and hatred here. I think I’m hanging my hat and calling this forum quits.

    Nan, I don’t have reading problems, that’s an unnecessary aggression. You need to gain humility to see there are multiple interpretations and you do not have special access to the correct one.

    Victoria, you think you have everything figured out about theism, that makes you very arrogant. You have an opportunity to become more ecumenical with other humans out there, I encourage you to take it before this arrogance destroys you.

    Ark, you are still abusive. Repent. Figure out a way to treat people well.

    Mak, we can continue our conversation elsewhere. My blog, Raut’s, Nate’s.

    Peace to everyone.

    Like

    • I think I’m hanging my hat and calling this forum quits.” – SAY it isn’t SO!

      Victoria…You have an opportunity to become more ecumenical with other humans out there, I encourage you to take it before this arrogance destroys you.

      Sadly (for you, Brandon), Victoria is far stronger than you will ever be. Between the two of you, if anyone is fragile and on the edge of virtual, if not actual self-destruction, it’s you.

      Ark, you are still abusive. Repent.” – Yeah, well, I’ve been telling him that for over a year now, and you can see how well that worked out —

      Pax vobiscum.

      Liked by 1 person

  71. One more thing *puts hat on*. I need to publicly apologize to you Victoria for one statement I made. This one: “Your google expertise amounts to pseudointellectual fodder”. I’m sorry, I take this back. It’s too harsh and not true. I do have criticism for your use of research without a deep appreciation of what you are looking at and the limitations of extrapolating results and not paying attention to other studies. This is difficult to learn. It may actually take writing grant proposals and scientific papers to gain a genuine expertise that avoids overinterpreting or pop psychologies, etc. But, I need to say something positive here. I do respect that you are putting so much effort to learn. I think it comes from a genuine empathy as I’ve stated before.

    The other parts about diagnosing me and denigrating ancients and theists today, I think stems from arrogance. I stand by this much.

    That’s all. Peace again. Bye, Nan. *Takes hat off*

    Like

    • Brandon, every member in my family is a Christian. None of them act like you. Not even close.

      ” I do have criticism for your use of research without a deep appreciation of what you are looking at and the limitations of extrapolating results and not paying attention to other studies.

      You have room to talk. 😉

      As far as research goes, you really do leave a lot to be desired when it comes to picking and choosing. You’re one of the biggest cherry pickers I’ve ever met on WP, and I will also say that you are a Paul through and through. You have your own version of Christianity. No wonder you relate and defend him so much. You are two peas in a pod.

      Please take my advise and get a thorough neurological evaluation. You’re playing with fire.

      Liked by 1 person

  72. Ya’ know, it’s nice that B offered “peace” to all … but personally, I’ve been at peace ever since I discarded the garments of Christianity. Anyone else?

    Like

    • Same here, Nan. My first thought when Brandon wrote that was “I hope you find peace”. I do not mean that in a sarcastic way. I never knew authentic peace until, like you, I discarded the garments of Christianity. I had peace by faith, but it paled in comparison to the peace I have now.

      Like

  73. @Arch

    “I am a funded scientist and physician” – A physician deals with the physical body, not the mind, and please refresh our memory as to exactly within what field are you a “funded scientist”?

    I’ll take a bet that the field of expertise has nothing to do with the manufacture and production of Yogurt as this requires a modicum of culture.

    Liked by 1 person

  74. @Nan

    You remind me of the little boy who pulls the braids of the little girl sitting in front of him in hopes of getting a reaction.

    Arch is a dreadful person. I can’t count the number of blogs he has got me banned from. He always gets me into trouble. I think he should be banned. He’s a daft old fossil.

    Like

    • “Arch is a dreadful person. I can’t count the number of blogs he has got me banned from. He always gets me into trouble. I think he should be banned. He’s a daft old fossil.”

      I GOT it! I GOT it! I’m really good at puzzles! You’ve written a new excerpt to that thing you write, which I read whenever I have ABSOLUTELY nothing else to do, and you’re calling it, “Arkenaten Through the Looking Glass,” in which everything is the opposite from reality. I applaud your effort, however inarticulate, fruitless and plebeian – but hey, at least you’re consistent.

      Liked by 1 person

    • True enough, Ark.” – Et tu, Brute?
      This was the most unkindest cut of all, for when great Caesar saw him/(her?) stab, ingratitude, more strong than traitor’s arms, quite burst his mighty heart and vanquished him!”

      Like

  75. Brandon left before he could tell me how I rigged the question for him. Did the Jesus I ask him of different from the one described in the gospels. And he may want to keep miracles, the historian does not think a fact needs miracles to support it.

    Liked by 1 person

  76. Your right about the Hebrews not believing in the concept of Original Sin. It’s one of the biggest reasons why Judaism has been unable to embrace Christianity. Christianity took the Old Testament which was written by Jews, about Jews and for Jews and reinterpreted the Hebrew Word of God. With respect to Original Sin, Genesis 8:21 says that,“… and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth….” According to Genesis 8:21, then, man was not born evil but he became evil during his life.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Original Sin is such a ridiculous concept anyway. Early on, Adam and Eve had not partaken of the Tree of Knowledge and, therefore, they did not understand the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Of course, God, if he were in fact omniscient, would have known that they were unaware and also would have known the choice that they would make. Tell me, if you were a parent and told little Johnny not to touch a hot stove and he did it anyway, would you punish him? Obviously, both little Johnny and Adam and Eve did not realize that disobedience was bad (evil). By the way, once Adam and Eve had eaten from the Tree of Knowledge, they realized what was happening and they were embarrassed because they were naked. The reason for their embarrassment (which has been suppressed from the Bible) is that God wore clothes and they did not. This they then understood was because God was the master and they (mankind) were the lowly workers who were naked and whose sole function, as it says in the Bible, was to tend to the garden. This is the reason why slavery was an accepted practice (e.g. see the Tenth Commandment) – that is, the practice of slavery began with God. As for God,himself, he lied since Adam and Eve did not die when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Remind me again why anyone prays to such a god.

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        • As for God,himself, he lied since Adam and Eve did not die when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge.

          Granted, in Gen 2:17, the Bible’s god says, “for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die,” theists, who begin with a belief and warp everything to fit it, will quickly counter with the argument that their god didn’t literally mean they would die that day, he meant that Humankind originally had no expiration date, but with breaking of the command, all bets were off.

          BUT – that’s off as well, for a little later, in Gen 3:22, the big guy says, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of Life, and eat, and live forever:

          We’ll never know what he intended, as he never finished that thought. But clearly his original intention had never been that Humankind would live forever and not die or he wouldn’t have been so concerned about the fruit of the tree of Life.

          And why toss them out of the garden, wouldn’t it have been simpler to move the trees? Why was there no prohibition against eating from the tree of Life?

          And what kind of a low-tech god stores knowledge in a piece of fruit? You don’t see Moses coming down the mountain with a pineapple and a cumquat —

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        • Pineapple and a cumquat. Hilarious! Actually, this all makes sense when one realizes that the”god” of Genesis wasn’t a god at all. You can read about in the Sumerian texts which considerably outdate the Bible. For that matter, old Jewish writings like the Zohar and the Talmud are much more accurate(and detailed) than the Old Testament.

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        • First of all, regarding the chanting of both Muslims and Orthodox Jews, make it a point of looking up another WP blogger, NeuroNotes – she has spent the past 7 years collecting data on the chemical transformations that take place in the brains of the religious, and can likely tell you exactly what kind of brain chemistry chanting behavior induces.

          Secondly, you mentioned the god of Genesis – I have a theory about that, which I’ve related more than once, but I don’t know you, which could easily mean you haven’t read it anywhere, so I’ll briefly repeat it.

          The Sumarians ruled Mesopotamia with a theocracy for 4,000 years. In the mid-2 thousands BCE, a Semitic tribe, the Akkadians, began settling, a few at a time, in the Northern part of the region. At first, they represented no threat to the Sumarians, but over time, they grew in size and strength and ultimately overcame them, and for over 500 years, ruled the area and opened a trade route from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean, and the length of the Levant.

          Ultimately, another Semitic tribe, the Amurrites (or Amorites), so called because they worshiped a god named “Amurru,” did exactly the same thing, and for another 500 years, from the last part of the 2000’s to nearly 1500 BCE, ruled Mesopotamia, ultimately giving the world the great king Hammurabi, the lawgiver. Originally, the Amurrites made their capitol in Alleppo, Syria, and spread out from there. An interesting fact about their god, Amurru – he also went by the name, “El Shaddai.”

          It has been established that often, in ancient texts, a man’s name didn’t necessarily mean one particular man, but could well mean a tribe of men, whose original leader may have borne the name the tribe now goes by – an example would be the “children of Israel.” All reputable archaeologists confirm – and I’m quoting William G. Dever – that no evidence exists for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob/Israel.

          According to Genesis, Abraham (or possibly the TRIBE that called itself after Abraham, who may have been its founder) left “Ur of the Chaldees” to move to Haran, which is right on the Syrian border. This supposedly occurred around 2350-2400 BCE. The Chaldeans didn’t move into the area near Ur (in the South, near present-day Baghdad) until around 700 BCE – clearly, whoever wrote that part of the story lived in the era of the Chaldeans and assumed that what was, when they wrote, ALWAYS was.

          It is 700 miles from Ur to Haran. HOWEVER, there is a town, also on the Syrian border, just 20 miles east of Haran – named Ur-fa. Now “Ur” is simply the Sumarian word for “city” – how much more likely is it that Abe, et al, left Ur-fa, and traveled 20 miles (likely a 2-day journey with livestock), to settle in Haran? Further, the little town of Ur-fa, to this very day, celebrates itself each year as being the birthplace of Abraham!

          Remember, BOTH of these towns are in Syria, and thoughout the Isaac and Jacob stories, Abe’s other nephew, who stayed behind in Haran, is ALWAYS referred to as “Laban the Syrian.” Now, if Laban, Abraham’s nephew, was consistently known as a Syrian, what would that make Abe, but a Syrian, which implies he would have been an Amurrite Semite – and who did the Amurrites worship? Amurru – aka, “El Shaddai.”

          Jump forward half a millennium – Moses runs away from Egypt, is taken in by a Midianite/Kennite priest, Jethro, and eventually marries his daughter. The Midianites worshiped an obscure desert war god, YHWH. Early on in Exodus, in the episode of the burning bush, the talking bush describes himself (3:6) as the god of Abe, Ike and Jake – not of creation, only of those three. Later (6:3) this god relates: “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name, JEHOVAH was I not known to them.” [emphasis, mine]

          That passage has been translated from Hebrew, to Greek, to English, but in the original Hebrew, it read, “And I appeared…etc., etc.,…by the name of El Shaddai, but by my name, JEHOVAH was I not known to them. As you likely know, the name, “Jehovah” was a mistranslation of the name, “YHWH,” and because early Hebrew didn’t use vowels, the first translations came out Jehovah, which has since been rectified.

          The point is, that until this Moses married into the family of a priest who worshiped a god named YHWH, the only god the Hebrews knew called himself, by his own admission, El Shaddai, which we know was the other name for Amurru. One more fact – it is established that the god, Amurru, was believed to have a wife, named Asherah, a fertility goddess. The king, Jeremiah, spent a great deal of time and manpower going all over Israel, tearing down “Asherah poles,” fertility phallic symbols, a tribute to Asherah, wife of El Shaddai. Finally, in excavations that took place near the ancient city of Ugarit, in two separate locations, in two individual handwritings, were two pieces of broken pottery found, each inscribed with the words, “To Yahweh and his Asherah.”

          In Exodus, the Jews switched gods in the middle of the stream – or Red Sea, as it were!

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  77. The idea that Paul states : Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men[a] because all sinned is the main chore of our Christian faith. If this idea is wrong, our entire of Christianity theology is ruined. First of all, if we are not sinned against God’s will because of the origin sin that we have through procreation, why do we need salvation? why God sent His Son to go to the earth, become on of us as part of human race and died for us? It is important to believe in originilaty of sin. because of the bondage of original sin, we believe that God sent His Son, Jesus, to came to the world, became one of them, died on the cross to redeem us from our sin. But without the fact that we are part of human race, descendant of Adam who was rebelled against God, what the significance of the salvation and redemption? There is no original sin, and so there is no point why Jesus died for us. Because ignore this teaching also will make Paul’s teaching about the second Adam cannot fit together with our theology.

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    • Abraham, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      You are absolutely correct! If there is no “original sin,” then there is no need for salvation.

      You are also correct when you say it’s important (for Christians) to believe in original sin because this is what the entire Christian faith is built upon … all have been born into sin and thus need a “savior” to redeem them from the penalty of this sin.

      But if there is no “original sin,” then humanity is free! There is no penance to pay. Everyone can simply live their time on earth doing as Jesus instructed … love God with all their hearts and minds and spirit … and their neighbors as ourselves.

      All this goes back to the point of my original posting. The idea of original sin was all Paul’s idea. There is nothing in the Hebrew religion (which is the foundation for Christianity) that teaches this concept.

      Once a person accepts this, they are FREE!

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    • There is no original sin, and so there is no point why Jesus died for us.” – I think you’re beginning to get it.

      Look at the logic of it Abraham – when I was a parent with young children in the house, I made the rules. I had a CHOICE as to which rules to make. Why would a god, capable of creating an entire universe, with a CHOICE as to which rules to make, make rules that he would have to send his son to die, to absolve? And exactly how did his dying change anything?

      And which rules? The ten commandments? Which ten commandments, the ones in Exodus or the ones in Numbers? And how about all of the other 600+ rules? Kill any man who picks up sticks on the Sabbath! If your children are disobedient to you, take them outside the city and stone them to death!

      Do you follow those rules? If not, why not?

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