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Thread: Free will and original sin

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    Default Free will and original sin

    I really cannot accept the Calvinist Protestant interpretation of humans bearing the guilt and stain of original sin, the theology of predestination, and their generally negative view of humanity the human condition. I will always actually feel like Eastern Christianity generally has a more positive perspective on the human condition, a more tenable theology on the question of free will.

    Eastern Orthodox Christians say the goal of human life is union with the divine, a process they call theosis. The essence of this process is the ongoing effort to be like Christ. For most, it will take an entire life’s work. Monks have an audacious calling to seek this divine union as a mystical state in this life. But complete theosis can still only come upon death, when one’s bodily existence is subsumed within the life of God.

    Most Western Christians, on the other hand, imagine an insurmountable distance between humans and God. Maybe God can touch someone across that gap, but a person can’t become one with God, in part because of the stain of original sin.

    In the West, Augustine came up with the predominant way of talking about original sin: as a permanent defect that all humans inherited through Adam and Eve’s mistakes in the Garden of Eden. But most of his writings were not available in Greek until the 13th century and the Orthodox came up with a different take on things.

    The Orthodox say Adam and Eve’s disobedience interrupted the process of spiritual maturation that God had planned for them. Other people might deserve God’s punishment, but that’s because of their own sins, not because the inherited the stain of original sin. And the natural human tendency is to move toward God, not to turn away from him.

    The Orthodox don’t have as much angst about the paradox of divine sovereignty and free will. To them, free will is actually a sign of our imperfection; if we were perfect, we wouldn’t need any choice, because we would always know what is good.

    These differences help explain the intellectual reasons why the Eastern Orthodox world has never had a Reformation. Eastern Christians do fight over theology, but in general, they are more comfortable with paradox and mystery.



    Source credit: Molly Worthen, PhD. Religious Historian, University of North Carolina

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    Most people have accepted 'The Theory of Evolution' and don't spend a lot of time wasting it on your concept of 'Original Sin'.
    You'd have to be REAL STUPID to teach your children that they are Sinners.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    I really cannot accept the Calvinist Protestant interpretation of humans bearing the guilt and stain of original sin, the theology of predestination, and their generally negative view of humanity the human condition. I will always actually feel like Eastern Christianity generally has a more positive perspective on the human condition, a more tenable theology on the question of free will.

    Eastern Orthodox Christians say the goal of human life is union with the divine, a process they call theosis. The essence of this process is the ongoing effort to be like Christ. For most, it will take an entire life’s work. Monks have an audacious calling to seek this divine union as a mystical state in this life. But complete theosis can still only come upon death, when one’s bodily existence is subsumed within the life of God.

    Most Western Christians, on the other hand, imagine an insurmountable distance between humans and God. Maybe God can touch someone across that gap, but a person can’t become one with God, in part because of the stain of original sin.

    In the West, Augustine came up with the predominant way of talking about original sin: as a permanent defect that all humans inherited through Adam and Eve’s mistakes in the Garden of Eden. But most of his writings were not available in Greek until the 13th century and the Orthodox came up with a different take on things.

    The Orthodox say Adam and Eve’s disobedience interrupted the process of spiritual maturation that God had planned for them. Other people might deserve God’s punishment, but that’s because of their own sins, not because the inherited the stain of original sin. And the natural human tendency is to move toward God, not to turn away from him.

    The Orthodox don’t have as much angst about the paradox of divine sovereignty and free will. To them, free will is actually a sign of our imperfection; if we were perfect, we wouldn’t need any choice, because we would always know what is good.

    These differences help explain the intellectual reasons why the Eastern Orthodox world has never had a Reformation. Eastern Christians do fight over theology, but in general, they are more comfortable with paradox and mystery.



    Source credit: Molly Worthen, PhD. Religious Historian, University of North Carolina
    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 . Jews believe that man enters the world free of sin, with a soul that is pure and innocent and untainted.

    The term “original sin” is unknown to the Jewish Scriptures, and the Church’s teachings on this doctrine are antithetical to the core principles of the Torah and its prophets.

    …if you will hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law; if you turn unto the Lord thy God with all your heart and with all your soul; for this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you neither is it too far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, and make us hear it, that we may do it?” Neither is it beyond the sea that you should say: “Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it that we may do it?” The word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.

    (Deuteronomy 30:10-14)
    The Jewish people have drawn great comfort and encouragement from this uplifting promise. For the Church, however, Moses’ unwavering message creates a theological disaster. How could the authors of the New Testament reasonably insist that man’s dire condition was hopeless if the Torah unambiguously declared that man possessed an extraordinary ability to remain faithful to God? How could the Church fathers possibly contend that the mitzvoth in the Torah couldn’t save the Jewish people when the Creator proclaimed otherwise? How could missionaries conceivably maintain that the commandments of the Torah are too difficult when the Torah declares that they are “not far off,” “not too hard,” and “you may do it”?

    This staggering problem did not escape the attention of Paul. Bear in mind, the author of Romans and Galatians constructed his most consequential doctrines on the premise that man is utterly depraved, and therefore incapable of saving himself through his own obedience to God. In chapter after chapter, he directs his largely gentile audiences toward the cross and away from Sinai, as he repeatedly insists that man is utterly lost without Jesus.

    Yet, how could Paul harmonize this wayward theology with the Jewish Scriptures in which his teachings were not only unknown, but thoroughly condemned? Even with the nimble skills that Paul possessed, welding together the Church’s young doctrine of original sin with diametrically opposed teachings of the Jewish Scriptures would not be a simple task.

    https://outreachjudaism.org/original-sin/
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    ברוך השם

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    I really cannot accept the Calvinist Protestant interpretation of humans bearing the guilt and stain of original sin, the theology of predestination, and their generally negative view of humanity the human condition. I will always actually feel like Eastern Christianity generally has a more positive perspective on the human condition, a more tenable theology on the question of free will.

    Eastern Orthodox Christians say the goal of human life is union with the divine, a process they call theosis. The essence of this process is the ongoing effort to be like Christ. For most, it will take an entire life’s work. Monks have an audacious calling to seek this divine union as a mystical state in this life. But complete theosis can still only come upon death, when one’s bodily existence is subsumed within the life of God.

    Most Western Christians, on the other hand, imagine an insurmountable distance between humans and God. Maybe God can touch someone across that gap, but a person can’t become one with God, in part because of the stain of original sin.

    In the West, Augustine came up with the predominant way of talking about original sin: as a permanent defect that all humans inherited through Adam and Eve’s mistakes in the Garden of Eden. But most of his writings were not available in Greek until the 13th century and the Orthodox came up with a different take on things.

    The Orthodox say Adam and Eve’s disobedience interrupted the process of spiritual maturation that God had planned for them. Other people might deserve God’s punishment, but that’s because of their own sins, not because the inherited the stain of original sin. And the natural human tendency is to move toward God, not to turn away from him.

    The Orthodox don’t have as much angst about the paradox of divine sovereignty and free will. To them, free will is actually a sign of our imperfection; if we were perfect, we wouldn’t need any choice, because we would always know what is good.

    These differences help explain the intellectual reasons why the Eastern Orthodox world has never had a Reformation. Eastern Christians do fight over theology, but in general, they are more comfortable with paradox and mystery.



    Source credit: Molly Worthen, PhD. Religious Historian, University of North Carolina
    I agree with the Eastern philosophy over the Western.

    This also gets into a "personal God", the Trinity and "the power of prayer" AKA God granting wishes.
    "You never change things by fighting against the existing reality.
    To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete."

    - Buckminster Fuller

    Barry Goldwater speech to Congress 1981...........................................Sock puppets are for cowards and liars

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Most people have accepted 'The Theory of Evolution' and don't spend a lot of time wasting it on your concept of 'Original Sin'.
    You'd have to be REAL STUPID to teach your children that they are Sinners.
    Evolution has nothing to do with spirituality, or even ethics.
    One would have to be pretty stupid to confuse the two.
    ERIC CIARAMELLA whose name may not be spoken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Most people have accepted 'The Theory of Evolution' and don't spend a lot of time wasting it on your concept of 'Original Sin'.
    You'd have to be REAL STUPID to teach your children that they are Sinners.
    Original Sin by itself is enough to ignore Christianity.

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    Jews do not believe in the doctrine of original sin. This is a Christian belief based on Paul's statement, "Therefore just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Romans 5:12). The doctrine was fully developed by the church father, Augustine of Hippo (354-430).

    According to this doctrine, hereditary sinfulness is inescapably transmitted to human beings by their parents, starting with Adam and Eve. It is alleged that only acceptance of Jesus as savior from sin can redeem a person from sin. All those who do not accept Jesus as their savior from sin are condemned to eternal suffering in hell.

    Whether man is a sinner by nature or not is immaterial. Judaism teaches the biblical way to repentance and reconciliation with God. Sincere repentance in which the sinner pledges to rectify his sinful ways and lead a righteous life is one means that is open at all times to all of humanity (Jonah 3:5-10, Daniel 4:27). God counsels Cain, "Why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do good [that is, change your ways], will it not be lifted up [that is, you will be forgiven]. But if you do not do good, sin rests at the door; and it desires you, but you may rule over it" (Genesis 4:6-7). God informs Cain that repentance and subsequent forgiveness are always open to him. The remedy for sin is clear. Biblically, God's loving-kindness depends on right conduct and extends to all humanity.
    Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. Albert Einstein

    America's future is bright, not white

    And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment



    ברוך השם

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celticguy View Post
    Evolution has nothing to do with spirituality, or even ethics.
    One would have to be pretty stupid to confuse the two.
    Do YOU accept the 'Theory of Original Sin'? THAT was the point of my response. No one is 'confusing' anything here ... other than YOU.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jacksonsprat22 View Post
    Original Sin by itself is enough to ignore Christianity.
    Agree.

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    Dont buy the original sin concept. Too RCC for me.
    But I do get the free will thing.
    If God wanted slaves it would be one thing but that wasnt ever the plan IMO.
    So yes, im a sinner, i am humble enough to admit it but intellegent enough to know its better to strive for perfection even though its a very high bar. God loves us enough to leave us free to want to love him back.
    ERIC CIARAMELLA whose name may not be spoken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celticguy View Post
    Dont buy the original sin concept. Too RCC for me.
    But I do get the free will thing.
    If God wanted slaves it would be one thing but that wasnt ever the plan IMO.
    So yes, im a sinner, i am humble enough to admit it but intellegent enough to know its better to strive for perfection even though its a very high bar. God loves us enough to leave us free to want to love him back.
    Agreed. Given that, it doesn't make sense for God to create an entire universe of rules then break those rules for a small group of people who have "found Jesus" or kneel at their bed and pray for a new bicycle.
    "You never change things by fighting against the existing reality.
    To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch Uncle View Post
    I agree with the Eastern philosophy over the Western.

    This also gets into a "personal God", the Trinity and "the power of prayer" AKA God granting wishes.
    Maybe I just do not understand the Calvinist branch of Protestantism, but it seems so bloody negative and pessimistic about the human condition and free will.

    I say to each their own, but the fire and brimstone act kind of freaks me out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by guno View Post
    Jews do not believe in the doctrine of original sin. This is a Christian belief based on Paul's statement, "Therefore just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Romans 5:12). The doctrine was fully developed by the church father, Augustine of Hippo (354-430).

    According to this doctrine, hereditary sinfulness is inescapably transmitted to human beings by their parents, starting with Adam and Eve. It is alleged that only acceptance of Jesus as savior from sin can redeem a person from sin. All those who do not accept Jesus as their savior from sin are condemned to eternal suffering in hell.

    Whether man is a sinner by nature or not is immaterial. Judaism teaches the biblical way to repentance and reconciliation with God. Sincere repentance in which the sinner pledges to rectify his sinful ways and lead a righteous life is one means that is open at all times to all of humanity (Jonah 3:5-10, Daniel 4:27). God counsels Cain, "Why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do good [that is, change your ways], will it not be lifted up [that is, you will be forgiven]. But if you do not do good, sin rests at the door; and it desires you, but you may rule over it" (Genesis 4:6-7). God informs Cain that repentance and subsequent forgiveness are always open to him. The remedy for sin is clear. Biblically, God's loving-kindness depends on right conduct and extends to all humanity.
    Learning more about Judaism is on my list of things to do, so for this I am much obliged!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Most people have accepted 'The Theory of Evolution' and don't spend a lot of time wasting it on your concept of 'Original Sin'.
    You'd have to be REAL STUPID to teach your children that they are Sinners.
    Right, that is why I align more with the eastern tradition - there is no concept of an inherited stain of original sin, we have free will, and are responsible only for our own sins. I know exactly zero eastern Orthodox Christians who tell their children they are sinners. That is what scares me actually about Calvinists and Puritans! As to evolution, I have a science background I rarely discuss, and my current favorite fossil is tiktaalik!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    Right, that is why I align more with the eastern tradition - there is no concept of an inherited stain of original sin, we have free will, and are responsible only for our own sins. I know exactly zero eastern Orthodox Christians who tell their children they are sinners. That is what scares me actually about Calvinists and Puritans! As to evolution, I have a science background I rarely discuss, and my current favorite fossil is tiktaalik!
    I'm sure many Intellectual Giants debate the differences between the Sunnis and the Shias, and whether Paradise really has 72 virgins. I'm not one of those.
    I view teaching children that ancient Mythology is 'REAL' ... is Child Abuse. I'll let you and the other 'Believers' discuss the Merits.

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