Not Born Sinners
I used to watch Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort try evangelizing techniques in the street on Christian channels. He would say that you needed to bypass the persons reason and approach them on an emotional level. He did this by making people feel guilty and reminding them that they are sinners. He reminded them that all have sinned after having them admit they have lied, or had impure thoughts about a neighbours wife, or had stolen something. All are apparently guilty and headed to hell. Then he brings the sales pitch that they need Jesus to escape hell.
I never quite understood how people fell for this so easily and some ended up praying the conversion prayer with Kirk or Ray.
There is certainly right and wrong and all societies have always condemned murder and theft. It is simply logical and a part of evolution as hominids that at some point we had to work together to survive. If you simply kill everyone and destroy your environment you would not survive. A degree of morality is inbuilt and even still developing.
Why do such things as crimes need to have a spiritual effect? If you are caught you are tried by secular laws and you are punished. Methods of catching criminals are continuously improved upon. But to believe in sin implies that you first have to accept, on blind faith, that mankind has some kind of spiritual evil or exist in a fallen state. You have to accept on faith that there is some kind of “fall”.
Apparently the rift between god (at least a Canaanite one in this case) and man could only be repaired through a bloody sacrifice of a perfectly innocent man on behalf of the crimes of others; imagine courts allowing that, would it be just?. Now Christians make a huge emotional fuss over “God so loved the world…only begotten son”.
We all would instantly call someone who sacrifices themselves to save others a true hero, but the threat needs to be credible and tangible; a fireman running into a burning building. Basically, Jesus died to save us from a magical type of evil we first have to believe in… err, thanks. If I hear Jesus died for my sins it is absolutely meaningless to me.
Furthermore, sin in the Bible is also frequently not a moral question. Sin is frequently displeasing a jealous god, having other gods, not keeping a sabbath, abusing a name; not moral issues that make you better or worse at all, and these are the major points. Considering that despite popular current consensus the world does not revolve around the Middle East, Israel and old Canaanite cultures. Greek, Rome, Sumeria, Egypt achieved far, far more than ancient Judea and people have had diverse and complex religious systems through the ages. The whole “one true, living god” idea makes little sense anyway.
This all-knowing god told his first two created humans about the forbidden trees in the middle of the garden. He might as well have put up signs with big arrows and flashing lights. Since “god” set up this scenario, why play it all out with the incarnation and atonement which must be in blood? Is god also limited and bound by certain rules, and therefore inferior to some other?
Interestingly enough, Judaism and the Old Testament has nothing on a messiah who needs to atone for sins and reconcile man to god. Sin can be punished and sin can be repented, but no notion of poor pathetic humanity born bad, always bad and saved only by a bloody sacrifice. The Bible is also quite contradictory when it comes to whether there is punishment for “sins of the fathers” or everyone’s sin being their own. Most Christians don’t even believe in a literal Adam and Eve anymore but it seems Paul and Jesus did accept this notion of an “original sin”.
Illogical Christianity and the notion of ‘born bad’ has certainly left the world a very bizarre guilt trip as a legacy. Even early Christians did not all agree on the notion, but Augustine accepted it. The emotional ties to Jesus “dying for our sins” makes absolutely no sense either way.