Why do I have to inherit Adam and Eve's sin?

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Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Fri 21 Aug, 2009 03:32 pm
@Krumple,
Justin;84449 wrote:
I'd start there on those threads. You can't inherit something from a story that is not literal truth.


No sir, this is not true.

Great literature provides insight into human nature. To be human is to inherit the traits that great literature examines. That is what makes some work of literature great - the author(s) were observant enough of human nature around them to fashion stories which explain human nature in a somewhat universally comprehensible fashion.

Humans inherit the flaws of the Greek gods not because the stories about those gods are literally true, but because the people who crafted those stories did so to pattern human nature.

Krumple;84750 wrote:
Seriously? "great literature of the bible..." It is far from being "great literature".


You would then have to explain why parts of the Bible are taught in university literature classes.

Krumple;84750 wrote:
It is horribly compiled, the context is so self canceling, the characters are utterly shallow and often times contradictory even in their own personality.


What do you mean by "horribly compiled"? Which version?

If we take, for example, the King James Version, it is difficult to imagine a better compilation: the language is eloquent yet simple, which made the work readily accessible to the larger population who, at the time of the compilation, had no access to scripture. This is the making of great compilation.

And what do you mean by "context is so self canceling"?

Do you mean the setting of the stories, or the language of the stories? If you mean the setting, I cannot imagine how any of the settings would be "self canceling" - whatever that might mean. And if you mean the language, again I have to ask: which version? Considering the hundreds of versions, I am in doubt as to whether or not this is an applicable criticism.

As for utterly shallow characters, I hope you are making a joke. Is Abraham a shallow character? Moses? Job? Jesus?

As for characters who sometimes act contrarily to their typical nature, first I wonder at examples, but second I ask: so what? Cervantes points out the times when Sancho Panza acts contrary to his typical nature! And Don Quixote is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, novel ever written.

Krumple;84750 wrote:
If the hype were taken off it as a religious book, it would definitely not receive the best sellers list.


What must be understood is that best sellers become them for a reason - there is something about the stories and the language of the books that catch the affections of people. The books which became the New Testament, for example, became widely popular for a reason - not simply because they were called religious texts. They became popular and revered because of their content, their content as religious books. People are, by and large, religious after all.

Krumple;84750 wrote:
The only reason it makes it on the list is because for every new hotel that opens, they buy one for ever room.


Gideon's Bibles explain away the thousands of years of being one of the most popular books, and sometimes the most popular book, in the world? I doubt that a modern phenomenon such as Gideons can explain away the Bible's historical popularity - or did that group also circulate the Gospels among Second Century AD slaves in the Roman Empire?

Besides, popularity is not necessarily an indication of greatness - the Left Behind series is widely popular and absolute rubbish.

Krumple;84750 wrote:
It is not something that is widely consumed as a great read.


Evidence, please? I read the Bible for pleasure - am I alone in this world?

Krumple;84750 wrote:
It is often a chore to read from cover to cover


Many people say that reading Shakespeare is a chore - so what?

Further, the Bible is not designed to be read from cover to cover - each book exists on its own. It is an anthology. We can sit down to read just Matthew, or just Revelations, or just Genesis. For example, one need not read the Mahabharata from cover to cover in order to read and enjoy the Bhagavad Gita on its own.

Krumple;84750 wrote:
and I will bet that a huge majority of Christians have actually never read it from cover to cover. They think going to church counts as reading the bible.


What does any of this have to do with the Bible being something other than great literature?

Let's try the same argument with a different work: I will bet that a huge majority of Americans have never read Walden from cover to cover. Obviously, the ignorance of a given population of the work is no strike against the quality of the work itself.

Krumple;84750 wrote:
The adam and eve story has lots of holes. To actually find a logical moral or teaching is far fetched. What's it saying other than obey or be casted out into death. Would it need to be written in such a way to make that message? No.


Most stories have some holes. But something to remember: the story of Adam and Eve is contained in five different books, and that the narrative is split for a reason. We have to remember that, as with many ancient tales of the like, the source material is not a single source, but a collection of many divergent tellings of stories related to the same characters.

As for your claim about logic, morals, and teaching, you could not be more mistaken. But rather than explain the story to you, I urge you to check into the thousands upon thousands of pages of commentary available on the story.

But your own words should tip you off to your error - "Would it need to be written in such a way to make that message?" The message you refer to being "obey or be cast out into death". Obviously if that is the message the story would not need to be written as it is: so ask yourself why, then, is the story written as it is! Instead of writing off the work as junk try some study.

If this is your criticism of the Bible, I would be sad to hear your criticism of Gilgamesh!
 
LWSleeth
 
Reply Fri 21 Aug, 2009 05:58 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;84750 wrote:
Seriously? "great literature of the bible..." It is far from being "great literature". It is horribly compiled, the context is so self canceling, the characters are utterly shallow and often times contradictory even in their own personality. If the hype were taken off it as a religious book, it would definitely not receive the best sellers list. The only reason it makes it on the list is because for every new hotel that opens, they buy one for ever room. It is not something that is widely consumed as a great read. It is often a chore to read from cover to cover and I will bet that a huge majority of Christians have actually never read it from cover to cover. They think going to church counts as reading the bible.


I'd have more to say but Didymos Thomas said most of it. I am not religious myself, even though I am educated in religious studies, so what I'm about to say is pretty neutral.

I think it is a shame that your dislike of religion (I am assuming) makes you unable to appreciate the value of a collection of ancient writings. One doesn't have to believe any of it is some sort of absolute "truth" to recognize the Bible is a record of beliefs, events, and people's thinking up to 3000 years ago. If it weren't for such historical writings, we'd have to guess far more than we do what is behind many of our modern beliefs and customs.

The Bible is often taught at the university in a course called "The Bible as Literature," which I have in fact taken myself. Some of the OT stuff is amazing, like Job and Ecclesiastes. But if all you can see is religious indoctrination when you read, you allow religion to spoil an important body of work for you.


Krumple;84750 wrote:
On a side note, I'm not sure how you can consider selfishness as the pit of human downfall. It is by our very existence that we maintain some shred of selfishness to survive. The only place you find a completly and utterly selfless person is a grave. So it is unfair to mark selfishiness as an evil. It is a means, but just how strongly the resolve for self importance is where the trouble lurks. Just like money, it can be used for harming but it can also be used for some good. But people are quick to deem all money evil because it can be used for bad intentions. All things are like this, including religion, so should we also say that religion is just another evil characteristic of humanity? As much as I would like to say yes, it would be inaccurate and similarly with deeming selfishness as the fall of humanity.


Self interest doesn't have to be selfish, which is generally recognized as the willingness to go after things for oneself at the expense of others. Those who work for the good of all are also those who in the past have made the world a better place for everyone.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Fri 21 Aug, 2009 07:25 pm
@Lithium phil,
It is obvious why the bible makes it into literature courses, but it's not for it's literature but instead for it's religious bias. Do you ever see the course for the literature of the Pali cannon? No, why? Because Christians do not support the "promotion" of other religious texts.
 
LWSleeth
 
Reply Fri 21 Aug, 2009 07:56 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;84832 wrote:
It is obvious why the bible makes it into literature courses, but it's not for it's literature but instead for it's religious bias. Do you ever see the course for the literature of the Pali cannon? No, why? Because Christians do not support the "promotion" of other religious texts.


I might agree that Western culture is more likely to study the Bible as literature than Pali cannon, but that's simply because Pali cannon isn't really literature . . . for the most part it is remembrances of the Buddha's sayings. However, I have been in courses devoted to Sufi and Vedic poetry and wisdom.

But you are dead wrong that Bible-as-literature courses are merely due to bias. One example from dozens I could list is CalPoly, hardly a haven for religious bias, who offers more than a few Bible-as-literature courses: English 354 The Bible as Literature and in Literature and the Arts Some of the OT books are genuine works of art. Besides, how do you know about it? Have you taken the courses, have you read Job or Psalms or Ecclesiastes or Exodus or Song of Songs, etc. or are you just venting more religious animosity?

Try this out. What if some group decided Roger Penrose's book "The Road to Reality" was the absolute truth, built a cult around it, forced people to accept every word as literal truth, got enough power to execute or torture non-believers, etc. You are born into this situation, with parents who force you to read and profess your devotion to the book.

What is the problem in that scenario? Is it the book that's the problem, or is it how the people are relating to the book, and what they are doing to others?

The Bible is one thing, what people have done with it is another. Separate the two and look at the Bible with clean, unbiased eyes and you might find that literature so many scholars today teach about.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Fri 21 Aug, 2009 09:38 pm
@Lithium phil,
Quote:
The Bible is one thing, what people have done with it is another. Separate the two and look at the Bible with clean, unbiased eyes and you might find that literature so many scholars today teach about.
But isn't it selective on what is spotlighted? Surely it is not examined in its entirety like other literary works. I still don't see the separation of bias that would promote it up to a great work of literature.

I am not talking about how people react to it, I was specifically talking about the writing itself. I understand that people can become fanatical over aspects of it while others don't.

Here is a small example of what I see as inconsistent characterization. What exactly was the impact that Jesus had on the apostles? I can't imagine that it would fall anything short of amazement from them. According to the work, just spending a short amount of time around him, you are bound to witness something incredible. With that said, you would think these people would have undying devotion. Think about it. I have friends whom I would take a bullet for, but they have never done anything like, cure the blind, turn water into wine or walk on water. Just their character itself is something worth giving my devotion to. Yet when Jesus was heading to the chopping block not a single one protested. This is inconsistent behavior, especially if they write about him later as some divine being. I find it hard to believe, even if they were requested to stay out of it. Even this conflict never even rears it's head and people just assume it's okay that it is missing because the act of him dying is the importance. I do not see it as such, so the story seems more convoluted THAN believable. Then on top of that, one of them betrays him. This is obviously not consistent in character either and it is an attempt to bring extra appeal rather than believability. How can you betray someone whom you watched do so many strange, amazing things? It is as if they were completely jaded and would have to be completely desensitized to his abilities. Like it was an every day occurrence, so they didn't think it great in the least bit. I find it incredibly hard to believe that you would betray someone who could do things in which has never been seen before.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 02:24 am
@Lithium phil,
It is a symbolic story but it represents something important. A couple of things to note: the Western (i.e. Catholic and Protestant) understanding, and indeed the doctrine of 'original sin' as you refer to it, was really devised by Saint Augustine. The Eastern Orthodox faiths (Greek, Russian etc) have a completely different interpretation.

Another thing - my personal take is that the idea of 'the fall' was introduced to explain the fact that existence itself is inescapably sorrowful. And also that we are not born perfect. We have a lot of inherited tendencies towards...well, you know....all the things that people do that create misery for ourselves and others. So I think the Fall represents something very true about existence. However the Augustinian concept of it has had many unfortunate consequences, specifically that we are totally helpless to change ourselves and are wholly reliant on faith in Jesus for salvation. We're 'miserable sinners' condemned to eternal damnation unless we believe. That is what many believe religion actually is. I think it is a deeply flawed understanding of human nature. But then that's just my view.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 09:31 am
@Lithium phil,
The Hebrew Bible is referred to somewhat insensitively by Chrisitians as the Old Testament. For the Jewish faith the interpretation of original sin is not that it is about sex. The Jewish interpretation is more one about alienation or separation of man from God (and Nature) because of disobediance of Gods law or Gods command. There were two trees in the Garden the Tree of Life and the Treee of Knowledge. In partaking of the Tree of knowledge (trying to become like god) man is expellled from the garden (loses the state of nature and obedience) and becomes mortal (loses access to the tree of life). Sex itself is not a sin in Jewish eyes. There are many variations on the interpretation but perhaps the Jewish view should be given some weight. It is their sacred scripture long before the Christian interpretation was forumulated. In fact creation is referred to as the "original blessing".
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 09:43 pm
@Lithium phil,
Here is another thing that bothers me dealing with sin. I have a question that has never been adequately answered.

Can you sin in heaven?

Most of the answers I get are No, but then I ask why can't you sin in heaven. The answers I generally get from asking that is this;

"God makes you perfect and also I would be in his presence so I wouldn't even want to sin".

There are huge problems with that answer. There have been several whom were "made perfect" and were in the "presence" of god yet they still sinned.

Adam & Eve were supposedly made perfect and they "walked" with god, yet they still sinned.

Lucifer was supposedly made perfect and was "god's favorite" yet he still sinned.

So anyone who tries to make the claim that being in the presence of god would prevent them from wanting to sin is unfounded.

So what is the other option? You could answer yes to my question but that has even more of a problem than answering no. If you can sin in heaven, then what is the punishment for sinning in heaven? Nothing? Well that doesn't make any sense and it were undermine the whole thing of sin in general. Basically it would cancel out sin. Not to mention that it wouldn't make any sense why you get sent to hell for sinning while on earth but you get to stay in heaven if you sin in heaven.

So the last option is you can't sin in heaven because god removes your free will. So in other words you get transformed into a programed robot who can only do good. No one has provided any significant answer to this, and it baffles me how many of them still hold to the idea but have never investigated this problem.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 10:27 pm
@Lithium phil,
Although I enjoy a little metphysical speculation now and then, the concept of heaven like the nature of possible existence after death seems incoherent. I have never seen a description of heaven that seemed understandable.

The Catholic notion of is hell currently described as an anquished existence separated from god. I suppose heaven would then be a blissful existence with god but what that could mean in terms of human experience is beyond me. I probably just have not taken enough psychedelic drugs.

In any event the notion of original sin as defined in Chrisitanity is not biblical and especially the interpretation about original sin being carnal or sexual knowledge.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 23 Aug, 2009 12:19 am
@Lithium phil,
I don't think any of it makes sense without being able to accept that there might be totally other dimensions of reality that you will never imagine or conjecture. I don't explicitly believe in heaven, or rather, the idea of it that I am prepared to entertain is that it so inconceivably other to all our experience it is futile to imagine. So the question does not apply.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 23 Aug, 2009 01:27 am
@Lithium phil,
Quote:
I don't think any of it makes sense without being able to accept that there might be totally other dimensions of reality that you will never imagine or conjecture.


Okay, this is all fine and dandy but then to say that heaven is also contradictory would also apply here. So therefore heaven could also be hell. To say no to this, you are then saying that is not possible, therefore it would rebuke your own argument that heaven is beyond our current conception.

Quote:
I don't explicitly believe in heaven, or rather, the idea of it that I am prepared to entertain is that it so inconceivably other to all our experience it is futile to imagine. So the question does not apply.


Then why ever mention it to begin with? It would be like me saying when you reach the age of 60 you win the coveted Bodamochicasious award. If you are not aware of what that is let me explain, oh wait a second, I really don't have the ability to do that but just wait until you reach 60 years of age and you'll find out what the aware is.

So even talking about heaven is self defeating, a concept that cancels itself because it is unexplainable. If it is unexplainable then it also could be misinterpreted as a positive or negative as well. With that said, heaven could be the WORST place in existence.

So are you sure you want to just write it off and say the question does not apply?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 23 Aug, 2009 03:36 am
@Lithium phil,
OK I will change my answer. If I am to think about it at all, it is only about what might be involved in making sure I get there. Because if it doesn't exist, I have lost nothing, but if it does, sure sounds better than the other place.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 23 Aug, 2009 07:53 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;85102 wrote:
OK I will change my answer. If I am to think about it at all, it is only about what might be involved in making sure I get there. Because if it doesn't exist, I have lost nothing, but if it does, sure sounds better than the other place.


Sounds like "Pascal's wager" the smart man bets on god.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Sun 23 Aug, 2009 08:28 pm
@prothero,
If God is all-knowing, then how could you trick him.. it.

The tree that Adam and Eve ate from was called the Tree of Knowledge. The snake told Eve that in the day she ate from it she would be like God.. knowing Good and Evil.

She and Adam were subsequently ousted from Paradise.

The story implies that the recognition of distinction between good and evil was the end of Paradise.

That distinction is an aspect of rational thought. The story can appear to be awareness of the advent of rationality. Prior to that humans were naked and without knowledge of sin.

Likewise, the story of Moses coming down from Mt Sinai with the ten commandments can be seen as an image of the birth of the conscience.

The idea of sacrifice was central to the Israelite perspective. Christianity holds that Jesus was the final sacrifice for sin... that no further sacrifice would be necessary. One could see Christianity as an evolution of the Jewish idea of sacrifice into the realm of abstraction.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Mon 24 Aug, 2009 12:29 am
@Lithium phil,
Quote:
Sounds like "Pascal's wager" the smart man bets on god.


Pascal's wager is a joke. It assumes that there is only one religion or one god. As soon as you include the possibility for possible other gods other than the christian god as being plausible, pascals wager is completely and utterly useless. Why didn't Pascal consider this? Because he had a christian bias.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 24 Aug, 2009 06:17 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;85283 wrote:
Pascal's wager is a joke. It assumes that there is only one religion or one god. As soon as you include the possibility for possible other gods other than the christian god as being plausible, pascals wager is completely and utterly useless. Why didn't Pascal consider this? Because he had a christian bias.


But doesn't it also bring up the question of why people believe what they do?

A person might assume an atheist view because of fear of sanctions in their world for appearing to be a believer. In this way, they're following Pascal's line of thought: believe what's potentially beneficial to you.

But imagine that in your psyce there is a believer.. who in a childlike way simply believes without being able to account for the foundation of the beliefs. And the believer's companion is a skeptic: when you access your skeptic, you're observing your believer and can speculate on the source of your own belief... is it cultural.. is it logical... is it fear based... is it innate? Pascal seems to be assuming that the skeptic can tell the believer what to believe. I don't think the believer cares or even has any conception of the skeptic's ideas.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Tue 25 Aug, 2009 02:15 am
@Lithium phil,
Quote:
A person might assume an atheist view because of fear of sanctions in their world for appearing to be a believer. In this way, they're following Pascal's line of thought: believe what's potentially beneficial to you.


Wait a second here. You are trying to insist that there would be a place in which people are, what? Punished for believing in something? So a person would "lie" about their belief to assume the atheist roll to avoid that punishment? Seriously?

Do you believe in gremlins?

We all were born atheists. Religion was taught to you. I pose that we all ARE still atheists but some refuse to accept reality.

You are right though when you said that Pascal assumed that you can force belief but he also goes on to prescribe forcing yourself into believing something if you don't. This is silly.

I understand there is more comfort in believing that death is not an end to existence but when it starts to rule over your life, that is when it has gone too far.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 25 Aug, 2009 04:57 am
@Lithium phil,
What about if you believed in God in your previous life, eh? Might not be born atheist then. Happens, you know.
 
click here
 
Reply Tue 25 Aug, 2009 06:08 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;85494 wrote:

We all were born atheists. Religion was taught to you. I pose that we all ARE still atheists but some refuse to accept reality.



So when you were born, you knew down deep that there really was no God. Odd, most children, if not all would not have a belief that there is no God. I think the farthest you will get is, all are born agnostic.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 25 Aug, 2009 06:33 am
@Lithium phil,
Lithium;84423 wrote:
Why did I have to inherit Adam and Eve's punishment of eating from the tree, when no decision (excluding the "earthly Jesus") from any other person in my life can make an impact on whether I will able to go to heaven? After all, we should all have free will... right? Ponders: Shouldn't I have had the choice of whether I wanted to live this kind of life? Why is Adam and Eve's decision placed on a higher level of importance? Did God deceive man? Meaning, if he knows every decision one will make, then why did he plant the tree in the first place. Isn't this just as bad as Satan tempting man?


As far as I know and believe; you don't. But if you believe in these entities and the construct of what you describe, then you might want to approach a pastor, priest or other religious authority who might be able to advise.

There's so many theories running floating about as to what these elements represent, I can't keep them straight. Another option you might want to try is to simply pray and ponder: What does your gut tell you?

Good luck
 
 

 
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