Earlier tonight I turned on the tv while getting a snack and landed on the history channel. For those of you who haven’t watched the history channel for years, they have slowly devolved from focusing on history to focusing on either the apocalypse, aliens, or the bible. A commercial flashed across the screen that made my cereal loose it’s tasty sugary goodness. The commerical: “Do you like to eat? Are you desirous of a woman? You could be a SINNER and not even know it! Next week is 7 deadly sins week, on the history channel! ”
This got me thinking about sin and what it is. For the catholics, the 7 deadly sins are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. For the protestants it’s everything that brings pleasure. (Ok, maybe not everything, but a lot of things that are pleasurable are viewed with suspicion) Now what does that tell you about god? If the majority of things that are pleasurable are bad, that implies a doctrine of “salvation through suffering.” I don’t know about you, but as a humanist, I would like to limit human suffering. Sure, telling someone that they can’t have sex before they’re married because it’s a sin might not cause huge suffering, but telling someone that wearing a condom is evil does. (Unwanted children, STD’s and the medical bills and social stigmas both bring) I feel that any group that devotes a good amount of attention on furthering suffering is guilty of crimes against humanity, and ought to be stopped.
What is the purpose of sin? Why does sin exist? If god loves us so much and hates sin equally so, then why give us the free will to sin? If all he wants is for us to love him, then why not just make us like that? He is god after all. Some might respond with “but this life is just a test, to see if we’re worthy!” Well if we’re born with original sin, and we naturally seek pleasure over pain, dangling something pleasurable in our faces while at the same time telling us that we’ll burn if we enjoy it is sick. If he’s omniscient then he already knows if we’re going to sin or not (see predestination) and free will goes out the window. So why bother with the dramatics? Why go through all this if the end is already decided?
As a humanist, the concept of original sin really pisses me off. Christianity in particular keeps pounding on this idea that you are worthless. You’re a worm. A horrible sinner. And unless you buy their product you’re going to regret it. This just makes me wonder what kind of psychological problems the founding church fathers had. It’s a kind of masochism.
You see, when it comes to human beings, there is a huge difference between humanism and christianity. Humanism is very positive. Instead of scum, humanists believe you’re an amazing being, capable of wondrous things. You weren’t born evil, you were born with the potential for great goodness! Just look around you, it’s mind blowing what we are able to do! We’ve built massive cities, altered out environment, created artificial intelligences, cured diseases, invented art!, conquered the skies, and put people on the moon! All this from simple beginnings! 500,000 years ago as our ancestors looked up at the moon, they could not have imagined that one day we would walk on it. They couldn’t imagine Mozart, or the Red hot chili peppers (depending on your tastes), they couldn’t imagine van Gogh, Picasso, or Rembrandt! All this by our own hands! I don’t know about you, but I’d take joyous awe at human potential over despair of worthlessness any day.