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Can I Win With Original Sin?

This is a follow up to my post, God Prefers an atheist, where I clarify points and discuss topics that came up in the comments.

First of all, I love comments. I love discussion and debate. I love that this post did inspire my friends and other to come out and comment. So thank you to everyone who joined in. Since is this is the first time I’ve discussed something like this in detail on my blog, I’m going to more posts, going off of the things brought up during the discussion.

First up is the idea of original sin and hell: As both Brandon and Alex pointed out, the concept of original sin may not mean one is doomed to hell. Only in certain sects of Christianity, typically Evangelical Protestants, do people need to actively convert and accept Jesus Christ, or be consigned to fiery damnation. The only reason this view seems to get said a lot is due to the United States having the largest concentration of Evangelicals.

The main misunderstanding I had was that I confused original sin with guilt. Original sin is the idea that Adam and Eve’s fall in the garden cause the rest of humanity some sort of detriment. Usually in the form of suffering or an inclination towards sin, but it can be as extreme as the doom to hell I mentioned in the other post. Guilt and personal sin are the actions you have in this life, and they are the things that typically get you an appointment with good old Mr. Scratch. As Brandon said, it is a very misunderstood topic, and as Alex pointed out I made a large generalization in my last post.

So here are two examples of interpretations of original sin where I may not go to hell: Mormonism and Catholicism.

In Mormonism, one is only damned to hell for actively turning away from god after witnessing him in his true glory. To put it simply, unless one has gone through the temple and been ordained, they aren’t able to deny god since they don’t know him. Therefore it is after death that they make the decision to convert or deny god. That is the only way to get to outer darkness, or hell, in the Mormon faith. Even atrocities from the likes of dictators would not be enough to deny those dictators heaven, unless they knew god like the Mormon priesthood does. In regards to original sin, Jesus would have atoned for it, and therefore we no longer suffer due to it.

Therefore, according to Mormonism, I would go to heaven, because by then I would actually see and know god and thusly would no longer be an agnostic atheist. Sure, I don’t get to be an eternal spirit being with my own planet, but even the Telestial kingdom is supposed to be nice and chill, something akin to a deathless painless earth.

Catholicism has the Nostra Aetete, which addresses how people from other faiths may still reach salvation through their faith, even if they do not follow the Catholic Church. My friend Alex (the one who left the comment) once explained it to me this way: if a Buddhist was to die, he would go to the afterlife, and Jesus would appear to him. He would tell them that being Buddhist was in line with god’s teachings, and was in fact just another path to god. They would then be allowed into the kingdom of heaven. The same goes for other faiths, although I am over generalizing it a little bit. Original sin in Catholicism just accounts for humans acting sinfully, instead of acting on our divine roots.

When it comes to Catholicism, were I of a conflicting faith, things would be perfect for me. However, the church seems to be very much against agnosticism, and has mixed views towards atheism. Although one could argue using the Nostra Aetete that atheists may also go to heaven, the source I found for Catholic Doctrine on agnosticism isn’t as pretty. So, more likely than not, I would be going to hell according to the Catholic Church, but there is room for debate. Ironically it would be for my agnosticism though, and not the atheism.

So can I win with original sin?

Apparently it is a solid maybe. That is new news to me, and I may in the future try not to generalize beliefs as much in the future. One should instead look at the God Prefers an Atheist post and insert Evangelical or any other sect with those opinions in instead of just Christian. Because the sentiment of the post still remains true. Any god that would force me to believe or go to hell is not worth believing in. As far as how I feel about gods who are kinder than that, that will have to be addressed in a later post.

Now of course, if I have gotten anything wrong, feel free to correct me on the above. I did research, but it was only one or two levels removed from google and Wikipedia. So do you think I’ve got the concept of original sin, or do I still need to learn more?

Shaman

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