No sense – Original sin

This is one of those strange concepts that we all just kind of accept as what many people believe, but if you actually examine it you’ll find that it really is some confusing and contradictory nonsense. Note that I will be explaining this from the perspective of how it has been explained to me. There may be some explanation or belief which makes a whole lot more sense than this, but I have never had anyone take exception with this explanation as it’s a convenient way to explain away pesky questions, if you don’t think about it too much.

This is my understanding of original sin as it was explained to me many times. In the beginning Adam and Eve walked through the Garden naked. To see another person’s nakedness is, of course, a sin. However, Adam and Eve did not know what a sin was and were thus incapable of sin at this point. Essentially you cannot sin until you know what sin is because sin is something you do in defiance of God, it is not something you do accidentally. But God had told them not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, so when they ate from the tree they defied God, which was a sin.

I can see a few obvious problems with this. The first one is pretty obvious. The explanation explains that seeing each other naked was not a sin because they didn’t understand what a sin was, but then it goes on to say that they committed a different sin. Why does that explanation apply to one case but not the other? I remember somewhere in the Bible that all sin is the same in the eyes of the Lord. So if you don’t know what sin is then why is one sin impossible and the other inevitable.

Now, I do kind of understand the mindset here. In the second case God specifically told them not to do something and they did it anyway, defying his will. So it wasn’t just incidental, it was an act of open defiance of God’s commands. As human beings we tend to see things in degrees, not as absolutes. Walking around in ignorance is a much lower degree than knowingly doing something. The incidental thing was not a sin, but the purposeful thing was. A nice neat little package to wrap it up in. At least, until you think about it a little more.

You see, God did tell them not to eat from the tree. He told them that they would die if they did. So of course at this point eating from the tree could be seen as a defiance of God and, thus, a sin even though they were otherwise incapable of sin. I will concede that point as a possibility, though there are still arguments to be made. But they did not eat from the tree “at that point.” God said not to do it, they had no intention of doing it. But the next thing that happened was that Lucifer came to them and told them that they should eat from the tree, that they would not die and that it was good. And this completely blows away the argument that they were defying God because after that, by the explanation for why seeing each other naked wasn’t a sin, they could not have been openly, purposely defying God by eating from the tree.

To see why this is we have to go back to the first excuse for why sin was impossible. They had no concept of sin. They didn’t know what a sin was. They didn’t understand sin and, so, could not sin. But they also couldn’t even conceive of the possibility of sinful behavior. So there is absolutely no way they could have possibly understood that Lucifer was lying. They didn’t have a concept of a lie, dishonesty or mistrust. There was no reason for them not to accept every word he said as “truth” because truth was all they knew. With that in mind it would have been absolutely impossible for them not to be tricked by Lucifer. How could you know he was lying if you didn’t know lying was a thing? So if they didn’t know it was a lie, how would they have seen that? God was telling the truth and so was Lucifer. They had said opposite things, yet both things were true. There is only one possible way I can think of that they could have interpreted that. What God told them was true, but now what Lucifer is telling them is true. The nature of the tree changed and now they should eat the fruit. So it was not a defiance of God to eat the fruit, it was doing what they were supposed to do as they understood it.

In this story, by the explanations given for why nakedness was not a sin, Lucifer went way overboard with this one. He could have just said, “Yo. God said you’re supposed to eat the fruit right now.” and they would have fallen for it. It would have literally been that simple to convince them to do something. Simply say, “God said…” and that’s a commandment from God if you have no concept of a lie.

No disagreement from me.

The holes in Biblical stories are many and massive so I have no idea how children, let alone adults, fall for them.

I understand how they fall for it. Do you know how many hours I have into thinking about just this post? And that follows years of thinking about the concept in general. The excuses make a kind of sense, if you just stop thinking about it once you have an answer to your question. And when you start asking tough questions, questions not easily answered without undoing your previous answers, the double talk starts, and the changing of the subject. My JW friend can get me off on a tangent with ease, even though I know he’s doing it. Rather than defend his claim he puts me on the defensive on a completely different subject.

And the Bible is massive and boring. If someone tells you, “It’s in the Bible” you just tend to assume it’s true. This is especially true if it’s coming from someone in your church, who tends to be someone you trust. Would they lie? Of course not. But it never even occurs to you that they may be very mistaken when they say it with such certainty. If people you trust are telling you something, it’s something you’ve been hearing about all of your life and you haven’t given it any critical thought there’s a chance you’re going to listen. That’s why religious groups are desperate to get back into schools in any small way they can. To make a grown man believe in magic you have to tell a little boy that magic is real and wait for him to grow up.

Again, I have to agree.

The thing is I seem to be able to see what appear elementary mistakes and they can’t. I don’t deny they are honestly incapable of seeing the mistakes, I just can’t wrap my head around how they can’t.

Even in my youth I totally didn’t believe all sorts of silly things we were taught as absolute fact in Sunday School. All my friends willingly swallowed every story while I sat there and thought, “I don’t think so Mrs. Steves!”.

I’m not special or even as smart as most of my friends, so I sometimes wonder if my ‘ability’ to see how bad the Bible is, is actually a failing on my part- am I the one pulling the wool over my own eyes?

All I can say is, if I’m wrong I’m in good company because all you folks are wrong right along with me.

The inability to suspend critical thought would make the world a wondrous place if everyone were so “afflicted”.

I’m not special or even as smart as most of my friends, so I sometimes wonder if my ‘ability’ to see how bad the Bible is, is actually a failing on my part- am I the one pulling the wool over my own eyes?
That's the con that overwhelming numbers can produce.

Inside their bubble it’s totally seamless, visit it and you definitely begin to doubt what you actually know from experience.

Step outside the bubble and all those self-serving ‘truths’ evaporate as the real world comes back into focus.

But how can that be, there are so many of them believers?

Yeah, how can they be?

Definitely the biggest nut to crack.

And the Bible is massive and boring.
I hardly do it anymore, but used to be, when I'd randomly open the Bible, just to see if I could find this wisdom everyone was taking about. All I found was one appalling story after another. Reading the Bible literally turned my stomach more than once.

But it does help explain why we as a species have destroyed so much of our planet and are incapable of learning, so we glibly destroy or very life support system, so the super rich can be super pigs, while the rest of retches dream about becoming rich and famous super pigs, in the name of the father and the son and the holy spirit of avarice.

Saul of Tarsus believed in scripts he had learned as a boy that a god had to returned from the dead to be a God. He wrote or influenced about half of the New Testament Original Sin is one of Paul’s notions.

Bible reading is one of those enigmas that I haven’t thought about for a while. All of those “good Christians” believing whatever nonsense they are told are Bible readers. So when it says the exact opposite of what you learned in Sunday School, why isn’t that a problem? For the same reason numerology makes sense to people who are into it. Our brains are very good at spotting patterns. So good, in fact, that we can spot patterns that aren’t even there. And that part of the brain kicks in when you’re reading the Bible as a believer. You’ll come across a verse every now and then in this massive text which says exactly what you believe and your brain will say, “Aha!” But what you don’t realize is of course that’s going to happen.

Essentially your brain is on auto pilot reading that long, boring crap and it only “wakes up” when something grabs your attention, such as when it sounds familiar. Religion is nothing more than a group of hundreds, perhaps thousands of separate beliefs glued together with a little delusion. Of those beliefs, most of the important ones are based an a few sequential verses somewhere in the Bible, possibly as little as a single verse. In fact often it is a single verse which defines the actual belief and the others in the sequence are just for context. So of course you’re going to eventually recognize a particular passage as saying something exactly in line with one of the tenants of the religion because that’s where it came from. And for the rest of the reading your mind is usually on autopilot, from my experience, anyway.

There is wisdom to be found in the Bible, though. You can’t blather on for a thousand pages without accidentally saying something intelligent now and then. Most of what people see as wise, however, is really just psychobabble. Like “A house divided against itself cannot stand” to prove that demons can’t cast out demons. That “sounds” wise to religious people, but it’s really just stupid. What the hell does that even mean? If Satan cast out demons his house would fall down? Would his demon allies leave him? What, exactly, is he claiming would happen here? Nothing. He’s saying nothing at all. It’s just psychobabble bullshit with no real meaning. What’s more, it’s completely wrong according to everything we know about Satan from the same Bible. He can make demons do whatever he wanted. And he’s the greatest trickster ever. Casting out demons would trick me if my best friends were all goats, I took a bath twice a year and I feared the world was ending every time there was a solar eclipse. And you know what? Now that I think about it, when Jesus said that demons can’t cast out demons, that is EXACTLY what a demon would say!

What I don’t understand is that they will admit that is a story, but Abraham, Noah, etc are true stories. That is what makes no sense to me.

Mriana said; What I don’t understand is that they will admit that is a story, but Abraham, Noah, etc are true stories. That is what makes no sense to me.

In a way it does to me. People can identify with those stories. We see thousands of people die in tsunamies, we want to see the continuation of our genes in future progeny. Thus, if belief in a “protective power” offers a promise that you and your offspring will be spared from extinction, it is not difficult to understand the concept of “hedging your bets”. Where can be the harm?

The harm can be that your God (via a messenger) will command you to kill your fellow man who poses a threat to your “psychological investment”, because he believes in a different God.

Well, that a theory as to why some people believe in a higher power, but what I’m asking is if they see Adam and Eve as a story, why can’t they see the rest as just stories too? They truly believe the stories about Abraham, Noah, etc really happened historically.

The problem is that some of these stories have an element of truth and are truly passed on from generation to generation relatively accurate, but with embellishments. We know there have been great floods in the past, it is a natural phenomenon. And during these floods a lot of people died, just as they did with recent great tsunamies that killed hundreds of thousands.

The World’s 10 Deadliest Tsunamis

Indian Ocean (Sumatra, Indonesia) Estimated Number of Deaths: 300,000 Year: 2004

I can see how religious people can see these calamities as “acts of God” (a term still used by insurance cos) and view the survivers as having been favored by god with “advance preparation” by a coastal farmer named Noah with lifestock who built a floating devise to save his animals on advise of God, but really from experience. The rest of the story is pure fantasy.

And of course this is where mythology starts. Miraculous human survival in the face of disaster because of a communication from God… These tall tales are told today and passed on as religious history, praising the “pius” and punishing the “wicked”.

But today we build dams and levies in preparation of great floods in the future, but that was not on advise of God. Just prudent planning.

It is the blending of truth and fantasy that creates the mythology and makes it sound plausible.

I was talking about the stories in the Bible, which none of them are true and have very little factual info in them. Another one, albeit my favourite, are the stories of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god. Then another one of my favourites are Anansi, African spider god. Of course, those are trickster deities, but yet the stories are not true either.

While there may have been a man named Jesus (many were named Jesus) you cannot find the historical Jesus in the Bible because he’s too buried in myth to find. Now the tsunami you speak of, it is possible to still find a historical record of outside of mythology, just like you can still find a historical George Washington outside the Cherry Tree story.

The Bible is a complex group of stories and folklore, many of which have elements of truth. How a Christian lives their lives, what they take as truth, is highly dependent on which of these stories they take as fact and which they take as tales. Even the most ardent Bible literalist accepts that there are “parables” in the Bible, which are intended, not to be factual, but to be stories to teach a lesson. Some of these parables are clearly labeled as such and some are obvious parables which are not labeled as such. The rest of the Bible is a gray area, where you have to try to figure out what is a parable and what is supposed to be a factual claim.

I don’t have direct experience with what you’re talking about, specifically, but I have had conversations about it. My old religion was Bible literalists. If it was in the Bible and it’s not a parable then it is absolute fact. This included Adam and Eve. Someone in the church, maybe my mother, once told me that women have one more rib than men because God took a rib from Adam to make Eve. Of course, this is not true. But that tells you how literally they took it.

I think what you’re talking about is more along the line of Catholics, who tend to accept that the creation story is just that, but believe in other magical happenings in the Bible. I would say that to hold Christian beliefs you pretty much have to believe in at least some magic. If you accept that miracles are not a real thing then what’s the point of being Christian? So if miracles are a real thing it would be an easy thing to accept that at least some of the magical tales in the Bible must be accurate. The story of Jesus is a big one, central to every Christian belief system. The very religion is named after his title. If you don’t have Jesus dying for your sins then you don’t have a religion. So you pretty much have to accept some of it as factual magical history even if you don’t accept it all.

Yes, they have elements of truth, but they are not historical. Yes, there were men named Jesus and yes, many men were crucified. There were places called Nazareth, Israel, Egypt, etc back then, but like today, when there was a census, they didn’t travel for it. There are numerous other historical errors in the Bible. Also, none of the stories of Jesus were eyewitness reports and Noah’s ark never happened. I could go on and on. I said it before and so has Robert M. Price- If there ever was a historical Jesus, he’s too buried in myth to find.

I do agree that the stories are midrash and parables though. My mother is Church of God, Anderson Indiana, which is Evangelical Fundamentalist, Wesleyan, and she literally believes it all really happen and the Bible is fact right down to the letter. My aunt, when she was alive, even said once when I was trying to talk to her about evolution, “I don’t know where scientists get their ideas from, it’s not in the Bible.” I then said, “Then a bat is a bird, as the Bible said?” She gave me the dirtiest look that could have killed. My grandparents and aunt were also Church of God. If it’s in the Bible then it really happened, according to them. Not one iota can be changed and not one word is false, in their view.

LOL…oh I can feel your frustration…

Yeah. That’s the crap I grew up with. My mother is still alive and is the only one left with those views. Still frustrating.

I did not intend to insinuate that the Bible even remotely resembled a “history book”, if that was your takeaway. There is not one word in the Bible which can be taken as being “historically accurate”. Instead, some of the places and tales in the Bible do match with actual history, usually in some very small way. But don’t get me wrong, just because there really is an “Egypt” which was mentioned in the Bible doesn’t make it historically accurate any more than rediscovering Steven King’s books in 10,000 years and realizing there really was a “Maine” would prove that clowns lived in sewers. All myth is drawn from reality, so you’re bound to get a fact right here and there.

I think we kind of look at the books of the Bible in the wrong way. We’re trained today to see it as a single work, but we know it is compiled for other works. But still, most Christians just kind of see it as the book God put together. But you have to look at where it came from to get a real sense of exactly what it is. Who wrote these books? Not specifically. Not naming the person, because I think in most cases that would be absolutely impossible. Even if you think you have the right answer you really only have the last guy who worked on it. So who wrote these books of the Bible? They could read and write. They were educated. For the time period, highly educated. That meant wealthy families. And there is irrefutable evidence in the Bible itself that they were using older source material. Two chapters in the Old Testament, by different writers, are word-for-word identical. And two chapters in the New Testament tell the exact same story, in the same order and in the same way, but in different words. And there are two different stories of what happened after Jesus was taken off the cross. One place says they took his body to a secret room, the other says a secret cave. This tells us something fascinating. Those two identical chapters, those were copy-pasted from an older manuscript. The ones with different wording, those were translated from another language. At least one copy was, anyway. So the final “writers” of the books of the Bible were really translators and transcribers. At least some of them were, anyway. You could even go so far as to figure out what language they were translating from by comparing the translations. There is a word in some language which may be translated as either “room” or “cave” and that’s the language they were translating from in those books.

And we also have to remember that these were not single manuscripts. Multiple copies of some of the books of the Bible were found in multiple places. What does that tell us? These were the ancient version of books, likely distributed to long gone libraries or, more likely, religious orders in the area. I don’t know the history of the land, but I can guess based on where and how the scrolls were found. There was at least one big invasion. The invading forces were burning libraries or religious orders. Educated men grabbed what scrolls were important to them, sealed them in pots and hid them in caves where they were forgotten and later rediscovered. Christianity is likely a conglomeration of several ancient religious sects, all with similar origins. This one had these scrolls, that one had those scrolls, to people discovering them later, they all looked the same, as if they were part of the same teachings. But you have to remember that the people who put together the Bible got to pick and choose which scrolls were included and which were rejected for inclusion. They essentially picked the bones of various ancient religions and Frankensteined their own religion out of the bits. And at this point all the books of the Old Testament were already rewrites. Some was copy-pasted, true, but the one doing the rewrite chose which scrolls, which stories to include in his own rewrite and which to reject. And the books of the New Testament, at least some of them, were rewrites too. You point out that they weren’t first hand, they weren’t even original stories.

So yes, I know the Bible is in no way “historical”. It is stories, some of which are about historical events, but much of it likely to be rewrites of rewrites of written down oral traditions. Some grain of truth remains, but now the sewers have a killer clown in them.

I think hiding the copies in various areas around the area was a means of preserving them and keeping them safe from those who would destroy them. We lost a lot then the library of Alexandria was burned down.