One of my confusions regarding humans as “born with a sinful nature” (or whatever the heck you call it)…

I couldn’t figure out what exactly bothered me so much about the notion that according to Christian thought, we’re all born as sinners and have to be redeemed (even though the sin we’re begging forgiveness for seems to have happened millennia before we were born).

I’d been trying to put this confusion into words all week, because something odd struck me about the idea that we’re born in sin (or we’re naturally corrupt, as it’s otherwise put).

The first is that I have no clue what that really means. I’m also partway through Deuteronomy, so maybe I just haven’t hit those points yet.

But I have to say the more I think about it, the more I think humans were not born with sinful natures, however that’s to be interpreted. The things that make humans corrupt, that bring about the deadly sins and all the other “bad” things in the world… I don’t believe they’re just within you from birth.

Namely, I think we’re taught, by words or deeds.

I came up with this theory when I got to thinking about hate and why people hate each other.

I don’t recall anybody being born hating another person or group of people. I think Frances McDormand’s character said it best in Mississippi Burning (in a moment that got her an Oscar nomination, but also one that got stuck in my head ever since I first started reading about Civil Rights). It’s the first half of the clip:

Something struck me about that moment when I first saw the flick over 20 years ago, and it came roaring back in my head this week. I think it’s because what she said is true: hatred is taught.

That made me think, what else is taught? Certainly not just hate, but the way we interact with other human beings, appropriately or otherwise is taught, whether through word or deed.

There may well be something to the idea that “it takes a village to raise a child.”

I mean, I honestly don’t think a baby just born into this world would participate in a “sinful” action. How could it? It doesn’t know anything. As time goes on and the baby grows into a child, it picks up the mannerisms, words, and norms of the family and culture it’s born into.

And if there is anything wrong, it’s not the child’s fault–they’re in a world of mimicry until they can do for themselves. They aren’t inherently sinful or bad; they’re learning sinful or bad behaviors or thoughts through the society around them.

Just as nobody is born hating, and nobody is born coveting, greedy, slothful, or full of wrath… how can anybody be born sinful?

I just don’t understand the mindset by the majority of Christians (in my experience) who believe that we’ve been sinners from day 1. I think that’s crap. I think we were taught to sin (or more like taught through omission–not taught how to be proper and “sinless”). To me, the concept of sin implies an intent to do wrong, not just being born that way.

After all, I’ve heard how someone who doesn’t believe in something the way other Christians think they should is often told “you just want to sin.” Wait, I thought we were born with it!… and yes, that quote has always puzzled me.

Also it’s annoying how nearly everything is a freaking sin. It’s like you just can’t win, and those who say the way to being sinless is to accept Jesus, well… I don’t get how that’s supposed to work out.

I mean, I don’t know anybody who magically became the most pure person around and didn’t falter within a few weeks or months… like it’s a new diet and just was too hard to keep up with.

The concept of sin in Christianity boggles my mind, but I’m still reading through the Bible, so maybe I’ll get some help on these discoveries through my various copies of the text (I’ve hit on very little related to sin so far, from what I can see).

I can’t help it–this was just bugging the hell out of me, and I had to vent a bit.

13 thoughts on “One of my confusions regarding humans as “born with a sinful nature” (or whatever the heck you call it)…

  1. Xena says:

    Sin means missing the mark. Another way of saying it is less than perfect. A way of thinking of it is, anything that does not have eternal life is not perfect.

    Man was created to learn, and learning can be learning good or learning evil. What helped me understand what is called the sinful nature, or First Adam nature, was looking at Jesus Christ. The Bible says that he was tempted in each way man is tempted, but sinned not. Jesus harmed no one, killed no one. He healed all that asked without judgment. He loved unconditionally.

    Like

        • TheChattyIntrovert says:

          And they don’t even know til way later… if they ever realize it at all. Scary. I find it funny and get pissed off at the same time when I think of the casual racism that’s come out of the woodwork from people I knew my whole life (parents included). I’ve learned to perk my ears up (and teach kids to do so) when I hear “those people”, because NOTHING good ever comes after that. And when my parents started doing that crap when I hit 18 or later, I wondered why they didn’t talk like this sooner (and then this 2016 thing made it far worse).

          Liked by 1 person

          • bobcabkings says:

            “The greatest propaganda in the world is our mother tongue, that is what we learn as children, and which we learn unconsciously. That shapes our perceptions for life. That is propaganda at its most extreme form.”
            Marshall McLuhan

            Liked by 1 person

  2. carol hopkins says:

    Two thoughts come to mind: the age old psychology question, “Is it nature, or is it nurture?” and “As the twig is bent the tree is inclined”. I don’t have any answers to any of it, but I think the bible is a good place to learn more about it. The question of sin begins in Genesis with Adam and Eve in the garden and led to the concept of “original sin”. And I have to put my two cents in, for what it’s worth. Many over the centuries blamed women for all the ills of the world because Eve tempted Adam. Kind of silly to my mind – I mean, did Adam not have a brain and a faith of his own? Plus, really if you follow this logic and take the bible literally then wouldn’t sin have originated with Adam? After all Eve was made from Adam’s rib – so the story goes.

    Anyway, I digress. I think we are born innocent, but we do have a tendency to play God – to want to be God – to control our lives etc. It’s no easy topic and I am no theologian. For me, that is the “sin” – to place ourselves outside of God’s love and protection is to cloak ourselves in sin; to wander down a path that can only lead to darkness and destruction is to “sin”. God is love so to live outside that is to hate and hate is never good.

    Like

  3. Scottie says:

    Hello thechattyintrovert. Maybe it is the idea that if we are born that we we are not to blame for the bad we do? Maybe it is like the reason behind the saying “The devil made me do it”. I couldn’t have been me, I am a good person, but also you know I was born a sinner. It also is creating the disease so they can sell you the cure. Just some thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rae Reads says:

    Boy, did this post and the comments on it stimulate my thinking skills. My background, how I was raised (brainwashed and not encouraged to think for myself) is similar to yours, I think. In a way we are very much alike in our thinking, yet I always scurry back to my “safety net,” my personal faith. Do you think it’s an age thing?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. AdjunctWizard says:

    It is a concept that like you I have pondered through most of my life after the first catechism lesson. But the cool thing was you could wait until the very end of your life and pay to get into heaven. (buy an indulgence) Once I found out the rules of the game, so to speak, I became uninterested in the starting conditions. Original sin must be crap. The Roman Catholic Church has since dropped this practice but it fits with the “can’t take it with you” theme. (Just give it to us and we’ll take care of it.) Sounds like a racket.
    Buddhism is becoming attractive. — everything changes, you’re here then not, don’t be an ass while you are here. Words to live by.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TheChattyIntrovert says:

      I love how somebody (wish I knew who) made a picture of a simplified Christian Bible as the word of God. It was a yellow post it note with the words “Don’t be a dick.” signed God. I thought that was good enough for me.

      I think what I hated most about trying to go through this learning process in my life was the bunch of people who–when I asked something complicated–did the verbal equivalent of patting me on the head and saying “don’t worry your pretty little head about it.”

      Glad that doesn’t happen here–it’s why this is the only place I ask these sorts of questions anymore…

      Like

Penny for your thoughts? We'll listen...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.