In Catholicism, Father Richard P McBrien rejects three ideas about original sin.

He rejects the assumption that it is a denial of human freedom.

He rejects the idea of Sartre that original sin is just the meaninglessness of human existence.

He rejects the traditional Christian notion that that original sin is a personal sin that God blames us for though we didn't commit it (page 185, Catholicism, HarperSanFrancisco, New York, 1994). God blames us for the sin Adam and Eve committed in the garden of Eden at the start of the human race. He is forced to say it is a mystery and leave it at that. But that is a cop-out. He is hiding behind the mystery thing to disguise the absurdity of the doctrine and how it must be saying we are blamed for a sin we never committed or that we have somehow ratified this sin and shared in it thereby. He proves that in how he cannot say what original sin does to us. All agree that it makes us tend to sin but that tendency to sin is understood by all not as original sin but as a result of it.

If it is a mystery then why can't baptism be the cause of a sin in the way we have learned of? 
The representatives of the Christian Churches often make a good impression and yet these men and women are blackening babies and their God in the interests of power. They teach that we have original sin from the first moment of our existence because of the sin of Adam and Eve and this condition makes us more liable to sin and darkens our intelligence. The cure is often supposed to be water baptism.


For Christians, sin means the refusal to admit that the creation matters less than God. The essence of sin then is seen to be treating the world as if it had no creator or one that was relatively unimportant. The body, food, paradise islands, these are examples of things that matter to many instead of God or more than God. Even if you value your worldly things as much as God that is sin.  The paradox is that you are abusing creation while treating it as all that matters at the same time.

Romans 1 argues that God alone matters.  There Paul who said he has regular visits from Jesus risen who teaches him the gospel.  Paul continues that people changed the glory of the pure and immaculately good God into the image of corruptible man and even of birds and insects. If God made man in his image is that so bad? Paul speaks of corruptible man not corrupted man. So the problem is not that manlike gods are bad moral examples but the problem is that they are men. For Paul, worship of man whether as man or in the image of man is wrong for only God is incorruptible.  A saint may now be beyond sin but is still inherently corruptible and is protected by God from evil.  So worship of man is out.

He then slams gay and lesbian sex as unnatural and as an example of abusing the creation. He gives other examples too.


Original sin is taught in the Bible where the baby is thought to be in the same sinful condition as Adam was for eating the forbidden fruit.

The Adam and Eve story says the first sin was in eating from a banned tree. This endorses the view that God can make eating rice a sin and polygamy a virtue if he wants to. That explains the commands demanding stoning innocents to death, Abraham being willing to sacrifice his child and so on.  It opens up the possibility that God can make you a sinner though you are innocent and find you guilty.

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 20; Jeremiah 32:18-19; Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 7:16; Jonah 4:10-11; Matthew 25:45-46; II Samuel 12:15-23; II Samuel 18:29-19:5 and II Kings 4:26 are put forward a saying babies that die in infancy are saved probably because they don't have any sin. None of them mentions Heaven so that argument is out.  The Ezekiel verse merely says a child can’t be blamed for the sins of its father but Christians point out that that does not exclude a child being to blame for the sin of the first man Adam. Romans 5:12-14 and Psalm 51:5 say that the child is punished by a tendency to sin for carrying sin from the first moment of its existence.

The Psalmist wrote, “I was brought forth in [a state of] iniquity” (Psalm 51:5).

Jesus said, “Unless a man is born of water and [even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God. What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical] and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not…at my telling you, You must all be born anew” (John 3:5-7). Jesus is saying we should not be astonished that we need a new birth, forgiveness, for physical existence does not have one right with God. The very fact that Jesus spoke of a new birth or a birth from above shows that he accepted original sin. You can only be born once so it must be the same with the spiritual birth. If he thought we would be reborn lots of times then he would have called it the spiritual purification or first reconciliation.

Romans 5 says that because of Adam’s sin all people will die. It does not say that we sin because Adam gave us bad example or anything and that is why we die. It is not talking about the sins we personally commit. They are not the reason we die, Adam's sin is. Paul says that it is because Adam made us sinners that we sin.
Romans implies that all must deserve death when God is just and God punished all Adam’s descendants for his crime. Paul said that Jesus needed to come to reverse what Adam did which is repeating that we deserve it for it is confessing that God did not have to let us die. He said Jesus saved us vicariously the same way Adam vicariously made us come fallen into the world. Paul said that, “As sin came into the world though one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned. [To be sure] sin was in the world before ever the Law was given, but sin is not charged to men’s account where there is no law...Yet death held sway from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who did not themselves transgress [a positive command] even as Adam did” (Romans 5:12-14). This makes it clear that even those who do not believe in right and wrong are sinners because they die though they haven’t wilfully sinned. It is Adam’s sin, the sin they have acquired from him, that condemns them.

Because of Adam’s sin, we are all condemned as sinners (Romans 5:18,19). Adam’s sin does not just make us all fall just because it is a bad example because Paul compares Adam’s bad effect on the human race with the saving and sanctifying effect of Jesus on it and we cannot say that this simply means that there was no good example until Jesus! So Adam sinned for us like Jesus obeyed for us. That is the comparison. Even sinners can give good example by seeming good. Pelaganism, the doctrine that there is no original sin is a heresy according to the Bible. When a mere example is not meant something stronger and stranger is meant. Somehow Adam sinned for us making us as bad as himself.

Paul said that as one man’s sin passed on condemnation to us so Jesus’ act of goodness passed on acquittal and salvation to us (Romans 5:18). Adam and Jesus affected us the same way. Pelagians say he only means that Adam got us condemned when we followed his bad example and that he did not put any weakness into us that would cause us to sin. But you could not say that Jesus has saved us simply by giving us an example to imitate. We did not need him for that. So Jesus must have saved us by removing the weakness towards sin so that we would turn to the grace of God and be saved and pardoned. Paul definitely taught that we were punished for Adam’s sin with weakness towards sin and that our individual sins are products of this original sin, this opposition to God that we are born with. We can only deserve a defect that causes us to sin if we are blamed or as guilty of eating the forbidden fruit like Adam was. To teach that weakness has a part to play in making us sin is to deny that we are fully to blame for our sins so it is impossible to see how we can deserve eternal punishment which would require full consent of the will to grievous sin. The whole system is vindictive for it accuses us of deserving that for what is not all our fault. Whatever theory of original sin you hold to, in some way we are blamed for what we didn’t do.


Protestants often say that it is the guilt of sin inherited from Adam. The little baby in the cot is as much guilty of eating the forbidden fruit as Adam was though it never committed this sin.

This is terribly unjust. It is absurd to imagine that you can be guilty of a sin that you never committed. Yet it must be the biblical theory for God says that even though some don’t have a law or believe in one and so cannot sin they are still sinners (Romans 5:13).

Catholics believe that there are two kinds of sin, as distinct from original sin that we commit ourselves. Venial is serious sin that does not cut you off from God and mortal sin is sin so bad that he spews you out. Catholics believe that God would not take a life in retribution for a venial sin but would for a mortal sin. God told Adam that his sin would cost him his life. So his sin was mortal and if we are as if we have that sin then we must deserve Hell forever. The unbaptised babies must be destined for Hell and its eternal torments of despair.

It is a mistake to hope that they are not on the grounds that God would not be that cruel. St Augustine and Pope St Gregory the Great held that he intended to send them there. Love is cruel so God might send them to Hell so that they might make the sacrifice of enduring its pain willingly for the love of him.

Catholics say that babies are not blamed for Adam’s sin but are in the same spiritual condition that a mortal sinner is in all the same. In more academic language, they don’t have sanctifying grace. They say it is a sin only in the sense that God hates this state but not in the sense that the baby has deliberately offended God (page 711, Radio Replies, Vol 1). This view says that we owe punishment to God to atone for Adam’s sin for it is his debt and he didn’t pay it so it falls on his children. It makes us guilty in that we have failed to pay because we are sinners and don’t want to pay either.

By no stretch of reason can the absence of grace be called sin. Sin is wilfully offending God. If the child carries Adam’s sin the it deserves to be separated from God but this theory claims that it deserves to be in communion with him and is kept out of it. It seems better to be meant to be in communion with him and is kept out of it. It seems better than the theory that babies are guilty of Adam’s sin literally though they never committed it but it is really far worse. Better to be punished for an imputed sin than for no sin at all.

The theory does not explain how a baby can be a sinner for it knows nothing of Adam’s debt and has nothing to be punished for. If there is a punishment it will not have it until it grows up a bit. Punishment is supposed to be for our good and to improve our characters. The punishment that original sin demands is so useless that Jesus had to undergo it for us so it is sheer vindictiveness.

Original sin is an unnecessary evil and it shows that existence is a sin for it is the punishment for coming into being.


The Church says there is no logical reason why we have to eventually sin. But when it is claimed to inevitable that we will sin it is clear that the Church is just messing around with words.

The Church says the fact that all of us will sin eventually and cannot live a sinless life is not our fault. There is no free will to be sinless. But what if there is? What if one in a billion is sinless? Or what if there is free will to be harmless?  Harmless is what you aim for if there is no God.  Sin means something that is against the law of God. 

If there is no way we can live a sinless life, then that is God's fault.  It must be if it is not ours. To worship a God like that is to show that you are not as good as you like people to think. If sin is inevitable, it follows then that God should be merciful and instead of demonising our sins, he should err on the side of caution and suggest that maybe it is not fully our fault.


Original sin is too negative. The alleged good side of it is how it can encourage you to overcome your bad side.  But that is only encouraging you to take two steps forward when you could take three.  The doctrine is simply encouraging you to make do with the good instead of the best and to see that you do not have to have a dark side to any degree.


The doctrine of original sin gets its appeal by posing as an answer for why we sin without exception at least once or why we cannot avoid sinning completely.

However, not all agree that we are sinners. Some think God does not think in terms of sin at all.  The notion that we are created estranged from God does not explain why we sin.

There is no reason to believe in original sin - there is just a vindictive passive aggressive excuse to.
Original sin is a slander against humanity that is executed by the Church for the purposes of instilling guilt and fear in people so that it can manipulate them.  

The doctrine of original sin denies that innocent people exist. Thus if you say murder is wrong you cannot say it is because killing innocent people is wrong. You have to find another way.  It is no answer to say even if you have original sin you cannot deserve to be murdered when you have not murdered yourself.  Why? If sinless a has to die or slightly sinful b then b has to die. 

Before you judge a baby as having original sin, remember that everybody is innocent until proven guilty.

Original sin and its implications are full of subliminal evil and could be part of the reason why Christianity has overall been a bad force in history.

Original sin is the only thing you can think of if you want to say that nature as a result of a choice somehow has broken with God and cut off from his full protection and love.  In fact the alternative is to say that God is to blame for evil and suffering.  Belief in God then demands that we be anti-human for it is not right to simply accuse human nature because you want to have faith in God!!  It is an attack on Judaism and Islam which reject original sin.  It would be odd if God could not teach such a doctrine until after Jesus came!!


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