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Christianity, Theist Wackiness

Original Sin

Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.  — Deuteronomy 24:16

Have you ever thought about Original Sin?  What a strange concept it is!  There was this couple running around in a peaceful, happy garden, and for reasons known only to himself, the God Yahweh, or Father, or whichever deity a particular sect prefers, placed a very lovely tree with delicious looking fruit in the center.  He very sternly told the couple, “Don’t Eat That Fruit!  It’s very important that you don’t eat the fruit.  If you eat it, you’ll die.”

For reasons further shrouded in mystery, the god Father also put a talking serpent in the yard, knowing full well that he would tempt poor Eve and talk her into eating the fruit.  He knew that Eve would give some to Adam as well.  And he knew that as a result of that, he would make life really awful for everybody for thousands of years, and would particularly curse women with pain during childbirth.

And he did all of this so that he could one day institute a policy of humans killing their livestock in an effort to stave off the wrath of god, which could be anything from drought to pestilence or fire from heaven.

And he did all of this because a long time later, he’d make himself into a man, but take a new name, and then get himself killed.  The whole point of all of this was that you and I, gentle reader could believe this crazy story and spend a trillion trillion years not having sex or any other fun, but singing songs about how wonderful the god was for doing all of this.

Sounds a little odd to me.  But have you considered that science has presented us with some real problems related to original sin?

Mitochondrial Eve

It turns out that there was a female ancestor of the all living humans, but this discovery doesn’t make Original Sin look very good.  You see, Eve wasn’t the first human.  She was living with other humans, and for whatever reason — luck or some excellent genetic mutation(s) — her descendants were the only ones to make it to the 21st century in an unbroken matrilineal line.  All mitochondrial DNA in the human species has been passed down from her.

Y-Chromosomal Adam

Our Y-Chromosome father didn’t live anywhere near Eve in time.  Many thousands of years separate them.  So the truth of the matter is that there is not a mated pair comparable to Adam and Eve in Genesis.

So… who’d Eve give the fruit to?  Did the god Jesus make a mistake when he was dictating the Bible?

Evolution of Species

More damning is the fact that we can’t very well pinpoint anybody as the “first humans.”  We know from science that species don’t happen in one generation.  That is, a frog doesn’t give birth to a salamander.  Rather, species change very, very gradually, and can only be recognized in reverse.  Our pre-human ancestors became more and more human-like by the tiniest of degrees.  If we could somehow look at the DNA from every single ancestor of ours, going back to our most direct pre-human ancestor, there might be only a billionth of a percent difference between each generation.  Over hundreds of thousands of years, these differences would add up to a new species, but we’d never be able to put a line somewhere and say, “This one is definitely human.  His father and mother are not.”

So… who gets the distinction of being Original Sinners?  When did Yahweh or Jesus or El step onto the scene and say, “Guess what?  Every one of your previous ancestors got away just being animals.  But for you, I’m going to give you the honor of burdening billions and billions of your descendants with death.  I’ll send approximately 99% of them to hell for not believing I’m going to kill myself to sacrifice myself to myself so they don’t have to kill animals for my pleasure anymore.”

What a crappy sales pitch!

And for the record, what’s just about punishing billions of people for the minuscule infraction of having a bite of fruit?

Furthermore, if the tree contained the Knowledge of Good and Evil, as the Genesis story alleges, doesn’t that mean that neither Adam or Eve understood good or evil?  So… how could they know that disobeying God was bad?  Sure, he’d said “Don’t Do This.”  But how would they know that doing it anyway was wrong?   They didn’t know right from wrong!

It all sounds like a crock to me.  And if Original Sin is a crock, then what exactly is the god Jesus saving me from?



2 thoughts on “Original Sin

  1. Yes, evolution clearly contradicts the nonsense in the Bible–proving that evolution is wrong.

    just a nitpick…

    It seems a bit misleading to refer to mitochondrial Eve as a “female ancestor of the whole human race,” unless she herself was not human. Your later statements clarify that she was the common ancestor of all *currently living* humans.

    Posted by Joel Justiss | October 14, 2010, 7:51 am
  2. Thanks for the nitpick. It’s a solid point.

    Posted by hambydammit | October 14, 2010, 1:31 pm

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