This year, Pope Ratzinger made a statement that made the Roman Catholic Church less medieval somewhat – look, Big Bang Theory is a fact and God was behind it, Pope says. Most Catholics in the Philippines seem to have missed this development. The Pope also declared that Genesis is an allegory. So, Genesis is fiction, the fall of man is fiction and Original Sin is fiction. Why do Filipinos need to hand 250 bucks for their children’s spiritual betterment?
Below is a comment by M. Sonny found in this thread, reproduced here with his permission. It contains more information on original sin, why the Eastern Churches don’t have it as a doctrine and why it’s downright stupid branding innocent children as unworthy or sinful.
The doctrine of “original sin” is unique to the Roman Catholic Church. The eastern Orthodox churches to which I belong do not have such a dogma. The doctrine was developed in the early 5th century primarily by Augustine (bishop of Hippo) who reacted to the Pelagian heresy that taught that infants need not be baptized since they have committed no personal sins. Augustine countered Pelagius by arguing from common Church practice and mixing it with traducianism via Romans 5:12: “…sin came into the world through one man and death spread through sin, and so death spread to all men because [literally, “in that” or “in which”] all men sinned.”
To briefly summarize Augustine’s argument, which originated from 3rd century Latin-speaking church father, Cyprian, bishop of Carthage: “The Church universally baptized infants; therefore, since baptism confers remission of sins, and since infants have committed no personal sins, the Church baptizes infants obviously in order to remit or remove the original sin which they receive hereditarily from Adam because all of humanity was seminally present in Adam.”
“The church is saying we are also guilty due to Adam’s sin even though we didn’t personally commit it.”
So for the past 16 centuries, the Roman Catholic church taught a biological and even a genetic transmssion of “original sin”, which started with Adam and then passed down to all of humanity, from one generation to the next.
This is problematic to the Eastern (Greek-speaking) fathers of Christianity. The Eastern Church finds repugnant the notion that God would consider someone guilty of something which he or she did not commit personally. The Greek Fathers saw the relationship between the first man (Adam) and his descendents as organic and existential in nature without the notion of an inherited “guilt”. We inherit the same mortal and corrupt nature which Adam possessed because of his and Eve’s transgressions, but we do not inherit the guilt of that “original sin” which changed our human nature.
Let’s put this in layman’s language for the readers to easily understand. Suppose we have a loved one (a family member) who committed a crime (say, murder). He was arrested, tried in a court of law and found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. What will be the consequences of his crime on his immediate family? First, there is the family shame. We might even hypothesize that many of our friends and other relatives might distance themselves from us (because of the crime committed), and so on and so forth.
Now, it will be totally unjust if other members of the family will also be sent to jail because someone else committed a crime, isn’t it?
This is what the RCC dogma on “original sin” is. The church is saying we are also guilty due to Adam’s sin even though we didn’t personally commit it, and the only remission of that original sin is through the Church, in Baptism.
I’ve long struggled with the concept of “original sin” which is one of many reasons why I left Roman Catholicism. And I’m exceedingly glad I did.