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Thursday, September 1, 2011

He Does ... and Doesn't ... Get It

... but, mostly, he will actively decline to get it.

Original Sin and Eastern Orthodoxy
... But both 'events' are also 'states' in which post-Adamic, postlapsarian man finds himself. He is in the state or condition of original sinfulness and in the state or condition of fallenness. This fallen state is one of moral corruption and mortality. This belief is common to the Romans, the Protestants, and the Orthodox. But it could be maintained that while we inherit Adam's corruption and mortality, we don't inherit his guilt. And here is where there is an important difference between the Romans and the Protestants, on the one hand, and the Eastern Orthodox, on the other. The latter subscribe to Original Sin but not to Original Guilt. Timothy Ware: "Men (Orthodox usually teach) automatically inherit Adam's corruption and mortality, but not his guilt: they are only guilty in so far as by their own free choice they imitate Adam." (229)

I conclude that Farrell should have said, not that the Orthodox do not accept Original Sin, but that they do not accept Original Guilt. Or he could have said that the Orthodox do not accept the Roman Catholic doctrine of Original Sin which includes the fomer idea. Actually, given the context this is probably what he meant.

There is something repugnant to reason about the doctrine of Original Guilt. How can I be held morally responsible for what someone else has done? ...The more I think about it, the more appealing the Orthodox doctrine becomes.
Neither the Roman Catholic church, nor generic Protestantism, teach "Original Guilt" -- as though we are somehow guilty of/for Adam's specific act of sin -- though, certainly, there may be "liberal" schools within Catholicism and "liberal" Protestant denominations which may teach something very like it -- you know, something like "You are 'white' and some 'whites' enslaved some 'blacks' ... therefore, if you are not a "liberal", you are a vicious racist", or some similar bullshit.

Serendipitously, Michael Flynn, who is Catholic (as I am not), and who cares about/for the Roman Catholic denomination (as I do not), has a recent post touching upon, among other things, R.C. teaching about Original SIn and "Original Guilt".

Another thing Vallicella doesn't get (sorry, I'm not going to spend my time digging up his post that made it clear he does not understand) is this truth: we are not sinners because we commit sin(s); rather, we commit sin(s) because we are sinners.


Drew said...

I think the Catholics do teach original guilt. That's why they say that you have to baptize babies to keep them from going to hell in case they die.

Ilíon said...

No; the rationale for infant baptism is grounded in the doctrine of Original Sin.

You see, most modern American Christians just don't get this: we all are sinners -- we are sinners at birth; at birth, we are already on the road Hell, lest Christ redeem us from the death which already infects us.

It isn't the fact that we commit sins which makes us sinners; rather, it is the fact that we are already sinners which makes us commit sins.

Ilíon said...

Nevertheless infant baptism is pointless, whether done under the auspices of the Roman sect or under that of one of the Protestant sects -- just as a "baptism" done against a person's will is not a baptism, so too, a "baptism" done absent the person's will is not a baptism.

Drew said...

Well, that's definitely true. But I don't agree with the idea that we are judged based on our nature. I think we are judged based on actions. If we were judged based on our nature, it wouldn't really make any difference whether original guilt were true.