Note: A video version of this article is available on YouTube.
Christians say that Jesus died for our sins. But what was the original sin — the one that got all the sinning started?
The Bible says the Original Sin was eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Most people vaguely think that this means they ate an apple and evil popped out of it, rather like Pandora's Box. But note what the Bible says the fruit contained: knowledge of good and evil. If good and evil are merely human constructs, then the tree revealed a bogus distinction. A fake separation. A false dichotomy. Call it what you will.
So in the biblical model of reality, in its creation story, it may be describing the first bogus distinction in the history of humanity.
Note what happens next in the bible story: the first humans feel shame. Now they feel the cost of the sin. They now believe that it is wrong to be naked.
Says who? Says belief, that's who.
When one accepts “Jesus,” say the Christians, one is “redeemed” (freed, liberated). Freed from what? Well, one can be freed from the (original?) sin of false distinctions — I'll explain how in a moment.
One retains this freedom only as long as one is “turning over one's life to Jesus” (who could be just a mental fiction). Thus, one absolves one's self of guilt in direct proportion to the extent that one can “turn it over” to Jesus. In other words: more faith equals more liberation.
The model may be full of fiction, but it nonetheless provides people a way of freeing themselves from “hamster in a cage” thinking such as worry. The more negativity they can “turn over” in this way, the less fear they feel. In so doing, they are better able to operate in the moment, interacting with people without self-censorship, “hating the sin but loving the sinner” (seeing through the programming and appreciating the person as they naturally are).
How else could somebody truly love their neighbor as themselves, if not by noticing that an actual person exists underneath all that programming?
I speak of the ideal case, of course. In real life Christianity, most people have no idea what the stories were actually pointing at, so they fall for the words and miss the point entirely. Or so I say. Others will tell me I'm very, very wrong.
(The original, very similar, version of this article was written Jan. 25, 2007.)