A reader wrote to me of her disdain for the Christian concept of original sin. “I do not subscribe to the Christian concept of original sin,” she said. “This concept has humans born as damaged goods, not pleasing to God.”
For all those who don’t know, when Christians refer to babies being “born into sin,” or to the “fallen state” of mankind, what they should be referring to is the simple truth that without exception every human being is born with an extreme predilection toward mean-spirited selfishness and greed. We all have a side that is dark, ugly, petty, vengeful, shameless.
Not having that side is not an option. If you’re human, you have it. That’s all “born into sin” means. It’s just a way of acknowledging that being essentially evil is hardwired into every human.
The question is: How do you fight against your base, animal nature? How do you beat it, rise above it, become better than it?
In that struggle Christians employ Christianity. Jews use Judaism. Muslims uses Islam. Atheists use reason.
We’re all fighting the same fight. We’re just using different tools.
See also the follow-up to this piece, The Biggest, Most Harmful Misconception about Christianity.