Social Justice Warriors and Original Sin

I have come to the conclusion that the concept of original sin must be one of those that are quite appealing to humans.

For literally millennia, original sin has been a foundational part of much of Christianity.  We were all born with original sin, and so effectively started life with guilt.  It turns out that it is much easier to exercise power over the guilty than over people who consider themselves innocent.  The Catholic Church took advantage of this power by claiming that no individual could wipe away their original sin, their inherited guilt, without active engagement with the Church itself.  I will leave aside theological arguments** here, but conclude that the Church used the original sin doctrine in part to enhance its temporal power.

As Christianity fades somewhat as an active part of Western culture, the idea of Christian original sin seldom comes up much in any practical way.  But that does not mean the world has abandoned the concept of original sin - no indeed.  Racism is one of the classic examples of original sin - in it, someone born black, or Jewish, or whatever, is tainted with an original sin that they cannot wash away, and makes them somehow inferior to others.

Much of what social justice warriors say sounds racist to me, as they often offer negative generalizations of whole groups based on race, or gender, or sexual preference.  In my naive younger days I used to think that judging anyone based on their race rather than their individual actions and values was racism.    However, SJW's have managed to change linguistics in their favor, conveniently redefining racism (or sexism) as only applying to those in historically more powerful groups  (e.g. white males).  By this definition, a black woman can never be a racist, no matter how much she negatively stereotypes other racial groups.

Well, OK then.  I am tired of fighting this definitional issue.  So I will just say that SJW's frequently fall in the trap of believing in original sin.  Whites, males, heteros, successful people - they are all tainted in the SJW mind with original sin, so much that any utterance from any individual in these groups is deemed as having no value and therefore should be ignored or actively suppressed.  This is actually a radical version of original sin that goes way farther than the Catholic Church ever took it, though I would argue it is promulgated for roughly the same reason - to enhance one's power.

 

** Speaking of original sin, in one of the great misconceptions that Christians have of their own religion, the immaculate conception was not Mary's virgin birth of Jesus but rather her own birth without the taint of original sin.

  • kidmugsy

    In Mark's gospel, the first to be written it would seem, there is no virgin birth, and indeed no born-in-Bethlehem baloney. I can't remember what Mark's Jesus says about sin. I must look it up.

  • David

    I learned something new today. I had always thought that "The Immaculate Conception" referred to the virgin birth. Thanks for the lesson.

  • mx

    Slavery is America's original sin (perhaps not the only one, but that's not the point), literally written into the Constitution. I do think it can be problematic when you ascribe that national failing to each and every individual, but it's also a system each and every one of us has benefited from.

  • rdk

    I agree with your Christian misconception - very commonly observed, and I teach in a Catholic school.

  • Peabody

    Of note, Protestants as a general rule do not believe in the Immaculate Conception.

  • J K Brown

    Interesting. Slavery is only original sin for America because the common world-wide practice was accommodated in the new idea of a sovereign people with individual liberties. And the accommodation was purely a political compromise to achieve a sustainable plurality to get the whole enterprise off the ground.

    But, by all means, it is a unique "sin" of America's

  • mx

    I think you just proved my point. This nation very well may not have succeeded if not for the labor of slaves. That "political compromise" that bought liberty for some came at the expense of liberty for a whole lot of people who suffered greatly. No, slavery was not unique to America, but what was unique was the extent to which we relied upon it at the same time we preached the virtues of liberty and equality in our new political system.

    And that "new idea" of individual liberties was a promise that took literally centuries to deliver when it came to actually allowing blacks to, say, vote or ride the bus or use any damn water fountain they pleased.

  • irandom419

    Sounds like my take on environmentalism. By living and polluting the environment you have original sin and must tithe through carbon credits/pressure groups to wipe your impact or sin away. Al Gore is a Jesus like figure who had his presidency or life stolen and he was resurrected through carbon credits or pardons. Ironically being pro growth is the best thing for the environment because the wealthy countries, not the pathetic perpetually developing ones, can afford to protect the environment.

  • Dan Wendlick

    Mark's Gospel starts at the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, and mentions nothing before the baptism by John.

  • Mercury

    "The Catholic Church took advantage of this power by claiming that no individual could wipe away their original sin, their inherited guilt, without active engagement with the Church itself. I will leave aside theological arguments** here, but conclude that the Church used the original sin doctrine in part to enhance its temporal power."
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And now the Climate Change Movement wants you to believe that by being born into the post-industrial world (i.e. The Fall of Man that ruined Earth's environmental paradise and just-right, ever-static climate) we all are tainted us all with Original Sin. Only total submission and fealty to the One True Way and to an unelected, unaccountable priesthood can lead us on the road to Salvation (Sustainability) and away from a Hell on Earth. Heretics shall be broken.

  • Mercury

    Really? And they've never managed to work the non-Immaculate Conception narrative into any paintings, plays or literature? Seems like the kind of story people would buy a ticket for.

  • Craig Loehle

    In contrast to religious original sin, there is no way to cleanse oneself if you are male or white. No amount of good deeds or apologies or proclaiming that you believe X or are not racist/sexist will wash away this sin. It is also remarkable by being not individual but by membership in a class.
    But what about all the mixed race people? The hispanics who are white? Spaniards who get mixed in with Hispanics but are not? The immigrants from India who come from the upper classes there? It doesn't even make sense.
    Also curious is that Jews, who have succeeded in spite of fierce discrimination and are genetically originally from the Palestine area, are viewed as white and oppressors by SJWs. This same group of SJWs dismissed the deaths of Jews in Germany as "white on white crime" and not worthy of discussion in multiple places I have seen. wow. Likewise, Christians who are arrested and killed in the Middle East are not counted as oppressed.

  • Craig Loehle

    The other type of original sin for environmentalists is that we not merely fell from grace in the Garden of Eden, we polluted it. Apparently, the only way to obviate this sin is to go back to the stone age, according to the demands of green groups: shut down coal plants, don't cut trees, etc.

  • Scott

    On the footnote - thanks for sharing. It's amazing to me how little Christians actually understand theology.

  • jhp151

    The articles interpretation of immaculate conception is Catholic specific. The Protestant teaching is quite clear that only the Christ was born without sin. It is not necessary for Mary to be without sin. If Mary could be formed without sin, it stands to reason that step in the process could be skipped and simply form the physical aspect of Jesus without sin.

  • Craig

    One can cleanse himself if he sufficiently promotes liberal causes.

  • jdgalt

    The Americas' (not just our country's) contribution to slavery was to make it pay, after centuries when it was mostly not worth the bother (from the master's point of view). On the other hand, if this had not happened, the practice might still exist.

  • jdgalt

    No, true forgiveness is available only to a tiny priesthood. The masses must simply accept more primitive living conditions and limits on their reproduction, because the life of the Earth requires them. (And if you believe that, I've got some washed-up politicians to sell you.)