November 2014



Cultures assure that we can all live together despite our different beliefs. We learn what offends our neighbors, they learn what offends us, and, over the generations, those become shared ‘hang-ups’. From my own exchanges with other atheists, we seem more malleable than the religious, likely due to an absence of indoctrinated strictures, and will ‘give in’ to strictures for which we have no explanation. Indoctrination in atheist households will be more about getting along with others and less about why the children should avoid associating with others with ‘wrong’ beliefs. The religious seem unable to understand that about us, and, as a result, we are mistrusted despite statistics in our favor.

Regarding those statistics: I have seen a similar set from back in the 1920’s, and a newer set from 2013, read much of the criticism against them, and feel insulted by that, including that made by other atheists. The three sets (the oldest of which I can no longer find) do not show what I would call meaningful deviation from each other. I agree, and accept, their value is strictly anecdotal because method nor accuracy is verifiable. The stereotyping of atheists as “people of privilege”, however, I do find regrettable, whether it comes from the religious or from other atheists.

I am an atheist, for which I feel blessed by (not for) my own troublesome curiosity and need to know. I have never been a person of privilege. I have seldom been around people of privilege. That kind of person would hurry past me, eyes turned away, lest he or she might somehow get contaminated by having to acknowledge my existence. My parents were poor, of minimal education (Dad was in-or-past fourth grade when my grandmother died and he had to leave school), and very religious. Surrounded by religion pushers of every ilk and the inevitable never ending controversy, I never dared to take even my own parents’ word for which version of truth would keep me from getting cast into the eternal fire pit after my life ended.

Fear perpetuates religion. FEAR steered me out from it. The only people of privilege I know much about are still in it, using it to their own advantage, and being a threat to people like me, of which I surely cannot be the only one. So, whoever distrusts the only statistics that we have, I will personally thank you for gathering up data that you do trust, and presenting it some way that we can also trust.

The doctrine of inherited sin is wrong. The doctrine of inherited sin, the basis for Christianity, has been proved wrong because Lamarckian evolution has been proved wrong. Why has no one noticed this fact? Why is it not a part of our common awareness?

From Patheos:

“By the early 20th century, it had become apparent to some theologians that a new approach [to defending the faith] was in order.  A Dutch Reformed professor at Westminster Seminary named Cornelius Van Til worked out a new approach which he felt both avoided entanglement in battles against science while also being more consistent with Calvinistic theology.  He called it the presuppositionalist method.  It goes something like this:

“Because of “the fall” of Adam and Eve, mankind has been warped by sin such that his motives and his mind have been too greatly marred to appeal to them for our salvation.  Because only those chosen by God can gain the supernatural faith they need in order to be saved (remember Calvinists subscribe to predestination), it does no good to appeal to a man’s reasoning capabilities in order to persuade him to believe.  Faith comes from God, the Calvinists say, so the only rightful and God-honoring way to evangelize is to just preach the Bible.  People will either be “quickened” by the Holy Spirit to believe or else they will not be afforded such grace; either way, the evangelist’s task is done.  Appealing to the lost person’s reasoning capabilities is idolatry, because doing so sends a signal that mankind is qualified to determine for himself what is “true” and what is not.  This is unacceptable.  Therefore the apologist must not lower himself to engage in presenting a rational case for the existence of God.”

In the first chapter of Genesis, the god named God creates everything. In Chapter 2, it prepares a place for Adam to live and made Eve. You can find the story in which the fall originates in Chapter 3.

The sin that originated in the Old Testament was then carried to the New Testament by the Apostle Paul, and formulated into doctrine by early church fathers. Augustine’s formulation of original sin was popular among Protestant reformers, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin.

Inheritable Sin in the Bible: Romans 5:12-21

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as one trespass[b] led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:22English Standard Version (ESV)

22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

From Wikipedia:

Jewish theologians are divided in regard to the cause of what is called “original sin”. Some teach that it was due to Adam’s yielding to temptation in eating of the forbidden fruit and has been inherited by his descendants; the majority, however, do not hold Adam responsible for the sins of humanity,[11] teaching that, in Genesis 8:21 and 6:5-8, God recognized that Adam’s sins are his alone. However, Adam is recognized by some as having brought death into the world by eating the forbidden fruit. Because of his sin, his descendants will live a mortal life, which will end in death of their bodies. The doctrine of “inherited sin” is not found in most of mainstream Judaism. The doctrine of inherited sin presents under many titles, such as original sin, inherited sin, collective guilt, concupiscence, Manichaeism, (see Pelagianism).

Jean Baptiste Lamarck:

Although the name “Lamarck” is now associated with a discredited view of evolution, the French biologist’s notion that organisms inherit the traits acquired during their parents’ lifetime had common sense on its side. In fact, the “inheritance of acquired characters” continued to have supporters well into the 20th century, and many of the religious apparently still hold on to this view, as they use it to promote and defend their own beliefs during debates. Although a couple of recent studies show that repaired genes (in mice) can be passed on to newer generations, I would think that could be as expected as for damaged genes. A form of Lamarckism was revived in the Soviet Union of the 1930s when Trofim Lysenko promoted Lysenkoism which suited the ideological opposition of Joseph Stalin to genetics. This ideologically driven research influenced Soviet agricultural policy which in turn was later blamed for crop failures.

It might seem easy to declare that a demonstration of the dangers of ideology. So be it. Inherited Sin, as a doctrine, depends on the same conditions to be true, we now know, in the same way as did Lysenkoism. Biological evolution, as science presents it, does not support the Christian doctrine which gives us Jesus, nailed to a cross, dead for our salvation.

I incorporated a way out for Christians disturbed by this piece: A they need is for one of them to discover the damaged gene that causes death, repair it in one person and have that person live forever as an example for all humankind, of the Gospel Truth.

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