Image via WikipediaOriginal Sin.Why do we have to have this training? The leading reason is our predisposition to seek after our own power and Godhead. This is known in Christian circles as “original sin.”
“The concept of “original sin” is even more offensive to most modern men than the concept of sin. It’s original meaning was “inherited sin” or “erbsuende,” and Christian orthodoxy explained it as a taint which all men inherited from the fallen Adam. The concept had no place in Jewish thought. This gives rise to some interpretations which contrast the so-called optimism of Judaism with the pessimism of Christianity. Actually the Jewish doctrine of the “evil inclination” (yetzer ha-ro) which every man has inherited sin, but spoke only in terms of the rabbinic doctrine of the evil inclination.”
“Whatever may be the traditional doctrine, the real issue is the universality of the corruption which results from undue self-regard. Certainly no one would regard a traditional doctrine of a transmission of evil from generation to generation as meaningful. But the idea of a universal inclination in the human heart of self is not only meaningful but is empirically verifiable. It means merely that the capacity and inclination of the self to give its interests undue regard can arise on every level of culture and of moral attainment. The taints of vanity in the lives of the saints would attest to the inclination as well as the power lusts of a Napoleon or Hitler. The universality of the taint does not preclude the possibility of mitigating or aggravating egotism by education, social engineering , cultural disciplines, or any other method of channeling or transfiguring man’s basic and inordinate self-regard. Nor would it preclude the relation of this self-regard to all forms of creativity. Actually all creative impulses are probably inextricably related to the self-regarding ones, but not in such a way that the latter are absolute prerequisites of the former. It is significant that political science usually presupposes some version of the doctrine of original sin despite the unpopularity of the concept in modern culture since the Enlightenment” (Reinhold Niebuhr-Sin-A Handbook of Christian Theology).
In the New Testament Jesus, as the revelation of true humanity, is, obversely, a revelation of the disruptive pride which prevents men from enjoying the harmony and union for which they were indented and made. The words of Jesus underline the fact of Jesus. Over and over again he commends “the meek” and “the poor in spirit” who follow in the direction of their original and ultimate reality; over and over again he repudiates the self-sufficiency, self-assertion; self-advertisement which are the ugly, visible site of pride.