I’m a Catholic, so of course I know all about Original Sin. For disobeying God and tasting the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden. Eve would suffer the pains of childbirth, and both she and Adam would age and die, their earthly bodies returning to the dust from which they came.
I always thought Eve got a bad rap in that story. She was, after all, tempted by Lucifer, a fallen angel in the shape of a serpent. Whereas Adam simply gave in to a mild suggestion by Eve to join her. Eve was tricked by the Master of Deceit, but Adam just joined in for the heck of it, and she shoulders the blame?
Of course, one might see Original Sin as part of God’s master plan. For without that sin, there would be no need for God to send his only begotten son to redeem mankind. No Original Sin, no New Testament. No Beatitudes. No Roman Catholic Church. No Christianity.
And without Christianity and its evangelizing zeal, America would doubtless be a far different land. Assuming Europeans still came to the New World in roughly 1500, would subsequent history be less bloody in the absence of Christianity? Or would naked conquest have been unrestrained by any moral code of restraint and compassion?
The United States has an original sin as well. It is the impiety of considering our country as being uniquely favored by God. American history shows how we’ve killed, enslaved, and otherwise violated God’s great commandment of loving thy neighbor, even as we continue loudly to shout how God uniquely showers His praises on us. God Bless America!
Is America’s original sin part of some master plan? How will we redeem ourselves from its awful legacies? My dad once joked that in school he almost solved an unsolvable equation; I confess I have no solution to such questions.
Readers, have at it in the comments section below. Is the very idea of Original Sin mysterious and magisterial, or mischievous and misleading? Have humans evolved beyond the need for God and gods? Is “sin” a misleading term to apply to America’s past, too metaphysical, too imprecise? Are there simply too many “chosen people” in this world, too many people who elevate themselves above others just because they believe they share a favored relationship to God?
It’s a grey and rainy day here — a good day for thinking. Join in.