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G.K. Chesterton in his classic Orthodoxy points out the absurdity of denying the existence of original sin:

Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.  Some followers… in their almost too fastidious spirituality, admit divine sinlessness, which they cannon see even in their dreams.  But they essentially deny human sin, which they can see in the street.  The strongest saints and the strongest skeptics alike took positive evil as the starting-point of their argument.  If it can be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can draw only draw one of two deductions.  He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do.  The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat, (pg. 28).

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2 comments
  1. One may, with a decent level of orthodoxy admit the current sinful state of humans in the street (cat-skinners and non) but consider this sinful state to be the result of negative action by the sinner. This would, admittedly mean that babies are not born sinners, but grow into the role when they commit their first sinful act. This fits well with the idea of an “age of accountability,” a notion that, though unwritten in the Bible, even most Calvinists secretly hope exists.

    Recap: I’m born sinless (though not sinless and divine like Christ was, for that would be the root of the Pelagian heresy) and become sinful after my first wrong action. The net result is that everyone past the terrible twos is a sinner and in need of repentance anyway.

    1. @Brian Getz, You and I (and everybody for that matter) were born with a sinful nature hence having the propensity to sin – original sin.

      Regarding an “age of accountability,” Jesus has much to say about the faith of a child (like Matthew 19:14 for example)… but ultimately anyone who dies is entrusted to the One who judges justly.

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