This is a concept that has caused debate, feuds, murder, and war. Augustine was one of the first theologians to explore the topic of original sin at great length (though, of course, it had been brought up and discussed before his time). Due to the many translations of the Bible, the exact words used as a base for the concept of original sin are much debated.
There are two “basic” ways that the concept of original sin is viewed (there are hundreds of small divisions within these two, but to keep it simple, we’re only going to look at two):
1) We are conceived and born with the stain of original sin upon us. It is an intrinsic part of our human nature to sin. Another view that is “close enough” for our current study is that humans don’t carry the actual “stain” of Adam’s original sin, but we do have the “tendency” to sin.
--In this view, baptism is a way of washing away the stain of original sin and consecrating a life to God. (In the RC, Mary is believed not to have been “sinless,” which, of course, is a designation only Jesus has….she is believed to have been born without the stain of “original sin.”)
2) Original sin, as such, does not exist. One of the main arguments for this is that: We are required to act according to our birth nature. If we are born sinful, then either we must sin, according to nature, -or- not sin, which would be a sin against nature. (The “son shall not bear the iniquity of the father” from Ezekiel is sometimes referenced, though many believe that applying something that affects one individual to the entire human race is nonsensical).
--In this view, baptism is a symbol for making a personal covenant with God and nothing more. Debate still exist among different believers as to whether babies, under this belief, should be baptized or not.
Which view (if either) do you subscribe to? Why?
Do you believe babies should be baptized? Why or why not?
Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Sites I Recommend
Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong