Tuesday, September 20, 2016
As part of our reading this week and our discussion in class on Monday was the thoughts and ideas of the early Christian philosophers and theologians, such as St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Although these men discussed a variety of topics they were, of course, Christian philosophers, so the idea of Sin, morality, and the afterlife figured heavily into the writings of many. Augustine focused in on sin and morality in particular and Aquinas and the others also had plenty to say on these matters. One of Augustine’s most long standing idea is original sin. This is the idea that the first or original sin, committed by Adam in the Garden of Eden, had consequently been passed on to all humanity, and that we were all born stained and guilty of his sin. This is a rather bleak doctrine and understandably rubs many people the wrong way. Especially when Augustine talk of the damnation of unbaptized infants one must ask how any God who claims, or is at least preached to be loving and benevolent could do such a thing? This raises a question on the nature of sin and sin in human beings as well? Is it something built into our being. Are we doomed to be dammed to hell because we are already born sinners and can never escape it? What even is sin? Is it only those things set forth in the Old Testaments Laws and in the sayings of the New Testament Christ. Or is there something more subjective about sin, is it something that we must, to some degree, determine for ourselves? Are we all born sinners, or do we only become them, is there an ultimate authority on sin, or do human beings have some say?