Absurdity of Original Sin and Salvation
by Kenneth Harding
The title of this monograph speaks clearly for
itself. I intend to demonstrate to the reader the absurdity at the very
heart of the Christian faith. Why do I do so? It is such an action that
a man might take towards his friend who still believes, at an advanced
age, in the existence of "Santa Claus". Such a belief in an adult would
hardly be considered healthy. So why does the belief in the foundation
of Christianity, The Fall of Man, persist? I maintain that it is because
no person sets aside their fear of final death and need for a watchful
loving father figure long enough to seriously and soberly think it through.
I have done so, and can honestly say that nothing could be more false
than the idea of Original Sin and Salvation.
Even if you are a believer, a person of faith, I will ask you to look
at the story as if you are not. Look upon the Genesis account not as you
have always done, through the filter of faith, but with the detachment
of one who seeks to gain nothing from the story; like an unbeliever. Read
it as you would any other book, and judge it on its own merits.
Why did God put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden
of Eden? What purpose did it serve? Did God Himself need the knowledge
of good and evil? Did He have to take a piece of the magical fruit now
and again to refresh His memory? We can assume that He did not. Did any
of the animals of the Garden need the Tree? We can assume not. What kind
of tree was this? An apple tree, an orange tree, a banana tree? The bible
does not tell us. How could a tree, an organism of wood and sap, contain
the knowledge of good and evil? What capacity did it have for storing
such knowledge, and how was that knowledge passed on by eating and digesting
it? Allow yourself to think about that... Why, therefore, among all the
useful and decorative trees in the Garden of Eden, did God deliberately
include this tree, the tree that carries the warning: "in the day that
thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die"?
Did He put it in the Garden as a temptation to tempt Adam and Eve? The
bible says very clearly that cannot be the case. God does not tempt: "Let
no man say . . . I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil,
neither tempteth He any man." (James 1:13) Therefore, we have a tree of
a nature that we cannot comprehend, whose fruit is so sinful to consume
that it would result in the immediate and eternal damnation of humankind,
placed in a location so precarious as to make that outcome an inevitability,
all apparently for no purpose whatever. Imagine a caring, loving parent
leaving a loaded pistol in the playroom of a five year old child, knowing
full well what the result will be, and watching from a crack in the door
as the child blows his brains out.
Did God know Eve would eat the fruit? Of course He did! We are told by
the bible that God knows all things from the Beginning unto the End. Did
He not know Eve would give it to Adam? Of course He did. Did He not know
that the serpent would tempt Eve? He did, if we are to accept the bible.
Therefore, did Eve have any free will in the matter? Could she have acted
in a manner other than God had foreseen for her? Of course not! How could
she? How was the serpent able to speak? Did it give itself this remarkable
ability? How does the mouth of a snake, with no lips or proper teeth,
and no articulate tongue, form human words? How did the tiny brain of
a snake become wise and subtle? Who made it so? Who was responsible for
putting the principle actors-- Adam, Eve, the serpent and the Tree-- all
together in the Garden of Eden? God, of course. The inescapable conclusion?
That He put all the pieces on the game board, and enacted His own little
drama, resulting in the deliberate, eternal damnation of Humankind. In
the words of Ingersoll: could a devil have done worse?
But here is another problem. We are told in Genesis 3:14 that after the
speaking serpent had completed the mission for which he had been placed
into the Garden of Eden, that of tempting Eve, God cursed the serpent:
"upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of
thy life." (Does the devil have a finite life?) So somewhere out in the
world, the Christian must believe, is a 6000 year old talking snake that
eats dust! And they say that we're the irrational ones. If Satan was cursed
to spend the rest of his existence as a serpent, then how does he reappear
later in the New Testament, and take Christ up to the top of the mountain
to tempt him? How can this be? Did he release himself from the curse,
or did God do it? What about the devil's activities in the Book of Revelation?
If he is slithering around as a serpent, what is the great danger? Why
doesn't someone simply step on him or cut his head off with a shovel?
We are told that at their creation, Adam and Eve, like small children,
did not posses the knowledge of good and evil, of right from wrong. I
wonder why God wanted to withhold this from them... Should Adam and Eve
therefore be held responsible for committing an action prior to them having
the Knowledge of Good and Evil? I would not think so. They disobeyed an
instruction before they knew it was wrong to disobey. Was this the Ultimate
Sin, for which every human being ever born was to pay with their eternal
soul? Was that the worse thing that Adam and Eve could have done? They
could have beaten and slaughtered each other, and destroyed their paradise.
But they did not do anything so cruel or barbaric. They ate a piece of
fruit, contrary to the will of an arbitrary god. People disobey God's
commands millions of times every day all over the earth-- from lying and
stealing to murder and worshipping other gods... why then was Adam and
Eve's simple disobedience to carry such a heavy price? It would have been
fair of God to give Eve this same warning...but He did not. He uttered
it before He pulled out Adam's rib and made a whole woman. (Why did He
not use the dirt again, I wonder?) We have no record of God or Adam telling
Eve of this dreadful warning, so why should she be held accountable?
Would you treat your own children that way? Would you condemn them to
eternal torture, infinite revenge, never ending intense pain with no chance
of pardon, for taking a cookie out of the cookie jar before dinner, after
you had told them not to? And would you condemn your children's children,
and all generations that will come after? What sort of justice is this?
No natural person can condone this. All that the Christians can say is
that we cannot understand God's method of justice. That is all they can
Why should I be held responsible for Eve's decision to eat the fruit?
Why should you? If your distant ancestor, four hundred years ago, killed
a man in an act of cruel and pointless savagery, should you be handed
a life sentence in prison for it? God Himself states in the bible that
He does not punish the children for the sins of their fathers. Are we
to conclude by this that we have no sin upon us as the result of our births?
No stain of eternal depravity upon us? Might not the notion of Original
Sin be the fabrication of the Church, in order that they might further
their careers and ensure their survival? For if one does not need to be
saved, one does not need priests and preachers. Christians tells us that
without their religion, all of us are doomed without hope. They try to
convince us of the dilemma they have created for us, then try to convince
us that they alone have the remedy. Christianity cuts you and then tries
to sell you a Band-Aid.
Because of the Fall of Man, we are told that it is not enough that we
are good and caring people, not enough that we do unto others as we would
have them do unto us, not enough that we forgive those who trespass against
us. We must be baptized-- have our heads wet by a priest-- a meaningless
gesture, and proclaim that we accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior.
We must believe the unbelievable. A Hindu, who happens to be more charitable
and humane than the best Christian, is nonetheless consigned to eternal
damnation, just as the kind and gentle native of some tropical island
who never heard of Jesus and his cross.
If, as the Christian doctrine teaches, the only way to salvation is through
Christ, what became of all the souls of the people who died before Jesus'
appearance on earth? All those Old Testament figures, all those who died
in battle? Millions of people, to be sure. They had no chance of salvation
before Jesus, had they? If we are to believe the dogma of salvation through
faith, then we must believe that by their mere birth, they were consigned
to hell without a chance, no matter how virtuously they lived.
Why do you suppose God waited so long to send Himself down in the form
of Jesus? Did He care nothing for the souls of all those men, women and
children born between the four thousand years of time between Adam and
Jesus? What of all those instances when God commanded His servants to
kill men, women and children, sparing no one, knowing full well that they
had no chance to be saved? Why didn't Jesus appear in the generation immediately
following Cain and Abel, when the number of persons on earth could be
counted on one hand? The task of convincing people that Jesus was in fact
God would have been effortless. In such a scenario, every human ever born
would have a much fairer chance of attaining salvation. Because of God's
failure to do this, however, the vast majority of people who ever lived
were doomed without hope.
Christians tell us that Christ died to absolve Original Sin, so that all
who believe in him might be saved. It is written that he came for the
sole purpose of dying. Would it not then have been just as well if he
had died of a fever, or of smallpox, or of old age, or from any other
reason? We all suffer in some sense, and we all come into the world for
the ultimately sole purpose of dying.
If Jesus Christ was in fact God, and if he came into this world to suffer
for us as Christians tell us he did, then the only real suffering he could
have endured would have been to live. His existence on earth was a mortal
state of exile or banishment from Heaven, the most perfect place, and
the only way back to the paradise that was his home was to die. Everything
in this strange system is the reverse of what it pretends to be.
The sacrifice of Jesus was no sacrifice at all, for a number of reasons.
First, according to the New Testament, Jesus Christ was God Himself. What
possible inconvenience could death represent for an immortal god? None
whatsoever. Would not God have an infinite capacity for enduring physical
pain? Was crucifixion the worst possible way to be put to death? I submit
that it was not. It is my opinion that burning to death by a slow roast
would have been far more painful. The Church should know all about burning
people to death, by the way, they did it enough. Their devices of torture
were state of the art. Christ's suffering was negligible compared to those
who disagreed with His Church. Additionally, Christ supposedly came back
three days later. So just what was sacrificed? It's not a sacrifice if
you take it back. And yet, the Christians claim Jesus made the most ultimate
and perfect sacrifice. Is there anything more absurd than this?
The claim is made that the price for sin was so high that Man could not
pay it. Only God could pay the debt. Like a father who assumes the debt
that his son cannot pay, we are told that God allowed Himself to be sacrificed
on the cross so that he can forgive us. So, your child has just taken
a cookie out of the cookie jar when he wasn't supposed to. Now, to forgive
him, you tell him: "Take this hammer and these nails, and nail me up onto
a piece of wood until I die. Murder me, perform a human sacrifice, and
then I'll forgive you for taking a cookie." Sacrifice the guiltless in
order to forgive those who did no wrong, for a crime that was no crime
in the first place.
Suppose that a man had been convicted of murder, and was about to be hanged
The governor watches over the execution. Now suppose that at the moment
the convicted man was about to be hanged, someone in the crowd steps forward
and announces, "I am willing to die in the place of that murderer. He
has a family, and I have none." And suppose further, that the governor
should reply, "Come forward, young man, your offer is accepted. A murder
has been committed and somebody must be hanged, and your death will satisfy
the law just as well as the death of the murderer." Is this situation
acceptable to any civilized person? Yet this is the Christian doctrine
of sacrifice. I say, let the guilty pay for their own crimes. If I commit
I crime, I will take responsibility for my own actions.
When is enough punishment enough? How much will the God of Love inflict
upon His children? First there was the Fall from Grace. That was supposed
to be the ultimate punishment, when mankind became separated from the
presence of God and cast out of the Garden of Eden. When that did not
succeed, God sent the Great Flood, and killed virtually every human on
earth. When that did not cleanse the world of wickedness, Jesus came to
earth and taught mankind about the fires and torments of Hell. This tactic
is obviously failing, and we are told that even Hell is not enough punishment
and suffering; for it is written that Armageddon and Judgment Day are
yet to come. If God's justice was totally satisfied with the sacrifice
of Jesus, as Christian Doctrine teaches, then why all the horror, torture
and killing that is yet to come at Armageddon, where nearly everyone on
earth, Christian and infidel, will be subject to pain, suffering and death?
The reason is that I suppose that once you have a taste for a certain
habit, it is difficult to stop. And Jehovah has certainly demonstrated
that He has acquired that taste.
It is clear that Christianity is a gilded mansion built upon a foundation
of sand. It's basis is not only unexplainable, but illogical and immoral
as well. But, as people so often say when they are faced with such illogical,
immoral conundrums that they can't talk their way out of, "God works in
We are told that we must swallow this story, hook, line and sinker. We
are told that God gave us the freewill to believe it or not believe it--
but this gift comes with a deadly threat. Believe it-- or be eternally
damned. What kind of choice is that? Some people may be convinced that
the threat is a very real one, and so they will believe any story that
their preachers tell them. Under these conditions, some people can be
made to believe anything at all.
Salvation is not awarded by doing good deeds, we are told by the church,
but through belief alone. God can forgive all things, it is said, except
disbelief. He will pardon the murderer of children, if he but falls down
and begs for forgiveness, and accepts Jesus Christ as his savior. But
He will not pardon the person who uses reason and honesty, and who finally
decides: "I just can't believe it." I am told that it doesn't matter how
good of a person I am during my life, because at the end of it, I will
be asked: "Did you believe the one about the Garden of Eden?" I'll have
to be honest and say, "No, I didn't. It was just too far-fetched. Sorry."
For me, I cannot swallow it, no matter how much I am threatened. I can't
help it. It has to make sense to me... that's the way my brain works.
If there is a god floating somewhere up in the vacuum of space, then he's
sure to understand that.
If you do believe that tale, I'd have to ask you: WHY?
Copyright notice: we've reprinted this article for
your convenience, however, we'd like to get permission from the author.
If you know how to get in touch with the author, please let