Few Religionist traditions are more patently offensive than the myth of Original Sin and its dogmatic progeny, the myth of fallen humanity. What is our Original Sin? What is our great, intractable failing? What was our deep vileness that was so abhorrent that a SINGLE human's action would be sufficient to condemn our entire species for all eternity?
Our inherent quest for knowledge. Our curiosity. Our desire to understand. God creates us with an inherent longing for knowledge and understanding and then damns our ENTIRE species because ONE human had the temerity to act on what God instilled within him? That is deranged.
Words cannot describe the despicable inversion this insipid myth works. Our inherent desire to understand, our curiosity, our unquenchable thirst to know is our single greatest asset. It is our most beautiful attribute. It is what makes us truly human and separates us from every single other organism that has ever swam, wriggled, crawled or walked across this planet. We are the creature that asks why. No other creature on this planet has ever looked up at the sky and asked why or how. No other creature on this planet has ever attempted to understand itself or its environment.
Our inherent desire to understand is our most powerful evolutionary adaptation. Understanding it is what allowed us to tame fire, to hunt, to anticipate the seasons, to grow crops, to form societies, to form tribes and nations. Understanding and knowledge are what drive technology, what enables expansion and it is understanding that drives our most basic emotional desires. Understanding is the ultimate human achievement. It is what humans aspire to in all things whether we recognize it or not. From the first moments of human consciousness, it is the quest for understanding that has propelled us forward as both individuals and as a species.
Understanding is so powerful because it is through understanding and through attempting to understand that we appreciate the beauty, utility and power of the world and people around us. It is understanding that undergirds our emotional response to the amazing and often mystifying world around us. Through understanding that we can grow to love this world and one another. Understanding breeds excitement, it breeds joy, it breeds excitement, appreciation, and contentment. If you ever doubt this proposition, simply watch a child, or new lovers. Witness the way in which both are suffused with the joy and excitement of a multitude of new understandings and are filled with life because of it. For what is love other than our feeble, flawed and often unsuccessful attempts to understand the mind and heart of another? What is hate other than our failure or inability to understand the minds and hearts of others or our disappointment that what we thought we understood was an illusion?
The myth of Original Sin is so pernicious and vile because it takes our greatest and most beautiful asset, our desire to understand, and inverts it as our fatal flaw. It debases and denigrates our most precious attribute and uses that to foist onto us the myth of humanity as a fallen, debased, despicable creature. This inversion is unspeakably awful in that it warps and twists the single greatest factor in our advancement and progress as a species and turns it into a weapon against us. We are fallen, wretched, unworthy NOT because of what we do, but because of what we are, because of our inherent desire to understand.