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Assess any ONE or TWO modern interpretations of the doctrine of original sin - Essay Example

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Assess any ONE or TWO modern interpretations of the doctrine of original sin

3). Modern interpretations of the doctrine of original sin typically come to the conclusion that given the involuntary nature of inherited sin, it is reasonable to conclude that sin is not necessarily an evil or moral wrong, but also an explanation for the correct path to follow (Couehoven, 2009, p. 567). Modern philosophers such as Emmanuel Kant set the stage for later expansions on the interpretations of the doctrine of original sin. Kant argued that sin is connected to an individual’s will. In this regard, an individual sins when the individual acts on impulse as opposed to rational reasoning. The freedom to choose between impulse and rational reasoning is the origins of sin (Hastings & Selbie, 2003, p. 563). Modern philosopher G.W.F. Hegel also argued that the doctrine of original sin merely recognizes that man can only be presumed to have the potential to be good and that man is not naturally good (Hastings & Selbie, 2003, p. 563). Modern interpretations of the doctrine of original sin have focused on attempts to understand and conceptualize sin. For example Gustafson, in his conceptualization of sin argues that sin is “an ancient religious symbol”, therefore suggesting that sin is an inherited phenomenon (Gustafson, 1977, p. 156). This conceptualization of sin essentially provides a new understanding and interpretation of original sin. Rather than a literal interpretation suggesting that mankind inherited the actual sins of Adam and Eve, Gustafson’s conceptualization of sin indicates that man is inherently sinful. Gustafson accomplishes this by arguing that man is by nature, culture and society driven by self-interest (Gustafson, 1977, p. 156). According to Gustafson (1977), man’s pursuit of self-interest alone is not a sin. It is the rationale and motivation for pursuing self-interests that is sinful. Man by nature and circumstances in a world with increasing political, natural, scientific and economic complexities grow particularly anxious. In the absence of “confidence in an ultimately reliable sovereign power” man copes with anxieties by “securing” “narrow self-interests” (Gustafson, 1977, p. 156). In this regard: Sin is a human condition which leads to actions that seek security in the protection of narrow self-interests, actions that thus deny God... (Gustafson, 1977, p. 156). Thus according to Gustafson (1977), the doctrine of original sin must be interpreted by reference to how sin and more especially original sin can be conceptualized. This conceptualization of sin does not focus on the actual sins of Adam and Eve, but rather refers to the activities of Adam and Eve in ways that symbolize human conditions, nature and experiences. Gustafson (1977) argues further that human activities are constrained by the what man has become. Man evolves out of natural capabilities and experiences together with specific conditions in which man is presented with options. Human beings are thus agents within the life course and are therefore able to react to specific situations in ways that either maintain those conditions or change them (Gustafson, 1983, p. 167). According to Gustafson (1983), the doctrine of original establishes the origins of human sin and dictates that man has choices in certain situations. The ability to feel guilt and to determine appropriate responses is borne out of human ...Show more


Modern Interpretations of the Doctrine of Original Sin The doctrine of original sin as articulated by early Christianity advanced the idea that humanity inherits sins from Adam and Eve from which mankind must seek redemption. Modern Christians however, have challenged the concept that a man can be born bearing responsibility for the sins of another…
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