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Are There Any Christian Denominations Which Teach That People Are Basically "born Good"?


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Need info, please. Thank you!

 

Whether they teach it or not is rather irrelevant. I presume you are asking because you believe it to be true.

 

You might want to look at the social construction of morality and I think you will come up with the conclusion that we are neither good nor bad except as society decides we are.

 

We use the left hemisphere of our brain to justify our behavior in terms of good, bad, selfish, altruistic... whatever. The point is all morality (or lack thereof) is determined AFTER THE FACT.

 

I think it is important not to substitute "born good" for "born evil" but just to eliminate the born evil idea. (Good and evil are a continuum, not a dichotomy)

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Hey Pope!

 

Of the thousands of denominations there are thousands of "interpretations." Some try to follow the Bible, since that's the sole source for Christianity, but as you know there is much disagreement on the book. Others add their own traditions and "revelations" and tailor a religion to suit themselves and still call themselves Christians. Some are deist, agnostic or atheist, but think some of the teachings of the Jesus character are worthwhile, and they may also call themselves Christian. So I assume there must be a group that already believes that way for some reason.

 

So I guess you can believe whatever you like and choose any label you like. That doesn't make any of it true.

 

ps - There is no "original sin" in Islam.

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If I ever would feel the need to go to a church for spiritual experience and camaraderie, this would be the place: http://www.cslcv.org/about.shtml. I have friends there, and I've been there, and they take the good stuff from different religions and make it more "pagan," or more common and practical. They are Christian like in behavior, without calling themselves Christian, and they believe people can be good with the right motivation.

 

They belong to Religious Science, but it's a bit too "new-agey" for me, but other than that, it's a good place and good people.

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Need info, please. Thank you!

 

Whether they teach it or not is rather irrelevant. I presume you are asking because you believe it to be true.

 

You might want to look at the social construction of morality and I think you will come up with the conclusion that we are neither good nor bad except as society decides we are.

 

We use the left hemisphere of our brain to justify our behavior in terms of good, bad, selfish, altruistic... whatever. The point is all morality (or lack thereof) is determined AFTER THE FACT.

 

I think it is important not to substitute "born good" for "born evil" but just to eliminate the born evil idea. (Good and evil are a continuum, not a dichotomy)

 

 

I just need to find if there are any denominations which refute the doctrine of original sin or innate depravity or whatever it's called. Am trying to find books or articles for my dear daughter and son in law to read -- I just recently learned in a conversation that they believe that all people are "born bad" or "born sinful" and it's breaking my heart worrying they're going to raise my dear little sunny happy precious granddaughter with this horrible doctrine, thereby damaging her sense of self worth, self esteem.

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Hey Pope!

 

Of the thousands of denominations there are thousands of "interpretations." Some try to follow the Bible, since that's the sole source for Christianity, but as you know there is much disagreement on the book. Others add their own traditions and "revelations" and tailor a religion to suit themselves and still call themselves Christians. Some are deist, agnostic or atheist, but think some of the teachings of the Jesus character are worthwhile, and they may also call themselves Christian. So I assume there must be a group that already believes that way for some reason.

 

So I guess you can believe whatever you like and choose any label you like. That doesn't make any of it true.

 

ps - There is no "original sin" in Islam.

 

Hiya Florduh! If there are any specific denominations/churches I could recommend to my daughter and son in law, I feel confident they would be very interested. They both are fundamentalist evangelicals but love to read and attend various churches, including the Catholic and are currently attending a Lutheran church. Also, they enjoy reading widely and would read books or articles refuting the horrible doctrine. So I'd really like to find some, written from a Christian perspective.

 

Anything that will help begin to move them away from the evangelical fundamentalist point of view is, IMO, a step in the right direction.

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If I ever would feel the need to go to a church for spiritual experience and camaraderie, this would be the place: http://www.cslcv.org/about.shtml. I have friends there, and I've been there, and they take the good stuff from different religions and make it more "pagan," or more common and practical. They are Christian like in behavior, without calling themselves Christian, and they believe people can be good with the right motivation.

 

They belong to Religious Science, but it's a bit too "new-agey" for me, but other than that, it's a good place and good people.

 

 

Hey thank you! Will go check it out right now. Very much appreciate this.

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I just need to find if there are any denominations which refute the doctrine of original sin or innate depravity or whatever it's called. Am trying to find books or articles for my dear daughter and son in law to read -- I just recently learned in a conversation that they believe that all people are "born bad" or "born sinful" and it's breaking my heart worrying they're going to raise my dear little sunny happy precious granddaughter with this horrible doctrine, thereby damaging her sense of self worth, self esteem.

Wow. If it's specifically Christians you're looking for, I guess that would be quite hard to find. Maybe some Unitarian version of Christians?

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Hey thank you! Will go check it out right now. Very much appreciate this.

The only thing is that they don't call themselves Christian, and they don't use the Bible alone, but mix different religious ideas and literature. Actually I find them quite pleasing, even if I think it's a bit to spooky about the spiritual stuff. (You know those videos like "The Secret" and such, or positive thinking.)

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Maybe some Unitarian version of Christians?

 

Another good suggestion, thanks. I'm out googling around and will do a search for that.

 

Thanks also for the other link. I sent an email to the Center's director.

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Hey Pope!

 

Of the thousands of denominations there are thousands of "interpretations." Some try to follow the Bible, since that's the sole source for Christianity, but as you know there is much disagreement on the book. Others add their own traditions and "revelations" and tailor a religion to suit themselves and still call themselves Christians. Some are deist, agnostic or atheist, but think some of the teachings of the Jesus character are worthwhile, and they may also call themselves Christian. So I assume there must be a group that already believes that way for some reason.

 

So I guess you can believe whatever you like and choose any label you like. That doesn't make any of it true.

 

ps - There is no "original sin" in Islam.

 

Nor in Judaism

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Need info, please. Thank you!

 

Whether they teach it or not is rather irrelevant. I presume you are asking because you believe it to be true.

 

You might want to look at the social construction of morality and I think you will come up with the conclusion that we are neither good nor bad except as society decides we are.

 

We use the left hemisphere of our brain to justify our behavior in terms of good, bad, selfish, altruistic... whatever. The point is all morality (or lack thereof) is determined AFTER THE FACT.

 

I think it is important not to substitute "born good" for "born evil" but just to eliminate the born evil idea. (Good and evil are a continuum, not a dichotomy)

 

 

I just need to find if there are any denominations which refute the doctrine of original sin or innate depravity or whatever it's called. Am trying to find books or articles for my dear daughter and son in law to read -- I just recently learned in a conversation that they believe that all people are "born bad" or "born sinful" and it's breaking my heart worrying they're going to raise my dear little sunny happy precious granddaughter with this horrible doctrine, thereby damaging her sense of self worth, self esteem.

 

 

Read Matthew Fox's Original Blessing

 

Don't expect to find a denomination to espouse any kind of intellectual independence or freedom.

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I forgot Judaism also has no original sin. Perhaps investigating Judaism as the basis for Christianity would give them another perspective. If that's too big a step, I like the Unitarian idea.

 

Good luck.

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I heard once a rabbi who said that the "first sin" was not the disobedience of A&E in the garden of Eden, but rather the murder of Abel by Cain. Hence there isn't any "inherited sin".

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I never have bothered to ask where exactly does that whole thing about "inherited" sin come from? I mean, how is anything inherited? Genetics. Sure. Anything else? (I'm asking because I really don't know -- my understanding of such things is very limited, and the only way I know that anything is inherited is through the genes.)

 

So, if sin (or "the sin nature") is "inherited", wouldn't that necessitate a specific gene or gene sequence? An actual, physical, biological thing, in which is encoded (biologically speaking) the "information" re "sin nature".

 

Anybody who has the time and is inclined to do so, please hypothesize, extrapolate, whatever -- there has simply got to be a rational, scientific refutation of this ridiculous doctrine. A doctrine which, obviously, I don't really understand in the first place -- what, really, does it mean, when they talk about "sin nature," "original sin," "innate depravity" etc etc etc? It seems to me that it all boils down to, as Pat Condell said, "You're contaminated and you need to be cleansed, by experts, for a price. The original sin common to most religions, it seems -- there's something wrong with being human. Well, well, who would have thought it!"

 

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I never have bothered to ask where exactly does that whole thing about "inherited" sin come from? I mean, how is anything inherited? Genetics. Sure. Anything else? (I'm asking because I really don't know -- my understanding of such things is very limited, and the only way I know that anything is inherited is through the genes.)

 

So, if sin (or "the sin nature") is "inherited", wouldn't that necessitate a specific gene or gene sequence? An actual, physical, biological thing, in which is encoded (biologically speaking) the "information" re "sin nature".

 

Anybody who has the time and is inclined to do so, please hypothesize, extrapolate, whatever -- there has simply got to be a rational, scientific refutation of this ridiculous doctrine. A doctrine which, obviously, I don't really understand in the first place -- what, really, does it mean, when they talk about "sin nature," "original sin," "innate depravity" etc etc etc? It seems to me that it all boils down to, as Pat Condell said, "You're contaminated and you need to be cleansed, by experts, for a price. The original sin common to most religions, it seems -- there's something wrong with being human. Well, well, who would have thought it!"

 

 

For someone to be saved, they have to be saved from something... how can one be saved as a child if they haven't done anything to be condemned? Hence, original sin.

An interesting book I am qeueing up for is Original Blessing by Matthew Fox. It suggests that the original Hebrew teachings were not about original sin at all... but the genesis story is about original blessings.

 

Sin is either a behavior or an attitude... it MUST be something we initiate. If it isn't, then we can not be responsible for it, and we certainly can't repent of it.

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Along the lines of Christian Universalism, I enjoyed Tom Talbott. I know he goes into the moral code of man being good, but I can't recall where I read that.

 

 

Here is a link to Tom's site:

http://www.willamette.edu/~ttalbott/theol.html

 

Here's a link about one of his books, with links to read some of the chapters:

http://www.thomastalbott.com/

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I never have bothered to ask where exactly does that whole thing about "inherited" sin come from? I mean, how is anything inherited? Genetics. Sure. Anything else? (I'm asking because I really don't know -- my understanding of such things is very limited, and the only way I know that anything is inherited is through the genes.)

 

You could check out Mennonite. Better look for a type of Mennonite that is not "born again." Mennonites cover a very wide spectrum from very conservative to very liberal when it comes to way of life, dress, and means of transportation. The mainline churches cannot be identified from the rest of society and they constitute by far the largest part of the Mennonite Church worldwide. I will try to describe some Mennonite doctrine I experienced that is not born again, just to give you some idea of what is out there.

 

I'm from a horse and buggy group. I don't remember hearing much about inherited sin or a depraved nature. But I sure remember hearing about humans being such sinful creatures that of ourselves we can't do so much as think one good thought. That is from Paul's writing. Also, our righteousness is as filthy rags fit only to be thrown out--also from Paul. And some of the leadership loved nothing better than to preach at us about all the horrible sins we supposedly committed every single day--stuff they could only know about their own family members--and if we claimed otherwise we were lying. (How can one even discuss the issue with a person who has such an attitude?) Bottom line: We were all sinners in need of salvation through the shed blood of Christ, and to claim otherwise would be unutterably egotistical and arrogant. There is scripture to support all of this. (This is where I feel Christians and the Bible are lying.)

 

The best and healthiest I have seen--and there's lot of them, believe me--is Christians who understand and live on a day-to-day basis with deep and unconditional love for each other and their children despite the horrible doctrines. For such people, the doctrines are probably not as devastating as for people who are deprived of real love to begin with. Between you and me and other exCs, in my opinion: It's only a belief, after all, and god in imaginary even for true believers. I think anyone who takes it more seriously deconverts. Back to regular voice...

 

The horrible doctrines are somewhat balanced out with commands to think about nice things (Phil. 4) and nice poetry is scattered throughout the Bible (if you cherry pick appropriately for your "needs"; most pleasant psalms throw in a verse at the end about dashing babies on rocks or otherwise killing off your enemies). It was mainly through the Bible that I originally found my way out of despair and into better mental health. I happened to find a pamphlet that taught me to find the positive message in verses like "I came that they might have life more abundantly." That pamphlet taught me to look at what "abundantly" meant, etc. For an information-deprived brain like mine, that was water to a parched soul.

 

Of all the things that were forced on me, the Bible never was. I think in this, I had a very different experience from many people here. Thus, I don't know if any of this applies. I don't think, though, that religion will of necessity spoil your grandchild.

 

Since you're asking for alternative Christian beliefs, here are the two most recent Mennonite Confessions of Faith:

The one used by my group was from 1632, put together at Dortrecht, in the Netherlands, and written in German. It was translated into English in the 1800s. To the best of my knowledge, the English and German versions are both used to this day by the very conservative Mennonite groups in North America. I cannot imagine that this is what you are looking for because you would be practically cut off from your grandchild, but you asked for a Christian doctrine that does not use the terms depraved human nature or inherited sin nature. I don't think these Mennonites do.

 

Re how Mennonites (all kinds so far as I know) view children and religion. Mennonites do not baptize babies and very young children because they believe very firmly that the very young are innocent. They believe a person must come to the "age of accountability" before they should be baptized. When the "age of accountability" begins is therefore a contested issue within Mennonite churches. Also, is a developmentally handicapped person accountable, or not? If such a person wants to be baptized, should the wish be honoured, or not? By honouring the wish, people might be admitted who do not understand what they are doing and the church is no longer "without spot or wrinkle." By rejecting such a person, the church might be found guilty of rejecting "one of the least of these" who believes in Jesus.

 

Another very strong conviction of Mennonites is to be separate from the world. This is where you get the church rules that regulate or deny various types of education and careers, and material items ranging all the way from TV and internet access to automobile and clothing and hairstyle. This is what makes the conservative groups practically a cult; relationships with the outside world range from nonexistent to superficial. The mainline Mennonite Church of America/Canada is not so strict. Some of the mainline congregations are strong on born-again and evangelism and some are not.

 

This is where you might find something of interest. These congregations would probably use one of the Confessions of Faith linked above. You would have to check out what congregations are near you and what they believe because there is much freedom for each to set its own standards. However, believer's baptism and pacifism regarding the bearing of arms seem to be upheld by North American Mennonite congregations so far as I know. My experience has been that, even though their men get the highest education available, they tend not to think too highly of women who get more than one university degree, esp. if that woman is me and I don't have a specific practical degree in mind as my end goal. I was told by a woman who left the Mennonites that Mennonites are more into doing than into the theoretical. This agrees with some other things I've learned recently about the mainline Mennonite church.

 

Very many of the woman my age who have professional degrees of sorts are nurses, teachers, and counselors. Note that for the most part, only one or two university degrees are required for these careers, if that much. Their husbands are professors of things like history, sociology, and music. They have three degrees. Or more.

 

Let's see, that's the older generation. Their children, who would be the generation you are looking at, probably have very different views. It's been around five or six years since I attended their church regularly.

 

Anyway, this was not a born-again group. I heard very little or nothing about sin and hell. I heard a lot about Christian Peacemaking Teams and the "missional church." If I ever decide to be religious again, this is the church I would probably go to.

 

So, if sin (or "the sin nature") is "inherited", wouldn't that necessitate a specific gene or gene sequence? An actual, physical, biological thing, in which is encoded (biologically speaking) the "information" re "sin nature".

 

Yeah, this has bugged me a LOT. So I said the horse and buggy Mennonites don't talk about inherited sin nature. But it's implied in everything they say and preach. It's in Paul's writings from beginning to end. Adam and Eve sinned so we are sinners. As sin entered through one man (suddenly Eve is either a man or of too little importance to mention, or possibly her eating the fruit doesn't count because it was Adam to whom God had given the command) so forgiveness of sin also entered through one man. Isn't that how Paul's reasoning goes? All the hymns and all the sermons of all the churches interpret the entire Bible to say that. Well, I don't know about the really liberal ones. I think they tend to avoid talking about the topic, while at the same time celebrating the Cross and the Resurrection for old time's sake, drawing psychological/emotional symbolism from the Jesus story. I dunno. I wasn't with them long enough to pick up all the fine nuances.

 

Anybody who has the time and is inclined to do so, please hypothesize, extrapolate, whatever -- there has simply got to be a rational, scientific refutation of this ridiculous doctrine. A doctrine which, obviously, I don't really understand in the first place -- what, really, does it mean, when they talk about "sin nature," "original sin," "innate depravity" etc etc etc? It seems to me that it all boils down to, as Pat Condell said, "You're contaminated and you need to be cleansed, by experts, for a price. The original sin common to most religions, it seems -- there's something wrong with being human. Well, well, who would have thought it!"

 

 

The only time I could get anyone to define sin for me in a way that made sense to me, I was told sin meant "to do what we know is wrong." In light of all those sermons and songs, I grew up with the impression that all people did that all the time. So it made sense that they needed to change. What made no sense was that anyone's death could in any way of be any help in this whatsoever. And this was further complicated when I had to profess believing it in order to be part of the community. On the one hand was the threat that all liars go to hell (Rev, 21:8). On the other hand, I could choose between not being baptized, and therefore not being a member of the community (which would have been suicide because I didn't know a soul outside our church), and lying about my beliefs with the hope that I would eventually understand. I chose the latter with the trust and faith that the ministers and my mother were right that I would eventually understand.

 

My entire personal integrity was wrapped up in that promise. And it did not come true. I am now told that "Maybe we don't have to understand." Excuse me! but that is not what I had built my hope and faith on when I was young; that is not what I was promised when I was seventeen. It is not what I committed myself to. I was committed to truth. I remain committed to truth.

 

As stated, I think there might be progressive Christians today who view the entire story more in light of psychological development rather than spiritual warfare between good and evil. You could check out the Center for Progressive Christianity.

 

There are a few liberal scholars whose writings you could check out. I wrote about a few of them and posted some links to online videos here. John Dominic Crossan and Tom Harper are two others that you could check out. I wish all the best for your relationship with your granddaughter but I doubt you have much to worry about re the sin doctrine if she's such a sunny child. Someone must be treating her right and it's got to be her parents. :)

 

All the same, if we can help enlighten someone regarding religion, I'm all for it. :3:

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Yeah, this has bugged me a LOT. So I said the horse and buggy Mennonites don't talk about inherited sin nature. But it's implied in everything they say and preach.
This annoyed me about my church, too. I was a member of the Church Of Christ and they officially rejected original sin. They didn't believe babies were born evil and in need of baptism but they believed that once you got to a certain age, suddenly you became evil and needed to repent of your sins lest you burn in hell forever. It's like all they really did was just changed the age that it happened because apparently baptizing babies would be too inconvenient but otherwise preached the same thing about humanity's sinful nature. As to the opening post, if you're looking for a more liberal church for your daughter to attend Pope Flippant, perhaps they could try the Unitarian Universalist church? I've never actually been there myself to know what it's like but I haven't heard any major criticisms about them. From what l have heard about them, they're pretty much the most liberal church in existence in any case.
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Yeah, this has bugged me a LOT. So I said the horse and buggy Mennonites don't talk about inherited sin nature. But it's implied in everything they say and preach.
This annoyed me about my church, too. I was a member of the Church Of Christ and they officially rejected original sin. They didn't believe babies were born evil and in need of baptism but they believed that once you got to a certain age, suddenly you became evil and needed to repent of your sins lest you burn in hell forever. It's like all they really did was just changed the age that it happened because apparently baptizing babies would be too inconvenient but otherwise preached the same thing about humanity's sinful nature.

 

Try thinking of "sin" this way: A baby has very little sense of self. Since Self is a construct based upon "Others", it takes a while before the baby, infant, child gets a sense of self. Perhaps we are "purer" creatures when we are more instinctive and less so when we become "persons" according to some theologies. After all both Jesus and Paul exhort their followers to die to or to deny "self".

 

Psychologically, there is no "sin" in wanting something, as a baby or child wants something, the sin enters when we begin using, manipulating and oppressing others in order to get it. (Which also resurrects the statement that one must enter the Kingdom of God as a child.)

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, there is no "sin" in wanting something, as a baby or child wants something, the sin enters when we begin using, manipulating and oppressing others in order to get it.

 

Manipulating is the whole point of what a baby does. Basic survival. Manipulate the environment in order to get food, and comfort. That's what crying is for.

 

Perhaps the intent is what you mean by sin? As is, having an evil intent in the behavior (using, manipulation, oppression) to bring harm or to get one's own way at the callous expense of somebody else's wellbeing?

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, there is no "sin" in wanting something, as a baby or child wants something, the sin enters when we begin using, manipulating and oppressing others in order to get it.

 

Manipulating is the whole point of what a baby does. Basic survival. Manipulate the environment in order to get food, and comfort. That's what crying is for.

 

Perhaps the intent is what you mean by sin? As is, having an evil intent in the behavior (using, manipulation, oppression) to bring harm or to get one's own way at the callous expense of somebody else's wellbeing?

 

I disagree. I suggest that manipulation is an intentional act of trying to get someone or something to do something for your perceived benefit... an infant has no history of that.. it is simply expressing its instinctive needs for food, warmth, comfort, etc. It doesn't become manipulation until one realizes certain patterns of behavior produce specific results from others.

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The only "sin" is when you treat people as objects. When you devalue or ignore your shared humanity.

 

Really don't know why people make it more complicated...

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