According to the Christian worldview, we inherited quite a mess from our primeval predecessors. Not only were Adam and Eve punished for their crimes against God, but God continues to punish every human that descended from them. Every human born into this world carries the burden of Original Sin with them. It’s morally wrong to condemn someone for a crime that predates the invention of crime because of the transgressions of a single man and woman who didn’t know what they were doing was wrong in the first place. The idea of Original Sin cannot be condoned by an all-good God.
Intuitively, this concept of sin is reminiscent of ritual sacrifice. Just as we are supposedly paying for the sins of Adam and Eve long after their death, in ritual sacrifice paying with the blood of an innocent person will appease God and forgive a guilty party’s crime. Yet ritual sacrifice is universally decried by Christians as barbaric. Worse still, if we think of the Original Sin as an unintentional ritual sacrifice that as unbeknownst to Adam and Eve, with innocent people today paying for the sins of Adam and Eve, then God unethically accepted the sacrifice of our collective purity for the transgressions of Adam and Eve but still condemned Adam and Eve for their sins. We paid a heavy price to appease God, and yet he punished us all the same even after Adam and Eve asked for mercy.
And yet every Christian who cherishes the genesis story acknowledges that humans deserved to be punished, and however tacitly, they accept that all Christians should be guilt-ridden and ashamed for just about every action that they do. Christianity relies on a labyrinth of rules for how to live one’s life; sometimes these seemingly-divine decrees contradict each other. We’re commanded by God not to kill, but there are a great many exceptions where we are commanded by God to murder another human being. (Lev 20:13, Lev 20:10, Lev 20:19, Deut 22:13-21, Deut 22:22, Deut 21:20-21, Deut 17:2-7, Romans 1 26-32, Exod 21:15, Exod 35:2-3 and much, much, more…) God condones genocide against the Canaanites, even the slaughter of innocent children. William Lane Craig argues that because our morality comes from God, it wasn’t morally reprehensible to commit this genocide and besides, by murdering all of that nation’s children while they were still innocent, the Jews saved them from the damnation of growing up wicked. When our morality comes from God, Craig argues, we’re not morally culpable for any atrocities we commit sanctioned by a higher power that we cannot question.
Because of Eve’s Original Sin, women must face the agony of childbirth. Sections in the Bible command women are not allowed to teach or hold authority over a man, a man who rapes an unwed woman must marry her. Women are commanded in the Bible to be subservient to men because of Eve’s role the banishment from Eden. Most Christians don’t follow these rules of the Old Testament, but still respect the laws of Moses as a culturally-significant piece of their history. These stories are important because they foster a certain worldview that influences our culture. Christianity fosters this attitude where so many actions are forbidden to its followers so that Christians come to Church regularly to seek forgiveness for their every urge or impure thought. This creates a cult of dependence for Christians that implies a weekly obligation to return and prostrate themselves before their community in order to continue an existence in God’s good graces.
This is the tradition that Christians revere; a reliance on some authority figure to tell them what’s right and wrong and fear of otherworldly harm if they ever try to leave the confines of the church’s influence.