Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. In Praise of Scapegoats

 

Oh, I don’t mean that in what’s now become the commonly-accepted sense of the word, as is regularly on display these days, or as described in The Oxford Dictionary:

“A person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency.”

I mean it in the more complex and earlier sense of the word; the one with Biblical and ritualistic overtones, as in (from the same dictionary):

(Biblically) “a goat sent into the wilderness after the Jewish chief priest had symbolically laid the sins of the people upon it (Lev. 16)”

You might say I like to interpret the word literally, as well as seriously. And in the days when such a thing was taken literally, what came to be known as a “scapegoat” was, literally (maybe), a goat. And, on the Day of Atonement, the sins of the community were symbolically laid upon the head of that goat, whereupon the poor creature was driven into the desert or thrown off a cliff to die. At which point, the community was cleansed of those sins (only to commit new ones, over the next year, I’m sure), and its people moved on.

The English word (scapegoote) first appears in Tyndale’s 1530 translation of the Bible, and as with many translations of the time, there’s vigorous debate about how he must have got it wrong, and whether or not he misread Azazel in the original, turning it into to ez ozel, meaning “the goat that departs.” Perhaps it wasn’t a goat, after all. (So, perhaps it’s not really fair to take the term “literally.” Or perhaps he got his facts wrong, but the narrative was right. Or perhaps he was more concerned with being morally right than with being factually accurate. See how this works? How easy it is? What it all boils down to is, it doesn’t matter if it was really a goat or not. It’s the thought that counts. “Truth over facts,” as Joe Biden might say.)

Subsequent translations (but not the King James) of the Bible restored Azazel (the name of a fallen angel) as the word, but by then the term was well established and often used to describe the poor unfortunate ruminant which would be blamed in the course of expiating the sin. And the process followed was always threefold: 1) Lay the sins upon the head of the scapegoat, 2) Drive the scapegoat out of the community, taking the sins with it, 3) Now, ritually cleansed of the sins, get on with life.

If only.

A recent example: It’s pretty clear that the slender shoulders of Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann served, in January 2019, as a repository for the sins of the wider community. The Left (and an unsettling number of the Right) looked at a few seconds of this young boy’s life captured on video, and saw evil incarnate. And they responded by piling upon him the sins of racism, toxic masculinity, white privilege, the patriarchy, oppression, the theft of indigenous peoples’ land, slavery, elitism, sneering, smirking, standing his ground, and any and all other sins committed by the Western Civilization they are so ashamed of and hate so much, over the past two thousand years.

Because that is how it works today. All a single one of us has to do is find the thin end of the wedge. And when we have found the thin end of the wedge, we can escalate to DEFCON 1 and start shrieking our heads off on social media, and pretty soon millions are shrieking their heads off with us. No thought, perspective, rationality, or facts required. In the case of Nick Sandmann and some of his classmates, the thin end of the wedge was a MAGA hat, a nervous grin, and an elderly (younger than me, for Pete’s sake) “social justice warrior.” Plenty to work with there. All we need. All aboard the mystery bus, and off we go!

Many in this country, on both sides of the divide, have reached a point where their political affiliation so defines them that there is little room left for kindness or tolerance for those whose affiliation is different in ways either great or small. Someone who disagrees politically, and who shows it by wearing a MAGA hat on the one hand, or by saying something critical of President Trump on the other, is the enemy, or is a traitor, or is to be shunned or booted from the camp. Look no further these days than the slew of articles, posts, tweets, and blog entries on the occasion of any major holiday, lamenting that for a few hours at Christmas and/or Thanksgiving, we will have to sit down with our relatives and assume a veneer of civility. Does our discomfort focus on our relatives’ idiosyncrasies and foibles, on Great-Aunt Matilda’s inelegant gas-passing at the dinner table, Grandpa’s awful knitted cardigan, Weird Uncle Harold’s handiness, or Granny’s lumpy gravy? No, our discomfort focuses on who they might have voted for in November of 2016, because that’s all that matters. We might have to sit down with Trumpsters, or Nevers, or Progs. Oh my! How can we possibly be civil for that long? How can we possibly survive?

Suck it up, Buttercup. As they say. Your relatives are not stand-ins for the evils of the world, or even for all those who don’t share your political beliefs. They’re your family. You can do it. Love them all. One day, they may need you. One day, you may need them. Family. (I’ve reached a stage in my own life where it’s quite evident to me that one day, that Trumpy son-in-law, or that NeverTrump niece, may be the only thing standing between me and the nursing home, and at that point, who they voted for in November of 2016 isn’t going to matter a hill of beans to me, or hopefully to them, either. Love them all. And hope they love you back.)

So. Scapegoats. I’m going to take the lesson of the Covington High School students, and the obvious scapegoating of Nick Sandmann (who I’m sure is not a perfect young man; those are in very short supply in our Western tradition, but he seems quite blameless in the encounter that brought him so much unwanted attention and which I’m using as an example here), and I’m going to suggest that we bring back the ancient and ritualistic practice of scapegoating. All of it. Because we’re doing it wrong.

Scapegoating only really works if we can get past the first step. Piling the sins of the world on Nick Sandmann’s (or Whitey’s, or anyone’s) shoulders is all well and good, but then what? Well, typically, nothing. We wait until the next outbreak of mass-hysteria, and the next labeling as “evil” of someone at the lower reaches of the intersectionality hierarchy, and we start all over again. And so on and so on. Lather, rinse, repeat. Things never get any better, the sins are never expiated, and we live amidst the crushing guilt and the cycle of perpetual outrage forever.

Here’s what I recommend 1) Find a scapegoat and pile the sins of the world onto its shoulders. 2) Fire your scapegoat off in a rocket ship to Mars (this is the twenty-first century, after all), thereby expiating all the world’s sins, which have left with the scapegoat. 3) (This is the part that takes some guts): Move on (without the dot org). Gosh. Parts of this sound awfully familiar.

The first part is the only one that worries me a bit. I don’t want any human or animal to be hurt in this process (this is the twenty-first century, after all). I know! Maybe Amazon can help:

Meet Scout. Your new scapegoat. Sounds like a plan to me.

I can’t fix the problems of the world. All I can do, and all any of us can do, is our best to fix our little part of it, by loving, and trying to do our best for, our family and our friends. So I do.

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  1. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I don’t like the scapegoat, because the people weren’t required to confess their sins as individuals in order for the sins to be transferred to the goat, not even in private to the priest. Therefore, a) the scapegoat reinforces the idea of collective rather than individual sin, and b) it’s too much of a “get out of jail free card” for individual sinners.

    But that’s just me.

    • #1
    • June 28, 2020, at 5:24 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gotta catch me first!

    • #2
    • June 28, 2020, at 5:27 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  3. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    I don’t like the scapegoat, because the people weren’t required to confess their sins as individuals in order for the sins to be transferred to the goat, not even in private to the priest. Therefore, a) the scapegoat reinforces the idea of collective rather than individual sin, and b) it’s too much of a “get out of jail free card” for individual sinners.

    But that’s just me.

    Indeed. And that’s a valid point of view. But I tend to think that the “expiation” aspect, in that it’s possible to move beyond individual or even collective sin, is worth considering and applauding, even if that collectivity is not an idea that I might, in ideal circumstances, wish to advance.

    • #3
    • June 28, 2020, at 5:34 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Saint Augustine Member

    She (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    I don’t like the scapegoat, because the people weren’t required to confess their sins as individuals in order for the sins to be transferred to the goat, not even in private to the priest. Therefore, a) the scapegoat reinforces the idea of collective rather than individual sin, and b) it’s too much of a “get out of jail free card” for individual sinners.

    But that’s just me.

    Indeed. And that’s a valid point of view. But I tend to think that the “expiation” aspect, in that it’s possible to move beyond individual or even collective sin, is worth considering and applauding, even if that collectivity is not an idea that I might, in ideal circumstances, wish to advance.

    Do communities have sins? Or just individuals?

    • #4
    • June 28, 2020, at 5:37 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    I don’t like the scapegoat, because the people weren’t required to confess their sins as individuals in order for the sins to be transferred to the goat, not even in private to the priest. Therefore, a) the scapegoat reinforces the idea of collective rather than individual sin, and b) it’s too much of a “get out of jail free card” for individual sinners.

    But that’s just me.

    Indeed. And that’s a valid point of view. But I tend to think that the “expiation” aspect, in that it’s possible to move beyond individual or even collective sin, is worth considering and applauding, even if that collectivity is not an idea that I might, in ideal circumstances, wish to advance.

    Do communities have sins? Or just individuals?

    What do you think?

    • #5
    • June 28, 2020, at 5:40 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    I don’t like the scapegoat, because the people weren’t required to confess their sins as individuals in order for the sins to be transferred to the goat, not even in private to the priest. Therefore, a) the scapegoat reinforces the idea of collective rather than individual sin, and b) it’s too much of a “get out of jail free card” for individual sinners.

    But that’s just me.

    Indeed. And that’s a valid point of view. But I tend to think that the “expiation” aspect, in that it’s possible to move beyond individual or even collective sin, is worth considering and applauding, even if that collectivity is not an idea that I might, in ideal circumstances, wish to advance.

    Do communities have sins? Or just individuals?

    According to the Old Testament, God issued collective punishment for sin on numerous occasions, so at the very least the ancient Israelites believed in communal sin.

    • #6
    • June 28, 2020, at 5:43 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. Saint Augustine Member

    She (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    I don’t like the scapegoat, because the people weren’t required to confess their sins as individuals in order for the sins to be transferred to the goat, not even in private to the priest. Therefore, a) the scapegoat reinforces the idea of collective rather than individual sin, and b) it’s too much of a “get out of jail free card” for individual sinners.

    But that’s just me.

    Indeed. And that’s a valid point of view. But I tend to think that the “expiation” aspect, in that it’s possible to move beyond individual or even collective sin, is worth considering and applauding, even if that collectivity is not an idea that I might, in ideal circumstances, wish to advance.

    Do communities have sins? Or just individuals?

    What do you think?

    I’d only gotten as far as the question!

    But probably both.

    But if not both, maybe something near enough. A collection of individual sins can be collectively punished–a very common biblical pattern. And, if I do not misidentify another biblical pattern, collectively atoned for.

    • #7
    • June 28, 2020, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    I don’t like the scapegoat, because the people weren’t required to confess their sins as individuals in order for the sins to be transferred to the goat, not even in private to the priest. Therefore, a) the scapegoat reinforces the idea of collective rather than individual sin, and b) it’s too much of a “get out of jail free card” for individual sinners.

    But that’s just me.

    Today Jews have lots of work to do on their sins (if they’re serious about it). They have to go to the persons whom they’ve hurt and ask their forgiveness; if the other person says no, we are supposed to ask three times. Then, individually and as a community during the service of Yom Kippur (which was when the goat was selected), we can ask G-d to forgive us. Technically we don’t have scapegoats as part of our rituals anymore, but we have plenty more to do!

    Thanks, She, for a very fine post. I do my best to avoid discussing politics with those who disagree with me. I’ve been able to maintain a long-time loving relationship with one person in CA. Every now and then we slip into a disagreement, but I usually politely bring it to an end. It’s just not worth damaging the relationship.

    • #8
    • June 28, 2020, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. KirkianWanderer Coolidge

    A little off topic, but if you’re interested in the topic of scapegoats, you have to read some of Rene Girard’s books. He was a brilliant French-American philosopher, anthropologist, theologian, and a million other impressive things, and a huge part of his work is concerned with the scapegoat mechanism and mimetic desire. I’ve been really interested in him since high school, and if all goes to plan have an article coming out in an academic journal sometime at the end of this year about his work’s applicability to the study of history, and it’s potential. History is one of the last frontiers that his analytical method hasn’t taken off on yet, and I want to pioneer using it, especially to explain mass genocide and authoritarian societies in the 20th century, there and as a tool for foreign policy analysis. I think we sometimes forget that the most basic, almost cliched (in the sense of having repeated over endlessly in history and fiction) phenomena are often the best to start explaining the world from.

    • #9
    • June 28, 2020, at 5:56 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  10. RightAngles Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    I don’t like the scapegoat, because the people weren’t required to confess their sins as individuals in order for the sins to be transferred to the goat, not even in private to the priest. Therefore, a) the scapegoat reinforces the idea of collective rather than individual sin, and b) it’s too much of a “get out of jail free card” for individual sinners.

    But that’s just me.

    Indeed. And that’s a valid point of view. But I tend to think that the “expiation” aspect, in that it’s possible to move beyond individual or even collective sin, is worth considering and applauding, even if that collectivity is not an idea that I might, in ideal circumstances, wish to advance.

    Do communities have sins? Or just individuals?

    Looks to me like God sometimes sees things in terms of communities, as in the Great Flood or Sodom and Gomorrah for instance.

    • #10
    • June 28, 2020, at 6:48 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She:

    Maybe Amazon can help:

    Meet Scout. Your new scapegoat. Sounds like a plan to me.

    It doesn’t bounce. I want something that bounces and explodes when I kick it. 

    • #11
    • June 28, 2020, at 6:49 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. RightAngles Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    … I think we sometimes forget that the most basic, almost cliched (in the sense of having repeated over endlessly in history and fiction) phenomena are often the best to start explaining the world from.

    Well. cliches only become cliches because they’re true.

    • #12
    • June 28, 2020, at 6:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    An interesting post. As I understand the ritual, from Leviticus 16, the scapegoat is the lucky one. Two goats are used, and one is chosen by lot for sacrifice, meaning immediate death as a sin offering. The other one, the scapegoat, is driven into the wilderness.

    I don’t know the significance of this in Jewish belief. If there is a sin offering, why the need for a scapegoat at all?

    There is a pretty obvious Christian interpretation, in which Jesus became the sacrifice, and was killed like the sin offering goat (the Crucifixion) and escaped like the scapegoat (the Resurrection).

    In the Christian view, there is no need to repeat this, with a rocket to Mars or otherwise.

    Mars is an interesting choice here. I don’t know anything about Azazel. According to Wikipedia, he is a fallen angel in the Book of Enoch, who taught men the art of warfare. Sort of like the god of war. I don’t know whether Wikipedia is accurate about this.

     

    • #13
    • June 28, 2020, at 6:53 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  14. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    I don’t like the scapegoat, because the people weren’t required to confess their sins as individuals in order for the sins to be transferred to the goat, not even in private to the priest. Therefore, a) the scapegoat reinforces the idea of collective rather than individual sin, and b) it’s too much of a “get out of jail free card” for individual sinners.

    But that’s just me.

    Indeed. And that’s a valid point of view. But I tend to think that the “expiation” aspect, in that it’s possible to move beyond individual or even collective sin, is worth considering and applauding, even if that collectivity is not an idea that I might, in ideal circumstances, wish to advance.

    Do communities have sins? Or just individuals?

    According to the Old Testament, God issued collective punishment for sin on numerous occasions, so at the very least the ancient Israelites believed in communal sin.

    We probably don’t understand it perfectly, but there do seem to be sins both individual and communal.

    The “sins of the father” isn’t a far cry from the way all people, both ancient and modern, like to take pride in actions of their ancestors. Such pride, like shame, assumes a non-physical connection beyond insignificant happenstance.

    Christianity defines God as a Trinity — one Being, yet three Persons. That is how we can say God is Love (a relationship within Himself). Our own human identity as body, mind, and soul arguably reflects that complexity of a whole which can be recognized as any one member. The difficulty of fully comprehending such a concept is why people often lapse into simpler if misleading paradigms (God as an aloof and unknowable mystery, Jesus as just a teacher, humanity as minds in interchangeable bodies with complete dominion over the physical).

    Marriage is a plainer example of the multiple-but-one locus of will and responsibility. The legal standard followed from the religious standard (not only Christian) of “one body” by which the two are treated as one in many ways.

    Anyway, the important bit to remember is that a reality of collective conscience and accountability needn’t eliminate or override personal responsibility. We can take pride in ancestors without pretending society owes us a reward for their actions. And vice versa. God alone is capable of such fair calculations, though He is thankfully more merciful than we are.

    • #14
    • June 28, 2020, at 7:17 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. Stina Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    I don’t like the scapegoat, because the people weren’t required to confess their sins as individuals in order for the sins to be transferred to the goat, not even in private to the priest. Therefore, a) the scapegoat reinforces the idea of collective rather than individual sin, and b) it’s too much of a “get out of jail free card” for individual sinners.

    But that’s just me.

    Indeed. And that’s a valid point of view. But I tend to think that the “expiation” aspect, in that it’s possible to move beyond individual or even collective sin, is worth considering and applauding, even if that collectivity is not an idea that I might, in ideal circumstances, wish to advance.

    Do communities have sins? Or just individuals?

    Lamentations seems to think so.

    Our sermon today was on the Victory of the Cross.

    My sins have been paid for and I owe nothing.

    • #15
    • June 28, 2020, at 7:42 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Stina Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    She:

    Maybe Amazon can help:

    Meet Scout. Your new scapegoat. Sounds like a plan to me.

    It doesn’t bounce. I want something that bounces and explodes when I kick it.

    I have this soccer ball made of c-4…

    • #16
    • June 28, 2020, at 7:44 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  17. JoelB Member

    Scout could not survive except in a Hollywood studio back lot set.

    • #17
    • June 28, 2020, at 7:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Stina Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):
    The “sins of the father” isn’t a far cry from the way all people, both ancient and modern, like to take pride in actions of their ancestors. Such pride, like shame, assumes a non-physical connection beyond insignificant happenstance. 

    Or that the consequences can affect subsequent generations…

    For instance, the sins of the slave owners are affecting us today.

    We are not guilty of the sin, yet we suffer the accusations and demands for reparations repeatedly.

    And I think it’s wrong to treat genetic progeny as mere happenstance. Familial bonds are responsible for passing on a heritage of faith, values, and mores. And, again, the consequences of sin follow down the generations.

    The bonds are substantial and scripture affirms those bonds through the command to teach your children and the “sins of the father.”

    • #18
    • June 28, 2020, at 7:52 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. Manny Member

    LOL, I love it! A mechanical scapegoat. Yes!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5AdHvLjFNg

     

     

    • #19
    • June 28, 2020, at 8:36 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  20. Mark Camp Member

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    I don’t like the scapegoat, because the people weren’t required to confess their sins as individuals in order for the sins to be transferred to the goat, not even in private to the priest. Therefore, a) the scapegoat reinforces the idea of collective rather than individual sin, and b) it’s too much of a “get out of jail free card” for individual sinners.

    But that’s just me.

    Indeed. And that’s a valid point of view. But I tend to think that the “expiation” aspect, in that it’s possible to move beyond individual or even collective sin, is worth considering and applauding, even if that collectivity is not an idea that I might, in ideal circumstances, wish to advance.

    Do communities have sins? Or just individuals?

    According to the Old Testament, God issued collective punishment for sin on numerous occasions, so at the very least the ancient Israelites believed in communal sin.

    According to the Old Testament, and therefore according to the New Testament, every man is individually guilty because he is the son of Adam. Thus the thing that makes us a collective is the thing that makes us sinful.

    • #20
    • June 29, 2020, at 6:35 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KirkianWanderer (View Comment):

    A little off topic, but if you’re interested in the topic of scapegoats, you have to read some of Rene Girard’s books. He was a brilliant French-American philosopher, anthropologist, theologian, and a million other impressive things, and a huge part of his work is concerned with the scapegoat mechanism and mimetic desire. I’ve been really interested in him since high school, and if all goes to plan have an article coming out in an academic journal sometime at the end of this year about his work’s applicability to the study of history, and it’s potential. History is one of the last frontiers that his analytical method hasn’t taken off on yet, and I want to pioneer using it, especially to explain mass genocide and authoritarian societies in the 20th century, there and as a tool for foreign policy analysis. I think we sometimes forget that the most basic, almost cliched (in the sense of having repeated over endlessly in history and fiction) phenomena are often the best to start explaining the world from.

    You beat me to it with the Girard reference.

    Best of luck in that endeavor! Though with some of the usual cautions about historians finding a “grand unification theory of history” and then beating up everyone and everything with it (Yes, I’m looking at you Jared Diamond!).

    Just a personal note: I tend to view such things as useful lenses and filters for history that reveal some important patterns while hiding others.

    • #21
    • June 29, 2020, at 7:02 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    In the Christian view, there is no need to repeat this, with a rocket to Mars or otherwise.

    Indeed.

    • #22
    • June 29, 2020, at 7:03 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    According to the Old Testament, and therefore according to the New Testament, every man is individually guilty because he is the son of Adam. Thus the thing that makes us a collective is the thing that makes us sinful.

    The Old Testament doesn’t say that. That is a New Testament interpretation. Jews don’t believe we carry the guilt of Adam.

    • #23
    • June 29, 2020, at 7:07 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  24. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    According to the Old Testament, and therefore according to the New Testament, every man is individually guilty because he is the son of Adam. Thus the thing that makes us a collective is the thing that makes us sinful.

    The Old Testament doesn’t say that. That is a New Testament interpretation. Jews don’t believe we carry the guilt of Adam.

    It’s not a universal belief among Christians either. The Orthodox are emphatic on this: we may carry the scar of Adam in that we all die, but we do not carry Adam’s guilt. That we do sin is because we’re bad at avoiding sins, but we’re only ever guilty of our own transgressions, not of anyone else’s.

     

    • #24
    • June 29, 2020, at 7:10 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. Manny Member

    I think we’re making too much of the theology as to what She I think intended as a lighthearted piece. ;) 

    • #25
    • June 29, 2020, at 7:10 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    It’s not a universal belief among Christians either. The Orthodox are emphatic on this: we may carry the scar of Adam in that we all die, but we do not carry Adam’s guilt. That we do sin is because we’re bad at avoiding sins, but we’re only ever guilty of our own transgressions, not of anyone else’s.

    I was just thinking about how much I love discussions about religion! I didn’t know this, @skipsul. I have no objection to Mark’s interpretation but I wanted to be accurate.

    • #26
    • June 29, 2020, at 7:14 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Manny (View Comment):

    I think we’re making too much of the theology as to what She I think intended as a lighthearted piece. ;)

    I can’t speak for @she but I love these kinds of discussions, @manny. As long as they come from a place of sharing, curiosity and sincerity, it’s a great way to learn. Maybe that’s just me. . . 

    • #27
    • June 29, 2020, at 7:15 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  28. Manny Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    I think we’re making too much of the theology as to what She I think intended as a lighthearted piece. ;)

    I can’t speak for @she but I love these kinds of discussions, @manny. As long as they come from a place of sharing, curiosity and sincerity, it’s a great way to learn. Maybe that’s just me. . .

    Oh I wasn’t trying to tamp down the discussion. I just noticed how everyone was getting overly intellectual over it…lol. I guess that’s a Ricochet thing! ;)

    • #28
    • June 29, 2020, at 7:22 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  29. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Manny (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    I think we’re making too much of the theology as to what She I think intended as a lighthearted piece. ;)

    I can’t speak for @she but I love these kinds of discussions, @manny. As long as they come from a place of sharing, curiosity and sincerity, it’s a great way to learn. Maybe that’s just me. . .

    Oh I wasn’t trying to tamp down the discussion. I just noticed how everyone was getting overly intellectual over it…lol. I guess that’s a Ricochet thing! ;)

    I was light-hearted. The rest of you have issues.

    • #29
    • June 29, 2020, at 7:32 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  30. Manny Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    According to the Old Testament, and therefore according to the New Testament, every man is individually guilty because he is the son of Adam. Thus the thing that makes us a collective is the thing that makes us sinful.

    The Old Testament doesn’t say that. That is a New Testament interpretation. Jews don’t believe we carry the guilt of Adam.

    It’s not a universal belief among Christians either. The Orthodox are emphatic on this: we may carry the scar of Adam in that we all die, but we do not carry Adam’s guilt. That we do sin is because we’re bad at avoiding sins, but we’re only ever guilty of our own transgressions, not of anyone else’s.

    Actually that’s probably a Catholic view too. It depends on the language used. Adam’s sin allowed death into the world and the capability for sin. Here from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, from paragraph 404:

    By yielding to the tempter,
    Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the
    human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.294 It is a
    sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by
    the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and
    justice. and that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical
    sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed” – a state and not an
    act.

    I’m not going to claim to be a theologian, but I take that as Adam’s first sin passed on the capability to sin but not the actual sin itself. If you really want, Catholic Answers has an explanation of the theology and history of original sin, here. Catholic Answers is probably the best place on the internet to go to for Catholic theology, but it’s usually a bit too deep when you just want a simple answer.

    • #30
    • June 29, 2020, at 7:42 AM PDT
    • 5 likes