Jul. 9th, 2007

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Giving up on American Prometheus. It was too depressing.

Giving up on the Niebuhr. When discussing Judaism, he falls into the trap that so many Christian theologians do of misinterpreting Jewish beliefs in a Christian way, which invalidates most of what he has to say. For me, the last straw was when he asserts that the doctrines of yetzer harah and original sin are basically the same. As I understand original sin, it's the belief that from the moment of birth, one has inherited the taint of Adam's and Eve's sin in Eden, and will be damned if one does not undergo redemption through belief in the divinity of Jesus. (Yes?)

Yetzer harah, on the other hand, is simply the premise that within each of us is a pair of competing urges: the urge to do the right thing, even at personal cost, and the selfish urge which can lead us to do the wrong thing. The "inclination towards evil" is not an external tempter; it is not a fundamental belief that we are all intrinsically sinners. It is an observation about human nature.
rhu: (Default)
Giving up on American Prometheus. It was too depressing.

Giving up on the Niebuhr. When discussing Judaism, he falls into the trap that so many Christian theologians do of misinterpreting Jewish beliefs in a Christian way, which invalidates most of what he has to say. For me, the last straw was when he asserts that the doctrines of yetzer harah and original sin are basically the same. As I understand original sin, it's the belief that from the moment of birth, one has inherited the taint of Adam's and Eve's sin in Eden, and will be damned if one does not undergo redemption through belief in the divinity of Jesus. (Yes?)

Yetzer harah, on the other hand, is simply the premise that within each of us is a pair of competing urges: the urge to do the right thing, even at personal cost, and the selfish urge which can lead us to do the wrong thing. The "inclination towards evil" is not an external tempter; it is not a fundamental belief that we are all intrinsically sinners. It is an observation about human nature.

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Andrew M. Greene

January 2013

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