I have always struggled with christian teachings of sin. Namely, with original sin. I thought it was unfair that God would let us all suffer for a sin that we aren’t guilty of. And yet, in christian belief, we are born sinful beings.
The teachings of sin in Christianity lead to a whole rat-tail of behaviour. Among them is the child abuse the Pearl’s teach. Being born a sinful being means that babies are not pure. They are hunks of meat full of original sin and the parent’s job is to teach them morals and values that they naturally do not possess. “Negative” or “annoying” behaviour in children therefore is not – or only partially – caused by the parents, mainly it is due to their sinful nature. Cleansing this sinful nature to a point where it can be controlled by the child at an older age is the goal of christian parenting via the Pearls. You must make the baby/kid understand that it is evil and bad and that only belief in Jesus as well as strict discipline can limit this sinful nature to a degree where you can actually find salvation. Though they acknowledge the fact that we’re all sinners and will always sin, discipline is the first and foremost way to cage this sin so that a logical, moral way of thinking becomes possible for the person in the first place.
Being born in sin every act of so-called selfishness is due to unlimited freedom of the sin within the young child. If it doesn’t want to share his or her toys, it’s not because that’s a phase or because the child might be afraid to lose its dear possession, it’s due to the sinful urges of selfishness, putting self in the first place with the others and God following behind. Practically a child can be punished for pretty much everything that doesn’t suit the parents in some way and hence leaves the door wide open for domestic abuse.
As a matter of fact the belief of original sin doesn’t exist this way in Judaism. There, babies are born without sin, pure beings. They are corrupted only by their own sin, not by any other. Thought the “seed of evil” exists in every person, brought into the world by Adam and Eve, it’s not the same. Adam caused death and pain in a material way but did not destroy or corrupt the pureness and goodness of every human soul and therefore sin isn’t a pre-existing condition in a human being but an acquired disease if you will.
Why does that make a difference? Because when a child cries at night to be fed, some fundamentalist christian leaders actually recommend not to follow the child’s pleading, as it is sinful, the child wants to control the parents and gain authority over them (three months olds are really mean snakes to some people…). They recommend putting the babies on a feeding schedule that suits the parent’s needs, not the child’s. Funny enough, that isn’t selfish behaviour by the parents.
And then again, we have the Muslims, very closely related to the jews and christians, and they too do not believe in original sin. There, too, a baby is born without sin, pure and good.
I’ve been wondering where this belief in original sin comes from. The jews didn’t believe in it, so it must be something the christians came up with. Maybe at some point, some people got it all wrong and wrote down wrong dogmas?
I know that the teachings on original sin vary even within the christian denominations. I don’t want to go around generalizing christians, I want to point out the very screwed up beliefs among some groups and movements, where a child isn’t born as a little lamb but as an almost demonic animal, wanting to control everybody around; self-centered and wicked. As an example I want to point your attention to an article by Libby Anne. The child in this story obviously isn’t old enough for a reflected decision and simply acts as some children would in certain phases for various reasons. It is being treated as if it was an evil demon, hungry for control and sin. It just reminds me of my own upbringing, where everything a child did was full of sin and evil if it didn’t suit our parent’s wishes. We were born evil, sinful by nature – and in our family, that lead to a whole lot of abuse.