J. Philip Newell on Original Sin

If a child grows up being told she is ugly or stupid or selfish, at some level, she comes to believe that about herself. The descriptions haunt her self-understanding, and she lives in a state of doubt about her deepest identity. This is exactly what has happened in relation to the doctrine of original sin, a belief that has dominated the landscape of Western Christian thought and practice since the fourth century. It teaches that what is deepest in is is opposed to God rather than of God. It means that we are essential ignorant rather that bears of light, that we are essentially selfish rather than made in the image of love-the list goes on and on. It is a doctrine that disempowers us. It feeds our forgetfulness of the sacred tune at the heart of our being. And its corollary is the belief that Christ embodies a song that is essentially foreign to us. The consequences, both individually and collectively, have been disastrous.

J. Philip Newell, Christ of the Celts, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008), 18-19.

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