Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Invention of Sin

This past weekend was gorgeous with the sultry, fall crispness glazing the air. Had fall come early? Well, one can dream. This summer heat is suffocating, deadly and just plain ridiculous. The fall teaser put me in the mood to pull out my Clive Barker anthology In the Flesh and get in to the Halloween spirit. Clive Barker writes in the short story "In the Flesh:"

"At the present he was reading about sin. Now there was a subject. In his time he'd heard so many explanations of how it had come into the world, from probation officers and lawyers and priests. Theories sociological, theological, ideological. Some were worthy of a few minutes' consideration. Most were so absurd (sin from the womb, sin from the state) he laughed in their apologists' faces. None held water for long."

Masaccio's Adam and Eve Banished from Paradise (c. 1427) Photo by Shane R. Toogood

I had never given any thought as to where sin originated. Growing up as a non-practicing Catholic, I was told that it was Adam and Eve's temptation in the Garden of Eden where the Serpent--who was "slier than every beast of the field"--led them to eat from the Tree of Life. Did Pandora really open up a box, sending demonous, winged evils into the world save for hopelessness?

Mark Twain wrote in a letter to his sister Pamela A Moffett that "One could...say that God is the personage who should shoulder the blame for the sin that is in the world (& suffer the punishment) because He made sin attractive & put it in the reach of the sinner." 

Hell, some people thrive on sin. (Anyone ever hear of that devilish fiend Satan?) As for me, I'm not really sure what sin is (perhaps greed is the root of all evil) as it's really just something that goes against ones own morals, but I do believe in Karma.

Is sin just a "religious thing?" I mean, what is religion but a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and purpose of life while incorporating moral codes and attempting to give answers to life's most difficult questions (among other things). This could be a fun prompt: where did sin originate?  It's kind of like The Invention of Lying.

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