Saturday, December 17, 2005
Never Ever Trust Anyone Who Doesn't Believe in Original Sin
I was musing the other day that one should never, ever trust anyone who doesn't believe in original sin--in human depravity. A strange thought? Let me explain.
Take the other side: rejecting original sin, we have to conclude that human nature is perfectible, or some approximation thereof. Therefore, the common state of the human soul is on the road to that better state. We are on the way to Nirvana (I mean that in the colloquial sense, not as it's meant in Hindu).
It is interesting that Islam rejects the idea of original sin. With that rejection comes a superficial understanding of the nature of sin, as well as the Islamic version of Utopianism. Islamic eschatology calls for the Islamization of the world--Muslim post-millenialism. Jihad can be used to achieve to that world-wide Islamization. There is an interior logic in Islam that make bin Ladin's way a viable option that is utterly absent from Biblical Christianity.
Liberal humanism also rejects original sin. As the apex of evolution, we, the human animal, are moving upward. This creates a terrible naivete'. This is exacerbated by the deep infection of Marxist ideas in western liberalism--ideas which are often expressed unconsciously.
To again to use the war on terror as an illustration, the liberal humanism's angst over what have we done to provoke the 911 attacks as well as over the prophylactic attack on Iraq is also derived from a rejection of the doctrine of human original sin. Capitalist America (here's the Marxist element) shares a portion, perhaps a majority, of the blame for the "desperate masses" rising up again the Great Satan. Liberals pains over Pres. Bush refering to the Axis of Evil arises less from a sense of disporpotionality as over the very concept of evil.
Iraq, we are told, was undeserving of attack since Sadaam was reforming and the UN (the cathedral of liberal humanism) would see to it that Iraq would shake off its despotism, which after all, was nothing but a part of the legacy of colonialism (if you can't blame the US, at least blame Great Britain).
A conviction held by virtually all conservatives (religious or not) is that the human soul is a deeply polluted well. This conviction leads to modest expectations as to what the state can and cannot do. To the extent that state alters the chemistry of the human soul, it's nearly always to make it worst. Apart from national defense, the conservative soul is nearly libertarian: that government governs best which governs least. That dictum saves us from much foolishness. Trust the person who knows that human beings are never angels, and prepares accordingly. But never trust anyone who doesn't take sin seriously, very seriously.