Original sin is, according to Christian tradition, the general condition of sinfulness into which human beings are born.
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- Has any one ever clearly understood the celebrated story at the beginning of the Bible - of God's mortal terror of science? . . . No one, in fact, has understood it. This priest-book par excellence opens, as is fitting, with the great inner difficulty of the priest: he faces only one great danger; ergo, "God" faces only one great danger. The old God, wholly "spirit," wholly the high-priest, wholly perfect, is promenading his garden: he is bored and trying to kill time. Against boredom even gods struggle in vain. What does he do? He creates man - man is entertaining. . . But then he notices that man is also bored. God's pity for the only form of distress that invades all paradises knows no bounds: so he forthwith creates other animals. God's first mistake: to man these other animals were not entertaining - he sought dominion over them; he did not want to be an "animal" himself. So God created woman. In the act he brought boredom to an end - and also many other things! Woman was the second mistake of God. "Woman, at bottom, is a serpent, Heva" - every priest knows that; "from woman comes every evil in the world" - every priest knows that, too. Ergo, she is also to blame for science. . . It was through woman that man learned to taste of the tree of knowledge. What happened? The old God was seized by mortal terror. Man himself had been his greatest blunder; he had created a rival to himself; science makes men godlike - it is all up with priests and gods when man becomes scientific! Moral: science is the forbidden per se; it alone is forbidden. Science is the first of sins, the germ of all sins, the original sin. This is all there is of morality. "Thou shalt not know" - the rest follows from that.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, 'The Antichrist' §48 (H.L. Mencken trans.)
- What is the nature of the guilt that your teachers call his Original Sin? What are the evils man acquired when he fell from a state they consider perfection? Their myth declares that he ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge — he acquired a mind and became a rational being. It was the knowledge of good and evil — he became a moral being. He was sentenced to earn his bread by his labor — he became a productive being. He was sentenced to experience desire — he acquired the capacity of sexual enjoyment. The evils for which they damn him are reason, morality, creativeness, joy — all the cardinal values of his existence. It is not his vices that their myth of man's fall is designed to explain and condemn, it is not his errors that they hold as his guilt, but the essence of his nature as man. Whatever he was — that robot in the Garden of Eden, who existed without mind, without values, without labor, without love — he was not man.
- Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged," Part III, Chapter VII: "This Is John Galt Speaking"