Can Man Be A Sinner From His Birth?

 

Innocent of god or the scripture or sin.  Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

Sin In Religion

Disobedience of god’s commands in the scriptures is a sin. Most religions have sin as part of their theology.

Jerry Coyne, the evolutionary biologist states the fact:
‘The central lesson of Christianity is that sin was brought into the world by the transgression of Adam and Eve, the Primal Couple, and expiated by the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, whose acceptance as savior removes the taint of sin.’

Thus, Christianity has the concept of the original sin of man and woman.

Man, a sinner from his birth? Is it not absurd, unjustifiable and strange? On the day of his birth, he carries on his head an unknown burden of his basic sin!
In Hinduism, there is no conception of the original sin. But here also, disobedience of the edicts of the Hindu scriptures of Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavadgita, and so on is a sin. A sinner has rebirths till he is purged of his sin.

As Jayaram. V observes:
‘The idea of sin forms the basis of Hindu ethics and morality. Its purpose is to facilitate the order and regularity of the world, the enforcement of Dharma and the evolution of beings through the corrective and punitive process. Sin may arise from both intentional and unintentional actions and through negligence and ignorance.’

Sin Outside Religion

In the rational and humanist worldview, there is no concept of sin.

Human beings commit moral mistakes, knowingly or unknowingly. To err is human. Their offenses or crimes meet with punishments awarded by punitive agencies of the society. After undergoing the punishment, they have a chance to be transformed into new individuals and to step into a new life.

Morality and ethics have links with the humanist principles that are not static or dogmatic.

Punishment for human mistakes is not a permanent taint.

For the human beings on this Earth, salvation or deliverance or liberation or moksha is and means freedom from hunger, disease, fundamentalism, bigotry, superstitions, religious violence, destruction of natural resources, authoritarianism, absence or lack of freedom of expression, and other individual and social ills.

Rationalists and most of the humanists are unbelievers and do not accept holy books, the concept of sin, divine rewards and punishments, judgment day, an afterlife, and so on and do not believe in the concept of human salvation in the religious sense.

As a ‘sinless’ individual on Earth, the human being desires to sing, dance, write, paint, do sports, meditate, practice yoga, travel, write, fly to the moon and so on.

As Dan Barker, the rationalist author observes:

“Sin is a religious concept and in some religions, salvation is the deliverance from the ‘wages of sin’-death or eternal punishment. Sin has been defined as missing the mark of God’s expectations or holiness, or ‘offending God,’ so it follows that there is no god, there is no sin, therefore no need for salvation. Only those who consider themselves ‘sinners’ need this kind of salvation. It is a religious solution to a religious problem.”

The linkage of human ‘sin’ to god operates outside this world and belittles or nullifies human effort for self-improvement and self-transformation and shackles human beings to an external supernatural deity.

Basavanna, the Indian rational mystic welcomed all offenders, irrespective of their creed, social status, and gender, to his side if they gave up their immoral actions and started their new journey on the morally right path. Once an offender, always an offender? No. His vachanas (prose poems) vouch for this commitment as one of the basic tenets of his philosophy.

I quote two of his vachanas:

‘ Man, O man, you who committed the sin,

Man, O man, you who slew the saint,

Do say but once, ‘I bow,’

All sinning flies away!

The golden mountains will not suffice

For atonement of all your sins

Do say, ‘I bow to One

To our Lord,……….’

‘If I call them thieves, prisoners,

snake charmers, whoremongers,

servants and warriors,

and not call them you yourself

when the devotees come keeping you in the front

that is treachery.’

(Basavanna’s ‘Lord’ is not a supernatural god rewarding or punishing man. His god is man’s conscience in a broad sense; his god is the ‘divine’ element in man himself and his god’s temple is in the human body itself. Basavanna forbade his followers to visit temples to offer prayers to god.)

The priests, the self-appointed agents of god on Earth may demand a mountain of gold from the sinner for his redemption.  But even if the sinner gifts more than a golden mountain to them, they cannot redeem the sinner through the god.

What the human needs is his sincere and firm repentance. Repentance for him is redemption from his sin and a fresh path. Basavanna, by this simple, effective and potent method, cleansed the masses of their inferiority mentality,  instilled self-confidence in them, and freed them from the exploitative clutches of the wily, parasitic priests and from their bondage to a supernatural world-governing god.

Basavanna brought about a sweeping sea-change in the people’s spiritual mindset.

It was an explosive spiritual and social movement in the twelfth century- the twelfth century!

We always remember that there was a time in human history when human beings had no religion, no concept of sin, no god,  no concept of the soul, and so on and that they just lived a natural life as the children of mother nature free from the mental prison of religion.

We have ever the hope and the scope to transform ourselves into better human beings. We can leave behind us the shadows of our repentant past lives and take the new step onto the right path, the fundamentals of which, according to Basavanna, are:

‘Do not steal, do not kill,

do not lie, do not rage,

do not loathe the other,

do not brag of yourself,

do not revile the opponent.

This itself is inner purity,

this itself is outer purity.

This alone is the way to win

our Koodalasangamadeva’ (‘Lord’ as defined above).

Sin evaporates once the sinner repents and starts a new life on the right path.

Who Claims That Death Is The Victor?

The face of a fulfilled and happy life. Photo by Daytona Driggers
on Unsplash

 

Death, The Terror!

Death! An evil? It is terrifying and wraps its incidence with dark all around gloom and numbness. No living entity welcomes it. Death is not only inevitable, irreversible, universal but also final.

Kahlil Gibran says:

‘Life and death are two ends of the human’s journey on the planet.                                        With life, death is a shadow.                                                                                                          For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.’                                                  In the words of Michael Shermer, the historian of science:                                                     ‘The  ‘purpose’ of life is to survive, reproduce and flourish, and it has been fulfilling its destiny for 3.5 billion years in an unbroken chain from the Precambrian to today and encompassing all forms of life of which we know.’                                                                                                      Death, the invincible victor? We know that death is the human’s disconnection with all his relationships and the world and entails the death of his consciousness.

Death begins with the first breath.

Only people affected by the fatal and debilitating diseases, loneliness by desertion by relatives, extreme poverty, social shame, unbearable debt,  torturous attacks of guilt consciousness and so on may unwillingly embrace death. To them, death is better than life, a life that is lifeless.
Unfortunate deaths occur in accidents, individual murder for robbery or out of hate, and homicide in implementing irrational scriptural commands. These result in agony to the relatives and friends of the deceased.

As A. C. Grayling, the British thinker puts it:

‘Death is natural to a rational human being. If we base our view of death on evidence and reason, we see it as a natural process: the ceasing of bodily functions, including consciousness followed by the body’s dispersal into its physical elements, remaining part of nature but in a different way.’
‘Death is therefore the basis of life and fully half of its rhythm.’

Can We Be Immortal?
Humans desire endless life, immortality. Longing for immortality is inherent in humans. Humans have endless goals. Their endless desires and goals are the source of their misery.

‘Propagating our genes into the next generation’ and creating and leaving an everlasting legacy behind us are the only forms of immortality known and available to us. A man can attain immortality through his memorable legacy. He can live on in the minds and hearts of his family or society or the world if he has produced and left behind him an unforgettable and enduring bequest for them. This legacy will be an inscription in stone for him.

Nature does not allow her child, the human being to be alive forever and takes him back through his death. She maintains a balance between life and death so that life and death should continue. From the Earth to the Earth! This is man’s journey on this planet.

Basavanna, the unique Indian mystic says:

‘What you call life

Is a wind-blown lamp’

‘Death is to me                                                                                                                             A solemn festival.’

This view belongs to the rationally spiritual realm. A seeker faces his non-existence with equanimity because he will attain liberation from existence and union with the Void, not a supernatural god.

Human beings long to immortalize themselves through their souls too which do not exist. According to the Bhagavadgita, the Hindu scripture, unlike the human body, the human soul is deathless. But there is no disembodied soul or mind. No body, no brain; no brain, no mind; no mind, no soul. The human body is primary and the mind or soul is secondary. The hard fact is that, simultaneously with the death of the body, the mind or soul in the body passes away. Neuroscience has proved it.

You and I have only one life gifted by mother nature. Let us make the most of it by living a good life individually and socially and leave an enduring legacy behind us. This is the only option, and this is enough for us to immortalize ourselves.

Science has been engaged in attempting to extend the human life span with the aid of technology including medical technology.

Science and technology have not so far invented a way to make living things infinite. It is a sure hope that they may enable us to live infinitely or at least for a period of life longer than the present highest human longevity of 125 years. They can ‘defeat death’.

Death Is Defeatable

In the words of John Donne, the poet:
‘Death be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so.

…………………………………………………………………….

One short sleep past, we wake eternally

And death shall be no more.

Death, thou shalt die.’

The great poet’s purely spiritual message we may apply and adapt to our rationally spiritual message: Life is short but its genetic inheritance and human legacy are immortal.

The human being needs no long life for a fulfilled and happy life, ‘a good life.’

As Basavanna says:

‘What does it matter for a man

Of good repute, to live five days?

What does it matter to live four?

Or three or two?’

The ‘good repute’ relates to the good work done and left behind by the human being as his legacy for his family or the society or the world.

The human being dies and can defeat death!