Is there evidence for Original Sin?

The Garden of Eden (Bigstock)

It’s time to call a truce between science and religion. Better yet, let’s acknowledge that the fight is overhyped and unsubstantiated, writes Spencer Klaven on Aleteia.

As a matter of fact, for some time now experiments from all sorts of fields have been furnishing results that confirm standard Christian theology.

An arresting case in point is the study that made headlines recently from the behavioural science journal Motivation and Emotion. In it, psychologists “discovered” something every Sunday school kid knows: that Original Sin exists.

It's unlikely the researchers intended to prove that point. But their data showed that people who broadcast moral outrage and demand punishment for ethical transgressions are often motivated by a sense of their own guilt.

When Drs Zachary Rothschild and Lucas Keefer gave participants news stories about crimes against humanity, those participants were significantly more inclined to express righteous indignation if they themselves felt somehow implicated in the offense. So you’re more likely to deplore sweatshops if you know your favourite pair of jeans was hand-stitched in one.

Rothschild and Keefer call their conclusions “counter-intuitive”. Tell that to Adam and Eve, who basically conducted this same experiment at the foot of the forbidden tree. Anyone listening to the Sermon on the Mount could have predicted this outcome — it’s simply how the human heart works, according to Christian teaching.

“Why do you look at the speck of dust in your brother’s eye and ignore the plank in your own?” (Matthew 7:3). Well, because picking on the guy next door is easier than admitting that you and he share the same inner brokenness. Our pious condemnations are the fig leaves we knit together to cover up the sense of unrighteousness we inherited from our first parents (Genesis 3:7-12). So what came as a revelation to professional psychologists was old news to believers.

This isn’t the first time that secular findings have pointed suggestively towards God. Back when Albert Einstein developed relativity theory, his calculations convinced him (despite his reluctance) that the universe had a beginning, which implies a beginner.


Is there psychological evidence for Original Sin? (Aleteia)

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