Hedges on sin

One more bit of Hedges, because Eric mentioned that his (Hedges’s) theological training left him befuddled by the idea of ‘original sin,’ and I was planning to quote him on sin anyway if I got the time. Pp 13-14:

We have nothing to fear from those who do or do not believe in God; we have much to fear from those who do not believe in sin. The concept of sin is a stark acknowledgement that we can never be omnipotent, that we are bound and limited by human flaws and self-interest.

Stark, staring bullshit. Could hardly be more wrong. Obviously there is no need whatever to believe in ‘sin’ to be aware that we can never be omnipotent and that we are bound and limited by human flaws and self-interest. Really it’s mostly non-theists who are aware of that in the most thorough way, because theists mostly believe that we will ultimately be ‘redeemed’ or ‘atoned’ in some way. The rest of us just think we are deeply flawed animals and that’s all there is to it.

The concept of sin is a check on the utopian dreams of a perfect world. It prevents us from believing in our own perfectibility.

But the ‘new’ atheists Hedges is railing at dream no dreams of a perfect world, nor do they believe in human perfectibility – so clearly they don’t need the ‘concept of sin’ as a check on their non-existent dreams and beliefs.

To turn away from God is harmless…To turn away from sin is catastrophic…The secular utopians of the twenty-first century have also forgotten they are human.

And Hedges provides quotations to back up this assertion where? Nowhere. Because there are none, because the assertion is false.

We discard the wisdom of sin at our peril. Sin reminds us that all human beings are flawed…Studies in cognitive behavior illustrate the accuracy and wisdom of this Biblical concept.

Wait – what? It’s catastrophic to turn away from sin because without the concept of sin we don’t realize that humans are flawed, but on the other hand, studies in cognitive behavior (not to mention mere experience of life and humans and ourselves) offer evidence that we are flawed, so we don’t need the concept of sin after all. The man blows his own argument (or rather his baseless claim) without even noticing he’s done it. Where was his editor while all this was going on? Where was Hedges’s brain?

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