Thoughts On Original Sin

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Ohg Rea Tone is all or nothing. He is educated and opinionated, more clever than smart, sarcastic and forthright. He writes intuitively - often disregarding rules of composition. Comment on his posts - he will likely respond with characteristic humor or genuine empathy. He is the real-deal.

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Thoughts On Original Sin

Some Jungian analysts suggest that original sin relates to family of origin.The idea is in order to be ‘saved’ from the original sin one must escape the dysfunction of one’s family of origin.

Original ‘sin,’ as defined by theologians, takes many different forms.  We are born with the sin of Adam, for instance.  Or we are born into sin because humans are inherently flawed. These sorts of theological interpretations strike this write as being in the realm of the mystic or superstitious – they don’t work very well in a rational world.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Original sin may be taken to mean: (1) the sin that Adam committed; (2) a consequence of this first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam.

From All About Creation:

Original Sin: Why Creation and Evolution Cannot Coexist in Christianity
“Original Sin” is one of the core theological reasons that a Christian cannot embrace the theory of evolution. Regardless of the scientific issues that now plague the evolutionary belief system, the whole message of Christianity starts with mankind’s fall from paradise into death through Adam’s sin. With evolution, we envision millions and millions of years of death, decay and disease before Adam even came on the scene.

We like the idea of the Jungian Analysts.  This idea offers more hope for success than merely depending on prayer to some sort of supreme being.  It feels more reasonable that we take some responsiblity for our own sanity.  This suggests to us that we must understand our family of origin, understand the dysfunction, and then proceed accordingly. The concept is probably the basis of ‘secrets keep us sick.’ The question is: How do we uncover the secrets?

When this writer was forty years old we drew a genogram, a flowchart of sorts, diagramming our family tree.  We took it to our parents and asked that they verify the chronology.  We were pretty sure we had chronicled our family correctly – but the exercise provided an opportunity for discussion.

From Wikipedia:

A genogram is a pictorial display of a person’s family relationships and medical history. It goes beyond a traditional family tree by allowing the user to visualize hereditary patterns and psychological factors that punctuate relationships. It can be used to identify repetitive patterns of behavior and to recognize hereditary tendencies.

As we pointed to the various squares and circles and connecting lines we asked, “This is correct, right?”  On a couple of occasions our parents became visibly anxious.  When questioned they admitted that some of the lines and squares and circles were not exactly in order.

We was forty years old when we began to learn the secrets of our family.  We suspect our parents would never directly lie to us – but if we had not directly asked, they would not have told.

I think that is the case with most families.  There are certain elements of our lives that we are not proud of and will not share voluntarily with our grandchildren. In this particular case both grandmothers had children before they met our eventual grandfather.  Our parents were strong advocates of children in the realm of marriage.  They also projected a strong principle against divorce.

These are not bad values – actually most people today would whole-heartedly support these values.  The problem comes from the family secret.  We cannot escape the dysfunction of our family by ignoring it – or covering it up.  In order to overcome dysfunction we must be aware of the dysfunction.

There Is 1 Response So Far. »

  1. Dad,

    There is a great story in the book “Wicked” in which Elphaba, the “witch”, is addressing her friends and says, [sic] “What does a dragon look like inside of its shell? We cannot know, because if we crack open the shell, then the dragon is no longer in it. So it is that the nature of evil is to be secret.” We cannot know the evil that lurks in secrets, for once we crack open the shell (or tell the secret), there is no longer secrecy and the evil does not remain. There is pain in honesty for each person, and someone has to go first. We look to uncover the secrets of others so often that we forget to reveal the secrets that lurk in our own shells. Certainly, dysfunction stems from secrecy, and it can be the secret of a grudge or the lie that one lives with every day. So I think that uncovering secrets is only possible when they are you own secrets.

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