Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Pelagianism: An Unorthodox Christian View

Pelagianism is Christian denomination that reforms the understanding about salvation; that is, the means by which humanity and God are restored to a right relationship. Pelagianism challenges two views held by most Christian churches, namely: The concept of the "Original Sin" and the salvation provided by the crucification of Jesus. Pelagianism was founded by a British monk called Pelagius.

Pelagius believed that the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin (the Fall) were restricted to themselves only; and thereby denied the belief that original sin was passed on to the children of Adam and thus to the human race. Adam's sin merely "set a bad example" for his descendants and Jesus "set a good example" for mankind (thus counteracting Adam's bad example). Pelagianism teaches that human beings are born in a state of innocence with a nature that is as pure as that which Adam was given at his creation before he sinned. Pelagius taught that salvation could be attained through free will alone, without the redemption of divine grace.

Pelagius taught that man has an unimpaired moral ability to choose that which is spiritually good and possesses the free will, ability, and capacity to do that which is spiritually good. This resulted in a gospel of salvation based on human works. Man could choose to follow the precepts of God and then follow those precepts because he had the power within himself to do so.

Thusly, Pelagius claims that humans are fully responsible through their free will, for both sins and goodness. Because by denying the effect of the original sin on mankind, humans cannot justify their actions as a consequence of the original sin. Likewise, humans are responsible for their own goodness and their own salvation. In a certain sense, and according to the teachings of Pelagius, Jesus' existence was a living proof that humans can be good, and had no redemption value beyond that.

5 comments:

The Observer said...

I think that regardless of the original sin concept, people usually inherit a lot from their parents, including sometimes having to live with some bad choices their parents took at a certain point of their lives.

It may not be fair in theory, but this is what naturally happens!

Devil's Mind said...

Yes, it is true that people inherit many attributes from their parents. And that is natural.

Our focus here is of the "original sin" as a theological concept rather than the natural inheritance of personal attributes, or situational attributes.

The original sin as a theological concept is pretty problematic. I quote from a wikipedia article: "Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of the guilt of Adam which all human beings inherit. As sinners, human beings are utterly depraved in nature, lack the freedom to do good, and cannot respond to the will of God without divine grace."

If we consider Christianity in its current form, the "original sin" concept plays a major role. First, the concept of baptism: The concept of baptism is directly related to the concept of original sin, because baptism is considered as a "cleansing" act that all humans need (including infants).

Second, the original sin is considered as a negative image of the human nature. Again, I quote wikipedia: "In Augustine's view, all of humanity was really present in Adam when he sinned, and therefore all have sinned. Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of the guilt of Adam which all human beings inherit." - So, through the concept of original sin, Christianity is trying to establish a negative image of all humans, they create a culture of shame that is re-enforced through promotion of guilt.

Devil's Mind said...

Also, if you were to compare the original sin to the natural process of inheritance, in nature there is evolution, things change to the better. The process of breeding and evolution creates change and diversity, as opposed to the concept of th original sin that is viewed as an unchangeable constant.

Dee said...

ino a5eeran :p i like the idea though i never thought of the original sin as something that affects my life...i dont believe it has anything to do with a persons actions but i do think that it made life what it is now min na7iet ino a man has to work hard to get what he wants in life and women will be cursed with this pregancy shit and stuff like that...and maybe if the original sin didnt happen things will be different but then again maybe its all part of the big plan :p

a different perspective said...

Im not sure what to say...neither christianity nor the original sin nor pelagianism make any sense to me.