Explanatory thoughts for the post above:
On this matter, most people are imprecise in their thinking, positing that humans are sinful by nature. The premise is illogical for how can a perfect God create imperfection? God created us, originally as perfect because he is incapable of doing otherwise. That our nature has become sinful is an important distinction.
To use a computer analogy, we screwed up our operating system (the premature acquiring of the knowledge of good and evil) but our basic hardware/base code remains perfect, otherwise we would have no hope of being ‘born again’.
Mankind’s operational software is dysfunctional, (as we ‘think’ in our hearts) resulting in an inability to refrain from error, regardless of intention. Adam & Eve’s ‘sin’ was the premature ingestion of the knowledge of good and evil, prior to the attainment of the wisdom necessary to handle it. Just as willful children indulging in sexual activity before emotional maturity results in premature pregnancies.
I suspect that the ‘virus’ of ‘original sin’ is inherited through the father, which is why God used the very rare but scientifically established methodology of a ‘virgin birth’ with Jesus. Simply because it was the only physical way God could bring into existence someone ‘free’ from original sin, yet born of woman.
God does not penalize. He’s not ‘into’ punishment.
He does allow consequence because otherwise you cannot have a universe of cause and effect. Reality as we know it could not exist otherwise.
Accountability and responsibility are necessary in order to learn and progress.
No one can ‘atone’ for your sins but yourself. For Jesus to atone for our sins would be for God to absolve us of any responsibility for our own actions. That would violate a universe based in cause and effect. It would undermine accountability. The entomology of the word atone is “at one with” so atoning for our sins is allowing God to fully cleanse us, so that we may reconnect with him and experience at-oneness with divinity.
Our sins are forgivable because our ‘sins’ are the result of our inheritance; we really, truly, do not ‘know’ what we do.
Just as the insane do not ‘know’ right from wrong…and we do not hold the criminally insane responsible… Would God be less understanding? But in order for us to be cured of this dis-ease we must allow God, our personal physician, to do the work within that is needed.
Not because God wants to rule us, for how then to explain our free will? No loving God could be simultaneously a sadist, giving a gift but then insisting we not use it. We do misuse our free will, using it in ways that are neither to our or our brothers and sisters benefit. Surrender is necessary because it is the only way to cure us! Just as, when we have a ‘cancer’, we have to trust the modern physician who recommends the seeming ‘death penalty’ of radiation and chemotherapy.
We didn’t eat the ‘apple’ but we do have to live with the consequences of our ancestor’s actions. And yes, all of us would have behaved exactly as Adam & Eve did, because Eve’s curiosity and willingness to ‘take a chance’ and Adam’s steadfast love for Eve are symbolic of our nature.
Islam’s central premise that we must freely surrender our will to God is correct.
The Bahai’s are right that all religions are divinely inspired attempts by man to understand his existence. Each ‘religion’ is but part of the truth and all are partially distorted by man. All represent efforts by God to ‘reach’ mankind.
Hinduism’s central premise that we come into existence multiple times with the goal of gradually increasing the embodiment of our ‘Christ’ self is self-evident. What kind of ‘loving’ parent gives a recalcitrant child but one chance to repent? Remember the prodigal son? He had a symbolic lifetime to return.
Buddhism is right in its premise that we are all on the road to our own ‘Buddha-hood’ (awakening to our true spiritual nature). That we are all blind and, see but part of the ‘truth’ (reality).
Native American spiritual practice is right in its perception that all existence is just different aspects of the creator. Including us and, if we are but one aspect of God, his most self-aware creation, i.e. all children of God, then by definition we are he…
Judaism is right in its central premise; the metaphoric explanatory message contained in the Genesis story. It’s how we got to be in this mess and where we come from and of what our true nature consists.
Christianity is right in its central premise that Jesus found the way that leads to reunion with God. Jesus embodied that way to the extent that he became that way and fully embodied the Christ, making him permanently one with God. That is why he must be accepted (followed) because only one ‘door’ opens to the godhead (the source of divinity) simply because God’s nature is singular and undivided.