The Carl Online


Don’t Have A Halloween Costume? Have Faith by carlmagazine
October 20, 2010, 8:18 pm
Filed under: Society | Tags: , ,

By Dan Antoszyk

Halloween is fast approaching; do you know what you want to be? Well, let’s brainstorm. What kind of creature is full of deceit, envy, and maliciousness? What type of beast gives birth to babies that are inherently evil? What is that one being that purposely betrayed the creative force of love? You. Why not just be a sinner for Halloween? You won’t even have to dress up.

Unashamed is the campus publication that deals with all matters related to “faith,” and this October’s issue focused on the concepts of good and evil and how they relate to human nature. This topic turned out to be perfectly themed for the holiday at the end of the month, as some of the submissions turned out to be downright spooky. While not every piece was in this vein, there was one especially forceful section that argued for a worldview in which we recognize that all people are born evil. The article and the magazine itself are meant to provoke discussion, and I have been sufficiently provoked.

First, the author lays out the argument from the good Old Testament. Adam and Eve betrayed God, and our lives now “reflect the lack of trust” that began with this original sin. While God may have created us to be good, “we have chosen to turn away from Him,” abusing the free will with which He, “in His love,” endowed upon us. Luckily, Jesus was sent down to die for us all on the cross. By making Jesus “king of our lives,” we may yet be able to avoid “the punishment of eternal death” which God must mete out onto those who stray too far. This is all very well, but it is also internally inconsistent. If God were omnipotent, why would He (She/It) create people that He knew He would have to punish? What’s the use of free will without knowledge in the first place? Was it only Adam and Eve who really had free will, deciding for everybody else that we would be born sinners? I wasn’t even aware that in my “heart and life” I had chosen to “forsake God,” and I’m not quite ready to call this ‘an accurate explanation of my own human nature.

The author then tells us that there are “many instances ” that illustrate how “human nature is tainted with sin.”  To prove this point the reader is asked to closely observe a baby. Babies do not need to be taught to cry when hungry or when their diaper is soiled. This is proof that little children are predisposed to put themselves before everybody else; thy are selfish, and selfishness is the root of evil. “What is the middle letter of sin?” asks the author. “I.”

Well, perhaps babies can seem a bit scary when one gets to thinking about them, and maybe they do seem to only care about themselves. Yet, what would you expect a baby to do? Politely inquire for some peeled grapes? Sit quiet0ly in a dirty pamper and ponder how to do good deeds? Suppose babies (and grownups for that matter) do put themselves before others. Is that really a bad thing? I think we might recognize that by caring about others we also help ourselves, and this is totally ok. I would contend that when people try to follow God and avoid eternal punishment, they are engaging in a self-serving action. So what? They may be doing wonderful things for the world. At the same time, this does not mean that humans can’t engage in selfless action. There are plenty of cases in which one person, before there is even time to think of the consequences, will put him or herself in harm’s way just to help another.

It sometimes seems like volume 4 issue 1 of Unashamed had the message of “be ashamed.” Yes, we can look back to Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening of the mid 16th century to see that this idea has always played a role in our society. For the most part there has since been an evolution to the point where today, there are not many who think it necessary to actually live in fear. At the same time, accepting human nature as sinful has helped many people live their lives, and it continues to do so now. So, if you wish to be a sinner for Halloween, by all means go ahead.   However, I would like to add that really, you don’t have to.

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