Original Sin

Mass-murderers like Charlie Manson and Andreas Brevik (spelling?) seem to think everyone is a psycho like them. They have it in common that all they thought they needed to do to start a race/faith war was to kill a few people, a few tens of people, and the war would be on, that all the average guy needs is for someone to start the killing and we’d all jump in and go on a mass mass-murder spree, a national, even global, bench-clearing brawl. They think everyone is like them, or at least that we all secretly want to be.
A core belief in people’s intrinsic violence, intrinsic evil, that’s what that is. Or to put it in other words, they hold with the doctrine of Original Sin.
Which is, of course, is a strong predictor for the nearly universal belief in the social tool known as punishment.
(This is what makes Charlie so captivating when he talks. He seems to know this, that he and we are not that far apart.)
It’s no secret that the religious, at least the Christian religious make no bones about this, that Original Sin is a tenet, they think it’s true, hence the need for God. And they mostly all follow the extrapolated idea from it, “spare the rod and spoil the child.” But what of the disavowed, the atheists, the lapsed? Also true, for the most part. We can deny the church, we can deny the bible, but it is foolish to deny that the bible is the basis of our entire culture here west of Afghanistan and east of Hawaii, (possibly excluding much of Africa) for the last 2,000 years. You atheists, you church-bashers, know this: use the rod, and you propagate the very thing you hope to extinguish!
This is a key part of the interaction between religion and our faith in punishment as a social tool. When everyone is punished, when we are all raised with punishments that begin long before we have any understanding of the world, then a vengeful god makes sense, the idea of a punishment awaiting us at the end of a mis-lived life seems, reasonable. It has precedent, at least in our minds. Of course, this idea is normally expressed the other way ’round, that God and his punishments are the model for our lives, as written into many faiths’ texts. I don’t hope to change any minds among the religious followers, but the atheist reader will have to admit that the actual function is arranged in the natural timeline of a human life: parents first, God second.
It seems that there is no getting around our cultural heritage, certainly not if we still cling to the most important and influential beliefs of that legacy while only disavowing ourselves of the less reality-based and purely theoretical ones.
Alice Miller:
“Wherever I look, I see signs of the commandment to honour one’s parents and nowhere of a commandment that calls for the respect of a child.”