Skip to main content

The Garden of Eden: A Humanist Perspective

By Carl S ~

According to tradition, the Garden of Eden was a place where no evil existed. No pain, no suffering, no death. Perhaps it's that same “Paradise” Moslems are taught is worth dying for to achieve. They might want to reconsider their desire.

The tale of “The Fall” belies the absence of evil there, for how else could two proto-humans discover (through the Tree of knowledge of good and evil) evil, if it wasn't present from the beginning?

This story tells of a creator-god who, following creation, pronounces his entire creation “good.” It follows the Tree of Knowlege was good, and therefore, its fruits. The creator's calling attention to the tree in the most obvious way, made investigating the fruit all the more desirable. After all, some of the most unalienable rights we humans possess are curiosity and questioning. And considering those humans involved had neither knowledge nor experience of what “death” meant, we can understand their curiosity to find what it's all about.

The story tells children and adults not to let their curious and questioning natures stand in the way of obeying arbitrary “do not's.” The lesson is: if you do, you will be punished. And yet, without exercising those attributes, without following our doubts and testing claims, we can't make progress. Since the woman makes the first move, we might in all fairness credit our freedom to her.

Metaphorically speaking, we are the serpent who tempts ourselves to challenge, find out for ourselves, to explore, to take no man's nor god's word for what is of interest and/or importance to us. And, though fears are normal, knowledge is our way out of fears. We must listen to the serpent, decide for ourselves.

Banishment of questioners is an indication the figure who demands they not question is threatened by their freedom to question. Might the creator-figure be jealous of them, since he hasn't the free will they have? And if arbitrary and unfair banishment is the result of our challenging the tale's authority figure, it has proven to be well worth it. We have been true to our nature. We proved we can choose knowledge over the security of complacent ignorance.

According to the Garden of Eden tale, humans were cast out into a world they were completely unprepared for. For this, they needed to take along their tempting inner serpent, and as many of the forbidden fruits of the Tree as they could. Thus, the seeds continue to produce more trees, more knowledge, ever after. And, so it is, we are ever after learning from its fruits.

Our curious, questioning, investigating and inventive natures lead us to conclude that a human, another inventive human like ourselves, made up the whole god/creator/creation/paradise/expulsion story, because no one could have witnessed such things. Someone should have burned the story. A true original sin would be in choosing the blind obedience to ignorance, instead of knowledge. The Tree and serpent have set us free.


Popular posts from this blog

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo


By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~ I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard. A common phrase used with non-Christians is: “Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.” There are a few things which must be addressed. 1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example. Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not

Why I left the Canadian Reformed Church

By Chuck Eelhart ~ I was born into a believing family. The denomination is called Canadian Reformed Church . It is a Dutch Calvinistic Christian Church. My parents were Dutch immigrants to Canada in 1951. They had come from two slightly differing factions of the same Reformed faith in the Netherlands . Arriving unmarried in Canada they joined the slightly more conservative of the factions. It was a small group at first. Being far from Holland and strangers in a new country these young families found a strong bonding point in their church. Deutsch: Heidelberger Katechismus, Druck 1563 (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I was born in 1955 the third of eventually 9 children. We lived in a small southern Ontario farming community of Fergus. Being young conservative and industrious the community of immigrants prospered. While they did mix and work in the community almost all of the social bonding was within the church group. Being of the first generation born here we had a foot in two