The Effects of Moral Corruption

rotten appleOriginal sin . . . causes a pervasive feeling of alienation from God, from other people and from the true Self [i.e., the new man ]. The cultural consequences of these alienations are instilled in us from earliest childhood and passed on from one generation to the next. The urgent need to escape from the profound insecurity of this situation gives rise, when unchecked, to insatiable desires for pleasure, possession, and power. On the social level, it gives rise to violence, war, and institutional injustice. . . . The particular consequences of original sin include all the self serving habits that have been woven into our personality from the time we were conceived; all the emotional damage that has come from our early environment and upbringing; all the harm that other people have done to us knowingly or unknowingly at an age when we could not defend ourselves; and the methods we acquired–many of them now unconscious–to ward off the pain of unbearable situations.

Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart, 158-59.

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