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RELIGIOUS BELIEFS ON THE NATURE & VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE
Literalist Christian views on the nature & value of human life
These Christians take all teachings of the Bible as absolute fact.
Sinful human nature originates from the original sin of Adam & Eve
St Augustine God created a world that was wholly good.
As all humans come from Adam & Eve all humans are tainted with the original sin. To
Augustine this means that all humans are intrinsically evil meaning that all humans are fallen,
tainted & sinful.
St Augustine & Predestination This suggests that as human nature is naturally `evil'
(as we're deprived of `good' nature) we're cut off from God. The only way in which some
humans are saved is through `Devine Election'. This is the belief that only God can provide a
human with a `good' nature if such action is wished by the Supreme Being.
Calvin the Elect & Damned- This is the follow up theory to St Augustine's
Predestination. Calvin stated that some humans are saved by God before birth thereby being
put into the category of the `Elect'. Those who have not been selected subsequently fall
into the category of the `Damned'.
St Augustine & Calvin - We're free to act in accordance to our nature.
The `elect' are swayed towards `good' actions and the `damned' towards `bad'.
Pelagius (A liberalist response to the Criticisms of St Augustine & Calvin)
The sin of Adam does not get passed down to every human being. Instead, every new born
human is in the same pure condition as Adam before the fall.
Pelagius stressed the essential goodness and free will of human beings.
Philosophical Questions/Criticisms of Literalist views on the Nature
&Value of humans
St Augustine- his views suggest that new born babies are evil. When a child is born it isn't
born with a conscience. This is something which develops with time as it has no intrinsic
awareness of right or wrong. A new born baby is similar in nature to an animal. It acts out of
instinct therefore it is incoherent to suggest new born babies are `evil'.
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Predestination & The `Elect' & `Damned'- contradicts Biblical implications of God as all loving.
This suggests biased nature of God which puts a question over the meaning of life for a
Judgement- if humans are either `elect' or `damned' then this puts question over the
purpose of life for a religious believer. What is the point in following a moral structure if God
has already decided your fate (although it could be argued that the elect are already good in
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Account for evil- modern view
Where does evil & suffering come from if God created the world and everything in it and it
Snake provides the stimulus for Eve to use her reason in whether or not to eat the apple.
Evil is therefore introduced through the actions of Eve not through the serpent. It was her
reasoning & free will.
Potential for evil is essential for morals actions to be meaningful.…read more
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Genesis Chapter 2: 4-25 "The man said, this is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called `woman, for she was taken out
of man." This implies that men are of more value than women. Literalist Christians have
taken this teaching and prevented women from taking an active church role. It also implies
that women are a creation created to help out men. This takes away any equality within
humans and reduces female value.…read more