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Bound to sin by Alistair McFadyen

By Alistair McFadyen

This e-book discusses the Christian doctrine of sin relating to sexual abuse of youngsters and the Holocaust, permitting those pathological occasions to light up and query our figuring out of sin. Taking heavily the explanatory strength of secular discourses for examining and regulating healing motion relating to such events, the booklet asks no matter if the theological language of sin can supply extra illumination through conversing of God and the area jointly. The booklet is rare in discussing the Holocaust with regards to Christian doctrine.

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Reinterpretation Alongside the individualistic strand of counter-interpretation, however, there stands another, which attempts to take more seriously the ways in which individuals, their intentionality and action, are shaped by their social context, by supra-personal and impersonal factors. Indeed, recognition of the power of social and historical pathologies provides the opportunity for a reinterpretation of the core of the doctrine of original sin: the dialectic between the ‘external’ (supra-personal and impersonal) factors and the ‘internal’.

A metaphysic, to put it the other way about, in which situation is in turn construed as something simply external to the asocial and ahistorical internality which constitutes one as a person. In this strand of reinterpretation, the personal is construed as always socially and historically situated; and situated in a way that renders it impossible to speak nondialectically about inner/outer, personal/supra-personal or personal/ impersonal, as if they were simple oppositions. Rather, a human person precisely as free subject, and not merely in addition to this, is a being in the world, in history, and in a world of persons.

That accountability concerns a particular form of relation between an individual, an action and its consequences. Merely tracing a line of sufficient causation back from a given circumstance to behaviour is insufficient. The moral is concerned with a ‘Erbsünde und Monogenismus’, in Karl Weger, Theologie der Erbsünde (Freiburg: Herder, 1970), pp. 176–223; John J. ]1039–1041. 5. For a useful orientation here, see H. D. Lewis, Morals and the New Theology (London: Victor Gollancz, 1947); Morals and Revelation (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1951).

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