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Original Sin and Everyday ProtestantsThe Theology of Reinhold Niebuhr, Billy Graham, and Paul Tillich in an Age of Anxiety$
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Andrew S. Finstuen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833360

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807898536_finstuen

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Original Sin: “The Only Empirically Verifiable Doctrine of the Christian Faith”

Original Sin: “The Only Empirically Verifiable Doctrine of the Christian Faith”

(p.69) Chapter 3 Original Sin: “The Only Empirically Verifiable Doctrine of the Christian Faith”
Original Sin and Everyday Protestants

Andrew S. Finstuen

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the shared conviction of Niebuhr, Graham, and Tillich regarding the empirical truth of the doctrine of original sin. For all three, the long history of humanity's inhumanity supported the truth of original sin. For them, the record of human discord, while tragic, was not surprising, having arisen from a common origin. The myriad evils of the world and of history emerged from a fundamental disharmony within human beings. In short, particular evils or sins were but expressions of original sin. Beyond this shared belief, the three's interpretations of original sin both diverged and converged. Their understandings of the Genesis account of Adam and Eve, their philosophies of man, and their explanations of the chief symptoms of original sin differed in several ways. Yet their differences on these points were more in degree than in kind.

Keywords:   shared conviction, empirical truth, original sin, humanity's inhumanity, human discord, fundamental disharmony

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