Original Sin – the Curse of Generations
Finding Resolutions for Hidden Self Hatred in the Western World
As you read this title your first reaction may be ‘I was not raised in a religious family’, ‘I was never taught this’, ‘I’m not a Chrisitian’ – which is understandable. However, for the past fifteen hundred years, every generation, and that is between 45 and 60 generations, has been raised with the teaching that they were born in sin, are sinners and also in need of redemption from sin. The ugliest face of this distorted teaching has been the various inquisitions, the witch burnings and other heinous acts of torture and war done in the name of Christ.
I had not considered myself a Christian at all when I was in my 40’s, I had long moved on from my Catholic upbringing and had rid myself of the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witness sect that I was briefly a member of in my teenage years. However, on entering a country that had never been colonised and had in effect been a closed society and culture for thousands of years, I then to my shock realised just how Christian my thinking was – and in almost every way. The country I speak of is China. I began to see that even with my open and liberal view of morality, some of my philosophies, my view of the Universe, had all been shaped by Christian thinking. We may not be church going or practising Christians, but after 50 or more generations, the thinking is very much part of who we are and is embedded in our cultural values and norms, even when we are not conscious that our moral and philosophical view has its roots in distorted Christian thinking.
The Teaching, Parenting and Society
The basic teaching is that humanity fell from grace, committed the deadly sin of disobedience, was cast out of paradise and was in need of a saviour to become the ransom sacrifice to absolve them of their sins. At its most horrendous, parents were taught that if their young baby died before the ceremony of Christening, then their child would either end up in a place called ‘Purgatory’ or even in the fires of ‘Hell’ for an entirety. Apart from being heinously devoid of any love and compassion, it was a teaching controlled the population with fear, terror, shame and blame. After 50 generations of this, it has become such a deep part of our psyche, cellular and ancestral memory, most of us don’t realise that we are still sitting within the vast energy field of an astral ‘Christian’ thought form that has shaped and formed us, in the same way we are shaping and forming it as our consciousness evolves.
All of this has had a direct impact on generations of western and Christian parenting – children became a problem to be solved, a sinner to be saved, something inherently bad needing to be disciplined into being good. This is the grim legacy of Christianity, a punitive view of individuals, families and nations.
As these belief systems have directly impacted parenting for generations, at the core of western culture and most western individuals is self hatred. There is the notion that we must achieve something, become something or do something in order to be ‘good’. Our belief in our inherent badness runs deep, very, very deep. We grasp at objects, status, ideals, spirituality, images, ideas about body, diets, food and fashion all in the vein hope that some somehow, somewhere, that if we’re ‘good enough’ then the inherent, generationally taught, culturally and religiously imposed self hatred will dissolve. It won’t. It doesn’t. It remains and becomes a millstone around our necks that causes us to chase after the next saviour – be that saviour in the form of career, a special diet, yoga, sports, fashion, money, sex, lover, spirituality or we become addicted to a narrow set of emotions such as anger, bitterness, cynicism or we grasp onto positive thinking in a way that borders on creating another abusive dogma to be adhered to. None of these new saviours will satisfy until we face self hatred.
The Individual God
One of the legacies of the Abrahamic religions and Christianity is the creation of an individual, singular God who has a personality, a will, a rule and a desire. In the creation of this concept of an individual God as a singular entity, this God then became external to us and our relationship to Him was either to be in or out of favour, according to the prevailing dogmas at the time. This also very much mimicked our relationships to parents. Daddy was either happy or unhappy with us, and as with all dominant fathers who could turn on us in a bad temper, much of our time could be spent trying to anticipate and figure out his largely unexpressed wishes and will.
Just as we may run around trying to get the benevolence, love and attention of an aloof father or mother, our concept of an individual God that sits up on high is also an aloof one, whose grace we may also chase through being ‘good’.
Much of Christianity in its current and historical form cannot in reality claim to be Christian, but rather, it is very Paulist in nature. Much of Christian thinking finds it roots in the writing of Paul who is mistakenly called an Apostle even though he was not one of the original 12 and converted to Christianity some 70 years after the reported death of Christ. Paul, for one reason or another, clearly could not embrace the simple teachings of Jesus, which are identical in places to the teachings of the Buddha and Krishna. In effect, what Paul did was to re-establish a more Levitical view of the world – God is to be obeyed and feared and these are the rules you must follow. The establishment of Paulism as the official ‘Christian’ religion was of course political – placing God outside of the individual, assigning clergy as the only way to ‘God’, introducing the teachings of Hellfire, Purgatory and being Born in Sin all amounted to controlling a vast uneducated population for the purposes of garnering power and wealth. However, as educated as we may be, 50 generations of this religious atrocity have left and almost indelible mark on the western soul – a foot print of self loathing has been left on our relationship to self.
The Curse of Christianity with its strongly Monotheistic ‘personal God’ thinking is that it places all that is divine outside of the individual and then does two things very clearly: it says that ‘sin’ in the nature of the individual, thereby we are inherently bad, and then places access to God through one of more individuals. This very recipe keeps in the loop of seeking external validation for our goodness, none of which can ever satisfy – when the centre of our being is never touched, then nothing ever touches it. When we’ve been culturally trained for well over a thousand years to believe that what lies within us is bad, sinful and separate from God, then it is little wonder that self hatred is a virulent disease in western culture.
So what if we were now to challenge this premise and to start allowing ourselves to discover the truth of what is within us? This is often a challenge as we have built many rings of defence around our central core.
In an ideal world, parents are in touch with and live from their own true essence and freely bring their children into a process of merging love in which our own essence is reflected back to us. As each generation of separation from our true nature has advanced through time and the generations, we have become increasingly isolated from the truth of who we are. This isolation from our own very nature has lead to a great deal of loneliness in western culture especially, and one in which objectifying individuals has become the norm instead of the exception. When generations of a culture have been told that they are inherently bad, then they will simply begin believing it. You may even be reading these words and exclaiming ‘none of this applies to me’, however, when we truly examine our beliefs around achieving, doing and becoming in order simply to have value – the picture becomes crystal clear. There is a great difference between engaging in careers, activities and spiritual practices for the sheer joy, love and creative expression of it than to grasp at self esteem and self worth through the medium of our choice.
With our inner work we stumble across the rings of defence that we’ve built to hide our innocent essence away from harm. As our essence and innate goodness was not reflected back to us and as we continued to be subjected to the punitive nature of Abrahamic cultures and religion, we then began to hide the most precious and beautiful parts of ourselves away. Around this delicate innocence that also brims with exuberant life forces are rings like the rings of Saturn that cloak our light with grief, profound sadness, resentment, bitterness, hatred, anger, rage, despair, hopelessness, worthlessness, self hatred and self loathing.
With all of these rings in place, going within to find inherent goodness can be a challenge as we bump into everything we’ve stored up, denied, was too afraid to feel or acknowledge, or simply numbed ourselves to. As we venture into this world we begin to glimpse glimmers of what was once lost, forgotten, told it wasn’t welcome or shamed out of us in the name of obedience, compliance and agreement to a collective belief system that has had us hating ourselves for generations. As we have the courage to face the big bad wolf of self hatred that has stalked us for generations, hope begins finally to emerge, the light of truth and consciousness is shone upon our true nature and we can start to truly experience what Jesus, Buddha and Krishna all have said.
‘The Kingdom of God is within’ Jesus
‘ you will find the Lord dwelling in your own heart’ Krishna
Each of the great master teachers that have come forward for humanity has pointed toward the inner direction. We must be mindful that we don’t, just like Christianity* and its distortions, end up doing the same thing: approach a new teaching with an unconscious Christian/Western trained mind. The unconscious Christian trained psyche will tell us ‘if I study and practice this type of Yoga, I shall be good and saved’, ‘If I follow these dietary rules, I will be good’, ‘If I outwardly behave in this way, then I will be good’, ‘If I am a healer, I will be saved and worthy’.
The endemic presence of acquired self hatred has as its best friend the ‘spiritualised ego’. The spiritualised ego grasps onto just about any promise of something that will make it feel good, better, or even superior. The spiritualised ego, in working hand in hand with self hatred and shame to keep it all firmly under wraps eagerly discerns anything that will either give it the feeling of being ‘good’, the idea of being ‘good’ or the appearance of being ‘good’. Not being ‘good’ is tantamount to a death sentence, for the feelings of shame that come with not being ‘good’ are too much to bear. Therefore, at all costs, being anything less than ‘good’ is acceptable – indeed, this is the root of so much of the narcissism we see in western spiritual circles.
Steps to Freedom
It would simply not be true to say that all, or even most of our inner conflicts can be attributed to Western Christian thinking. One only has to look at other non Christian cultures to know that they too have their own set of problems, some unique to them, and many others in common with westerners. Many of our personal issues arise out of personal traumas and from direct experiences within the drama that is childhood. However, it behoves us to realise that we are not islands and that we are also barely a generation away from the direct influence of daily religious dogma and strict social norms based on the same. You, me, we may not be church going Christians, and we may even be affiliated with a liberal spiritual or religious tradition – However, 1,500 years and 50 generations or more of Original Sin have left their mark and have separated us from the knowledge and experience that within us is a wellspring of goodness, grace, creativity, aliveness and love that could be called ‘God’ by any other name. Goodness is both our birthright, natural inheritance and the very nature of our being. The time is now for authentically and diligently reclaiming all that was lost in the dogma of Original Sin. Once this is done we will fully realise that the one and only Original Sin is how we have denied who we truly are.