Man’s First Sin: Pursuing Knowledge


The pursuit of knowledge has been condemned by various religions for centuries. As the internet continues to expand to more and more nations, one can see how the use of Facebook and other social networking sites has contributed to uprisings against cruel totalitarian leaders. One can only speculate as to how long medical knowledge was delayed by the teaching that Satan was the source of illness. How many people could have hypothesized about the universe before Galileo, but were afraid of being condemned by the Catholic Church?

I would be much more lenient toward Catholicism if it did not preach eternal suffering as a punishment for the pursuit of knowledge. The refusal to admit that one does not have knowledge of something is a virtue not a vice.

Benjamin Franklin wisely stated during the critical time period of the founding of the United States:

 “On the whole, sir, I can not help expressing a wish that every member of the convention who may still have objections to it, would, with me, on this occasion, doubt a little of his own infallibility, and, to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument.”

So would the Church be as powerful as it is today if it did not claim infallibility?

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6 Responses to Man’s First Sin: Pursuing Knowledge

  1. Of course not! No church would have the power they wield, but through intimidation and trying to preserve ignorance.
    Although the pursuit of ignorance is by no means the monopoly of the Catholic Church (of which I was once a part), other religions also demand this:

    “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has…she is the Devil’s greatest whore, a whore eaten by scab and leprosy, who ought to be trodden underfoot and destroyed, she and her wisdom….Throw dung in her face….drown her in baptism.” Martin Luther

    Nice post and congratulations on the selection of the image ( The Fall of Man by Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617).

  2. Chris says:

    Well, that’s one take on the fall.. haha. Ethan, the reason for the fall was not the desire for knowledge, but rather disobedience to God. God explicitly said that they couldn’t eat from the tree of knowledge, and they did. It’s as simple as that.

    Interesting point about power coming from claiming infallibility. But what power are you talking about and how do you reason that final statement? Thank you.

    • Ethan Hill says:

      How can you do good if you do not have knowledge of it? Perhaps their consciences were formed erroneously, and the tree was the only way to find out. Why condemn being open to other possibilities? Why wasn’t the first sin something that is actually immoral? Also, if god told you to kill your mother or father would you do it? It is an honest question I would like you to answer.

      • Chris says:

        I’m not completely sure about your good thing. Adam and Eve must have had knowledge enough, because it wouldn’t have been a sin if they didn’t know that it was bad. But they did know that it was bad, remember, since God explicitly told them.

        I think you might be confused on what sin is. Sin isn’t necessarily immoral, the most basic definition of sin is doing something against God, against God’s will. Something like smoking or drinking alcohol isn’t necessarily sinning, for example.

        We had an example of something like that in the Bible a couple of times. You have Abraham nearly taking Issac’s life by God’s order. You have Jesus dying on the cross by God’s order. If it actually is God’s will that I know for sure, then yes. Morality is not defined by us, morality and what is good and evil is defined by God. And God is a loving God, so we don’t have to worry about that, thank God! God tells us to honor our parents and not to kill so that makes things quite clear.

      • Ethan Hill says:

        Yes, the second time Moses went up on a mountain all alone after he broke the first 10 commandments, he did come down with that as the fourth. I’m glad you would kill them if God commanded you to do so, that’s all I needed from you.

  3. Chris says:

    What do you think about that? Does it make sense to you?

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