Original Goodness

From The Survivor Activist, the newsletter of Survivor Connections, Inc.

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As a Catholic youngster I had the notion of “original sin” instilled in me by the Sisters of Mercy and the Baltimore Catechism. This Judaeo-Christian concept states that children are born with the inherited sins of Adam and Eve on their souls, needing to be cleansed away through Baptism. Each newborn is so tainted at birth.

As a counterpoint to this thought pattern, I propose the idea of “Original Goodness.” Rather than every infant coming into the world in a state of sin, and with the inclination towards evil - the essential innocence of youth and the wonderful potential for positive achievement is what must be acknowledged and celebrated.

An infant has neither committed sin (immoral acts) nor done any good deeds. He or she is morally a blank slate. But the potential for goodness and personal happiness is boundless. To impose unearned, undeserved guilt and shame on a baby from birth onward is truly the act that is shameful and guilt-worthy.