It’s snowing. The city looks white, pure and lovely like a naive bride before the snow turns into muck and muddy slush. It feels as if the city’s cleansed of all its filth. This idea extends to cleansing rites by several groups — especially religions — throughout history.
“Ritual purification is a feature of many religions. The aim of these rituals is to remove specifically defined uncleanliness prior to a particular type of activity, and especially prior to the worship of a deity. This ritual uncleanliness is not identical with ordinary physical impurity, such as dirt stains; nevertheless, body fluids are generally considered ritually unclean.
Most of these rituals existed long before the germ theory of disease, and figure prominently from the earliest known religious systems of the Ancient Near East. Some writers remark that similarities between cleansing actions, engaged in by obsessive compulsive disorder sufferers and those of religious purification rites, point to an ultimate origin of the rituals in the personal grooming behaviour of the primates, but others connect the rituals to primitive taboos.
Some have seen benefits of these practices that as a point of health and preventing infections especially in areas where humans come in close contact with each other. While these practices came before the idea of the germ theory was public in areas that use daily cleaning, the destruction of infectious agents seems to be dramatic.”
Surprisingly enough today’s devotional comes from Romans 6:1-11 that talks about the sacrament of baptism — a form of cleansing ritual (thanks Charlotte ).
“1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:1-11 KJV)
Note that we (Christians) cleanse ourselves from the Original Sin to become children of God.
“Original sin, also called ancestral sin, is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity’s state of sin resulting from the fall of man, stemming from Adam’s rebellion in Eden. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred to as a ‘sin nature’, to something as drastic as total depravity or automatic guilt of all humans through collective guilt.
The concept of original sin was first alluded to in the 2nd century by Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons in his controversy (written in Greek) with the dualist Gnostics. Its scriptural foundation is based on the New Testament teaching of Paul the Apostle (Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:22), and also on King David’s words (Psalm 51:5) Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrose and Ambrosiaster considered that mankind shares in Adam’s sin, transmitted by human generation. Augustine’s formulation of original sin was popular among Reformers, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin who equated original sin with concupiscence, affirming that it persisted even after baptism and completely destroyed freedom. Within Roman Catholicism, the Jansenist movement, which the Church then declared heretical, also maintained that original sin destroyed freedom of will.
The doctrine is not found in mainstream Judaism, though there were some Jewish teachers in Talmudic times who believed that death was a punishment brought upon mankind on account of Adam’s sin, that is not the dominant view in Judaism today. The concept is also not found in Islam. Depending on how it is defined, original sin is also rejected by some Christian theologies.”