Aristotle and Original Sin?

It is a doctrine of mainstream Christianity (by which I primarily mean the Orthodox and Catholic Churches) that there was a primordial tragedy which caused humans to be subject to sin, to tend to be ruled by passions rather than by reason, to choose the less good rather than the true good. It’s for this reason that God becomes man, so the story goes, to end the subjection to death and heal the human race.

It’s a good story, but it’s not scientific, right? It’s not something a self-respecting philosopher would say, either. Religious superstition!

Aristotle says in Politics that some men are by nature slaves, lacking practical wisdom (phronesis) by which they would be able to direct their own actions to the good. Controversy!

But surely this is true, isn’t it? Lots of us do not choose the good when we are confronted with the choice. Maybe none of us really choose the good consistently.

I went to a water park with my family. It was fun! But there were very many people who were having difficulty choosing the right amounts and types of food to eat. What is obesity but a defect of practical wisdom?

Chesterton said somewhere that original sin is the one doctrine of Christianity that can be proved by reading the newspaper.

If we were simply natural animals, you might conclude that there is a mismatch between us and our environment, such that we tend not to thrive. Something seems amiss!