According to the Book of Genesis it's been all downhill since Eve took a bite out of the apple. From that time forward we humans have supposedly laboured under the curse of that "original sin" with little or no hope of salvation. Christians caught a break though, because they believe a young Rabbi from Nazareth to have been their saviour and if they accept him as such, and live their lives according to whichever sect of Christianity they adhere to, they will obtain salvation after their death and ascend to heaven.
Of course we would have been a lot better off if that silly Eve had never let herself be sweet talked into chomping on that forbidden fruit in the first place. If only she could have resisted temptation, humanity's fall from grace would never have happened in the first place, and the curse of consciousness would never have been released. If we hadn't gained awareness in the first place, we never would have even dreamed of questioning authority, and how much easier a time the church would have in ensuring our salvation.
If they had the opportunity to prevent Eve from succumbing to temptation what do you think the folk running the Roman Catholic Church would do? If it looked like they would be given an opportunity to rid the world of awareness - to somehow reverse the process that was precipitated by biting the apple - would they jump at the opportunity? How much easier it would be to ensure that everybody obeyed God's will, as expressed by the Church, if they could be reverted back to that state of grace - that state of unthinking obedience.
Pretty heavy subject matter for a series of books supposedly composed for young people don't you think? Yet, that's the basic premise behind the spectacularly successful trilogy His Dark Materials by British author Philip Pullman. To coincide with the release of The Golden Compass, the first instalment of the movie adaptation of Pullman's work, Random House Canada recently published an omnibus edition of the trilogy bringing all three titles under one cover for the first time. Included in the publication are new afterwords to each book by the author, which encourage readers to let their imaginations speculate about characters and places mentioned in the book, beyond the confines of the original story.