Up much too late (my explanation for watching CSPAN2), I just finished watching Christopher Hitchens mock a poor Catholic apologist for his inability to account for the Christian proposition that people are spiritually "dead" from the beginning and that God commands them, in that state, to "decide to make themselves well." What a ridiculous concept, says Hitchens, that dead men can resolve to raise themselves. I agree.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2)