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Subject:  Is man basically good? Date:  1/25/2001  4:00 PM
Author:  coralville Number:  41404 of 199235

Azpackrfn: While it would be nice to believe we are inherently good, we are told otherwise in scripture.

I don't deny that in comparison to Christ, mankind can be seen as being evil and depraved. It is certainly the case that we are susceptible to temptation and I would even agree that our strongest instincts are for self-gratification, which often involves sin. So why do I still cling to my belief that man is basically good?

1. Scripture. Jesus said to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Would Jesus ask us to love something that is intrinsically evil? Hard to believe. While humanity is certainly fallible, God seems to feel there is something of value within us worth redeeming.

2. Personal experience. In my day to day interactions with people I find that most are pretty decent. Most are generally honest, most are willing to help if needed, and most try to avoid hurting other people. In my experience, most people try to do the right thing, though they certainly don't always succeed. The fact that they try suggests a basic goodness.

3. Historical progress. I contend that we are a more moral civilization now than at any time in history. We now generally believe that slavery is wrong. We accept the notion that there are such things as human rights. We believe in due process of law. We decry torture. We believe that all people are created equal. Such thoughts would have seemed odd 500 years ago. I would also suggest that democratic forms of governing depend on the assumption that people are basically good and responsible citizens. Therefore, the success of democracies in our time is evidence for the basic goodness of humanity.

4. Krispy Kreme donuts, Ben and Jerry ice cream, McDonald's french fries. Seriously, any species that can make stuff like this can't be all bad.

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