Let’s talk about a core life philosophy question. This question is really the starting point of all religions. Even the passionately non-religious have to answer this question if they are going to be honest about their beliefs.
Are people by nature good, or are they by nature evil?
By that I mean do people have the natural ability in themselves to successfully determine the morally right from the morally wrong and consistently choose to do the right things in their lives?
Humanism is one broad spectrum of philosophy that says people are generally good in that they are quite capable of making right moral choices.
The Fundamentalist preacher on the other hand will tell you that you are a sinner, Jesus wants to save you and you are doomed without his help.
Now my point here is not to start a debate about the finer points of Humanism or Christian Fundamentalism. I’m not an expert on either and may very well be inaccurate in my characterization of one or the other. I ask that you cut me some slack in that department today.
My point is to look at the question at hand, and examine one of the core qualities of people in general.
And I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have my own ideas on the issue. I look at the world around me and I see very little evidence that people are naturally good when left on their own. A quick scan through the news headlines reinforces that view. Or look at just about any toddler. Most of the time one of the first words we ever learn is “Mine!“
But what I’m really interested to see is the evidence on the other side. I looked at it once and came to my own conclusion. But maybe I missed some things. Can anyone show me how I’m mistaken? Are people really good at the core?
Believe it or not, I’m willing to be shown I’m wrong here. Just leave a comment and show me.
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