Are people basically good?

Feb 2019
1,763
422
here and there
#1
I was reading a book by Dennis Prager, "Genesis" in which he asserts why having the world view that men are inherently good is dangerous.

These are the reasons why he asserts it is dangerous

1. Children are not taught to be good. Parents and teachers who believe people are basically good do not feel the need to teach children how to be good. Why teach what comes naturally? Only when people realize how difficult it is to be a good person do they realize how important it is to teach goodness. In our time, there is virtually no character education in schools, and parents are more likely to be concerned with their children's self-esteem than with their self-control, and more concerned with their children's grades than their goodness.

2. God and religion become morally unnecessary.
If we are basically good, who needs a transcendent source of morality--a good God or a Bible? In the West and elsewhere, the more people have come to believe people are basically good, the less religious and less Bible centered they have become. And the less religious and less Bible-centered they have become, the more they have to come to believe that people are basically good.

3. Society, not the individual, is blamed for evil.
Another dangerous conclusion drawn by people who believe people are basically good is outside forces rather than the individual are to blame for human evil. If people are basically good, the reasoning goes, the evil that people do must be caused by something outside them. Why else would a basically good creature commit evil? This is why the most widespread explanation for violent crime has been poverty. "Poverty causes crime," the argument goes.

But this is just not so. For one thing, the great majority of poor people do not commit violent crimes. They don't because they have a moral value system that tells them criminal violence is wrong. And what could possibly link poverty to, let us say, rape? If one argues poor people steal because of poverty, at least there is a plausible link between the two. But what has poverty to do with rape?

The Carter Center, named for its founder, former US President Jimmy Carter, issued a statement, one of whose subjects was "Poverty and Terrorism". Under the heading, it wrote: "Effectively addressing poverty can make an important contribution to avoiding conflict and combating terror." Likewise, when he was the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, also a one time Presidential candidate, said, "We have a huge common interest in dealing with the issue of poverty, which in many cases is the root cause of terrorism."
Those who link terrorism to poverty might consider, for example, the economic backgrounds of the Islamic terrorists who killed 2,977 people on September 11, 2001 in the US. The terrorists came from middle and upper-class families. And the architect of the attack, Osama Bin Laden, was a multi-millionaire.
Since people who believe in evil ideologies are as likely to be wealthy as poor, ending poverty does virtually nothing to end ideological evil. It also does nothing to end non-ideological crime. If escaping poverty made people better, the rich would be the kindest and most honest people in the world.
Another outside force frequently blamed for violent Criminality - when the criminal is a member of a minority race or ethnicity-is racism. Yet the same arguments against attributing violent crime to poverty apply to attributing violent crime to racism. The great majority of individuals who are members of a racial minority-such as blacks in America-do not commit violent crimes-and did not do so even when they were subjected to systemic racially based persecution. And this reason is clear: their moral values did not permit them to do so.
Values and moral self-control matter far more than outside forces. Nearly all people who commit violent crimes do so because they possess a malfunctioning conscience, a morally defective value system, and/or lack of impulse control. The best way to make good people is through the combination of good values, good laws, and a God who commands goodness-such as that of the Bible. If people lived by the 10 Commandments alone, the world would be a beautiful place.
The Biblical view of human nature was perfectly described in secular terms by Professor James Q. Wilson, a Harvard political scientist: "The forces that may easily drive people to break the law, a desire for food, sex, wealth, and self-preservation, seem to be instinctive, not learned, while those that restrain our appetites, self-control, sympathy, and a sense of fairness, seem to be learned and not instinctive."
Those who blame evil on outside forces-i.e., "society"-rather than on the individual will encourage people to battle society rather than battle their own nature. Indeed, the need to change society rather than have people control their nature has become the dominant outlook in the Western world.
The Torah teaches that, especially in free society, the battle for a good world is not between the individual and society but between the individual and his or her nature. There are times, of course, when the battle for a better world must concentrate on evil emanating from outside the individual. This is always true in a tyranny and is sometimes true in democracies. But even then, in a free societies, the battle for a moral world is waged primarily through the inner battle that each of us must wage against our nature: against weakness, addiction, selfishness, ingratitude, laziness, and evil.
The most important question a society that wishes to survive can ask is this: "How do we make good people?" But societies that believe people are basically good will never ask that question.
 
Mar 2019
105
37
USA
#2
"Are people basically good?"

As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit; The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known.There is no fear of God before their eyes. Romans 3:10-18

There. Now that we've heard from God, I'll leave it to you guys to go on for page after page, posting all the wrong answers. Carry on.
 

imaginethat

Forum Staff
Oct 2010
67,998
27,850
Colorado
#3
"Are people basically good?"

As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit; The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known.There is no fear of God before their eyes. Romans 3:10-18

There. Now that we've heard from God, I'll leave it to you guys to go on for page after page, posting all the wrong answers. Carry on.
Homo sapiens, a really fine creation by the Creator, a creation featuring a built in proclivity to sin and prefer sin. Most of His created beings are destined, as the omniscient Creator God knew before He created us, to spend eternity in conscious pain and torment in a special torture chamber He likewise created.

Simply, this God, who was under no compulsion to create human beings, did so anyway with the foreknowledge that most of them would suffer grievously for eternity.

This is the God you worship, a God who outdoes his sinful creations in sheer monstrosity.
 
Mar 2019
105
37
USA
#4
This is the God you worship, a God who outdoes his sinful creations in sheer monstrosity.
Well, it's really good to know people like you are around, who, after spending a few years popped outside your Mama's womb, failing to get a righteous grip on simply this life notwithstanding, have the omniscience and qualifications to sit in judgement of the eternal, Holy Creator of the entire, vast universe.
 

imaginethat

Forum Staff
Oct 2010
67,998
27,850
Colorado
#5
Well, it's really good to know people like you are around, who, after spending a few years popped outside your Mama's womb, failing to get a righteous grip on simply this life notwithstanding, have the omniscience and qualifications to sit in judgement of the eternal, Holy Creator of the entire, vast universe.
I'm not judging the loving, father God. What a sanctimonious copout you took. What a judgement.

I recounted easy-to-make observations of the actions of the god you worship.

Please, tell me where I erred. Please, go point for point and show me how I erred, what parts I got wrong. And please don't quote any Bible verses. I quoted you more than 20 verses on the salvation of all which you failed to address.
 
Likes: leekohler2
Jun 2018
6,000
1,383
South Dakota
#7
Being "good" or "bad" is a product of the morals and standards of societal development. If isolated, alone good or bad will be determined by their environment. Eventually we all develop a set of standards that determine bad or good that are usually determined by what benefits them and what does not.
Good and evil is defined a bit in a comedy movie years ago. "Sleeper" was a man who slept for generations and after he woke found that what was good when he went to sleep in now bad and vice versa.
My take? There' no such animal as inherently good or evil.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2019
105
37
USA
#8
I'm not judging the loving, father God. What a sanctimonious copout you took. What a judgement.

I recounted easy-to-make observations of the actions of the god you worship.

Please, tell me where I erred. Please, go point for point and show me how I erred, what parts I got wrong. And please don't quote any Bible verses. I quoted you more than 20 verses on the salvation of all which you failed to address.
What you did was quote verses entirely out of context, imparted false meaning to them, between some universalist blather that is not in the Bible, quite the opposite. You were trying to twist scripture into a pretzel, to create our own religion, which is what all cults to, claiming scripture is saying something it does not say.

The very pattern YOUR commentary, not God's, YOUR private interpretations, or whatever cult website you lifted that junk from, a scripture verse, then a lot of man's philosophy and double talk, insert a little more scripture, more man's doctrine? It's the decisive pattern of false exegesis, from false prophets, always the same. You have to insert a lot of false commentary to refute scripture, omit scripture that contradicts you, too.

Deceivers like you have to do this. You never use the Bible to prove Bible doctrine via proper context, harmony. You can't simply produce a couple pages of pure scripture, supporting your views, with no commentary, as, for instance, I could the reality of hell in scripture. You're a liar, so you can't simply let scripture truth speak for itself. You guys that deceive never can. It was like reading some Catholic commentary on why all the Protestants need to be burned at the stake, when scripture clearly states the devil is a murderer, but you couldn't convince a one of those cocksuckers the Inquisition was evil, from hell, simply the devil's work, as well as all their false doctrines they invented, to enslave men with. Like you, they'd just talk in circles, until the cows come home, more likely to start quoting Zeus than the Bible. You show somebody in a cult plain scripture that refutes them, and they will never care about that. You guys, with your false doctrines, cling to your cult stuff like there's no tomorrow, thus saith the Lord of scripture irrelevant to you.

You can make the Bible say anything, one of Satan's favorite pass times, a little truth, lift scripture completely out of context, then mix it with a lot of lies. Fake religion is the devil's specialty.

In any event, there is no discussing truth with a cult, with anybody so very divorced from doctrines the Bible clearly teaches. You know damned well you reject any scripture that differs with the fake religion you want to believe. You don't believe the Bible. Simple as that. There's nothing to discuss, from my vantage, as I don't do theological debates with atheists, either, that don't understand scripture. It's entirely pointless, an intelligent discussion with those that have no eyes that see or ears that hear a waste of time and effort. There's no arguing with ignorance and unregeneracy.

Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

I don't care if you want to present your own universalist religion. That's your problem. But don't try to get me involved in this, present me with pages of junk and lies you expect me to answer to. To me, let's leave it you don't believe anything in the Bible you don't like, believe, as you've clearly stated, that the Holy God that is in the Bible is a monster. We don't have anything to talk about.