Is human nature good or evil?

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Reply Mon 10 Apr, 2006 12:07 am
In Christianity, it is widely believed that man, in nature, is sinful and evil. I have heard though, that the root of evil in man is persuasion from the devil and his demons. In many eastern religions, man in nature is regarded as good, and pure. What do we base all of our actions on? Are we born pure? After all, EVERYTHING you do, you are doing it for the better. You could even purposely do evil to try to get around all this! But even then, all your doing is trying to get somewhere for some purpose which will forever make you one step higher. I believe we base our actions upon what we see, and what we believe will get us to a better place. Therefore, I believe human, in nature, is good.
 
Justin
 
Reply Mon 10 Apr, 2006 02:37 pm
@joseph tinc,
Thanks for your post. I feel and believe that man, by nature is good. We're born with no original sin or knowing of such. Every human being has good in them no matter how bad they are. Therefore I agree with you Joseph.

I believe that man was made to cooperate, not compete.

The underlying question is, what is the purpose?
 
joseph tinc
 
Reply Tue 11 Apr, 2006 04:44 pm
@Justin,
Well, when you say "no matter how bad they are," I assume you mean how much sin they are commiting. But what I mean to say is that everything that anyone does at any moment, is to make their life better (including making another's life better), and a human will do according to what he thinks will lead him to happiness, regardless of whether it actually will or not. This leads me to believe no one is actually evil, but confused, or lacking the knowledge of the outcome. We are all equal in fault. And this applies to both sides of an arguement. I hope you can understand what I'm trying to convey.

Is a human really born free of sin? I mean, church tells me because of Adam and Eve's sins we were brought down here. Well that leads me to ask, am I being blamed for something I didn't do, or does Adam and Eve represent humanity as a whole?
 
Justin
 
Reply Thu 13 Apr, 2006 05:45 am
@joseph tinc,
Yes, I do mean their sin.

It's my understanding that we are born free from any original sin. There are different Churches and Religions that teach a multitude of different things. Remember that Religion is what's separated us all. It's man's religion or interpretation of it, that has us killing each other.
 
andykelly
 
Reply Fri 21 Apr, 2006 04:24 pm
@Justin,
Personally I'd like to take religion totally out of the equation. As a lapsed catholic I know a few things about all this "original sin" baloney. The way I look at it is people are born as people. Some of us have genetic dispositions that lead to alcoholism, schizophrenia, intelligence. good looks etc etc. We're born primarily with selfish and ego centric (self preservation) instincts as well as capabilities for love, kindness and all the other positive aspects of human nature. Either way we also have the luxury of choice, we can make conscious decisons to do good or to do bad.
The nature nurture argument is very relevant here. No doubt we have inherited genes that already point us into developing along certain predetermined lines but our environmental and family circumstances play a very large part in determining what we are and what we are to become.
At this stage in my life I am committed to removing as much religious dogma from my way of thinking as possible. This doesn't mean to say that I refute all things religious and therefore God. All I have to do is a bit of star gazing to realise that the possibility of a creative force behind the universe isn't an impossibility but I also do believe that the jury is out regarding God and indeed if God exists, the nature of God.
I believe science can answer most of our questions regarding the physical world even if it is currently unable to answer the most fundamental questions. Most of us now believe in evolution (though there are many exceptions), most of us now believe that the earth revolves around the sun.
To summise I believe that human nature is definitely a mixed bag and not a black or white option.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Fri 2 Jun, 2006 01:19 pm
@joseph tinc,
I am going to start with your posts about original sin. Maybe you misunderstand what is meant by orginal sin. Is it not possible that the story of adam and eve is a metephor, and not a historical account. I have heard theories that original sin isn't being born with an evil per se, it is being born detached from God. When Adam (or whom ever) decided to break the covenent he had with God, he set aside his immortality with God and let nature take over (death). So, what we inherit from Adam isn't an evil, it is the abitility to die.

------------
de omnibus dubitandum est
 
Justin
 
Reply Fri 2 Jun, 2006 01:39 pm
@de Silentio,
de Silentio wrote:
I am going to start with your posts about original sin. Maybe you misunderstand what is meant by orginal sin. Is it not possible that the story of adam and eve is a metephor, and not a historical account. I have heard theories that original sin isn't being born with an evil per se, it is being born detached from God. When Adam (or whom ever) decided to break the covenent he had with God, he set aside his immortality with God and let nature take over (death). So, what we inherit from Adam isn't an evil, it is the abitility to die.

------------
de omnibus dubitandum est

First, welcome to the forum and thank you for your insight... which leads to many more discussions like what is death? I will post in the appropriate forum.

I have to agree with you on the immortality thing with Adam. I also have to believe that when an infant is born into this world, they know no sin and have no evil or demons (if you will).

This of course leads to many other discussions.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 07:11 pm
@joseph tinc,
I will stay on the topic of human nature, and at the request of andykelly, I will leave religion out of this patiuclar post. To try and determine if human nature is good or evil, we must first lay the ground on what nature is. We must also lay the gorund on good, but that is a whole philosophy in its self. Can anyone assist me in laying the ground on what nature is?
 
PhilosophyForum
 
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 10:19 pm
@joseph tinc,
With regards to understanding nature, doesn't that mean we have to understand the cause of all effect? I found an interesting article about nature and here is the link to where the post is. It's in line with what I perceive to be nature. Link is here.
 
andykelly
 
Reply Tue 6 Jun, 2006 12:42 pm
@joseph tinc,
my reply okI'd also like to welcome you to the forum de silentio and thanks for your reply. Perhaps we can replace good and evil with good and bad. The word evil has so many religious overtones. The way I figure it is that the history of humanity is littered with concerns about good and evil/bad.
What is one mans drink is another man's poison. Act's of goodness and acts of evil are on one level very easy to categorise ie to give food to a starving person is undoubtedly good. However how would we categorise someone who commits a crime to prevent a bigger crime being commited. I'm speaking hypothetically if for instance someone had killed Hitler to prevent him killing millions more people. Such an act would be considered utilitarian as though the killer has killed he has prevented many more deaths and thus greatly contributed to the greater good.
Morality is essential for any civilised society but trying to define exactly what morality is is a large can of worms. For centuries politics and the church have worked hand in hand to uphold a sense of right and wrong and though this has surely had many positive results it has also had many negative ones. An obvious example would be the spanish inquisition.
History is full of wars which have been justified as being "Just wars" This continues to this day. The war against Hitler was undoubtedly just but how many wars havn't been?
 
pilgrimshost
 
Reply Fri 6 Oct, 2006 11:26 am
@andykelly,
Are we talking about perseived good and bad or right and wrong or an actual (if you will) natural law that gives us a 'rule' which deems weather something is right or wrong. Because there is something called subjective and objective morals where morality is either strictly something or if it is litterly a matter of opinion. We may think we have an innate moral order which says things like rape is 'bad' but what of those who say otherwise. Is it black or white? Or is it subject to the particuler situation? i.e. Hitler. Which seems like a''whatever suits you'' formality.

If you look around the world at different cultures and tribes, there doesnt seem to be a universal moral attitude, in some respects hostility and barbarity are within all socities. So I wonder if a sence of morality is born somewhat out of fear as is hostility, as a means of survival. The ten commandments are essentally the worlds most famous set of rules, they are supposedly given by God. But if you think about them they are common sense, if you mess around with you neighbours wife or steal his cow not only are you going to get your head kicked in but it also upsets the unity of your socity for which you depend on for your survival.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Fri 6 Oct, 2006 01:43 pm
@joseph tinc,
pilgrimshost, I think the you outlined the whole issue of what is good, is it subjective or objective, or perhaps both.

I find it entertaining that you brought up rape. I find rape to be a paculiar instance. We can subjectively justify killing people, destroying civilizations, stealing, inflicting pain, and many other instances that are bad at times, although sometimes reap good results (therefore being subjective). However, I cannot find one subjective justification for rape. Impeding on a persons personal liberty, the right that if only one thing, I own my body, can only be justified if the rapee (if so called) is not classified as Human, which in this day and age is absurd.

Although this is only one instance, I feel Kant was going down the right path when he said 'Act only according to that maxim by which at the same time you can will that it become a universal law'. Why would it be just (or right) for me to treat you in a lesser manner than I treat myself?
 
pilgrimshost
 
Reply Fri 6 Oct, 2006 02:15 pm
@de Silentio,
Maybe a just reason for a person to treat another less would be for personal gain ,though it would have to be in the most dier sence of survival.
 
perplexity
 
Reply Sat 7 Oct, 2006 04:33 am
@de Silentio,
de Silentio wrote:
...However, I cannot find one subjective justification for rape.


Perhaps you find it difficult to justify because of the tautology: rape is not justified because of the very definition of the word.

Nevertheless I wonder where the search for justified rape would have taken you to.

Looking to the Courts of Law it turns out to be difficult above all else to justify an accusation of rape. The conviction rate is notorously small, as compared to the number of criminal allegations.

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
(W.Shakespeare, Hamlet,Act 2, Scene 2)

--- RH.
 
pilgrimshost
 
Reply Sat 7 Oct, 2006 12:29 pm
@perplexity,
So is right and wrong objective or subjective? The principles for example of jesus are strict black and white (not turning this religious, but in a sence using his example as a moral teacher!) but everyday morality is subjective, where as jesus was objective,i would say
(If my understanding of these words is correct!). Is the answer that it is a truth that it is objective but through free will (choice) and the rejection of honour, valiantness and love we choose what suits us? So are we shirking what makes us distinked from animals by not fullfilling a roll that we alone can conseive of? But if we are no more than animals what is the purpose of these 'high' morals after all? Because it would ultimatly be down to whatever keeps us alive! (Yes I i cant finish a centance without the use of explanation marks or question marks!!!!).
 
perplexity
 
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 07:01 am
@pilgrimshost,
pilgrimshost wrote:
So is right and wrong objective or subjective?


It is conditioned, by stick and carrot, much the same as a dog learns to sit up and beg.

--- RH.
 
pilgrimshost
 
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 11:20 am
@perplexity,
Isnt that psychology. pavlovs dogs. But i asked in afect is it real,more or less. Because if it isnt then that would obviously mean there would be no ligitamate laws that need obiediance.
 
perplexity
 
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 12:09 pm
@pilgrimshost,
pilgrimshost wrote:
Isnt that psychology. pavlovs dogs. But i asked in afect is it real,more or less. Because if it isnt then that would obviously mean there would be no ligitamate laws that need obiediance.


With all due respect you would be well advised not to rely upon that as a defence to a charge.

--- RH.
 
pilgrimshost
 
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 02:19 pm
@perplexity,
Well it could be argued that it is another example of the ' imprisonment' of the self under others constructed ideals. Its like the 'In God we trust' moto in the US (money and courts)for which its founded upon but for want of a better expression is basiclly complete nonsence because it might as well say 'in Santa we trust- well he aint gonna deliver mate! So if they see it fit to presume to found something so important ona mythical ideal, whats that say about the existance of the truth of the laws in the first place?
 
perplexity
 
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 02:43 pm
@pilgrimshost,
pilgrimshost wrote:
whats that say about the existance of the truth of the laws in the first place?


Laws are about authority, which is about the creation of truth, not about being subservient to it.

-- RH.
 
 

 
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