Human Nature: Inherently Good or Inherently Evil?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Gatekeeper, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. donnann

    donnann Well-Known Member

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    I just think some people are sick. I believe everyone is inherently good but some suffer from some kind of mental illnesses that make them do bad things.
     
  2. Azure24

    Azure24 Well-Known Member

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    I don't quite get what you mean. We are carnal and "bad" BECAUSE we are born ignorant.

    Adam and Eve were not "without fault"...they were very faulty, as Paul explains:

    "For the creature was made subject to VANITY, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." (Rom. 8:20-22)

    I believe Eve committed sin not necessarily because she was deceived but because it was in her "heart".

    "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies" (Mat. 15:19).

    Jesus did not come to make us "recapture" anything. As there was nothing to recapture in the first place.

    Humanity was NOT and never HAS been created in God's image. That verse in Bibles is a mistranslation. God is CREATING humanity into his image...starting with Jesus' followers first.

    I know that is a BIG claim to make, but I think I can support this.

    Jesus Christ is the only one created in the image of God currently at this time.

    "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Corinthian. 4:4).

    Then his followers:

    "For whom he did foreknow (Jesus' followers), he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Rom. 8:29)

    and

    "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him..." (Col. 3:10).
     
  3. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    1 Tim 2:14
    And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.​
    Eve was deceived. Adam was not deceived, though, and went ahead and ate anyway. Funny how the one that willfully sinned would be put in charge. ;)
     
  4. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    "History is written by the vicars... oh, victors" (from the Sayings of Paul-Victor-Over-Mary, rephrased by Winston Churchill).
     
  5. Azure24

    Azure24 Well-Known Member

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    Adam didn't willfully sin. There is a clear reason why he did despite the fact that he was not deceived.

    Besides the general assumption is that Eve sinned because she was deceived...this is not true.

    Satan merely deceived Eve into eating thus acquiring knowledge of good and evil...Eve sinned long BEFORE she even ate the fruit, as she was ALREADY evil in her heart.

    "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is NOT of the Father, but is of the world." (1 Joh. 2:16)

    Now lets look at what Eve actually did at each action:

    "And when the woman saw [in her heart] that the tree was good for food..."

    "...lust of the flesh..." (1 Joh. 2:16)

    "...and that it was pleasant to the eye..."

    "...the lust of the eyes..." (1 Joh. 2:16)

    "...and a tree to be desired [in her heart] to make one wise..."

    "...pride of life..." (1 Joh. 2:16)

    "she took of the fruit thereof..."

    "For out of the heart proceed...thefts..." (Mat. 15:19)

    And then, finally after she has committed all these sins BEFORE she even ate the fruit, she...

    "...did eat" (Gen. 3:6).
     
  6. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    You can quote from anywhere besides Genesis and make little impact. What SG said about the Genesis story is quite true, read it again.
     
  7. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    You do make a good point regarding Eve's being dominated by her cravings. Genesis said that Eve's cravings would then be directed towards her husband, and he would dominate her. IMO, part of freedom/liberty is getting a handle on your cravings, and NOT being dominated by them.
     
  8. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Here's one where I would gladly disavow myself of any karmic liability I might otherwise have in connection with the Abrahamic religions. Looks to me like there's far too many people beating a dead horse.

    We came into incarnation according to Divine Will; otherwise, none of us would be having this curious experience we call `Individuality' ... or even Consciousness as we know it.

    Every world Scripture, Judeo-Christian included, speaks of our `Fall from Grace,' even if the symbolic KEY to understanding this allegory has long ago been lost or intentionally obscured.

    When the proper key is applied, it will become abundantly obvious that this entire thread - and the debate of Good vs. Evil - is something in the way of a false dichotomy. We are both Good & Evil, yet what we do on a day-to-day basis determines where we shall go from here.

    NO ONE on the planet is barred from future progress. NO ONE posting here at Interfaith.org has already reached the Goal of perfection as suggested in Ephesians 4:13.

    As one of my mentors often says, "Argue for your limitations ... and they're YOURS!" ;)

    Thus I argue that EVERY person on the planet has Buddha Nature ... the same Divine Potential which shall make of everyone a Christ, even as Jesus of Nazareth became the ANNOINTED.

    If you throw the Mysteries out the window, you've lost the baby, the CHILD, along with the bathwater. No amount of Mother-worship, false modesty or empty-minded ritual and lip service can then bring back what you have thrown away.

    And as some have yet to learn, as you treat others, so shall you be treated. Go around acting like you're God's gift to the world, pointing out others' flaws, and sure as shinola, you've just asked God to have your OWN faults laid plain before you. That doesn't mean you're *inherently evil* ... but it DOES mean you have quite a bit left to learn about the GOSPEL and the GOLDEN RULE.

    One of the struggles [internal and inherent to the human experience] that we all must face is the tendency to polemicize ... and on this issue to see a false dichotomy. Once a person realizes that we have Divine Potential, the proverbial candle of Hope has already been lighted within the Mind.

    As a Perennialist, I will insist that we are speaking of Eternal PRINCIPLES of Being, but the point remains that what dwells within us is St. Paul's "Hope of Glory," not simply the abstract idea that we can all be GOOD. Besides, if a person insists that the latter IS all that we have, then I will put the question to him: In what FORM does this "Hope of Glory" exist, anyway? ;)

    Many like to shoot from the hip, answers already spring-loaded ... but for others [or any of us] what I have asked can potentially be food for thought.

    The opposite question can also be examined: What FORM [or expression] does evil take, when we consider it within the Human Kingdom?

    I think you'll be hard-pressed to come up with something metaphysical in answer to this second question ... whereas the first one is like the door to the gem mine. :)

    And of course, if you're familiar with the Ageless Wisdom, you'll see the false dichotomoy for what it is ... but for every person you meet of Judeo-Christian or Muslim background, there's one more opportunity to show that Christ Jesus, the Prophets before Him, and certainly Mohammad after Him - ALL taught that we have the Potential for Good, as well as for ill, within us.

    Dig deep and/or into the past, however, and you better be able to translate the allegory and read the symbolism. It's the lingua franca of all the world's religions & ideologies ... and if you need a reminder or a primer, I heartily recommend Joseph Campbell, especially as interviewed on video by Bill Moyers.

    Namaskar/God Bless
     
  9. Azure24

    Azure24 Well-Known Member

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    I do not believe the understanding is lost, but to some degree it is intentionally obscured.

    There is no "Fall from Grace" as we had no grace in the first place, it was the beginning of a journey to gain it.

    I stand corrected (I admit it has been a while since I discussed morality with anyone).

    I and many here (including the OP) have made the mistake of confusing EVIL with SINNING. The REAL question is are we inherently SINNERS.

    In truth we are neither good nor evil, but what we are is sinners. Good and Evil are merely tools...the real concern is Understanding and Ignorance.

    We only have that which is given to us.

    Is this not the act of an ignorant person?

    No one can behave righteously without having been taught...without being taught we are ignorant. Ignorance always leads to sinning. We are ALL born ignorant, thus we are ALL born sinners.

    Our very existence is proof of Divine Potential...however this potential can only be given to us.

    Ignorance?
     
  10. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    We are all born in original blessing, not original sin. In Hebrew and Aramaic (where "Sin" came from) it is an act violating any of the divine commandments. Really it is closer to "straying off path". The idea of G!d creating us sinful is (I believe) unacceptable and the original blasphemy.
     
  11. Azure24

    Azure24 Well-Known Member

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    Adam and Eve were born with a carnal mind...ALL mankind is born with a carnal mind.

    In the scriptures we have this:

    "For to be carnally minded is death..." (Rom. 8:6).

    to be carnally minded is death. Have we heard this before?

    "For the wages of sin is death..." (Rom. 6:23).

    I mentioned in an earlier post of Eve committing sins BEFORE she ate the fruit, but why was this?

    "And they were both NAKED, the man and his wife, and were NOT ASHAMED." (Gen. 2:25)

    The were 'NAKED' and 'NOT ASHAMED'--This was not just a physical fact, it was a SPIRITUAL REALITY. They were spiritually NAKED just as everyone else who thinks they have sufficient spirituality to live righteously by their own carnal mind:

    "Because you say, I am rich and increased with goods [they owned all in the garden; it was ALL FOR THEM] and have need of NOTHING [really? Nothing? Not even knowledge of Good and Evil perhaps?. And therefore we like Laodicea...] ... and KNOW NOT that you are WRETCHED, and MISERABLE, and POOR, and BLIND, and [SPIRITUALLY] NAKED" (Rev. 3:17).

    After acquiring knowledge of Good and Evil we have this:

    "And the eyes of them both were OPENED, and they KNEW that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." (Gen. 3:7)

    However, KNOWING one is naked and actually DOING something about it are completely different things.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  12. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Quote all you want. The idea of "sin" (in its original, Hebraic meaning) is "to stray from the path by the action of breaking a divine commandment". No action, no sin, get it? We disagree about what the word "sin" means.

    To be carnal is not to sin. All species reproduce (hence are carnal). No carnality, no life.

    "Sin" does not equal "carnality" nor does "sin" equal "thought" nor does "sin" equal "shame".
    I can think carnally and experience shame for it--but I have not sinned.

    You use it your way, I shall use it mine.
     
  13. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Matt 7:7-12

    Jesus said:
    7 “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them—this is the Law and the Prophets.

    Genesis 8
    21 When the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, He said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, even though man’s inclination is evil from his youth. And I will never again strike down every living thing as I have done.​
     
  14. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Yes, that is the Hebraic tradition. "Sin" as "straying from the path by acting to violate one of the divine commandments". "Evil" as as "inclination from his youth". It does not say we are born in "sin" or that we are born "evil". That does not mean we will not sin or do evil, it is our free will that determines that.
     
  15. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Agreed. :cool:

    However, we can be slaves to our evil inclinations. We can also be freed from being slaves to those inclinations, as well.
     
  16. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Yep, we can choose not to exercise our free will, either in a single choice or by habit ("becoming evil" is a matter of habituation, I think).
     
  17. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Yep. Fits right in with Thich Nhat Hanh equating being filled with mindfulness as being filled with the Holy Spirit. :)
     
  18. Azure24

    Azure24 Well-Known Member

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    Exactly.

    "Thou shalt not commit adultery." (Exo. 20:14).

    "...thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife..." (Exo. 20:17).

    "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matt. 5:28).

    No carnality, no human life...yet there are many of us.

    I asked a question in another thread, yet strangely no one answered. I'll ask it here:

    Does our existence have a 100% influence on our choices?
     
  19. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    To sin, as I have learned it, is to miss the proverbial - sometimes literal - *mark*.
    Ask a true Saggitarian about the implications. ;)

    It has sometimes been pointed out that sins exist in two main categories:
    • Sins of omission
    • Sins of commission
    Until a human being reaches Perfection, s/he continues to miss the mark [vide Ephesians 4:13, where precisely the Divinely-set standard for each human being is made plain, with direct relevance to the example of Christed Jesus].

    The idea that we were somehow once perfect and have strayed from the path ... is misleading. If this is what people believe, I will challenge you as an individual to attest to what conditions were like, from your own memory of that condition.

    Buddhists may wish to speak of Unconditioned Being, yet here they have overlooked the teaching of Dependent Arising. None of us began our long and circuituous Journey by standing before `God' [the idea of Whom & which we have long been developing at least since the Promethean Gift of FIRE was brought to infant Humanity] and wittingly, willingly leaving.

    If the Allegory, the Parable of the Prodigal is taken literally ... we arrive at a misunderstanding of our relationship with God, and we also misconstrue the very Purpose for our coming into Individualized existence, either as a human being or as the totality of Humanity.

    In context [as a tool to assist us precisely in grasping our Purpose - both individually and collectively, even as a PLANET] the allegory of the Prodigal is an excellent beginning point for emphasizing that we are, indeed, PURE and HOLY prior to our descent into Incarnation.

    Still, children are not evil, or ignorant in a pejorative sense when they begin grade school. Likewise, a freshman in college is not sinful simply because s/he cannot yet pass the board exams or write & defend a dissertation.

    Consider the allegory, realize that we are ALL God's Children, that no human being is born inherently sinful ... nor do we inherit some kind of tainted condition owing to the specific actions of a couple in a literal garden a few thousand years ago. The problems all arise when we take pieces of the Mythos *literally* ~ or attempt to interpret them out of context and then assemble them literally.

    Thus, back to my original point: Sins can be those of OMISSION, or of COMISSION. Some like to focus on the latter, as if these are all that matter ... and then, depending on one's tradition, we must run to the confessional and blab & blab in order to relieve our Conscience & reach catharsis. This, even basic, humanistic psychology understands [if often encouraged in a secular context].

    One of my favorite quotes, and a good reminder, is:
    "Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly sin."
    In simple terms, we are our Brother's Keeper ... and until each human being on the planet comes to realize and grasp the implications of this Truth, ours will continue to be - at least to some unnecessary degree - a `planet of suffering.'

    INACTION ... is NOT the solution. Except, of course, in such a clearcut case where the action itself is the *committing* of the sin!

    Peace :)
     
  20. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Shades of Reason

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    We "become" carnal, but we are not born carnal. We sin (miss the mark) because we are ignorant and without knowledge. Children are pure and without fault because they have yet to experience the consequence of a misguided deed.

    Children are new, an empty slate waiting to be filled by parental and environmental influence. They are not sinful, but they are without knowledge. Lack of knowledge and our misguided deeds destroy the innocence we know as children.

    It is our experiences that impart the knowledge of evil (calamity). Eve was ignorant as was Adam of the severity of their choices. They were very good (as are children) before they acted in ignorance and lost the paradise they once knew. The law of cause and effect imparted the knowledge of "evil", just as the law of cause and effect imparts to us (as children) the knowledge of evil (calamity).


    Because they lacked knowledge ... Not because they were flawed or evil or bad or carnal. They were simply ignorant of the way life works, just as children are ignorant of the mechanics behind the laws that govern our lives.

    Sure, they had desire but they did not have knowledge. They did not know the impact their choices would have on the rest of creation. Had they known, they may have made better choices.

    I disagree. Adam and Eve and every child born into this world are without fault. You can't blame or place fault on a creature that doesn't know any better. There are laws that govern our existence, however. These laws ensure that there are consequences for our misguided deeds, which is the knowledge of evil/calamity.

    We are in this life together as one people. Every person contributes to the whole, be it beneficial or not. It is life that gives us knowledge, it is experience, be it first hand or second. The same holds true for Adam and Eve. They may have been the first to experience sin consequence, but you can't hold them guilty as they did not know. They (we) had to learn from our experiences.

    Sure we were (all of us). We fall from Gods grace as we become more and more independent, when we start acting on our own, when our actions start to affect others and ourselves negatively. We lose our innocence as we grow older and experience new things. We lose a very sacred part of our being as we age and make mistakes. We lose that part of us that reflects Gods image.

    You can't prove much by quoting scripture (I'm just sayin). We are created pure, innocent, and in Gods image. We fall from Gods grace out of ignorance. We learn, hopefully become wiser for the time and then we put on the "new man", knowing the mechanics of life, sin consequence, and the laws that govern our reality. We take on the spirit (love) and are reborn as Gods children, just as Jesus was Gods son.

    ~GK~
     

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