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beansprouts

If humans are innately good...

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Why do we need so many laws?

 

Because some people are innately good in different ways.

 

A few people just aren't innately good.

 

Many laws deal with judgement issues, such as how fast should I drive or how much money should I donate to the poor or to the gov't.

 

Some laws deal with enforcing new behaviors needed to meet new circumstances, such as realizing that we can no longer just dump effluent into the streams because it does affect others.

 

Corporations ARE NOT inately good.

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Why do we need so many laws?
Not agreeing or disagreeing with your premise, but I think it's more to do with societal structure -- generally speaking the larger a group of people, the more laws govern their actions and interactions.

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Seriously, I believe man is born with the ability to do great good or great evil, however, we have a fallen and weakened nature. Temptation is strong, the flesh is weak. I've struggled mightily with the belief of original sin, but no matter how much I struggle with it in my mind, I see it played out all around me.

 

Still, we have WAY too many laws. And I wonder if the more laws we enact, the less we try to govern our own behavior. You know, get lazy because someone else will tell us what we can do or not do.

 

Interesting question.

 

Janet

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I believe in the concept of Original Sin -- that we are all born with a sinful nature -- begun in the Garden of Eden with Adam & Eve. "In Adam's Fall, We Sinned All", as the old saying goes.

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I don't think humans are innately good. If they were we wouldn't need laws or courts or jails or homeless shelters or government services to take care of people. Where does one get that idea I wonder?

 

I saw an interview with Franklin Graham (son of Billy) just days after 9/11/01 where he spoke directly to this question. I can't recall his exact words and I don't want to miss quote him, but he clearly stated that man is not innately good, man is very evil if left to his own will. It was a stunning interview.

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Sorry, I don't believe people are innately good, (or innately smart enough to NOT run through stop signs, NOT use poisons, fertilizers, and other chemicals inappropriately, and NOT drive like idiots on icy roads). So those 2 reasons are why we need laws. imho.

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I don't believe that humans are innately good any more than I believe that non-human animals are innately good.

 

Tara

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I believe in the concept of Original Sin -- that we are all born with a sinful nature -- begun in the Garden of Eden with Adam & Eve. "In Adam's Fall, We Sinned All", as the old saying goes.

 

 

Romans 3:22-24

 

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

 

 

There are more verses, if you like to know, please pm me. greet013.gif

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Not agreeing or disagreeing with your premise, but I think it's more to do with societal structure -- generally speaking the larger a group of people, the more laws govern their actions and interactions.

 

Sounds like its time for a little thinning of the herd.

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Romans 3:22-24

 

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

There are more verses, if you like to know, please pm me. greet013.gif

 

I like your smilie!

 

I used to think babies were born sweet and innocent, that it was adults that corrupted children. You know, nature versus nurture and all that. Then I had a baby:lol: WHEW! Nothing like having kids to see the Bible illustrated in real life:lol:. My oldest fought me from day one. Even in the way she was fed! She hated laying down to breastfeed. I had to bottle feed her or she wouldn't eat! :blink: I would pump and then hand her the bottle, and only when she was propped up in her bouncer would she eat. I remember thinking, "Is this an indicator of stubbornness? NAH!" Boy was I wrong!:lol:

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DD states, lessons from Romantics, humans are innately good, but corrupted by society as a whole, need to look to nature to find good w/in themselves.

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That is a good question. Imo, laws are required partly because mankind is not innately good-- and because we are innately selfish. Laws generally are looking out for the common good, and most of us naturally prefer to seek our own best interests instead.

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Trying to survive involves acquiring resources. This behavior necessarily puts us at odds with other human beings. Survival isn't about being good or bad, it's about instinctually being driven to stay alive.

 

Oh sure, we're very civilized in today's world. However, under the right (not totally unfathomable) circumstances, our animal natures would show themselves pretty quickly. Laws help curb our behavior and give us consequences (usually loss of resources) for forgetting we aren't supposed to act according to our nature. Although, in general, I believe the fewest number of laws possible the better.

 

IMHO, of course.:D

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Who was it that said if humans weren't self governing, a democracy would never work? Was that Thomas Jefferson? I've heard it quoted and took it to mean that if we don't exhibit self control and discipline over our flesh, we have to have the govt step in, thus making us socialist instead of democratic. That would make us innately bad or sinful, since the govt is stepping in more and more. Right?

 

Now that I've stirred the pot, I'm off to find the quote:D

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I don't think humans are innately "good" -- but I don't think they're innately "bad" either. I think they are innately *selfish* -- a survival mechanism -- and free-will dictates how they handle it from there. Path of least resistance for some, unfortunately.

 

Made me think of -- "Character is what you do when no one is looking."

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"If each man, and all men, have learned self-restraint, then there will be need of but very little restraint on the part of the government; but if self-restraint does not exist in the body of citizens, it must be supplied from without. If men govern the animal that is in them, on which the soul sits astride, like the rider upon his steed, then they are governed. If they will not govern it, it must be governed for them. Government there must be, in some way, if men are going to live together. Society would break up in uproar; it would be like a den of tigers and lions; it would be but a bestial wallow of swine quarreling for their food, and quarreling for their warmth of a winter’s night, and quarreling evermore, if there were no government. To live together as men, and in such a way that men can exercise their higher prerogatives, the lower elements of the human organization must be governed. If men would govern these lower elements themselves, there would be no need of bringing in any other instrument of government; but if they will not do it, it must be done by some other agency.

 

Excerpt taken from, "The Moral Theory of Civil Liberty," by Henry Ward Beecher, June 4, 1869

 

 

Oh Yeah, sometimes I even amaze myself:patriot:

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Sounds like its time for a little thinning of the herd.

 

:lol:

 

I'm gonna' chime in and agree with the "Humans are not innately good" chorus.

:iagree: BUT that does not mean they are innately bad either. humans are just well human. again I chant.. dratted freewill!;)

 

Well, IMO we do not NEED so many laws. :glare:

 

:iagree:

 

aside from that...

 

many, maybe most, laws have nothing to do with goodness or lack of

it's about orderlyness and maybe safety, for example, driving laws.

 

Do we really want a free for all about which side of the road is legal to drive on and play chicken to decide who goes through the intersection?:D

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hmm, I don't think you can boil it down to survival. The tantruming toddler refusing to wear his safety belt isn't fighting to survive. The little one pulling her sister's hair and smiling at her cries isn't struggling for survival. People can just be mean, selfish, and actually delight in someone else's discomfort from a surprisingly young age :glare: Self-control has to be learned and compassion encouraged.

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Learning to dominate other people is a way to better keep resources for yourself. Being "mean and selfish" are actually a really good way to stay alive.

 

I know you're thinking about this behavior in the context of people not having to worry about resources like food, but consider if siblings lived in a home with very little food or in a time of famine. Survival depends upon being selfish and mean enough to keep the food for yourself. In a modern context, it's not food sibs fight over since they don't usually have to, but the drive comes from the same instinctual place.

 

Delight in discomfort of others means you are dominating the other person. If resources are scarce, domination might keep you alive.

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We each have the choice to make each day, each hour, as to whether we will do good or bad.

 

As to why we have so many laws: because so many people make bad choices. And because laws lead to more laws. And because we are a society that likes lawsuits.

Michelle T

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OMG, I actually have the perfect answer for this! I cannot believe it! Rather than laws, Thomas Paine wrote about our need for government. He said, "... as nothing but Heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen that in proportion as they surmount their first difficulties of emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other: and this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue." IOW, while we may be made innately good, originally, we inherit badness (original sin) and in our quest for knowledge move ever further from the innocence of goodness, towards the darkness of knowledge. Thus, we become sinful by our quest for knowledge. Then, while we strive to answer the goodness of our spirits, we eventually become lazy. The need for law is to protect us from reverting to our lower selves, the selves with knowledge, lacking innocence and rife with vice. :D

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.......

many, maybe most, laws have nothing to do with goodness or lack of

it's about orderlyness and maybe safety, for example, driving laws.

 

Do we really want a free for all about which side of the road is legal to drive on and play chicken to decide who goes through the intersection?:D

 

My friend has a picture of driving through Rome in the '70's or early '80's where there was NO sense of where to drive or right-of-way! It was terrifying just to look at. No way would I want to drive in that mess. And I've driven in some major US cities, so it wasn't the volume that scared me.

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I don't believe people are innately good. I do believe what others have said about our fallen state and sin nature. However, I don't believe that humans are bent toward evil as one poster put it. Yes, we do have that sin nature, but I believe man was also originally created with a propensity for good. I believe there is something in our nature that tends to seek out, to crave, that which is good.

 

In looking at the natural world, I see so much which leads man in the direction of God. God makes Himself known in so many ways--not just through reading His Word. The Bible says that the heavens declare his handiwork and some believe that God's plan for man's redemption is literally written in the stars, or at least that He devised a way for the story to be told through the stars and planets and their groupings and movements. I believe when God created man, He created within him the desire for good. However, He also created man with freedom of will and the power to choose good or evil.

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I see many are saying that humans are not innately good. I wonder about this sometimes. The Bible says we are created in God's image. God said about His creation that 'it was good'. In fact, at creation, humans were perfect. Now, I know that we have inherited imperfection and sin, since the original sin, but I'm not sure if that makes us innately bad. Perhaps just innately imperfect?

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I'm amazed at some of the examples of infants' and toddlers' behaviors presented as signs that people are inherently evil.

 

In one instance it was an infant wanting a bottle instead of the br**st. Why is that a sign of evil? Couldn't the mother be considered the "evil" one for forcing her will on the child? Side note: sometimes the child does know best. Unfortunately my ds didn't fight me on the subject of milk. He figured out years before either the doctor or I that milk caused bad things to him, but he listened to me when I insisted that milk was good for him.

 

Then there is the toddler who fights the carseat harness. I don't see that as a sign of evil, just that he doesn't want to be restrained. Yes, he's disobeying his mother and it's not safe, but evil -- no. What he needs is to **learn** to follow instructions and why it's necessary to wear seat belts.

 

Evil, to me, is hurting someone *on purpose* for no reason or a poor reason. Obedience, following instructions and knowing how to behave in society is a learning process, not evidence of innate evil. And a young child doesn't instinctively know that some of his actions hurt others, this too is a learning process. Yes, evil as I define it can be seen in very young children, but most of the examples given aren't evil.

 

At the same time I've seen young toddlers expressing empathy and sympathy for another. To me, that's a sign of innate goodness in people.

 

So I believe that people are born with both goodness and evil in them. It's free will that determines which one predominates, but a good upbringing does help.

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Why do we need so many laws?

 

 

Because you always have a few rotten apples in the barrel.

 

FWIW, I DO think people are innately good. Innately means that it is always within us, from the moment of birth.

 

I think this idea of the reverse, that we're born sinners... actually the whole idea of "sin" if you want to get right down to it... is the biggest load of poo I ever seen. And, I've seen some huge lagoons of poo out here in hog country.

 

I just believe people are better than that. Exceptions excluded, hence the need for laws to handle the exceptions.

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I just believe people are better than that. Exceptions excluded, hence the need for laws to handle the exceptions.

 

Switch the word "guns" for "laws" and I totally agree.

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I think this idea of the reverse, that we're born sinners... actually the whole idea of "sin" if you want to get right down to it... is the biggest load of poo I ever seen. And, I've seen some huge lagoons of poo out here in hog country.

 

 

 

I'm sure the prodigal son would agree with you, until he ended up in the pigpen of life after flaunting all of his innate goodness around town. He learned his lesson and went running home to his daddy.

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Switch the word "guns" for "laws" and I totally agree.

 

:cheers2:

 

 

You're in rare form today Zelda!:lol:

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I'm amazed at some of the examples of infants' and toddlers' behaviors presented as signs that people are inherently evil.

 

In one instance it was an infant wanting a bottle instead of the br**st. Why is that a sign of evil? Couldn't the mother be considered the "evil" one for forcing her will on the child? Side note: sometimes the child does know best. Unfortunately my ds didn't fight me on the subject of milk. He figured out years before either the doctor or I that milk caused bad things to him, but he listened to me when I insisted that milk was good for him.

 

Then there is the toddler who fights the carseat harness. I don't see that as a sign of evil, just that he doesn't want to be restrained. Yes, he's disobeying his mother and it's not safe, but evil -- no. What he needs is to **learn** to follow instructions and why it's necessary to wear seat belts.

 

Evil, to me, is hurting someone *on purpose* for no reason or a poor reason. Obedience, following instructions and knowing how to behave in society is a learning process, not evidence of innate evil. And a young child doesn't instinctively know that some of his actions hurt others, this too is a learning process. Yes, evil as I define it can be seen in very young children, but most of the examples given aren't evil.

 

At the same time I've seen young toddlers expressing empathy and sympathy for another. To me, that's a sign of innate goodness in people.

 

So I believe that people are born with both goodness and evil in them. It's free will that determines which one predominates, but a good upbringing does help.

 

:iagree: It really saddened me to read how many people interpreted the actions of babies and toddlers as evil. It actually breaks my heart. When I look at toddlers I tend to see more good than bad. Yes, they may have selfish natures, but that is not was I would call evil. My oldest son doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He may have foolish judgement at times, and lack of self-discipline as well, but he would never knowingly cause another person harm. My middle son was very difficult. I was shocked to hear someone tell me that his tantrums were because of his "fallen nature" and that we had to punish that sin out of him. I agree that we are all fallen, but I did not believe he did this because he was bad. My instincts were confirmed later when we found out that his tantrums were due to his sensory issues. He simply couldn't cope. Once we worked on the true cause, rather than trying to punishing it out of him, the tantrums lessened and eventually disappeared. He has turned out to be a very sweet, enjoyable young man in the making. My sweet daughter has such a kind and giving heart - something she has had since she was very small. She delights in sharing and giving to others. She is not perfect, but she is a slice of heaven here on earth.

 

I am by no means a perfect parent and my children are not perfect. They can be downright frustrating at times. However, one of my guiding principles has always been to look for the good in my children, knowing that they were made in God's image.

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at risk of derailing the thread

 

I agree about the baby/infant comments

 

being human in and of itself is not sinful, much less evil

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"[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

Benjamin Franklin

 

We will continue to need laws and law enforcers, both inside and outside the home, as long as people give way to their sinful natures.

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I know I'm in the minority here but I believe people are born with the capacity to do either good or evil. I do think that innately, we tend toward being good, but personality and life experience both influence the people we become. I do not believe in any way, shape, or form, that babies are born "sinners" or inherited some kind of "original sin".

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Because you always have a few rotten apples in the barrel.

 

FWIW, I DO think people are innately good. Innately means that it is always within us, from the moment of birth.

 

I think this idea of the reverse, that we're born sinners... actually the whole idea of "sin" if you want to get right down to it... is the biggest load of poo I ever seen. And, I've seen some huge lagoons of poo out here in hog country.

 

I just believe people are better than that. Exceptions excluded, hence the need for laws to handle the exceptions.

 

your point begs the question: if humans were innately good, why would there be exceptions in the first place? How did that happen?

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your point begs the question: if humans were innately good, why would there be exceptions in the first place? How did that happen?

 

Too many children being raised by parents who tell them they are sinful and evil natured from the womb?

 

Poisonous hog-wash.

 

Bill

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Too many children being raised by parents who tell them they are sinful and evil natured from the womb?

 

Poisonous hog-wash.

 

Bill

 

and toddlers that cry are evil and sinful, and I don't tell my children that! I do believe that there is such a thing as original sin. Bill, I think better of you than that, but in this case, your presumptions about what that means and what parents like me actually teach their children are unfair.

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Too many children being raised by parents who tell them they are sinful and evil natured from the womb?

 

Poisonous hog-wash.

 

 

 

You have been very open about the fact that you do not understand Christianity. From a lack of understanding comes fear, from fear comes prejudice, from prejudice comes persecution.

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Why do we need so many laws?

 

We don't need so many laws.

 

You seem to have caught on, with this question, to what I found to be the most confusing issue in discussing modern American politics with my peers during the last election. Liberals say people are basically good but make a million laws to propel them into goodness. Conservatives say people are basically not, then want to give them tons of freedom, including the right to choose when, if and how to help their disadvantaged fellows. I understand that conservatives believe God will step in to guide it all, but I don't get why the liberals want people to be all restricted. Theoretically, if people are okay so long as they're not messed with, we should mess with them less, right?

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