Scripture reveals that people are not basically good and that God alone is good. It also provides a moral compass to find good as God desires. However, 18th-century enlightened philosophers have convinced the Western world that human beings are born good but are corrupted by society.
To believe people are good after all the horrors committed by human beings against other human beings throughout history is irrational. How often does the average person have to teach their child to say thank you? Most children have been bullied – physically hurt or sadistically taunted by other children.
If people are born good, why did virtually every society in history practice slavery, which in addition to its cruelty, was so frequently accompanied by sadism? In the 20th century, more people were murdered than in any recorded century: the Holocaust, the Soviet Union’s murder of between 20-30 million innocents during Stalin’s regime; the Khmer Rouge’s murder of nearly a third of the Cambodian population; the purposeful starvation of 4-6 million Ukrainians by the Soviet Communists; the Hutu murders in Rwanda; and so on. These are only a few of humanity’s organized mass murders. Given all this evidence, why do some people believe people are born good?
God did not place us on this earth to never know, see or do good. The Old Testament identifies at least three ways God tried to help humanity do good:
- He gave humans a conscience at creation;
- He revealed moral laws to Noah and his descendants after the flood; and
- He gave the Ten Commandments and the large body of laws to a specific or chosen group: the Israelites.
Yet, that was not enough to guide humanity to the way of God because their consciousness, self-interest, and evil nature distracted them from loving God. God also allowed His son’s birth, ministry, torture, death, and resurrection with a message of loving God and loving others. Jesus’ words, encapsulated in the Gospel and throughout the Bible, point toward God’s desire that we love Him with our whole being and love other as ourselves.
Today the world is becoming eviller and more self-focused. Many have chosen to close the book (the Bible) that contains the moral guidelines for loving others. Many believe people are born good, so evil is something or someone else’s fault. When teachers and parents believe people are good, they do not feel the need to teach children to be good. Why teach what comes naturally? In schools today, there is virtually no charter education in school. Parents are more concerned about their children’s self-esteem than their self-control. They are more concerned about their grades than their goodness. Where societies believe people are basically good, they have become less religious and Bible–centred.
The best way to make good people is through a combination of good values, good laws, and a God who commands goodness. The world would be beautiful if people lived by the 10 commandments alone. The Bible teaching about the battle for a good world is not between the individual and society, but between the individual and his or her own nature.
Where is your moral compass pointing?
Is it pointing toward the Word or the world?