Human Nature

The ongoing debate. The defining underlying traits of the species of homo sapiens. Humanism has argued furtively that Man, made in the image of God and the height of perfection among all creatures, is fundamentally good in all his rational and philosophical glory. Enlightenment and postmodernism stoutly believe in the inherent evilness of Man, who knows only suffering, pain, and misery and he is an animal, no more the image of an omnipotent immanent God than proof of such a God’s existence. The problem of evil has always burdened the minds of our wisdom lovers, making agnostics, atheists, and deists out of all those who come to the only seemingly practical solution.

As for myself, I have always believed humans to be fundamentally flawed. We are capable of the most beneficent goods, the most selfless acts, and the most noble aspirations. Ultimately, we recognize that the good is always better than the absence or corruption of good. Yet we have this tendency to do evil, to succumb to temptations, greed, malice, or overall disregard for others of our kind. Evil yields no long term reward in this world and does not often prevail in any significant way, so why do we still commit it? It would seem that evil is the product of human action, not of any God.

To start with the assumption that humans were once perfect can be explained either by God, by ethics through free will and moral responsibility, or even by a scientific perspective that we were once amoral (once animals, but now evolved with a conscience). In all cases, it would seem that humanity was either not given a chance to choose between good or evil (amoral stage) or was faced by a first choice where committing harm appeared more salient than the contrary. Make such choices implies that we know full well that we are committing a wrong, otherwise ethical/moral responsibility would play no role. It is indeed a mystery why evil would appear more salient to the first human being, but I have only aimed in my reflections here to demonstrate that human nature is indeed fallen, but not totally incapable of decency.

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