Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Are We Good?


Is Mankind Good?

I was talking with a friend in the basement of her church just before Easter. I was there visiting for a musical performance and had not been there before. Parishoners' artwork hung on the walls all around us, many nature scenes, a vivid painting of scriptures scrawled in a labyrinth design painted by a woman I met later, and an intricate looped knot that my friend made. I think it was inspired by the origins of her denomination in the Celtic world. I asked about the loop and how it fit into their theology. I thought she'd say something about the Trinity. That's not what she said. I have to paraphrase from memory and, if she read this, maybe she would add more detail or nuance. But here is the gist of it:

She said simply that it was the idea of all things working together in harmony, all of nature and life, all good, all entwined, and all celebrating together as one. That sounds dreamy, doesn't it? But then she continued that Christian theology says you are a sinner and need to be saved by grace because you are imperfect and decaying. Well, that sounds awful. 

But which is true?

I think any of us can look at the news and see anything but harmony. If we are good, why are there wars? Why do we drive over flowers sometimes? Why do we offend people? What about the little things like selfishness and pride, which are big things, and the big things like murder and hate?

Are we good?

52 comments:

  1. We are good at the declarative level, but we are going to disaster...

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    1. Hard to argue with that! Still, I hope and pray God will intervene.

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  2. I think that we are capable of both good and bad. I do think that as Dr. King quoted that the universe bends towards justice. Right now we just happen to be in a particularly dark place where the wrong people are in the wrong places, and feeding the appetites of other wrong people. But dawn is coming.

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    1. I like that quote by Dr. King. His hopefulness is contagious!

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  3. God's world for us was perfect, but we have free will, and that is often different from God's will.

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  4. Some yes, some now. I'd like to believe Anne Frank -- "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." I'm not sure I'm that expansive but I do try.

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  5. People have the ability to do good and bad, but I agree with being born into a fallen world and being without the spirit of God in us as people until we are born again through Jesus Christ as our savior. We do not understand the things of God without this rebirth.

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    1. So true, Deanna... we can't see until we can see!

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  6. I'd like to think people are good by nature...maybe as infants when we are born, we are good...but as we learn from life, we become jaded - even the people who seem to be so balanced, happy and good-natured...there is always a hidden side (in my opinion!)

    Though I try to live a life of positivity, gratitude and compassion, I still believe that the majority of people are NOT good. This used to affect me, but it doesn't anymore, and I don't think it's made me a cynic...I'm a realistic and accept that. I see examples in every day life of the nastiness of people. Not just on the news, but all around me.

    I still strive to be the best I can be, but I'm nowhere near perfect! :)

    Thanks for the food for thought!! xx

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    1. "...even the people who seem to be so balanced, happy and good-natured...there is always a hidden side (in my opinion!)"

      I am whistling nervously and avoiding eye contact...

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  7. No, we are not good. That's probably why it looks like the universe is going to be reset by God (the hints for that: climate change,numerous natural disasters in many parts of the world).

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  8. I saw a great quote today by John Newton-"Although my memory is fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior."

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  9. God is good and we need to be saved by his grace, which he gives us if we ask him to enter our hearts. God sent Jesus to tell us this good news.

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  10. Yes, mankind is good because God made us and God is good. After we're born, we are given free will, we are tempted, we are sometimes weak, and we often fall. But we try again to be good and disciplined, and forgive and love. Mankind is good, but sometimes the choices he makes is not.

    ~Sheri

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  11. If man could be "good" on his own merit, there would have been no need for Christ to die on the cross to save us from our sins. Eve was deceived by the serpent in the garden into believing that she really didn't need to obey God...that she was "good enough". But God showed her, and Adam and the Serpent otherwise. And therefore, the "scarlet thread of redemption" was set in motion for Christ to come to earth, the sinless Son of God, to become sin for us to save us from our sins, because we could never be good enough to save ourselves. Anyone who thinks they are "good enough" to make it to heaven on their own will have a very rude awakening one day. But Jesus came to give us the Good News of Salvation through His sacrifice on the cross. Why? Because God loved us so much He was willing to sacrifice His Son to save us. God is good...all the time, God is good.

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  12. Is man basically good or bad?

    If there was no chance whatsoever of being found out, of being punished, no retribution, no revenge, no come-back whatsoever from our actions - would we do good or would we do bad?

    God bless.

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  13. We were created as good and to be good. And yet we are prone to submit to temptation, we are sinners. But God loves us as we are. In today's liturgy in the Catholic Church we read "I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world" (see John 12:44-50).
    All that is good and beautiful and creative and loving in us is the image of god in whose image we were created. ;)

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  14. Hi Sandi,
    what came straight into my mind as I read your post was Mark 10 v. 18:-
    'Why do you call Me good?' Jesus replied. 'No one is good except God alone...'
    This is why we have to be born again spiritually, not having the carnal mind, but the mind of Christ, in order to learn God's ways and His thoughts as to what is truly 'good'.

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  15. Hello, I think most people are good people. I do think greed can make some people evil. Wishing you a happy day!

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  16. Sandi, I always think about people that they are good until I learn something different.
    I was touched deeply reading about prisoners' paintings on the walls. I thought that we need their art, just to be more human, more compassionate about other people who messed up their lives.
    Sadly, some people have a strong desire to dominate, they strive for power, they don't care about wars and violence. I wish the world would be different...

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    1. It's like the saying, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

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  17. perhaps both are right. Our faith is full of mystery and somehow, even though we are all corrupted little buggers, God is working things out through us...

    I came over to your blog because I really liked your profile picture--the yellow fields and water--beautiful!

    www.thepulpitandthepen.com

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  18. Dear Sandi we are watching "Spartacus" these days (hubby's choice of course as he loves historical shows)

    since i started to watch this drama with remote control in my hand and keep fast forwarding all the horrible blood shed and terrifying sexuality displayed in it

    the thing comes in my mind that WE ARE BETTER FROM THOSE TIMES

    the humanity and civilization developed ,slavery has left and common people are free to live at least NOT DIRECTLY CAPTIVATED AS SLAVES OR HUMILIATED

    mankind can never be perfect no matter how advance it become

    the freedom of choice will always be there and the possibility to make mistake will also be there

    because it is in our nature as humans

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    1. Thank you, Baili. That's so encouraging!

      I watch TV like you do, turning off a lot of it...

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  19. I believe that Jeremia wrote the truth: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” A new covenant will give a new heart! That's why the Messiah came. To restore.

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  20. I always live in hope. A lot of evil in the world but I believe there is more goodness and in the end it will prevail. None of us are perfect but hopefully we learn by our mistakes and move on to do better, be kinder, more tolerant. As I said, I will always live in hope.

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  21. We are all sinners. We are born into sin. Pamela said it so well. Jesus went to the Cross for us in order for us to be deemed worthy to meet God.

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  22. I believe that there are many more good people in this world than bad, and I hope that the good in humanity prevails. As Baili pointed out, things are much better today than in the past. I think that we are living in the best time that humanity as a whole has lived. We face daunting challenges, but people are more connected around the world than at any other time, and great synergy can result from that. I think we will solve our problems ~ If we can overcome our differences with tolerance and respect.

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  23. we are good, so good...i see it everyday, everywhere!! i never let other behaviors taint my vision. because a person has a flaw, that does not make them a sinner or a terrible person...it makes them human!

    behaviors and people do not need labels, just acceptance, forgiveness and love!!

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  24. Hi Sandi, A great question and I think there are as many answers as there are humans. I would like to think that "good" is the goal, but then again, others may disagree. Interesting comments here.

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  25. Isn't it interesting how we judge ourselves as good or bad, yet animals are just natural?

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    1. I wish we were more like them sometimes.

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  26. I like to think that most of us are good … but there is always room for improvement.

    Interesting post and comments.

    All the best Jan

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