Friday, May 19, 2006

Are We Really Good At Heart?

My previous entry on the blog was an excerpt from a news article concerning a law that is about to be passed in Iran which would, in part, force anyone who isn't Muslim to wear color coded badges on their clothing. The Jews would be expected to wear yellow, which is reminiscent of the persecution that took place during Hitler's reign, and Christians would be assigned red. I wonder why they chose these colors?

At any rate the color scheme is really just a side issue that I was thinking about, more important is the fact that I have heard little to nothing said concerning this. The news, as par the course for it, is amazingly silent. At least it is here in the US - the article I found is from Canada. Why isn't this of concern? Why do we seem so willing to ignore things like this? The world ignored Hitler and millions of people lost their lives, what will it take for us to pay attention to this (and other things happening around the world)? Will the law have to pass and people start being put onto trains like cattle before we wake up?

The thing that struck me is that by in large we like to think that people are good, or at least by nature they are good perhaps they're simply corrupted by their circumstances. We say to ourselves, "Well, I'll just let [insert whatever] slide, maybe they'll straighten up on their own." How often are we completely caught off guard by the evil that takes place? We didn't see, or maybe we didn't want to see, the Holocaust coming, we didn't see Columbine coming, we didn't see September 11th coming. Had you asked me on September 10th what I thought of people in general I would have espoused the same line I'd been fed since I was a child.

"Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart."
- Anne Frank

It is a sweet sentiment I suppose, to see that a girl can go through so very much and not be filled with hate? It's beautiful. But is it true? Are we really good at heart? Sometimes I can't help but wonder. Maybe I sound like a cynic, but I really have a hard time believing that...Even about myself. Sometimes I sit and something will trigger a memory from my childhood and I see that I wasn't as good, or as honest, as I always pictured myself. I did some good things, sure, but I did a lot of wicked things as well that make me cringe.

Which is it, either we're good by nature or we're not. Are the bad things we do solely because of our environment? If I dropped my children off in the woods and left them to themselves, would they be good people when they emerged years later? What about the kids who go and shoot up their schools? Are these types of out bursts strange? Is it in our nature to be deceitful, hateful, and vengeful? Or are we normally sweet, honest, loving, forgiving people whose surroundings corrupt us?

Sometimes it is hard to imagine having any kind of an answer to these questions. Why are the younger generations growing up faster, engaging in sexual acts at younger ages, why are they doing things that their grandparents wouldn't have imagined doing? Is it really just because they've been raised "wrong"? Or is the lack of parental guidance simply an indication of what is brewing below the surface? Were our grandparents more "moral" because they naturally were that way, or because they were raised to be? I don't think anyone would argue with me when I say that, by in large, parents aren't involved in the same way and their way of relating to the children is probably quite different from the way our great grandparents interacted with our grandparents.

So, I put the question to you again. Were our parents better people because that's how people really are or are our younger generations running rampant with sin because the parents have essentially removed their moral compass from their children's lives forcing the children to find their own way? If the latter is the case, if our children are going crazy with sin because the parents took their guiding hands off their children, what does that say about the nature of our children? What does that say about us? If we hadn't been raised to think murder is wrong, would we be out killing people? Sure, our environment and culture shape us, but is that the sole determining factor in how we turn out? I hardly think so. Cain killed Abel and they were the first generation that was born to Adam and Eve. Obviously the fall effected much more than our location.

1 comment:

ThirstyDavid said...

"...people are really good at heart."

Nope, sorry - "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9