Man: Naturally Good or Evil?
The age old question when discussing man has always been: "Is man naturally good or evil?" There are many arguments that say that man is naturally evil. There are many counter arguments that say that man is naturally good. Which one is it? Is man naturally good or evil? That's why I'm here. I will present arguments from both sides, and maybe some that share an entirely different argument, and then share my opinion about which I think. This papers purpose is not to tell you which is right, which is wrong, but to get you to think about man and his nature.
I must first define the terms "good" and "evil" before I am able to discuss which medium man is. I went to dictionary.com to find what the definitions of both terms. "Evil" produced five definitions, while "good" produced 41 definitions. I will discuss why this is weird later, but for now, just the definitions. "Evil" is basically something that is morally wrong. It's something that's intent is to hurt others. "Good" is basically something that is right, and its intent is to help others or do something for someone else. Now that I've basically defined the terms, we can now discuss what man is.
I conducted a survey on an internet forum asking people what they thought man naturally was. 33% think man is naturally both good and evil, 28% think man is naturally neither good nor evil, 28% think man is naturally evil, and 11% think man is naturally good. When I proposed the question, I was thinking that people would just say "good" or "evil." It was not my intention for them to also say "neither" or "both." What surprised me the most was that "good" was so low, while "evil" was so high.
Is man naturally evil? Possibly. Many believe that humankind is entirely selfish, only looking out for oneself. "It's our animal instinct" they say. We do what we must to survive. If that means hurting someone else to get ahead, then that's the way it is. Me, me, me; it's always about what I want, and not what anyone else wants. There are wars in our world simply because one side thinks the other is evil and must be destroyed and vice versa. This usually involves religion. Man is evil because Satan persuaded Adam and Eve to eat from the forbidden tree. They wanted to be like God, so they ate the fruit. That's where sin came into play. So because of their act, all mankind is born into sin, which makes man naturally evil.
Is man naturally good? Possibly. Even though many people do not think man is good, there are some people that do. They think that love is a natural instinct, and love is good. Man does not have the instinct to hurt or kill simply because they choose to. Man is compassionate. Man wants to be happy. Man wants to love and to be loved. Man cares about whom they love. Humankind tries to help one another in times of need. Man believes in the humanistic perspective, in that man's mind is inherently good, constantly striving to learn more and reach its full potential. Anything that happens along the way is subject interpretation. Once again, religion can come into play.
God created man in His image. God is good, which makes man good. Even though sin came upon humankind, man is still created in God's image, so man must naturally be good.
Perhaps man is neither good nor bad. Perhaps when we are born we simply are there, we are neutral. 28% of people say this. They say that man is neutral, and is influenced by their culture on what is good and what is evil. "Good" and "evil" are just terms created by man; opinions. Wars are never a battle between good and evil, but rather a battle between differing opinions of what goodness and evil constitute. Good and evil change based on the morals that you learn. There is only the perception of humanity which attempts to give itself some fundamental depth where there is inherently none. Evolution didn't design us to be civilized and polite. We are hunters and gatherers. In the end we are carbon...
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