Skip to main content

Human Nature

I was recently asked the following question: What is your basic view of "human nature?" Which got me thinking. You see how we view human nature will determine how we respond to other people. Mark Driscoll in his book Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out refers to Thomas Sowell’s book A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. According to Driscoll social commentator Sowell explains that the political conflict between Republican and Democrat stems from vastly differing understandings of human nature.

Republicans view human nature as being selfish and sinful and places hope for the transformation of culture through restraining our sinful behavior by the use of laws and punishment. Democrats see human nature as basically good and loving and transformation of culture is the result of social programs, public education, and government services (page 107; Radical Reformission).

This issue of human nature is worth pondering because the answer we arrive at will determine how we treat those around us. Being Christian people if we see people as selfish and sinful we will demand that people follow God’s law and to shape up. On the other hand if we, as Christians, see people as loving and good then what we will want to do is guide them to Jesus (though we will emphasize Jesus' love and ignore His call to repentance) so they can know Who to follow.

Here is my simple answer to the question: our nature is neither good nor bad, but we become whatever we have been trained to be. I don’t buy the doctrines of the “sinful nature” and “total depravity.” One reason is because I don’t think that is what the Bible teaches (though I know many people believe it does). A second reason is it has not been my experience. I know too many “Christians” who have done terrible things and I know too many non-Christians who have done some wonderful things.

Ultimately it comes down to choices. Each one of us decides how we are going to live. These decisions are based on what we have been taught and believe. If our nature is neither good nor bad how should we respond to people? By presenting them with a choice. That is what Jesus did. “Come follow me,” he would say and people would either choose to follow or remain behind. Sure there is teaching and loving which goes along with this, but doing those things simply provides people with enough evidence to make a choice. Our choices determine our character and our character defines the essence of who we are.


Comments

After I read "Blue Like Jazz," I became open to the fact that maybe Democrats weren't so bad after all. Initially, they are more compassionate to people because they believe they are basically good. However, they totally overlook Adam and Eve's legacy of sin--a constant struggle between good and evil.

After all these years of throwing ENDLESS piles of money at problems without any benchmarks toward a solution, when are the Democrats going to learn to get a new playbook? Perhaps never--about the same length of time it will take for them to garner my precious vote.

Love,
Joy
Paul said…
There certainly are points in Blue Like Jazz that were difficult to read because of my conservative background. One thing that Rush Limbaugh said very many years ago (I was only a freshman in High School at the time) in reference to abortion: we have to change people's hearts, one person at a time. It is a slow way to bring about change, but it is the only way to have real change in that culture.

Popular posts from this blog

Prayer: Married Bedtime Prayer

My wife Jenny and I have been using the Bedtime Prayer that John Eldredge wrote for Walking with God as part of our bedtime routine.  As much as I have enjoyed the prayer I thought it was time for a prayer that was better suited to pray together.  Hopefully this will encourage you to implement prayer into your bedtime routine.

Our Father in Heaven, we pause at the end of this day to say thank You.  We give You thanks for the blessing of life, for the blessing of each other, for the blessing of family, and for the blessing of a home. You have richly blessed our lives. Restore us Father to Your Son Jesus.  He is the vine and we are the branches and He has become our source of life.  Open our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit's guidance, healing, and transformation.  May our lives and our marriage bear the fruit of the Spirit.  We surrender our lives and our marriage to You.  You have our bodies, possessions, and spirits; we give You our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.  We belon…

God Uses Unlikely People

One of the things that strike me about God is that the value society has given to people makes no difference to Him. In fact it seems that God would rather use the common, even the despised, people of the world to make a difference in this world. Consider Moses. God doesn’t use Moses when he is a prince of Egypt, but when he is a nomadic shepherd. Certainly God has used the rich and the powerful, but more often than not God has used the poor, sinful, and abused. God uses the unlikeliest people.

This reality comes our loud and clear at Christmas time. Think about the major characters of the Christmas story: Joseph who is a poor and scandalize carpenter, Mary who is a young and scandalized girl, Shepherds who are a bunch of untrustworthy characters. Only the Magi have credibility in society, but this diminishes in Jewish culture since these men were Gentiles. The most important event in the history of the world and God chooses people who are rejected and wouldn’t be believed by so…

Worship is a Lifestyle

"It's a lot easier to sing a song than it is to stop and touch the broken. It's a lot less taxing to go to church than to take 'church' to the world. But sharing with others is a sacrifice of worship that makes God smile." ~ Louie Giglio; The Air I Breathe

Worship isn't just about music. Worship isn't just an activity that is planned and programmed. Worship is about glorifying God with our lives. When we seek to honor God, we worship Him.

Worship happens anytime and anyplace. It happens Sunday mornings at church. It happens Wednesday night at Bible Study. It happens when we chat with our neighbor. It happens when we serve those in need. It happens when we show love to the lonely. Worship is what being a Christian is all about.

Worship is a life lived in response to God's gracious blessings. God has given us so much. We owe Him every breath we breathe. He is responsible for our talents we use. God has given us blessing after blessing. Only a life o…