You are required to write essay on the following questions.
Theories on Human Nature
1. There are various theories and thoughts surrounding whether human beings are intrinsically god or intrinsically bad. The theories and thoughts are shaped by various factors such as religion, culture, level of education etc. People often disagree concerning whether people are inherently bad or inherently good (Smith, 2016). Some argue that some people are intrinsically good while others are intrinsically bad. Others believe that the people are neither intrinsically good nor intrinsically bad but their act according to the environment in which they find themselves.
I think that people are intrinsically bad. I will explain the reason why I subscribe to this belief in the following sentences. I would like to first say that I have been brought up in a Christian environment and Christianity has greatly shaped the way I view things. My belief is that people are intrinsically bad, and it is only the grace of God that can salvage us from this state. God is the creator of the universe and He is the only one who can be referred to as being intrinsically good. In other words, God is intrinsically holy, loving, kind, caring, and other many positive attributes. Human beings are by nature weak and prone to sin. It is only when God intervenes in the life of a person that a person can be termed as being relatively good. Even then, it is because of the God who lives in them that they carry out actions that are good. Therefore, all the glory goes to God. In other words, it is impossible to be good without God, because He is the holy of holies, omnipotent and omnipresent.
In the contemporary society, people have many differing opinions around this question. The question becomes somehow complicated because there lacks a universal definition of good. In Christianity, we believe that that which is good is that which is Godly, and that which God would approve. Some people however argue that being good is relative and what may be good to one person may not be necessarily good to another person. many people have subscribed to the modern philosophy of relativism and it therefore becomes very hard to answer the question above for many people. Modern scholars argue that for you to come with a sure conclusion, you must have used scientific methods. Due to this, most learned individuals are very weary of making any decision about anything unless it has been proved scientifically. It is challenging to test the question above scientifically due to the lack of a universal definition of good.
My Belief on Intrinsic Badness of Human Beings
From the biblical perspective, it appears that the position held by the bible is that human beings are intrinsically bad. Paul argues that we are all sinners apart from grace. In the letter Galatians (Galatians 6:14), he says that far be it from him to boast in anything apart from the cross of Christ. The bible also tells us that because of the way sin has greatly dwelled in the world, he gave us his only son so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life (John 3:16). If the world was not composed of sinners, then there wouldn’t have been any need for Jesus to come. One might also conclude that the reason why God has given us commandments is because we are naturally sinful and need to follow the commandments if we are to be ‘good’ before him. We know that God is holy and loves unconditionally. God is not sinful, and he hates sin. The some came for saving the world. The reason for that was the sinful nature that human beings have inherently that had made them sin so much. Jesus says that no one goes to the father except through him. This could be viewed as situation where Jesus as God is holy and good any human being must leave their sins (for the are sinful by nature) and approach the throne of grace and be Christlike so that they can go the father who is holy. This perspective has also shaped my answer to the question and I belong to the school of thought that human beings are intrinsically bad (bad in the sense that they are sinful). In a nutshell, human beings are inherently sinful, and it is only when they follow the dictates of God (as provided in the Bible) that they be good (Christlike) since Christ Jesus did not sin and He is intrinsically good.
In the contemporary society the issue of morality has become more important yet complicated. It has become important in the sense that organisations, businesses and nations are becoming more interested in ensuring that ethics are maintained for proper running of activities (Fassin, 2014). Ethical conduct has become popular and expected of almost any modern venture that is determined in succeeding in its endeavour. On the other hand, the issue of morality has become complicated in the sense that it has become more harder to define what is moral and what is not. The opinions and beliefs that we hold about morals are usually shaped by factors such as culture, socialization, religion, level of education.
Lack of a Universal Definition of Good
Most people usually are influenced by culture when determining what they term as moral or not (Halliwell, 2015). This is not an objective guide to morals as it may be biased and influenced by the cultural beliefs. Other people have subscribed to the teachings of philosophy about morals. For instance, there are people who subscribe to utilitarianism and believe that an action is moral or right if it benefits the majority. Here is an example of how such a person would behave. If they see an obese child eating a chocolate bar on one side of the street and a malnourished child on the other side, they would snatch the chocolate bar from the obese child and give it to the malnourished child. The argument would be that the action has helped the obese child by preventing him from gaining more weight and helped the malnourished child by boosting the nutrition status. Since the action benefits the two children, a utilitarian would argue that the action is right or moral. Such a school of thought cannot be objective since some others would argue that stealing (which is wrong) is involved. There are other theories too surrounding morals and ethics all which have their own versions of the story. The conclusion from these observations can only be that there isn’t an objective guide morality.
Let us now look at the biblical perspective of the issue. It would help to start by indicating that God is a just judge. When God decides, it is only for the good. Since he is a perfect judge, and he provides us with the way we should act/ not act, we can conclude that the bible provides us with an approach to morality that is significantly different from all the others. For instance, one of the commandments is that we should not steal. God made that direction knowing very well that if we adhered to it, we will live harmoniously and peaceful with others. Jesus combines the ten commandments in to two main commandments- loving God and loving the neighbour. On a close internalization of the greatest commandment (that of love), we find that if they were to be adhered to, then the world would be a better place to live in. Here is the reason why. Someone who loves their neighbour is very unlikely to plan or propagate any form of harm towards them. If you also look at it closely, if someone loves God, then they automatically love their neighbour for it is impossible to love God and hate that what He loves. In a way, the Christian guide to morality is unique because if it were to be followed (that is following the biblical teachings) then it is bound to have good results.
Issues with Defining Morality Objectively
In a nutshell, people have different views about morality and subscribe to different schools of thought when it comes to the same. Due to the dividedness that characterizes the whole issue, it becomes to have a consensus on the definition of morality and what is to be defined as moral (Frame, 2015). It can therefore be concluded that there is not an objective guide to morality. The bible however provides teachings that if followed would help people live together in peace and harmony. As indicated above, the teachings include those of love.
The modern world is saturated with relativism where people believe that that there is nothing right or wrong (Barnard, 2016). The argument is that what may be wrong to another may be rights to another and the vice versa. In the light of this, it is already evident that answering the question above would require a very thoughtful strategy. If people believe that definition of right or wrong depends on the person/situation in question, then one might be tempted to believe that all knowledge is subjective. However, a closer look sheds some more light in to the issue. Modern scholars believe that for knowledge to be deemed as objective and acceptable it must follow the scientific method. This means that it must be tested and results (which could be observations) made. If the scientific method is followed, the scientist would argue that the knowledge is objective. For instance, through such method (the scientific method) we have learnt such knowledge as diabetes mellitus is caused a disorder in insulin metabolism. From such observations, health professional has been able to determine the appropriate interventions. One can therefore conclude that not all knowledge is subjective.
I would argue that not all knowledge is subjective. This is because some knowledge is a representation of facts that cannot change. It applies to all people and circumstances whether they wan it or not. For instance, Tuesday always comes immediately after Monday and Wednesday is the day that follows it. Such knowledge is objective and unbiased. It follows that not all knowledge is subjective. The question above is phrased in a manner that it only requires one illustration to nullify it. The illustration provided here indicates clearly that we cannot conclude that all knowledge is subjective.
The bible is referred to as the book that contains the truth. Jesus tells us that we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free. The truth is the word of God (which is contained in the bible). It is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, when He refers to His word as the truth and say that it will set us free, it will do exactly that. Let us take some examples of the promises that God made. God promised Abraham many generations and this came to pass. He also promised David that His son would build Him (God) a temple and the promise was fulfilled. God cannot lie, and He always fulfils his promises. The promises of God are found in the bible. It can therefore be concluded that he will honour all His promises. Since the bible is the bible that Christianity derives its teachings from, we can conclude that the knowledge/information contained there is objective and bound to happen for God always honours his promises. The bible also teaches that there will be a time when there will be false teachers. Such a teaching is objective and will come to pass. However, the false teaching by the false prophets does not amount to truth and is therefore subjective and tailored for selfish motives. In a nutshell, there are several issues around the question whether all knowledge is subjective. Extensive evidence suggests that the answer to the question above is a no.
Barnard-Wills, D. (2016). Surveillance and identity: Discourse, subjectivity and the state. (2nd ed). London: Routledge.
Fassin, D. (Ed.). (2014). A companion to moral anthropology. (4th ed). Victoria: John Wiley & Sons.
Frame, J. M. (2015). Christianity and culture. Lectures given at the Pensacola Theological Institute. (Lecture notes). Retrieved from https://www.thirdmill.org/newfiles/joh_frame/Frame.Apologetics2004.ChristandCulture.html
Halliwell, S. (2015). Popular morality, philosophical ethics and the rhetoric. (2nd ed). Routledge
Smith, J. K. (2016). You are what you love. The spiritual power of habit. Grand Rapids. (2nd ed). New York: Brazos Press