Thursday, March 25, 2010
Man's Evil Nature
One of the things I learned in becoming a Christian and a minister was to make sure everyone knew just how bad they really were. They might have low self-esteem but that was not good enough. We need them to realize that every cell in their body is INTENSELY evil. Now did I make that crap up? Was I instructed wrong? Not if you believe the Bible. The Bible is quite explicit about how fundamentally wicked man's nature is. It is important to tell your future customer how badly he is going to need your product.
Here are the Bible text that found their way into my sermons and evangelistic revivals.
Every inclination of man's heart is evil from childhood. Genesis 6:5 and Genesis 8:21
Paul wrote I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. Romans 8:17
David wrote Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalms 51:5
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6 That is a good one. Even our best is unappreciated by God.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil. Jeremiah 13:23
Jesus asks Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9-11 A bit of a dilemma. How can I be evil and still do something good? Weird and contradictory stuff in this Bible.
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. Ecclesiastes 9:3
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. Ephesians 4:18-19
Here is my favorite one from Paul who pulled together lots of text from the Old Testament. The best of the best is my throat is an open grave.
As it is written:
There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even one.
Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.
The poison of vipers is on their lips.
Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.
There is no fear of God before their eyes. Romans 3:10-18
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. Psalms 14:1
Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Psalms 5:9
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 1 John 5:19
Well, since I no longer a believer, I haven't felt a need to lie. In fact I am more honest, no agenda to defend. When I give someone my word it is very important to me that I abide by it. I don't have any need to kill anyone. Am not bitter. My heart doesn't want to destroy anything. Don't feel any compulsion to do anything impure or feel incredibly lustful. Hmmm...internally I am fairly calm. The people I meet don't seem to be evil. Many of them are great and I have friends that are from all 3 monotheistic faiths, an eastern religion or two and atheists. None particularly stand out as better than any other. I think our society would not exist if what the Bible says about man's nature is true. Are there very bad people in the world? Yes. But in my experience there are few. Another lesson life teaches me that the Bible is made up hooey.
Psychology has shown us low-self esteem leads to destructive behavior. It even becomes self-fulling behavior. Well, I am just plain evil so what does it matter what I do. But when we have higher self-esteem, not the kind that says we are better than, but equal to, we behave in far better ways. Religion was built by man to make men behave better but failed in understanding human nature and caused men to behave even worse. Putting aside a primitive bronze age understanding of ourselves and the world around us can only be a good thing.