The Instigator
Country-of-dummies
Pro (for)
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The Contender
WrickItRalph
Con (against)
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0 Points

Are people truly evil in nature

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2019 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 978 times Debate No: 120396
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (20)
Votes (0)

 

Country-of-dummies

Pro

Many people believe that all people are good at heart, That people are born with good intentions, Just stray off the prim-rose path. Contrary to that, I believe in the Bible"s view that people are evil at heart, ""for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Genesis 8:21, King James Version). Although many people reject this idea, That humans are literally "born evil, " the fact is, No one must teach a child to be disobedient, Or lie, Or steal, Or do bad things, It just comes naturally, It is the child"s nature. This nature continues in the child from birth to death. Why? Well, The Bible explains that to, ""the wicked will continue to be wicked" (Daniel, 12:10, KJV), For "There is none righteous, No, Not one" (Romans 3:10, KJV). These may be shocking statements to some people. They may ask, "So, You are saying that an innocent little baby --is evil? " The answer is, Not at all. I am not saying that babies are born evil, Not in the way we think about "evil, " but I am saying that babies are born with a nature that must be taught to be good. Therefore, It can be interpreted that the natural inclination within humans is to do bad, Since they are more inclined to do bad than good and must be taught to do good. Putting opinions aside, Even without discussing babies being or not being born with an evil nature, There is still a problem within children, A problem that persists from birth to death. In children, This problem could arise from various reasons, The baby"s natural nature, The effects of the parent"s habits, The big, Bad world, Or what we call "free will;" the equivalent definition of the phrase, Train children up properly and they will be good (Proverbs 22:6, KJV). Babies and children are born with a nature that has a proclivity towards what we call "bad" things. Even if children are not necessarily held up to the Bible"s standard, They still do and can do things that are against society"s moral code, Law, And many times, The parent"s wishes. However, Children are not fully developed enough to know what the consequences of wrongdoing are, They must be taught what is right or wrong. Therefore, They cannot be used as a prime example of the human race. No, We must use the adults as our example. Adults are old enough to know what they are doing and the results of what they do, Therefore there is no excuse for their actions. Adults are "supposed" to know right from wrong, Yet, In most cases, They still choose to do wrong. Although, Let us say for sake of argument that human (babies) are born with a proclivity towards wrongdoing, For adults, They choose to do wrong things therefore the thought of innocence for adults is completely removed from the equation. To me, This makes humanity (responsible adults) look even worse than just engaging in plain wrongdoing, This presents a hint of evil, Well beyond our level of comprehension. The little bit of arrogance that humans have that makes them think they are above and better than everyone and everything else, Might be the shortfall of humans. This is the equivalent definition of the phrase, People make themselves stupid by doing evil, And make themselves appear to only have enough sense to do evil (Jeremiah 4:22, KJV).
WrickItRalph

Con

To fully appreciate the argument, I believe we must have a good grasp on the definition of the word evil. By the biblical definition, God decides what is good and evil. It should be noted here that there is no middle ground for God. I think this is a poor definition. When humanity speaks about what is moral and immoral. Conceptually what we are talking about is that which is either beneficial or harmful to ourselves. Since humans are also a social species, It is no surprise that we also extend this standard to society as a whole. The word evil, In a colloquial sense, Is simply a higher degree of immorality. By juxtaposing these two definitions of evil, We can see what I believe to be the first problem with your claim. Your definition for evil is not practical since it depends on the opinion of a supernatural being that hasn't been demonstrated to exist. Even if I was to grant you on faith that God exists, We then run into another problem. How can I know that god's opinion about good and evil are correct? Couldn't he be lying? Couldn't he be wrong? If evil is defined solely by the virtue of God's edicts, Then god could decide tomorrow that homicide is just and that saving someone from drowning is evil. I didn't want to make this a God debate, But since God is part of your position, I felt it necessary to mention the parts that apply to our topic.

The next problem with your claim is that you say children are born with the inclination towards evil behaviors and have to be taught morality over time. The behaviors you describe of children are not necessarily evil. The moral implications of an action depend entirely on the situation. Stealing is a behavior that can be morally justified at times, Especially in cases where the thief needs the stolen object to survive and the victim was not caused any significant harm, Besides losing an object. Children start off with a basic package of survival instincts and decision making processes that are specifically meant to help them survive. Through experience, The children are rewarded or punished for their actions, And this becomes their basic moral standard going into adult life. I believe that people are not simply good or evil. People have a system of beliefs and desires. These beliefs and desires will ultimately lead to actions that are either moral, Immoral, Or arbitrary. Some people may have a belief system that tends to lead them to immoral actions. This is not the same as being evil. To be evil would be to have a belief system such that one makes consistently immoral decisions of high degree. The furthest I could ever go would be to say that people tend to make marginally more immoral decisions than moral. Now that I've given my logical argument, I would also like to appeal to you as human and express the hope that you don't think most people are evil because I would like to believe that you like humanity at least a little bit.
Debate Round No. 1
Country-of-dummies

Pro

It is interesting how the words "evil" and "God" are so confusing to so many people. Actually they are the two most easy words to understand, Because they represent bad and good. What the Bible means by "evil" might not be our definition of evil. Just maybe what it is referring to is the evil lurking from our choices, Let alone our nature. The Bible talks about how bad people are (how evil they are, ) but the part we miss is what we intentionally ignore, Because we do not want to acknowledge it. No matter what you call it, Sin, Wickedness, Error, Corruptness, Immorality, Etc. It all boils down to one thing, A choice, The equivalent definition of the word evil. The reason I used the Bible in my initial post, Was because, Regardless if you believe the Bible is God's word or not, It is a REALLY old book, So the writers of it should know what "bad" and "good" is, At least, I think. However, Contrary to your statement about God not being just, God just allows what corrupted humans put in place. You say that children are born with instincts. My point is, That yes, Children are born with instincts, But if you take out the equation of a child stealing out of need or doing something else out of "need, " then we can get back on subject. What we are talking about here is, A child that grows up in an ordinary environment. Unfortunately, The absence of parents in today's society does not help our juveniles to be successful, Productive citizens. It is not that I do not like humans, But I believe that they have to be taught right from wrong: a thought that is neglected by modern society. It is obvious that children are. . . Brats without someone teaching them right from wrong. Looking at pure evil, People like Jeffrey Dahmer might not have been the serial killer he was if he had been raised right. While it is true that there are just some "bad apples" that cannot be helped, No matter what the parents do, Still, That is an "out of ordinary"case. As someone who knows children, Very well, I know that children have to be taught, Punished, And raised well to turn out well. I do think we might be better off sticking to examples of "normal" childhoods, That way we can present a very good, Valid argument. The Bible defines evil as anything that is bad, Anything that is in a person's nature that is contrary to good, And I think we all know what that means, Against moral code, Against the law, Against parent's wishes, Etc. There is a great deal of rebellion in children nowadays, Something that the older generation did not teach them, And the most of the older generation is ashamed of. Where did they get all this stuff? When did a child decide to walk into a school and blow people away? Who taught them that? Who taught mankind to war against each other? Who teaches men to do any of the bad things they do? Their nature? YES EXACTLY! That could be nature from God, From satan, Evolutionary, Whatever you want to call it. All I am saying is that there is some kind of problem with mankind, If not his plain evil nature, Then his genes, Environment, Or whatever else. If you want to say that children are born with "survival" instincts, That cause them to do all the bad things they do, Then fine, I am good with that, But in saying that, You are admitting that there is a problem, Which is the only real point I am trying to make. Great debate! Glad you took it up!
WrickItRalph

Con

I agree that this is a good debate! We definitely disagree on many points, But we're both willing to flesh out our definitions and abstain from personal attacks. Let us continue

I understand that the definition of evil seems clear to you conceptually. I'm not even saying that our different definitions would necessarily make us unable to identify evil. It can be tempting, When experiencing your own clarity, To say that everyone basically understand what we mean. The problem is that when we do this, We leave room for conflation. Imagine a person who has been told that we basically know what evil is. This person might get the impression that he/she always knows when they see evil. Now if this person was to desire an evil act, They might think the act is not evil because somebody told them that we basically know what evil is.

You make that argument that since The Bible is a really old book, That the content must convey greater truth. This is a non sequitur. There is no logical entailment between the age of something and it's factualness. We can only judge the content based on the merit of what it says alone. This is the whole problem with using The Bible to define the word evil. I think you misunderstood my questions about god. What I'm saying is that even if God existed, We have no reason to believe that his opinion would somehow be more truthful than anyone else's. This crumbles the core justification for your argument.

Now for the fun part. So I reject the idea that we must only look at normal childhoods. That is moving the goalpost. Your argument is that people are evil by nature. There is no such thing as a normal childhood. Every childhood is different with some variables overlapping. If a child was born inherently evil and has to be taught good behaviors as you say, Then it logically follows that a child that is not taught at all would grow to be an evil adult. This can be dismissed reductio ad absurdum. There can be adults demonstrated to have live with little or no adult intervention who then grew up to live decent lives. We can use the same logic to dismiss the notion that teaching a child to be good will necessarily save them from evil. There are examples of people who are raised in good homes (sometimes Christian homes) who end up being morally depraved. Finally, What about the middle ground? It can be demonstrated that some actions can be morally neutral. They neither benefit nor harm anybody. In closing, I would like to point out that your last statement was a mischaracterization of my argument. I didn't say that a child was born with instincts that cause them to do all the bad things they do. I said that they are born with basic instincts that are purely for survival. This instincts do not exclusively produce immoral actions. They produce survival driven actions that can fall anywhere on the moral spectrum. You were only representing one part of the whole. I then went on to say, That children learn the implications of their actions over time and this forms their moral belief system. This system can be good or bad and can come from many sources. But this is not even close to being evil by nature. If I missed any key points, Please let me know for the sake of completeness.
Debate Round No. 2
WrickItRalph

Con

I'll wrap up gently by saying that that I have no problem where we get our morals from on an individual level. As long as we can all come to a peaceful existence in society. I think no two humans have the same inherent nature and we must judge on a case by case basis. I thank you for conversing with me and I hope the we can have more friendly disagreements in the future.
Debate Round No. 3
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by K_Michael_Tolman 3 years ago
K_Michael_Tolman
Not a lot of people vote. I don't because they want my phone number in order to "verify my identity" and I don't have a phone.
Posted by Country-of-dummies 3 years ago
Country-of-dummies
er. . . No one wants to waste their time if it is not a major lashing-out argument. . .
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 years ago
WrickItRalph
@country, Lol. Yeah I think this one got pushed into obscurity before any voters seen it. I guess not there's not a lot of voters around all the time.
Posted by Country-of-dummies 3 years ago
Country-of-dummies
@WrickitRalph nobody's voting! LOL
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 years ago
WrickItRalph
@Tolman "carnal state"

Is that like the desire to sin?
Posted by K_Michael_Tolman 3 years ago
K_Michael_Tolman
I think that the soul is good, But the carnal state of men comes from the Fall of Adam.
Posted by missmedic 3 years ago
missmedic
your confusing altruism with benevolence
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 years ago
WrickItRalph
No worries. I just didn't want to suck the air out of the debate by having us say "this is all pointless' lol. So on your revised statement, I see no problem in validity. It is true that we have subjective view on definitions and some definitions have more subtle usages than others. So in a broad sense. I understood your initial comment. I think selfishness and altruism get pretty close to the truth of the matter, I would say that those terms could match more appropriately if selfishness and altruism had qualifiers on them. This would allow them to account for situational problems. Basically I'm saying you would have to differentiate different types of good and evil or "selfishness and altruism" for practicality sake.
Posted by recedingDebates 3 years ago
recedingDebates
@WrickItRalph, I don't think I explained what I meant very clearly, So I apologise. What I meant was that 'good' and 'evil' as universal terms can vary from person to person, And that they are subjective, Depending on the individual's interpretation of the situation. I would conflate selfishness with the idea of 'evil' and altruism with 'good' as that is how I, Personally, Would define those two terms, Yet another person's definition might differ from mine. If I were to ask people which of the two definitions they would associate with Selfishness and altruism, I assume I would get a somewhat similar answer. Once again, My apologies if I have contradicted myself, This is a tricky subject!
Posted by WrickItRalph 3 years ago
WrickItRalph
Thank you! I felt bad that my opponent didn't get to post his final response. We had just fleshed things out and had a chance to respond to each others initial claims. But we didn't get to land the plane!
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