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Thread: Are people inherently good or bad?

  1. #11
    scourge Array miss fortune's Avatar
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    people aren't inherently anything except for people... good and bad are somewhat subjective terms anyways

    I do think that people are rather inherently self centered, self serving and rather narrow minded though and they wouldn't give a fuck about thier fellow human beings having problems unless that problem started to create issues for them as well...

    aka- I think that humans are assholes, but that there's nothing inherently good or bad about humanity
    Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom? -Terry Pratchett

  2. #12
    insert random title here Array Randomnity's Avatar
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    Labelling as inherently "good" or "bad" requires an external judgement of morality (i.e. god). So either you don't believe in god, and we are neither, or you believe in god, in which case it depends what your particular beliefs are. From my understanding the most common belief is that people are inherently good until "the devil" tempts us.

    If you wanted to remove the morality aspect of the question, you could ask whether people are inherently self-serving or altruistic, but the answer to that is obvious.
    -end of thread-

  3. #13
    Senior Member Array Saslou's Avatar
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    People being good or bad is too black and white.

    I'd like to think people are genuinely good but while having to deal with their flaws, issues etc sometimes they make bad choices. Hopefully though they can learn from it and find some kind of inner contentment.
    “I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower, you hung all your associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see—and I don't.”
    ― Georgia O'Keeffe

  4. #14
    Diabolical Array Kasper's Avatar
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    People are getting caught up on semantics and subjectiveness so I'll answer bluntly with totally subjectiveness: Good.

  5. #15
    mrs Array disregard's Avatar
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    Inherently self-interested, which makes them act good and bad.

  6. #16


    Quote Originally Posted by Kasper View Post
    People are getting caught up on semantics and subjectiveness so I'll answer bluntly with totally subjectiveness: Good.
    Bah. No fair.

    I hate simplistic good/bad or good/evil dichotomies. To take the most common example in the world:

    A husband and wife love each other deeply and get along great for 10 years. But then something happens: A job loss, a long-term injury or illness, whatever. The stress gets to them, and increasingly the husband and wife start carping and picking at each other. Soon it’s all arguments and strife. For the next couple years the kids are raised in an atmosphere of combat and mutual recrimination.

    So which of the two spouses is the bad one and which is the good one? Did one of them shirk an obligation to play the peacemaker based on their sex and perceived role in the family?

    Are they both good people who simply haven’t lived up to an ideal? If so, what about all the torment they are inflicting on each other and the family as a whole on a daily basis--is that nothing to worry our heads about? Are they both deemed to be good simply because they haven’t yet beaten or killed each other?

    OTOH, are they both bad for tormenting each other and the kids? But what about the ten years of peace that preceded the present? Are good and bad like light switches, to be flipped on and off by a cosmic finger, i.e. is it all largely beyond our control?

    The law deals with questions like this, and it does an okay job. But it does this by taking a sophisticated view of what’s good and bad: It takes into account psychology, extenuating circumstances, sliding scales, etc. As such, I would agree that--in a legal sense--people can be judged culpable (or innocent) to some degree for the things they do.

    But when it comes to simplistic questions like “Are humans good or bad?”, real-life examples like the one above show how inadequate the basic concept of “good/bad” is when trying to account for even the most routine of human interactions. Good/bad (or good/evil) is a poor way to measure the complexities of human nature, IMO.

  7. #17
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    I suppose that my views on this are largely shaped by my world view, although I think that observation bears it out to be true. I do believe that people if left to their own devices are inherently bad. No one has to teach a small child to lie, to steal, to be selfish etc. Those things come quite naturally to everyone. By nature, we are all rather lawless and do not prefer to answer to or depend on anyone else, even though it's been shown over and over that it is only order and restraint and interdependence that allows for a society that is productive, safe and sustainable. In my view, it is only through the supernatural and transforming work that stems from complete submission to and reliance on God and the saving power of Jesus that can make us anything different.

    The term good or evil is rather subjective unless you have a standard to measure it against and unless there is someone whose authority offers the right to establish guidelines over all people. If I did not believe that there is a God who cares for me and to whom I will be one day accountable for my actions, there would not be any solid universal definition for me of what constitutes good or bad actions or motives. It all becomes situational and depends on whose point of view is being considered. I believe that all people reflect some positive traits of the One who created them, and therefore, even the worst of people are not totally devoid of good. Due to our sinful nature, the best of people are similarly not totally devoid of bad.

    Certainly I believe that there are conditions which can foster more good or more bad through the kind of attachments or events that happen to people in their most formative years. Even in those cases though, two individuals may react very differently to the same set of circumstances and ultimately take very different paths from each other.

    As with almost any issue, the underlying foundational beliefs you are starting from determine your conclusions about it. I think this question in no different in that regard. This is one of the reasons why it is very difficult in post-modern times to attempt to create laws or order a country in some way that is fair and works for most. There is no one agreed upon majority worldview or set of premises, nor one given philosophy by which to determine what is right or wrong and to make decisions by.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Array
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    Aug 2010


    What's so bad about self-service? It's natural!

  9. #19


    People generally have good intentions. But people can be stupid and everybody is different and a lot of the time people don't say what they want. There is a lot of stuff between intention and action.

  10. #20


    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    Are we as humans good, or are we as humans bad?
    I think we are, colloquially speaking, good toward our people and bad toward the others. Of course it is entirely subjective what is considered 'ours' and what 'others'. Generally, however, we are neither good nor bad: we are intelligent yet primitive animals in pursuit of certain or uncertain goals. For us, the ends always justify the means.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    Sometimes I'll think with all my heart that a person is good [...]
    How cute.

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