Response to man's Sinful Nature

I think there are two things you are not considering when you look at humankind’s behavior. The first is the timespan, you mention programs in the inner city, but really I look at our history over centuries not individual lifetimes. We are, in many nations, far more civilized now then ever before in our history. We no longer chop off a hand for stealing a loaf of bread, we no longer beat women because they are not virgins, we no longer drown children because they are not the right sex or because they are born with a deformity. There will always be individuals who are problematic, because of trauma, birth defects and environmental causes, we can’t stop nature from screwing up sometimes, but as a whole we have progressed eons from the behavior we exhibited only a few centuries ago.

Ironically, the societies which seem to have made the most progress are the ones where reason and humanism can flourish without being crushed underfoot by religion. It began with the enlightenment and has continued to this day. For comparison look at the nations where religion rules with an iron fist, where you cannot, raise a voice in defiance of the established religion and see how much moral progress is to be found…precious little.

When you look at people and determine that they are deeply flawed it is only because you look through a lens which is crafted, like the old circus mirrors, to give that impression. Humans are greedy, selfish, aggressive, possessive, tribal and prone to violence. They are also compassionate, tender, caring, nurturing and protective…these are the traits given to us by evolution, by our need to survive. They have served us well in the past, but the changes in our societies easily out pace evolution’s ability to keep up. What we now have is a society and civilization in transition. We need to find ways to reapply or refocus our natural tendencies in a more productive manner. Religion cannot help us in this quest because it is non-changing, by definition its morals are timeless, its methods inflexible, it will not serve us, it will only slow us down, increasing the likelihood that we will not find a way to refocus our tendencies in time. I mentioned a lens earlier…if you take a man with all of his traits and tendencies and then fashion a lens from religion, one which makes the very actions which define us as evil, then it is with little wonder that when we look at humanity using that lens that we appear to be flawed and hopelessly lost. When however you remove the lens you see humanity for what it is, as Hamlet spoke…

“What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!”

We are not flawed beings, in any sense of the word, we are a spectacular creation of nature, we are made from the dust of the stars themselves. No religion, no belief in any God or gods can give us more nobility and specialness of purpose. We are literally the universe itself becoming sentient.

You spoke of being grateful that you had a place to take your guilt. I would make the case that there is no need of someone to release you from your guilt. Guilt is only an indicator, a litmus paper of the mind to prick my conscience when I do something which I know to be wrong, for selfish purposes. I learn from it, and dispose of it when no longer needed, I do not carry it around like some albatross around my neck looking for someone else to rid me of it’s stench. I take responsibility for the decisions I make which were wrong and I rejoice in the ones I make correctly and I continually strive to better myself for my own benefit and those around me. No magical gods, no angels and no fairy tales. Just myself, those who journey with me in this life and the world around me. These are all the companions that I need to have an incredible, wondrous life filled with passion, joy, inquisitiveness and love. Who could ask for any more…


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