Spinoff: are people born good or bad?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by TeacherShelly, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    JustMe's value and soul thread made me think - my step-sister and I have a really big difference in our thinking regarding humankind.

    She thinks everyone is born bad and needs strong parenting and religion to learn to be good.

    I think everyone is born good and gets hurt by feeling disconnected and unloved and find ways to cope with that horror - resulting in some really bad stuff.

    What do you think?
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think some people are born good and some are born bad, but that the great majority fall into the former category. I really can't imagine thinking everyone is born bad. My religious upbringing said we were all born bad, essentially. That is one reason I no longer associate with that religion as I don't believe it and have issues with it being taught.

    Not all "bad" people were born that (as you said, many find themselves there after various unfortunate circumstances), but some are genetically wired incorrectly.
     
  4. TeacherShelly

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    Hi, JustMe! I can always count on you joining in the conversation (thank you!!!!). My first religion also taught that we were born bad. I remember being 8 when my grandma told me I was "no spring chicken" and had plenty of time to do rotten things and sin against G-d. That sucked.

    I have never believed someone could be born wired incorrectly to be bad. I'll have to think about that one!
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I believe we are all born good.?.unfortunately life can change that. Quickly. For. Some.:(
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I love chatting with you. :)

    I think some mental issues are "instilled" at inception much like physical disabilities. There are some children, for example, who have severe mental issues that were seemingly not brought on by traumatic events and situations. These issues could lead to "bad" behaviors.
     
  7. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I don't think anyone is predispositioned to be either. I think circumstance, interactions, integrity and morals all play a role. Your choices, consciously or subconsciously, make you good or bad.
    Circumstances can affect people in different ways. My mom did not have a good childhood. She was one of 7 kids. My grandmother favored boys to girls- unabashedly. Her aunt was the one who made sure she was bathed and fed. My grandmother could have cared less about school or grades. My grandfather worked a lot, but tried to make up for my grandmothers treatment. My mother realizes what she could have been if someone had cared enough to hold her accountable or to push her.
    I grew up poor- first in an apartment, then in a (new) trailer. My parents divorced when I was 5 and my dad had us every other weekend for a while, but got married moved out of state for a year. I didn't like the person he became with my stepmom, so I rarely visited after he moved back. However, with my mom, college was never an option. I(we) knew from birth that I(we) WOULD go to college. She could not financially help us. My sister and I both put ourselves through college. My mom was all over grades- I was grounded for a marking period when I got a C! Success was never an option- she wanted better for us than what she had. She now has a teacher and an RN.
    I look at people in poverty (or even simply poor living conditions whether emotionally or environmentally) and I do not understand why some parents don't care. Don't they want better for their children?! I just don't get it. It is something that frustrates me to no end.

    Anyway, my point is, things affect people differently. It is a combination of so many things. I think people are pretty much born with a blank slate and decided whether to be 'good' or 'bad'.

    I will note- some people are born with defects, for a lack of a better word. The people that go on to be serial killers and other deeply disturbed individuals. Something within their brain is wrong.
     
  8. AdamnJakesMommy

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    I think we are all born the same and circumstances, life experiences, etc. trigger genetic proclivities towards being bad. I believe they have several twin adoption studies which have revealed that identical twins adopted out will take on the personality and character traits of their adoptive parents, not biological parents. If this evidence is to be believed, it appears environment is much more influential than genes on whether we are "good" or "bad."
     
  9. MissCeliaB

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    I think that we are all born with the potential to do good or bad, and a variety of factors impact our behavior, among those being predisposition to mental illness or addiction (genetic,) how we are raised, traumatic life events, poverty, etc. I don't think anyone is born evil, but certainly some are born with certain genetic disorders that may make it more difficult for them to do good.
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

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  11. kellzy

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    I'm LDS. In my faith I believe that everyone is born with what is called the 'Light of Christ.' This is an inherent knowledge of right and wrong. This is why no matter where you are there are inherent values that are pretty much universal: things like murder is wrong. But we don't baptize our children until the age of eight years old so that they have a few years to practice using that innate knowledge of right and wrong.
    In our faith, we believe any child who dies before their eighth birthday gets a free ride into heaven, no questions asked. Because we believe they are totally innocent, and all things that they might do wrong are completely covered in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
     
  12. comaba

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    I don't know much about LDS, but I like this belief. I was raised Catholic, and this makes a lot more sense to me than what I was taught about children and sin in my Catholic school (aka Limbo... not even sure that's the Catholic belief anymore!)
     
  13. JustMe

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    I wonder why eight. Is it Biblical? The day before turning eight and the day after, I mean...not exactly a big difference. And if an eight year old isn't able to understand yet, what happens? This sort of belief has always interested me.
     
  14. Linguist92021

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    I believe we are born with a clean slate and everything depends on exposure, how we're raised, etc.
    Kind of like a blank piece of paper. You can paint / draw or write something beautiful on it, depending on the tools you have and what you're exposed to, or fill it with negative and hateful garbage or even crumble it up, rip it up, etc.
     
  15. dgpiaffeteach

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    It's not commonly believed in my neck of the woods. We had a nun recently tell us she doesn't believe in limbo at all.

    I believe everyone has a clean slate when they're born. I believe our circumstances mold us. I believe two people can go through the exact same thing and turn out radically different. The brain and what makes us us truly fascinates me though.
     
  16. scmom

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    I choose to believe most people are born good because I think I would go crazy or paranoid otherwise. Like other posters, I do believe some people are born twisted due to brain issues or birth accidents, and that others become bad because of the environment and experiences in their early life. I find it enormously sad when I meet children who I feel are already going "bad "unless something significant happens to them.

    I guess I am more optimistic than my husband who is always thinking something bad might happen and is suspicious of people. I can't run my life that way. so he thinks I am foolish and I think he is paranoid. :dizzy:
     
  17. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    I don't know. I spent an hour once in an LDS Church Education System class speculating on the reasons, trying to find a solid reason for it. It's not in our holy writ. All we know is that the Lord has revealed that it is age 8. For whatever reason that is we don't really know. I just have to have faith that He has His reasons and that someday I will understand.
    What I do know is that everyone's circumstances are different, if someone isn't quite ready at eight, we still baptize. We just have to trust the Lord to understand everyone's individual circumstances when we are judged.
     
  18. comaba

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    I've been out of school for a LONG time, so that's probably an old teaching. :)

    Glad things have changed!
     
  19. Cerek

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    If you look at a newborn baby, they are a blank slate of unlimited potential for good, evil or some combination in between. Some do have certain genetic factors that my make them more inclined towards good or evil. Research has shown, for instance, that many serial killers do have physical differences in their brain that prevent them from feeling empathy for the the pain and suffering they cause their victims. As one serial killer said "You know that 'caring thing' most people have? I don't. I was born without it." So the fact they really don't view their actions as "wrong" is one reason they are able to commit such violent actions without any feeling of remorse.

    As a Christian, I do believe we are all born "sinners". However, that is not the same as being born "bad". EVERYONE sins and comes short of the Glory of God, even those who follow God's Word and the Teachings of Jesus as closely as possible. Just because we are born with a nature to sin against God doesn't mean we are "bad", anymore than our students are "bad" just because they all have a natural tendency to break class rules and/or act up sometimes. Those actions may be considered "wrong" since they go against a school policy, classroom rule, or generally accepted behavior, but it does not mean those students are "bad".

    I do believe a person's circumstances, environment, home and life situations and choices made all affect whether they turn out to be "good" or "bad". I saw a perfect example of this in two students I worked with over time.

    One was a middle-schooler when I first met him and was very unruly. Always disruptive in class, never did his work and would go out of his way to be disrespectful at times. He also committed various crimes. He was transferred to the alternative school at first and then to a more strict environment (probably along the lines of the schools Linguist has worked for). By age 13, this student had pretty much set the course for his adult life. It was sad for me to realize that.

    It was even sadder a couple of years later when I met his baby brother at a different school. The brother was 1st grader at the time and still had all the beautiful, wide-eyed innocence of his age. He was an absolutely adorable child, always eager to please and glowing with pride over the smallest amount of praise. His grandmother would pick him up after school and it was pretty easy to see where much of the influence his older brother experienced had come from. It was sad to know the older brother had already made choices that would likely affect the rest of his life, but it was positively heart-breaking to know that this handsome little blonde-haired angel of boy would most likely follow in his older brothers footsteps as long as he was raised in the same environment. Even though I could clearly see the potential the younger brother had to turn out so differently, I knew in my heart the odds were stacked heavily against him.

    So, yes, I do believe we are born as "blank slates" for the most part and our life circumstances and choices ultimately have the biggest effect on the person we eventually become.
     
  20. Ted

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    I could not have said this better myself, Cerek.

    The very words "good" and "bad" are EXTREMELY subjective.

    For example:
    A man steals from his job. Is that bad?
    A man steals from his job so that his child could get a life-saving operation. Is that bad? As bad as the first scenario? Less bad?

    A woman time-travels back in time and kills a little boy while he's playing with his mama. Bad?
    A woman time-travels back in time and kills a young Hitler while he's playing with his mama. As bad?

    My "bad" may not be as "bad" as another's "bad".

    And I'm not evening mentioning controversial topics (abortion, capital punishment, sexuality, euthanasia, etc.)
     
  21. JustMe

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    Cerek (and others), you believe babies "are born sinners". But do you think babies are born having already sinned or with sin within them, or do you say babies are born sinners only in that they are sure to sin eventually?
     
  22. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    We are ALL born as blank slates. It's our world and experiences that shape us into who we are.
     
  23. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    My church teaches that everyone is born with Original Sin... in other words, we are born with the possibility of being sinful, simply because we are human. That's why Catholics baptize babies.

    But I don't believe anyone is born evil. It's the nature vs nurture argument - I don't think there's any one way to call it. But I do believe that our life experiences can lead us to a life of "bad" choices, or in some cases, evil choices.
     
  24. JustMe

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    If everyone is "born with the possibility of being sinful", why must babies be baptized before they even have the opportunity to sin? Does the Catholic faith not belief you must repent? I mean, I know there are confessionals (at least in the movies :haha:), but babies cannot sin or ask for forgiveness, so I'm not getting it. It leads to me feel the belief is more so that babies are in fact born having sin as a part of them. Blood on their hands, so to speak. Do some Catholics or other religions believe this?

    While I admit this all doesn't mesh with my beliefs, I honestly don't understand this practice and I'm not attacking it...I would like to understand the thought processing behind it, though.
     
  25. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Baptizing babies literally washes away Adam's original sin (because Catholics believe that original sin is present in everyone, from birth, unless they are baptized). The holy water allows the Holy Spirit to enter the baby, bringing them to God. Baptism isn't about washing away sins you have committed, but about washing away the original sin.

    Confession is a very real thing! Going to confession is asking for God's forgiveness for sins that you have knowingly committed. Confessions starts around age 7, which the Church believes is when people begin to have reason and discretion - the ability to judge right from wrong. You're supposed to go to confession every week so you can be squeaky clean for God on Sunday.

    Basically, from birth & baptism until the age of 7, children get a pass on sinning because they aren't able to realize that they sin.
     
  26. Cerek

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    According to the Christian faith, we are all born with a sinful nature - that is the tendency to sin against God's Law and the way He would like us to behave.

    It's important to realize the distinction between "sinning against God" and "sinning against Man". Not all sins are "bad acts" against others or society.

    God instructed Jonah to go to Ninevah and witness to them. Jonah didn't want to go and he tried to run from God and his calling. Nothing he did was "bad" against another person or society, but it was sinful because he was going against God's Will.

    A more common example in the real world would be when we gossip about others, curse the person who cuts us off in traffic or zips into the parking spot ahead of us, etc. None of these acts really "hurt" anyone else, but they are still acts that go against the Nature of God and the direction for us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

    As for babies being born with sin already in them, the Bible does say the "sins of the father will be passed on to their children" which means some sins or acts against God or so egregious that the punishment for them carries down through generations. Chebrutta addressed this from the Catholic perspective, that we are born with Adam's sin within us and it must be washed away by holy water in baptism.

    The Baptist faith has a slightly different take. We often dedicate babies, which is the act of asking for God's Blessing on the child and promising (as the parents and/or church family of the child) to help raise and educate the child in a Godly manner. We view baptism as a symbolic gesture made after one has recognized their own sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.

    Children are considered innocent of their sins until they reach the age of accountability, where they recognize and realize their actions are sinful and should be avoided. The Catholic faith places this age at 8. Other faiths feel the actual age varies from child to child. Some children are much more mature than their peers and seem to view things from a more mature perspective at an earlier age. Others take longer to reach the same stage of development.

    The main point to remember is this: just because the idea of "sin" carries "bad" connotations, having a "sinful nature" doesn't mean that someone is also a "bad person". We talk about our students making "bad choices" in school or class. "Sin" just means we sometimes make "bad choices" against God's Rules and desire for our life.
     
  27. JustMe

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    Thanks for all the info! This is what I thought Catholics believed (which is what I was raised to believe as well...that is, everyone is born with the original sin "attached" to them). I appreciate the clarification.

    Does every Catholic church have confessionals? I'm just thinking of one priest having time to hear everyone.
     
  28. JustMe

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    Right, I do absolutely understand the difference there.
     
  29. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Yup! But there's usually more than one priest, unless it's a reallllly tiny church. And not everyone goes every week. I used to, but I don't anymore. I'm no longer a devout Catholic. I go to church when I feel like it. Sometimes I go to church but don't go to confession (in which case I don't take communion).

    Cerek, thanks for the explanation! I always like hearing how different faiths regard doctrine and dogma.
     
  30. TeacherShelly

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    Maybe my grandma picked age 8 to tell me that from some doctrine. She said if I ever even thought about a sin, I was as guilty as if I'd committed it. This is a big part of both churches' doctrines I went to as a kid.

    Back to babies, though, if you can just respond to them and treat them with care and respect, they will turn out well. If you never respond to a baby it will literally die. I mean if you give it food and water and wash it but never give loving touch.
     
  31. dgpiaffeteach

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    Chebrutta, we have just one priest but I consider us larger. We have four masses every weekend; our 78-year-old priest does all of them. Some priests also do special mass confessions. You don't actually confess to the priest, just God. Other priests have said they believe as long as you confess to God, you're okay. Obviously none of this is from the Vatican.
     
  32. a2z

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    I believe that people individual in thought and personality. There will be some no matter how they are raised will tend to make choices that are viewed as bad.

    As others have pointed out, some lack empathy. Since this is something that varies in amount, you will have people that approach the world differently. This applies to many other personality traits.

    If all people needed was a very specific environment and specific actions to be taken to create a "good" person, everyone would be good. Humans would have figured that out long ago. Everyone would get exactly the same and exactly what was needed, no more or no less.
     
  33. TeacherShelly

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    Most people don't seem to believe we all need to belong and feel connected. Rather they say they do, but act differently. For example, a crying child is told to walk it off. The thought process is that coddling every little problem (viewed by other people as responding to needs as they arise) will turn a kid into a wimp who can't withstand any discomfort. A mama's boy. So purposeful disconnection from the kid (denying his feelings, refusing to comfort) is seen as good, but is the opposite of furthering a sense of belonging and connection.
     
  34. AdamnJakesMommy

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    I was baptized Catholic, but my beliefs are more inline with Baptists.

    There are scriptures about babies who die, more specifically the crying out of parents who have lost young, young children (infants, toddlers) and the scriptures say that they are in heaven. For this reason, babies cannot have already sinned because they wouldn't go to heaven.

    Being born "in sin" means, IMO and interpretation of the bible, that we are born with the innate nature, or proclivity, to sin--inherited from Adam and Eve. That means, once we are able to know good from bad, good from evil, and we still elect to do evil--we have sinned. The Bible makes it clear it is the INTENT that is evil, not the actual action. Hence the scriptures stating things to the effect of: if you look upon someone with lust, you hate your brother, etc. you have already committed adultery and murder (respectively) in your hearts and therefore have committed that sin. The sex act, for example, is not a sin, it is the lustful, wanton desire of someone other than a spouse.

    I don't believe there is a magical age of accountability. It is whenever a person intellectually understands good from evil, right from wrong, etc. There are people who will never have that intellectual capacity no matter how old--therefore they cannot be held accountable for sinful actions because they never had the ability to intellectual choose to do wrong and thereby have intent.
     
  35. TeacherShelly

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    Can you tell me where that scripture is? I've never heard that babies go to heaven although I have asked so many people the question.
     
  36. JustMe

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    I have never found CLEAR scripture indicating babies go to Heaven. I have read things that could be interepreted as doing such...but that's a problem, interpretation. One thing people cite is when Jesus said people must return like children (interpreted as an innocent state) to enter Heaven.
     
  37. TeacherShelly

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    You know I've been told I have scales on my eyes which will fall off when I accept the lord (again, I guess, since I did that as a young person but have changed my worldview since then) and the bible will then make sense to me. Why can't the world's most read book, the most holy thing ever written, be clear?
     
  38. JustMe

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    Agreed...
     
  39. kellzy

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    That's why my faith teaches an open canon of scripture. I believe in the bible, but I also believe in the Book of Mormon, and I believe that that the Lord still speaks through living prophets today. I believe that all of this has been done out of eternal love and plan for each of us.

    I apologize, btw, if this came off as snotty, I didn't mean any disrespect by this post, just posting my personal feelings on the topic.
     
  40. TeacherShelly

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    Oh, I hadn't heard of an open canon of scripture before. My first churches did not believe in that and I was never exposed to the concept. Thanks for sharing that.

    Also, I had to re-read your post to see how it could have been read as snotty. Either you weren't snotty or my snot detector is off because I didn't feel that at all!
     
  41. Cerek

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    I think the Bible does make sense, especially the teachings and examples from Jesus. It often helps to read a newer interpretation. I think the accounts of the prodigal son, Daniel in the lions den and the parables of Jesus are pretty easy for anyone to understand.

    However, once a person accepts Jesus as their Savior, the Holy Spirit manifests and endwells within them and they see the Scriptures and life experiences through a new perspective. This perspective helps us see and understand things more from God's point of view rather than our own and this also leads to a deeper understanding of Bible and the lessons within.

    A lot of the stories are still self-explanatory, but others reveal a deeper meaning when we view it from a different perspective. I always liked the story of Noah's Ark and could easily understand it was a lesson in obedience and trust in God even in the face of ridicule from others, but I never noticed it was also a metaphor for the act of Salvation until after I received that different perspective from the Holy Spirit.
     

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