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Are people basically good by nature, or are we evil by nature?

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Millions of years of evolution has programmed within us a predisposition from birth to treat others the way we would want to be treated. That predisposition is then bolstered, enhanced, degraded, or left to atrophy like an unused muscle by familial and societal training and expectations, or by the lack thereof.

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Well-worded answer, good food for thought, star!
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Well stated CalTex. :0)

I especially like "atrophied". Very apt description.
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I stole that from Thomas Jefferson who, unlike his Christian counter parts, was of the opinion that mankind is born essentially moral, but that morality is like a muscle which must be exercised or it atrophies. Mr. Jefferson was one, brilliant thinker.
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Although I doubt Jefferson used terms like "millions of years" or"evolution". Darwin was only 17 when TJ died.
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TJ was ahead of his time in many ways.
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both

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That is what I was going to say;). First thought
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People are good or evil based on what they have learned and what they have taught. They are no such thing as good or evil by nature especially human. Human can be learned to be good or evil on what others have taught them.

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it matters your religion

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What of those who aren't religious?
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Good question.
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Sinners by nature

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Humans are good by nature,that's why babies are pure and innocents! But,the environment, what we are taught to do from parents and others,is what change us.

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There's both evil and good inside a man..it depends on him how he treat with them and how he controll his anger,emotions etc...which makes him good by nature

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We are born good, and learn to go bad from there. Humans are a social species, as such we have an instinct to be with others of our kind. We seek acceptance from the group which requires us to be respectful and caring to one another. This need for social cohesion is so strong that we have evolved the ability for empathy which allows us to "read" others to better help us fit in.

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i like this answer as well, star for you also!
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The question is flawed, due to the fact that "nature" does not recognize any concept of good or evil. Good and Evil are completely human constructs.

EG: an animal killing a whale for food is neither good nor evil. But humans have decided it is "evil" for us to kill whales, even for food.

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Spot on Walt.
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There's no such thing as evil/good by nature, you learn that depending on your education.

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DonQuixote

Unknowingly evil except 2.

The first thing we do after being born including Jesus is we cry instead of being happy smile and lough unless if something went wrong with the process. It takes us time to be happy, smile and lough.

Even after Baptism (Jesus excluded) or believing having been born again or seeing light in a glass of alcoholic drinks we cry in joy and tearfully proclaim 'Alleluia'

Only Adam and Eve were the exceptions:)

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the bible says, God hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions. man sought out many inventions leading them to evil. moving out from truth.



Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

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Neither, they are taught both. Humans are only born with one trait, self preservation.

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We are sinful by nature. That doesnt necessarily equate 'evil' as we think of evil. Think about it, tho... One of the very first, most natural things that an infant learns to do is to manipulate, decieve and 'lie' because it gets it what it wants faster very often. When a child begins to speak the word 'no' and lying are in its earliest vocabulary. Lying for gain comes far more naturally than learning not to lie, which has to specifically be taught.

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DonQuixote
Then there is a plateaux where we nearly are 100% truthful. Then descent until death we lie nearly all the time. Some in the name of politeness, others diplomacy and even being holy Heaven bound:)
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My six year old is still on that wonderful plateau--his older brother descended long ago, and descended hard!
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People are good by nature and also fragile and limited by nature. Fragile and limited doesn't mean evil, but those things let you make or turn to evil. When we grow up we suffer more onrushes from environment (goods and evil), and the more we accept the goods from it, the more we become good; and the more we accept the evil, the more we become evil. I don't mean that being good or evil is the environment's fault. Of course it influences us, but it's all our choice, because we are beings able to make decisions, and our decisions will affect the environment. Hope that helps.

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No one can adequately even define "good" or "evil" apart from the existence of moral absolutes. Coming from a Christian worldview, based on the Bible, I believe it teaches two things about mankind.
1. He and she are created in the 'image' of our Creator. We have a stamp of divine moral good in our conscience. Capable of love, kindness, etc? Of course.
2. Every person is 'fallen' in a moral sense, meaning that divine moral good is not eliminated but there is an innate moral tendency toward self-centeredness, a springboard of all evil.
Jesus taught that from the 'heart' (no, not the organ) comes every kind of evil.

Certainly either can be influenced by people, experiences, teaching, etc. but the nature is there, even in a very young child, before environment has had a chance. Spend much time around even a 12- month old??

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By human standards we consider ourselves to be good; by Gods standard we are not, we are sinners and fall short of the glory of God. We are forgiven, only God is good.

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self centeredness. me - I is the true root of all our troubles / evil. and also is personified in a malignant, eternal supernatural personality

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I believe we are all born good . The world , life circumstances makes people evil . At times.

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I believe in the good nature/potential within every human being which is a huge part of how I shape all the rest of the principles and beliefs in my life, including my religious and political beliefs

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