culture theology Uncategorized

Good at Heart?

I recently saw this quote on a popular TV show:

“That man…believes that everyone is corruptible because it is in their very nature to sin.  I bring people here to prove him wrong.”  (See the entire clip here).

This quote, as expressed by the “good guy” speaks to the essence of thought in our culture: man is basically good.

The democrats in life espouse the goodness of man by believing that people will do right if they are only educated properly, given the right opportunities, etc. When we build the proper “village”, people will be good.

The republicans in life espouse the goodness of man by believing that people do right if left alone.  When we stop meddling with others, people will be good.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Bible says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).   This is further shown in the New Testament (using Old Testament quotes):

There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together.
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.
Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,
The poison of asps is under their lips,
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness
Their feet are swift to shed blood,
Destruction and misery are in their paths,
And the path of peace they have not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.

-Romans 3:10-18

Apart from God, we are all corrupt and worthless.  Even when we know God, we are not much better, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).

We are all corruptible and sinners by nature.  Thankfully, God offers to cleanse us:

Come now, and let us reason together, says The Lord,
Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.

-Isaiah 1:18

Since God has forgiven us, we can thank him with the Apostle Paul, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” (Ephesians 1:7-8)

No, we are far from being good at heart.  But thanks to God that he forgives us and brings us back to him!

2 replies on “Good at Heart?”

Good post! I agree entirely with your exposition, with one minor quible. You associate the Democratic party with the statist perspective of governance and intrinsically, the ability of institutions to affect human nature. I won’t argue with that. If, however, your reference to Republicans means to implicate the conservative or libertarian perspective, then I must demur to your characterization that Republicans believe that the goodness of man will come through if left alone. To the contrary, the conservative perspective on man is precisely the one you espouse. It is entirely because man cannot be trusted that conservatives (and most libertarians) seek to limit the centralization of power and construct checks and balances to the excercise of power ….

I’m surprised that it took this long for any response!

My main point was that we cannot rely on politics. Both sides of the political spectrum are flawed because they rely on fallible mankind.

Naturally, I am much more sympathetic to the Republican ideal, and many have had their views tempered by beliefs in God (either by their own beliefs or others’). However, most libertarians that I have encountered with are politically self-centered, with the view of “don’t push your ideas on me”. This idea is putting themselves at the center of their universe and is another manifestation of the elevation of mankind. I would contend that it is the second most destructive idea in our current society.

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