Let’s get into some philosophy, yah? I kinda feel like tackling arguably THE ultimate question of human existence. Here it is:
Is man good or bad?
This topic has been the subject of intense debate throughout the centuries (2 of the most notable dissenters beings Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau) and has been a driving question in how we form governments, make laws, motivate individuals, punish criminals, etc.
It may be tempting to paint humanity as a loving bunch, and it’s true that there have been some incredible individuals throughout history who have treated others with kindness and compassion. But it would be utterly naive to deny the wickedness that man is capable of as well. Mass murders and perpetrators of violence and gross injustice demonstrate “the evil that men do” (to quote Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”).
Soooooo, what’s the answer? I believe that one short phrase from the Book of Mormon essentially solves this dilemma:
“The natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, UNLESS he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and… becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ.”
-Mosiah 3:9 (emphasis added)
So simple and perfect.
We are born with both good and evil, but we choose which one to act upon.
The idea is echoed by the the famous psychiatrist and Jewish concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl, who wrote the following:
“We watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine, while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself.”
(Man’s Search For Meaning)
Yep, yep, yep. It’s up to us whether to give heed to the godliness in us or the evil in us.
And now, here’s another question (bookending!):
You are an enemy to God AND a child of God;
Which part of your identity do you feed
Shakespeare, Harry Potter, Rousseau, the Book of Mormon, and Hobbes all in one short post? You go girl!