Goodness Must Be Learned
By Jack Kinsella
One of the fundamental flaws in liberal thinking that puts it in direct opposition to Scripture is the notion that people are basically good.
In this line of thinking, bad or immoral behavior is the exception, and bad or immoral people are largely the product of bad environments.
The Bible teaches the exact opposite. So does experience. Bad or immoral behavior is the first behavior exhibited by babies as soon as they are old enough to express it.
They have to be taught not to hit. They have to be taught not to bite. I never personally witnessed anybody teaching babies to be bad or immoral. THAT comes naturally.
They have to be taught to behave. Parents teach children morals and standards of behavior that conform to their cultural environment. No person is inherently moral. It is learned behavior.
Despite the conflict posed by both reason and their own experience, this idea of the basic goodness of mankind is nevertheless foundational to liberal thinking.
And dangerous beyond comprehension. There is an old joke to the effect that ‘a liberal is a conservative who’s never been mugged’. The problem is, not everybody survives a mugging.
This isn’t intended as a screed against liberals; the Bible says that the application of wisdom and knowledge brings forth understanding. Understanding our nature helps us to appreciate our little victories over it along the way.
The Bible says, “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.” (Proverbs 21:30)
The concept of man as basically good flies in the face of both reason and personal observation. Man is born a selfish sinner who must first be taught right from wrong.
The Bible also teaches the total depravity of man;
“Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Psalms 53:3)
“They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:12)
It is in our base nature that we find conclusive evidence to the age old question of whether or not God exists. If man is not basically good, as liberals prefer to believe, then how did we develop such a complicated and rigid moral code?
That is why they reject the depravity of man despite the evidence of reason and experience. Because accepting it demands accepting some Lawgiver beyond mankind itself.
The Apostle Paul explains: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” (Romans 1:28)
Assuming the basic goodness of man is hardly convenient. To make that assumption, one must ignore everything they know about themselves and other people, but they make the leap BECAUSE they do ‘not like to retain God in their knowledge’ exactly as Paul said.
What follows is a line by line description of the fruits of liberalism:
“Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:29-32)
Recognizing the depravity of man brings with it a recognition of man’s need for a Savior. And for those who believe and are saved, a profound sense of gratitude for the unmerited gift of salvation through faith.
Because we know could never make it on our own.
This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on August 11, 2010.