Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Are people good or bad?

Was leading worship at CU on Thursday, and this question was raised for discussion by the speaker, who was talking about Genesis 3 - the story of Adam & Eve or 'the Fall' as it is often known. Whether or not you take the text as literal history, it provides the foundation for Christian thinking about the flaws of human nature - that all human beings fall short of what they could and should be.

The question we discussed was whether people basically thought of themselves as good or bad. The answer that emerged from most there was that people largely think of themselves as good and usually as better than people around them.

Typically for me, I'm not entirely convinced. Many people present themselves as if they believe themselves to be good, if not better than those around them, but do they believe it? The amount of depression, low self-esteem, self-harm and even suicidal thoughts that I have heard over the years as a pastor convince me that there is certainly a significant minority out there who regard themselves as very much less than those around them.

It all points to the need to take into account where people are whenever we present the Christian message: some may need their pride puncturing, but there will be others who need helping back on to their feet.

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