Christian, humanist, and realistic approaches to human nature

CHRISTIAN, HUMANIST AND EMPIRICAL REALISM APPROACHES TO HUMAN NATURE

Ozodi Osuji

      The Christian believes that God created people and placed them in the Garden of Eden, and they lived under his grace; that is, everything they wanted God gave to them; they were meant to live everlasting life as their father God is. However, God told them not to eat the fruits of one tree and Satan tempted Eve and she ate it and persuaded her husband, Adam to also eat it.

     God heard about what they both did and cursed them; from now on they no longer live by his grace, they must work for their living and will die, for the wage of sin is death. People now must roam around the earth looking for their daily sustenance because God is no longer going to provide it for them.

      Thus, people are said to be born in this original sin of Adam and Eve. God is not a forgiving person; he punishes his sons for their sins of disobeying his will.

     We are talking about the world of the here and now; no mention was made of life after death, no mention was made of hell in the Old Testament part of the Bible.

     The concept of hell eventually crept into the Bible, perhaps, from Jews encounter with Greeks and Romans who had a place of after death punishment called Hades.

    These days, Christians believe that because they sinned against their father, God that they are punished and if they are not born again, let go of the old, sinful self and embrace the new self-represented by Jesus Christ (Joshua ben Joseph whom the Greeks called Jesus Christ Christ), that not only will they be punished in this world but in life after death. Hell is now real for Christians; thus, they struggle to do the right things by their God.

       For our present purposes, Christians believe that we are born in sin and live in sin; we are capable of evil and some of us are wicked; evil people will be socially punished and divinely punished by God.

     Jesus talked about the idea of forgiveness but what he meant by that is ambiguous; did he mean that we should let murderers, rapists, thieves and assorted criminals go scot-free doing what they do? If we did that would there be human society or would only chaos and anarchy reign in the world?

      Contemporary humanistic psychologists posit that people are born naturally good but their early childhood influences may enhance their good nature or cause them to become bad (they do not use the words evil and wickedness).

     To humanists, such as Carl Rogers, Erich Fromm, Abraham Maslow, and Ronald Laing there is no God that asks people to be good or bad but the environment that people are born in determines their behaviors; therefore, all we need to do is improve people’s environment and they become good.

     What does empirical observation of predatory animals show us? It shows us that animals like lions, tigers, and hyenas do kill and eat other animals; big fish devours small fish.

      What do we see in human history? We see organized strong groups killing weaker groups and taking over their lands. The latest of this phenomenon is Europeans killing Native Americans, taking over their lands, and enslaving Africans and, as we speak, reducing them to third class persons in their racist society.

     Are people good by nature? On what basis is that question to be answered if not by observation and history?

     So, who is correct, Christians’ religion-based realism or Humanist sentimental idealism? Here is the deal. I go by what I see and experience.

    I do not know whether God exists or not; what I know about us is derived from empirical observation. As I see it, people are born with proclivity to aggression and polymorphous sex; if you do not control inborn antisocial disposition in them, they will wreck mayhem in the land and eventually kill all of themselves off.

       In the empirical would that I see with my naked eyes, people are aggressive and do work for their self-interests; without the law preventing them from doing so, many persons would take what other people have and even kill them.

      Thomas Hobbes (1651, Leviathan) was correct in his view that in the state of nature people are self-centered and in pursuit of selfish interests do kill each other and life was nasty, brutish, and short; to procure security they need a powerful government that made laws that protected all of them and punished criminals.

      I embrace realism, not idealism. People are born capable of evil and wickedness; if we desire human society, we must have governments that pass laws, enforce those laws, and punish evil and wicked persons to deter those who would like to reap where they did not sow.

      In my view, all murderers should be subjected to capital punishment; rapists and pedophiles should be given long term prison sentences; those who steal should be given no less than thirty years of prison time (and used to irrigate and plant trees in deserts).

    I am not sentimental at all about what people can do. I root my position on pure observation not some religion or philosophy or so-called culture.

      What I wish for other people I have automatically wished for me; if I kill other people I ought to be killed; if I steal I ought to be given maximum time in prison.

      I do not indulge in sentimentalism about people; I detest the sociological nonsense that the environment determines people. It is true that the environment influences us, but we still can choose not to harm other people if we were harmed by our significant others; the fact that evil was done to one in one’s childhood does not justify one in adulthood being evil.

DISCUSSION

     Where does forgiveness enter this picture? I believe that we ought to forgive all people their evil behaviors and see their real selves as good but also see their egoistic selves, the selves they have on earth, as capable of evil, evil that must be corrected; love the Christ real self in people but punish the false ego selves in people.

CONCLUSION

      Nigeria is currently in a state of total breakdown of law and other; most people there are thieves; folks go to government to steal to their hearts content; ordinary people use guns to steal from other folks; indeed, some kidnap and hold folk’s hostage for monetary ransom.

      In this state of anarchy and chaos, a strong government is needed to make laws and dispassionately and draconianly implement them; failure to do so, we can write Nigeria off; it will become worse than Somalia.

     What applies to Nigeria applies to all other countries in the world.

Ozodi Osuji

July 15, 2022

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