Posts Tagged ‘human depravity’

Why people don’t act like the theory says they should

August 28, 2009

It is because we rejected the doctrine of original sin that we on the Left were always being disappointed. Disappointed by the refusal of people to be reasonable, by the subservience of intellect to emotion, by the failure of true socialism to arrive, by the behaviour of nations and politicians, by the masses’ preference of Holly-wood to Shakespeare, of Sinatra to Beethoven. Above all, we are disappointed by the re-current fact of the war. The reason for our disappointment is that we have rejected the doctrine of original sin.

C.E.M.Joad, Recovery of Belief, in Roy Clements, Masterplan: How God Makes Sense of Our World (Leicester: IVP, 1994), 43–44.

As a result of the war he said:

For years my name regularly appeared with H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, and Aldous Huxley as a derider of religion…. Then came the war, and the existence of evil made its impact upon me as a positive and obtrusive fact. The war opened my eyes to the impossibility of writing off what I had better call man’s ‘sinfulness’ as a mere by-product of circumstance. The evil in man was due, I was taught, either to economic circumstance (because people were poor, their habits were squalid, their tastes undeveloped, their passions untamed) or to psychological circumstances. For were not psycho-analysts telling me that all the regressive, aggressive, or inhibited tendencies of human nature were due to the unfortunate psychological environment of one’s early childhood?

The implications are obvious; remove the circumstances, entrust children to psycho? analyzed nurses and teachers, and virtue would reign.

I see now that evil is endemic in man, and that the Christian doctrine of original sin expresses a deep and essential insight into human nature.

Paradise Spoiled

August 25, 2009

On arrival (at Pitcairn), the (H.M.S. bounty) mutineers constructed rough leaf shelters…later replaced by more durable houses. They found the breadfruit there and planted sweet potatoes and yams with seeds they had brought with them. The land was divided among the mutineers only, and the Polynesian men were allocated none. Furthermore, the six Polynesian men were treated as slaves and because there were three more men than women, it was they who had to share wives.

During the first year on the island, the consorts of John Williams and John Adams died and Titahiti, Tararo and Oha’s women, Toofaiti (Nancy) and Tinafanaea, were taken and given to the two mutineers. Titahiti, Tararo and Oha reacted by conspiring to kill the mutineers, but the women betrayed them by informing the mutineers of their plan. This led to the deaths of Tararo (Toofaiti’s consort) and Oha during December 1790.

By September 1793, several children had been born on the island. The four remaining Polynesian men now shared one woman (Mareva). Having suffered enough from their ill treatment, the Polynesian men set out to kill the mutineers. John Williams was the first victim, followed by Fletcher Christian, John Mills, Isaac Martin and William Brown. John Adams was shot, but survived.

The Polynesian men then began fighting over the women. Teimua was shot dead by Manarii, then Manarii himself was shot by William McCoy and Matthew Quintal. One of the women, possibly Teraura, killed Tatahiti and Edward Young shot Niau. None of the six Polynesian men left behind any children. Four European men remained: Edward Young, Matthew Quintal, John Adams and William McCoy, along with ten women and their children.

The following four to five years were peaceful except for occasional outbreaks by the women, protesting against their treatment by the men, including an attempt to leave the island. Gradually, the men and women became reconciled to their lives and to each other, and all might have remained harmonious had not McCoy, who had once worked in a distillery, discovered how to brew a potent spirit from the roots of the ti plant (Cordyline terminalis). McCoy, losing control mentally, tied his own hands and feet and threw himself into the sea, where he drowned. In 1799, a drunken and threatening Matthew Quintal was put to death by Edward Young and John Adams.

Before the educated Edward Young died of asthma in December 1800, he used Bounty’s Bible and Prayer Book to improve Adams’ reading and writing abilities. Ten years after arriving at Pitcairn, Adams was the sole male survivor of the original settlers.

 After Young’s death, John Adams filled his days drinking the potent spirit distilled from the ti plant. Then one night, after having a dramatic hallucination, Adams underwent a transformation and became fervently religious.

As leader of the community, Adams began to take his responsibility seriously. He led Sunday services and, to ensure the community’s well being, Adams saw to it that the young people cultivated the land and cared for the stock.

adapted from this source

They had a Pacific Eden, but they brought their own corrupt hearts there full of racism, murder, sexual immorality, drunkenness etc.

Evil and brutality lurk in the human heart

August 7, 2009

Evil and brutality lurk in the human heart. If they are allowed to develop freely they flourish, putting out dreadful offshoots,  the kind of ideas necessary if the Jews and the Poles are to be murdered like this…What cowards we are, thinking ourselves above all this, but letting it happen. We shall be punished for it too.

Wilm Hosenfeld, August 13, 1942, German officer who helped save Szpilman in The Pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman, 1999, p.199-200

How is it possible?…There can be only one explanation: the people who could do it, who gave the orders and allowed it to happen, have lost all sense of decency and responsibility. They are godless through and through, gross egotists, despicable materialists.

Hosenfeld links their atheistic Naturalism (‘materialism’) with the free reign of the evil that lurks within. Atheism cannot retrain evil in a society.

The heart is deceitful

August 4, 2009

But I wretched, more wretched in the very commencement of my early youth, had begged chastity of Thee, and said, “Give me chastity and continency, only not yet.” For I feared lest Thou shouldest hear me soon, and soon cure me of the disease of concupiscence, which I wished to have satisfied, rather than extinguished.

Augustine, Confessions, 8.7.17

Corruption of the heart (from childhood)

August 4, 2009

A neighbour’s boy visited us and began to play on my son’s toy keyboard. Though my son was until then happily playing with his cars, he now became distraught. He wanted to play on the keyboard. Minutes later the boy has finished playing on the keyboard and it is free to play with. My son has no interest in it now.

Jim Gourlay 10/9/03

The Unconverted Walk in Darkness

November 10, 2008

Could I bring paradise into view-or represent the kingdom of heaven to as much advantage as the tempter did the kingdoms of the world, and the glory thereof, to our Savior; or could I uncover the face of the deep and devouring gulf of Hell in all its terrors, and open the gates of the infernal furnace; alas, he has no eyes to see it! Could I paint the beauties of holiness, or the glory of the Gospel; or could I expose to view the more than diabolical deformity and ugliness of sin; he can no more judge of the loveliness and beauty of the one, and the filthiness and hatefulness of the other, than a blind man of colors. He is alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in him because of the blindness of his heart (Eph 4:18). He neither knows nor can know-the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14). His eyes cannot be savingly opened but by converting grace (Acts 26:18). He is a child of darkness, and walks in darkness. Yes, the light in him is darkness.
Shall I read his eternal sentence-or sound in his ear the terrible trumpet of God’s judgments, that one would think should make both his ears tingle, and strike him into Belshazzar’s fit, even to change his countenance, loose his joints, and make his knees smite one against another? Alas, he perceives me not-he has no ears to hear! Or shall I call up the daughters of music, and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb? Yet he will not be stirred. Shall I allure him with the joyful sound, and lovely song, and glad tidings of the Gospel; with the most sweet and inviting calls, comforts, and cordials of the divine promises so exceedingly great and precious? It will not affect him savingly, unless I could find him ears, as well as tell him the news.

Alarm to the Unconverted
Joseph Alleine, 1671


October 3, 2008

Nevertheless I am an enthusiast for democracy. And I take that position, not because I believe majority opinion is inevitably right or true – indeed no majority can take away God-given human rights – but because I believe it most effectively safeguards the value of the individual, and, more than any other system, restrains the abuse of power by the few. And that is a Christian concept. Margaret Thatcher

These remarks are taken from a transcript of Margaret Thatcher’s May, 1988 speech to the Church of Scotland, reprinted in BIBLICAL ECONOMICS TODAY by the Institute for Christian Economics, and made available by the Modern History Sourcebook:

Human Depravity and Holiness

October 1, 2008

Contrasts the words of Gandhi with Al Capone!
For it is an unbroken torture to me that I am still so far from Him, who, as I fully know, governs every breath of my life, and whose offspring I am. I know that it is the evil passions within that keep me so far from Him, and yet I cannot get away from them.

M. K. GANDHI, The Ashram, Sabarmati , 26th November, 1925

Al Capone said, “I have spent the best years of my life giving people the lighter pleasures, helping them have a good time, and all I get is abuse, the existence of a hunted man.” Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1936), p. 20.

C.S. Lewis captured this contrast with these words: “When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less….Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.” Clive Staples Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1960), p. 73.