Adventures in Conversation – Human Nature #4

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My favorite conversations about Jesus have been about (1) human nature; (2) good and evil; and (3) the character of God.  They’re interrelated topics, and I think you’ll see why.

Here are abbreviated examples of real conversations I’ve had.   Be mindful that I’m really just giving a bare bones outline here.  If you find this helpful, be more personal in actual conversation.  But watch for how I keep pressing other people to have a coherent story of good and evil, a clear location for the evil, and whether they can really live in the story they’re telling me.

Evolutionist:  So you’re just saying that we need God to become better people.  I think we are just moving on to the next stage of human evolution.  We are becoming better people, just because of globalization, and because our survival depends on caring for all humanity.  It’s not just about raw competition anymore.

Me:  So, within your own framework, you believe we can overcome our genetic inheritance of survival of the fittest?

Evolutionist:  Definitely

Me:  What makes you think we’re capable of doing that?

Evolutionist:  We’re becoming better people.  We have human rights.  There are fewer deaths from wars.  More people are trying to alleviate poverty, and more money is going there.  Look at the Gates Foundation, for instance.

Me:  Isn’t that Western people and Western civilization you’re describing there?

Evolutionist:  Well, the West has more resources today, and we’re realizing that we’re all interconnected, and that we can’t be colonialists.

Me:  So you’re saying that the West is at a higher stage in human evolution than the rest of the world?  That’s an interesting claim.  Seems Euro-centric and U.S.-centric and neo-colonialist to me.

Evolutionist:  Well, maybe a higher state of consciousness because of our technology.

Me:  I could also argue that Western culture is more predatory than other cultures of the world, for example, fueling the rebirth of child sex trafficking and internet porn.  But regardless, I’m talking about a change in human nature.  Have we brought about a change in human nature?

Evolutionist:  Maybe it’s possible to think that.  Or aim for that.

Me:  I don’t think the West has changed anyone’s human nature.  Did you read William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies in high school?

Evolutionist:  Yes.

Me:  I did, too.  The main idea is that human nature contains ‘the beast.’  So these ‘civilized’ British schoolboys shipwrecked on an island become what we call ‘savages.’  And they are rescued from the island by ‘civilized’ British sailors on warships, whom we no longer call ‘savages.’  The boys longed for salvation.  But who will save the adults?  That’s the question.

Evolutionist:  You’re saying we need saving from ourselves?

Me:  Yes, exactly.  Because our technology is neutral in itself.  It only enables us to do more good or bad.  It’s not going to ‘save’ us.  So unless we talk about human nature, and why we do good and bad, you and I are going to keep being surprised at how destructive people can actually be.

Evolutionist:  How do you define good and bad?  According to what ‘God’ tells you?

Me:  Actually yes.  How do you define it?

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