Perhaps you have been involved in a political discussion with people and wondered how they could be so naïve about foreign policy or criminal justice because they just wanted to believe every person is basically good. Perhaps you have been sharing your faith with someone who rejected the idea of a savior because he or she rejected the idea of human sinfulness.
So many people in America are naïve about human nature, evil, and sin because they live in one of the greatest countries in the world that is insulated from the harmful realities of life. In many countries, greed and corruption are a way of life. I know that people in America complain about political corruption, but it isn’t anything compared to what is a daily experience in many other countries.
We are also shielded from strife and civil war. We have had an occasional terrorist attack that is unsettling. But we live in a world far removed from the daily threats people in other countries face.
Dennis Prager writes about his experience at the University of California in Berkeley. He had a debate/dialogue with two left-wing students. His final question to them was, “Do you believe people are basically good?” Without hesitation, they said yes.
He reminded them that they could think that way because they live in such a decent country insulated from poverty, corruption, and war. But he was troubled that just two generations after Auschwitz they could naïvely believe this. Since no Western religion (based on the Bible) teaches that people are basically good, this naiveté is obviously the result of secularism.
This naïve view of human nature keeps many from seeing the need for deterrence and protection from evildoers. And it keeps them from seeing their need for the gospel. It is one of the greatest mental obstacles we face whenever we engage in discussion about human nature.