Is Mankind Inherently Good?

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Every person is a literal child of God and loved by God. Every person is of value. We are scripturally mandated to love, and to be kind towards, every individual. I have yet to find any exemptions to this godly commandment. This is because God loves all of his children…

Ever since I was in my late teens, Christmastime has been bitter-sweet. The reasons are many, and I may address them in my future works. For now, just know that for me, as it is for many others, Christmastime magnifies my pains and sorrows, and also magnifies eternal spiritual truths of joy and comfort that stem from the love of our Savior.

I’ve been contemplating the question, “Is mankind inherently good?” off and on for several years. I’ve spent many hours studying spiritual philosophers, scholars, and holy scripture. It is normal for the Christmas season to prompt spiritual and eternal thoughts, and this Christmas has been no different for me. Thanks to these contemplations prompted by the season, and thanks to an event that I will not share publicly, I now have an answer to that question with which I’ve been wrestling.

Before you read on, please know that if you fail to read all my words in this post, you may make false assumptions about me and my conclusions. And for some, if you fail to read all my written thoughts, you may become discouraged. I do not want this. Please read my points, and I encourage you to study holy scripture as I have, as they are the word of God and have led me to my conclusions of hope, comfort, rest, and joy.

So…

Is mankind inherently good?

No.

Feel free to change my mind, but please read the rest of my writing beforehand.

My answer of “no” is not based on pessimism, cynicism, hatred, or depression, nor is it solely based on my personal experiences. It is based on scripture. My points, based on scripture, are not meant to bring you down, nor to get you to surrender to temptation and evil. It is meant to bring a better understanding of human nature and the need for Christ, and the joy that comes from repentance, and turning our will to God’s will.

Without question, mankind is capable of doing good, but that doesn’t counter my argument. The question I posed was not “Can people do good things?” It was not, “Can people become good?” It was not, “Does Christ love us.” It was not “Can we repent?” I know we can repent, I know God loves each of us, I know we have and can develop spiritual gifts. The question posed is about basic human nature, nothing else.

Mankind is not inherently good, in other words, mankind is not naturally good, mankind is not in a constant state of good. Mankind is not basically good. Left to themselves, left to their own devices, left alone without a moral compass, left alone without using the redemptive power of Christ’s Atonement, mankind would eventually slip into total depravity. Please remember this point, because my answer and subsequent points are all based on the premise of mankind without submitting to the influence of divine goodness (whether they recognize it as divine or not).

So, why would mankind slip into total depravity without divine goodness?

Because we are naturally bad.

The previous sentence may come as a shock, and may make you squirm in your seat as if you had a slice of bologna in your underwear. After all, who likes to think of themselves as naturally bad? But realize this, I did not say that we are always bad, nor did I say that everything we say and do is bad. Nor did I say that we are not of worth, nor did I say that we do not deserve mercy. I merely stated that we are naturally bad. It is human nature. Without the continual redemptive power of Christ’s Atonement, and without the influence of the Holy Spirit, we will do bad, selfish, and sometimes evil things. According to scripture, naturally, our hearts are evil.

Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…

Matthew 15:19 – For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies…

For my readers who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints:

Mosiah 3:19 – For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam…

Ether 3:2 – …because of the fall our natures have become evil continually

Due to the events in the Garden of Eden, we live in a fallen state. As a result of this fall, mankind became naturally carnal, sensual, devilish, and evil. This natural state of corruption is the antithesis of what God desires us to be. The natural man is an enemy to God. Without seeking God, without yielding to the quiet promptings of the Holy Spirit, without utilizing Christ’s Atonement, we will fail to rid ourselves of our natural and bad impulses.

After accepting the name of Christ and his sacrifice, we will have righteous desires, but we will also fall short, because we are mortal, and our carnal desires under temptation, when we fail to live righteously, will seduce us to sin once again. This is an ongoing struggle that all mortals live. We must not give up the fight however. There is the hope of redemption.

Why do so many christians with righteous desires fall short, and yield to the seductive call of pornography? Because everyone’s natural being is carnal, selfish, and (according to scripture) evil. They choose to yield to temptation rather than to continue to seek God. If you fall in this category, please know that you are not alone with your godly desire to beat the battle of porn addiction. There is hope. And please read on.

Fighting the natural wickedness in ourselves is an ongoing wrestle throughout mortality. Through the power of prayer, and the power of Christ’s Atonement, we can win each of these battles, but there will be battle, after battle, after battle. The natural state of wicked desires in us will not go away in mortality. We can keep it at bay, we can learn to bridle it, and this will be easier with time and practice, and with the aid of Christ’s Atonement, but it will always exist in mortality. Satan will always try to get us to yield to our natural state, because he knows the seductive call of our natural mortal minds and bodies. Absent of Christ’s Atonement and the Holy Spirit, we will always return to sin, like a dog to its vomit.

We should never allow ourselves to put our spiritual shields down, because our natural impulses are tremendously seductive.

If Mankind Was Naturally Good…

If mankind was inherently good, or naturally good, there would be no need for religion because there would be no need for a moral compass. We would have no need for scripture. We would have no need for a savior. We would eventually progress to a state of total perfection without sin. We could be our own saviors and spiritually clean ourselves. We would not return to sin. The philosophy that mankind is basically good is a secular, evolutionary, and progressive philosophy. The philosophy that mankind is basically good does not require a savior.

It does not take long to look at the secular world and find total depravity. This is because mankind, without divine goodness, will naturally choose wickedness. As God is rejected by more people, compasses of morality will weaken and the spread of darkness and evil will increase. Pornography is staunchly defended by many in the secular world. In recent weeks, there have been suggestions that we as a nation do something about the pervasive accessibility of pornography, since it is destructive to homes, marriages, children, and to our souls. As predicted, secular humanists and capital “L” libertarians have rushed to defend pornography. What has been surprising though, have been the great number of so called “conservative Christians” who have loudly defended the “right” to pornography. This didn’t make any sense to me, until I remembered that mankind is naturally selfish, carnal, and wicked. These Christians naturally desire their sin of porn, and want to continue to have access to it. And for the record, porn is not speech, it is not press, therefore not protected by the First Amendment. Porn is a product. And a product of evil. Defending it on the premise of choice and liberty is not virtuous. As Christians, we are scripturally mandated to reprove evil and to stand up against it.

Once I realized this biblical truth, that mankind is not inherently good, I did not become fed-up with humanity. My conclusion is not a judgement of every individual. I do not look at a person and think, “Yep, there’s another evil demon.” I do not feel pessimistic about life. Nor have I wanted to toss up my hands in defeat, saying “Well, I’m naturally evil, so there’s no point in trying to repent, no need to be good and to do good.” It just helped me to better understand human nature, and brought me a better understanding of Christ’s Atonement.  It gives me something tangible to fight.

Another way to look at it is that we are dual beings. There is a part of us that desires to be good, godly, an to live a moral and virtuous life. But there is also a natural part of us that is carnal and wicked. Without divine goodness or submitting to divine influence, the natural part of us will supersede the part of us that desires godliness. We will yield not to God’s will, but to our natural and carnal will. We will be at risk of becoming subject to demonic influence and being deceived.

Although I understand that every person is not inherently good, I still recognize that every person is a literal child of God and loved by God. Every person is of value. I am scripturally mandated to love, and to be kind towards, every individual. I have yet to find any exemptions to that godly commandment. This is because God loves all of his children, and He desires that all repent, to bridle the natural person within, and to return to Him. Love and kindness are attributes of Christ that will lead to the triumph of good over the naturally occurring evil that is within us all. And ultimately, we can be totally perfected through Christ.

The Arguments

I’ve discussed my scriptural conclusions with close friends and family. Some balked at my conclusion. But this is just their initial reaction. I think that there are many reasons for this initial reaction. Some don’t like the idea of being naturally bad, especially when they make a righteous and earnest effort to always do good. Some are positive people who know the cleansing power of Christ’s sacrifice, and know the eternal value of every child of God . Others have witnessed tremendous acts of charity and goodness. Those reasons are all justifiable, and I wrestled with those points while I studied the question… at first.

What has motivated these people to do great acts of charity and mercy? Christ’s goodness and forgiveness. Their moral compass.  Divine goodness, whether they recognize it as divine or not.  It did not spring forth from their natural base selves, it did not come from their nature, because from scripture we learn that our nature is evil. Good cannot come from evil. When people strive to be more like Christ and to emulate Christ’s attributes and goodness, it becomes easier to control the natural wicked impulses. These people who do many great acts of charity and kindness still have battles within. These battles may become more easily won, the more they become Christ-like, but the battles will never stop in mortality. Our natural selves will always be tempted to sin in one way or another, in one degree or another.

If you believe that mankind is basically good and if you also follow the tenets of Christ, what is preventing you from reaching total continual sinless perfection right now? Why are you continually tempted?

It is because in mortality, we will always need to fight the part of us that always wants to be wicked, the natural part of us. We will always have to fight to be more godly, so we can bridle the naturally wicked person within. Being godly does not come naturally. If it came naturally, why did Christ give us so many instructions and encouragements to be good and to do good? He wants us to learn to control and bridle our nature, because our nature goes against God.

The Promise: Christ’s Atonement Equals Redemption And Liberty

I don’t like having the constant internal battles between my righteous desires and the naturally wicked and selfish person within. This battle is, in a form, bondage. As I utilize Christ’s Atonement, asking for forgiveness, and repenting, continually praying and continually striving to be Christ-like, I experience redemption and then true liberty. Bridling the naturally wicked man within me is work, because it does not come naturally. But it is also freedom. It is joyous, it is restful.

For everyone reading this who is struggling with the natural carnal desires and tendencies, such as slothfulness, fearfulness, idolatry, anger, immorality, contentiousness, pornography, etc., I promise that there is hope and rest in Christ. Seek Him, call upon God. Continually ask Him for help. Ask Him to open your spiritual eyes to recognize blessings and answers to prayer. Ask Him to help you cast off the natural person within and to become more Christ-like. God loves you, he is merciful to his children, despite our sinful nature. He wants you to repent and to return to Him.


Don’t agree with me that mankind is NOT inherently good? Okay, please change my mind.

Just remember what the question is NOT. It is not, “Can mankind do good?” It is not, “Can mankind be good?” It is not “With some form of divine goodness, can mankind be and do good?”

The question is: “Is mankind inherently good?” In other words, left to their own devices, left without a moral compass, left without some form of divine goodness, is mankind basically good, naturally good?

Thanks for reading and taking time to ponder.

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150 thoughts on “Is Mankind Inherently Good?”

    1. Hi Terry, thanks for this question.

      As Paul says in Romans chapter 1, and elsewhere in his epistles, God manifests Himself and His goodness in many ways, including through people who do not listen to Him. To paraphrase Martin Luther referring to the story of Balaam’s donkey: if God can talk through the mouth of an ass, He can talk [manifest Himself] through anything and anyone.

      Also, atheists still fall in the category of not being basically good. Those that you refer to do good and strive to be kind because they have a moral compass. They will not conclude that their moral compass is the result of divine goodness, but as Paul and others taught, this moral compass is from God. And, these atheists, like God fearing folk, will also fall short, and revert to natural, carnal, and wicked ways without this moral compass.

  1. Very thoughtful article. So grateful for the Savior and for the blessings of being able to repent daily and pressing forward with steadfastness in Christ.

  2. I could not disagree with you more. People are good. I am taught that everyone is born with the light of Christ. We are born knowing good from evil.

    1. Hi Eric, thanks for your comment.

      I know to what you are referring to, and I agree that we all have the light of Christ and know good from evil. It is important to know that this light of Christ does not, without the choice of the individual, transform people into goodness and righteousness. It merely prompts or encourages us to choose good. But, we still have agency, it is ultimately our choice. God does not and will not force us to be good and to do good.

      Here’s another way to consider my conclusion. You and I agree that we are born with the light of Christ, knowing good from evil. I think we can also agree that God’s power is stronger than Satan’s influence. I think we can also agree that both God and Satan have a presence, in one form or another, on Earth. Why is it then, that so many people choose wickedness? Why do so many people reject God? Why is evil and depravity increasing? Why are less and less people attending churches?

      Because these people have chosen not to do good. They have chosen to reject God. But if God’s influence is stronger than Satan’s influence, then why would so many of us choose wickedness?

      Because that is our base nature. As scripture says, we are naturally evil.

      I thank God that He has provided a way for us to overcome the natural and carnal person in us all. God is incredibly merciful. He loves each of us as individuals

      1. Kyle Buckley,
        I was so irritated with you and your comment. My wife read the article and we spent all night last night studying scriptures. It was a very unique night and spiritual experience. I think the reason I didn’t want to believe your points is that I hadn’t fully understood the nature of Christ and his atonement and his light. I cannot put it to words like you probably could, but I now understand that the points you were making are really about hope and not about pain and sorrow and self defeat. I also understand salvation better. The light of Christ proves the love of God and the mercy of God because despite our continual sinning and wickedness, he still loves us and uses the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost to prompt us to choose righteously. My wife and I are going to start praying every morning and every night together and plead with God that he will help us control the natural man and natural woman in us. Thank you for your words of truth and hope and joy.

    2. @Eric,

      Here is an alternate phraseology. If I choose to reject God, choose to reject Christ and his teachings, choose to reject the Bible, or using Mr. Buckley’s words, choose to reject my moral compass, I will only have my inherent state, my natural state. In this situation, if I, being in mankind, was inherently good, then it would mean I would still be good and do good, even without God and his influence.

      As I observe the portion of the populous that rejects God and everything of God, if they were basically good, then I would see their good. But I do not see good. I observe the total depravity and selfishness of humanity. I think that Mr. Buckley is correct. Mankind is not inherently good. We need Heavenly Father, His Son, and The holy Spirit.

  3. You are a disgusting excuse for a human being. So much judgment. Doesn’t your bible say to judge not?

    Porn is not evil. It is a form of art. The female body is beautiful, I like it and I like looking at it. If you think a woman’s body is evil, then you are a misogynist. The female body makes me happy and feel good. How can god not want me to me feeling good? God doesn’t care if I look at porn.

    And if god can show himself through a talking ass, then I guess that you prove that there is a god because you talk and are an ass.

    1. Hi Eddiestark,

      I do not disagree with you on your last point.

      If you want me to clarify your point on judging unrighteously, I will, but I have the feeling that you have no desire to study The Bible on this matter. I will therefore only say this: there is a difference between judgement and discernment.

      You asserted that I think women are evil because I object to pornography. A few points here. I could not help but take note that when referring to a female body, you used the word “it” instead of “she” or “her.” You objectified women, you did not honor them.

      As a man, I am naturally wired to desire and to be attracted to the female figure and to the sacred parts of her body. This alone is objectification. God has commanded that men bridle this natural desire to only her to whom we are married. Every righteous man battles with this commandment, because due to our nature, we want to see women naked. This natural desire, when it leads to desiring her to whom we are not married, goes against God’s law. God wants us to control ourselves. God wants me to only desire my wife.

      For any woman who wishes to more fully understand a man’s natural desire and how a man’s mind works (or doesn’t work), I highly recommend two books. Neither are salacious, and both are written with Christian sensitivities in mind, but they are also blunt and honest:

      Through A Man’s Eyes by Shaunti Feldhahn

      and

      For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn

  4. Your puritanical view of porn is antiquated. The founding fathers started this country so we could be free of religion and its tyranny. We have the right and freedom to have porn.

    Just because you think sex is dirty and are disgusted by body parts doesn’t give you the right to force your rot on me. If you are ashamed of sex, then don’t have sex, but you are missing out.

    Go ahead, tell me that I’m going to burn in hell because I like sex. I don’t care. I’m not afraid to burn in hell because there is no such thing.

    1. Hi Clarissa,

      Based on your assumptions about me, I’m going to conclude that you have not read my other writings. I could go on and on about what I’m about to say, but I will be short and to the point.

      I do not think that sex is dirty. I am married. My wife and I have had six children. Sex is not just for procreation. As I stated on my About page of this site, “[Sex] is also to strengthen the bond between husband and wife. There are times that the only thing that gets me, and my wife, through a busy day, or a busy week, is knowing that we can have that intimate time together.”

      Furthermore, God, who commanded us to limit our sexual desires to the person to whom we are married, also created a sacred and sensual part of the female body: the clitoris. This sacred part serves no other purpose other than sexual pleasure. God would not have created this sacred body part if he did not want a husband and wife to righteously bond together through sex.

    1. Hi phillip,

      I don’t take much stock in the Supreme Court. They are incestuous and tyrannical in nature.

      You haven’t read me enough to know, but I express my thoughts here, and here, and also here, and then here.

      My opinion of the current state of our judicial branch is very very low.

      The Supreme Court is wrong. It is likely that no one will ever be able to convince me, or show me evidence, that our founders intended the First Amendment to protect pornography. They would consider pornography to be obscene. And evil.

      Porn is a product. If a person records themself masturbating and posts it online, it is considered porn and, according to the Supreme Court, is protected. However, if this same person masturbates in the middle of a crowded store in plain view, this person would be arrested and charged with some form of lewd conduct and indecent exposure. It is an absurd argument that filming the sexual act and then posting it online somehow converts the act to being protected by the first amendment. It is a fallacious argument.

  5. Thank you for this. I have always thought this. People think I believe this because they think I’m depressed or something. Most people don’t take this news very well. Some have been quite hostile to me when I express this opinion. Mankind is basically evil. I’ve started to notice a trend, once I started to express my opinion about this. Most who think that mankind are basically good seem to lean to the left polically and are not very religious. Those that agree with me or eventually agree with me generally lean to the right and attend church regularly and try to live good lives as they are taught in the Bible and at church. I can know someone’s basic political persuasion, their world view, and their level of religious strength based on there answer to the question you posed. I have also leanred that some people need time to think about this question, and my answer. Porn is a problem. I think it should be regulated and restricted.

  6. This article totally rubbed me the wrong way. But I’ve been thinking about it all day and I think your answer to the question is right. Got me thinking. Well done.

  7. I don’t care what your fictitious fairytale bible says. People are good. It is religion that destroys lives and cause what you call evil. If we get rid of religion, then the world will be a much better place.

    1. That is what our founding fathers wanted, a nation free from religion. John Adams said that this would be the best of worlds if it had no religion at all.

      1. Here is the quote from Adams that you and other “freedom from religion” advocates use very frequently: “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion at all!!!”

        The problem is that it is completely divorced from context. Here is the quote in full:

        “Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion at all!!!’ But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell.”

        John Adams meant the exact opposite of what you quoted. Religion is necessary. Christ is necessary.

  8. Here we go again.

    A self righteous christian casting stones at me becauseI like the beauty of women.

    Go to hell

  9. Of course mankind is good. I don’t know where you got your answer, but not from father god.

  10. Why should you care what I do in my own house? It does not hurt you. Me and my boyfriend watch porn together all the time and we like doing that. It gets me in the mood so we can have sex and show each other our love and it brings us closer together. How can that be evil?

    God loves us no matter what we do.

    1. I do not disagree with your last point. God will love you no matter what you do.

      Please remember Luke 6:46 “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

      The Lord wants each of us, including you, and including me, to study is words (in holy scripture), and then obey, making our will turn to God’s will. Why call him Lord, why call him God, if we ignore much of what he has said?

  11. This article is disgusting. I 100% disagree with you. This is demonism disguised as Christianity.

    1. Hi Ryan,

      I suggest that you read holy scripture a bit more. Jesus and His Father said many absolutes.

      Your statement is not based on scripture. I think it stems from a quote from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith from Kenobi: “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.” The funny thing is, that statement is itself an absolute.

  12. I read this article a few days ago and it made me mad. I’ve been thinking about it off and on ever since i read it. Once I wasn’t reacting emotionally to it I began to consider it critically. I read it again, thought about some more, and then read it again. I agree with your conclusion. If God is more powerful than the devil, and if they both can influence mankind, the very fact that there is so much evil perpetrated by mankind, tells me that our base nature is evil. If mankind was basically good and decent, we would see a lot less problems in the world.

    And once I took my emotions out of the equation, there is one point of yours that I cannot argue against and that is the scripture verses you used. I will never argue against the word of God. Thanks for taking time to write this article. And thank you for not defending pornography. I’ve seen so many good men, and even some good women, become enslaves to porn and it ruined so many lives. It makes me sick when christians defend porn.

    1. Thank you for taking time to ponder and to trust God’s word in scripture. The world needs more people like you who trust God. Thanks for your comments

  13. Like others, I disagreed with you at first, but after I thought about it while I was doing housework, it really got me wondering. I prayed about it, and even talked to my pastor about it. The article stumped him at first, but we both eventually concluded what you had concluded. He is going to give a sermon on it after the new year. Thank you for proclaiming His truth and the hope of Christ. God bless you.

  14. I watch porn. God hasn’t struck me down.
    I stole a candy bar when I was 7. God didn’t strike me down.
    While I was married, I had sex with another man that was not my husband, it was great. God didn’t strike me down.
    I’ve lied several times. God has never struck me down.
    I’ve broken in a church and had sex on those alter things. God didn’t strike me down.
    I’ve had 4 abortions. God didn’t strike me down, but I have to admit, I sure felt like god wen I came out of planned parenthood each time.

    1. @alexandra

      Your words are so disturbing. You are a perfect example of whom Mr. Buckley was referring. Total depravity…

  15. I do not follow a book of myths and fairytales that say an old bipolar man fit every animal on a wooden boat to save them from a world wide flood. No one has found any evince of the biblical flood. All fairytales.

    Why do you juge me for liking porn? Your fairytale bible says not to judge so I guess you do not follow your fairytale bible so you will go to fairytale hell.

  16. God created woman.
    Woman is beautiful and of god.
    Pics of a naked woman is beautiful and of god.
    Porn is of god.

    God is a-ok with porn.

  17. I have the right to do whatever I want in my own home. Me watching porn does not hurt anyone. The supreme court says we have the right. If you don’t like that fact than you have to change the constitution. Id write more but I’m going to go watch porn and there isn’t anything you can do to stop me. I am my own god.

  18. I am a christian man who struggle with pornography. I feel so guilt about it and so guilty for causing my dear wife so much hurt. She has forgiven me and still loves me, but I destroyed trust and trust is very hard to get back but I know that everything is possible through Christ Jesus. She has cried many tears because of her hurt and I don’t know how to help her other than to pray that I can be strong and not look at porn. Thank you for your truthful words. I will continue to pray for God to protect me from temptation of porn. I want it gone forever.

  19. Okay Mr. Buckley, what about this?

    Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.

    This is the description of everything after creation was done, after man and woman were created. We are naturally good, because that is how God created us.

    1. Hi, thanks for reading and for commenting.

      That is a good point of scripture. Keep in mind that the “very good” description was made prior to the fall of Adam and Eve. It is written all over scripture and supported by the verses I have already quoted that after the fall, mankind became carnal, sensuous, selfish, wicked, evil, etc.

  20. My husband has been addicted to pornography for 10 years. Porn is absolutely evil. He wants so badly to be done with it forever, but it keeps pulling him back. I am so scared that he is to the point of giving up entirely. I have forgiven him time and time again but I’ve walked in on him masturbating to porn so many times I know I can never measure up to 20 year old girls he masturbates to and fantasizes about. I’m not as pretty as they are but I stay in shape and show him that I desire to be intimate with him but he nearly always reverts to porn and masturbation instead of having sex with me. I have kept strong because I have never stopped praying, but I don’t know how much longer I can take it. I’ve tried to get him to get help from our bishop and from support groups, but I think he is too ashamed or something. I think his shame is also why he doesn’t have sex with me very much because he feels unworthy or guilty or something. I’m going to try to get him to read your article and read scripture with me every night. I think it might help him to know he is not alone with temptation. I don’t know what else to do. I love him and want him to only desire me.

    1. I am so sorry. I so wish I could snap my fingers and fix your situation. I know of several women who are in similar situations. It may help you if you seek a support group for those that are spouses of addicts. I would start by asking your bishop if he knows of any local support groups. There might be someone, in addition to your bishop, in your local congregation that you could confide in if you trust her.

      Always pray. Pray for your husband, and pray for yourself. Always do this. Know that Christ can transform your husband, and that he can and will give you peace and rest.

      And to anyone who wishes to respond to this deeply hurting daughter of God, if your comments are anything other than sympathy, hope, and encouragement, I will immediately delete and block your IP address from commenting on this site. She needs nothing but love.

    2. You are a daughter of God and you are of value. Always remember this. May Heavenly Father bless you.

    3. To my anonymous sister in Christ, my heart breaks for you. My sister and husband have gone through a very similar situation. Keep praying. Get support from those you trust. Know that you are cherished and loved. May God bless you.

  21. Hi Kyle
    Please define good. Mark 10:18 provides a definition of good, but I don’t think it is the same as how you are using it. It is important to have a clear definition of good in order to refute, rebut, or accept your argument.

    Your argument seems to try and detach the natural person from the spiritual. You argue that left to ourselves (understood to be without God or Christ) we are not good and will inevitably degrade to complete depravity. In the context of your argument it is Christ who lifts us up and enables us to become good. It follows that IF there were no Christ, we would be neither bad nor good. We would simply be. You argue that Christ is the variable that allows for goodness to exist, and simultaneously badness for that matter. Without Christ we could not degrade to total depravity because that implies there is some moral direction of good and bad. While this line of argument actually supports your point, My counterargument is that Christ does exist, and he is a part of all our lives, whether we want him to be or not. That fact establishes that while we may not be permanently, characteristically, or inherently good, neither are we inherently bad (as you claim). It is not a binary choice.

    Secondly, you articulate that we may become good through the following Christ. I agree. It is central to your argument that Christ is an externality to the individual (Not sure I agree or disagree). The question I have then is what other things are externalities? How did we begin? I would argue that we in fact come into this world good. Inherently good. It is a fundamental characteristic of infancy. Infants are good. Moroni 8:8 is clear on this point. If Christ and our decisions to follow him or not are externalities then certainly The buffetings of life and our own poor choices to follow those things are just as much of externalities. If we may become good, we may also become bad. The question is where do we start from. I think we start from good. You are suggesting that we start from bad.

    As to your paragraph on pornography and the suggestion that we as a nation do something to combat its influence. I probably would not identify as a libertarian but that paragraph came across as if some were advocating for government intervention and you were surprised by others views that pornography should be protected. While I agree with you about the morality of pornography I believe the argument at hand is how much the government should intervene on issues of morality. Not wanting the government to regulate pornography is like not wanting them to regulate hate speech. It is a slippery slope when government determines moral right and wrong.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Shawn, thanks for reading and for taking time to comment.

      Sorry, but you were unable to change my mind regarding my conclusion.

      A few points I would like to re-iterate or clarify. You said that we are not inherently bad. You also said that I claimed that we are inherently, or naturally, bad. This is not a claim from me, but my conclusion from reading clearly written scripture. Did you disregard Ether 3:2? Moses 5:13? Jeremiah 17:9? Matthew 15:19?

      I do not follow your logic of the absence of Christ would mean we would be neither bad or good. I fail to see that I argued that Christ is the variable for badness to exist. The absence of Christ and his light would lead to total depravity. Scripture has already established that mankind is naturally evil. You said that it is not a binary choice (inherently good or inherently bad), I argue, again based on scripture I have already cited, that it isn’t a choice at all. We are naturally evil. That is the nature of mankind, due to the fall.

      I had already pondered on Moroni 8:8, and I thought about mentioning it in the article but wanted to keep it as short and to the point as possible, and I didn’t want to get into arguments that have nothing to do with my points. Actually Moroni 8:8 does not say infants are inherently good. It says little children do not have the curse of Adam and are therefore incapable of sinning, just like the state of Adam and Eve were prior to being expelled and the fall. This is a state of neither being good nor bad. When a child reaches the age of accountability, the curse of Adam is applied, and they are in the fallen state. I do not know how this transformation occurs, nor do I care, nor will I get in a debate about it since it goes beyond the point of this article. All that matters is that by the age of accountability, every person is in a fallen state, and naturally evil (Ether 3:2). For reference, good is the opposite of evil and evil is the opposite of good.

      If we are not naturally evil, and if God is more powerful than Satan, why is there so much depravity in the world?

    2. @Shawn

      At first I thought it was due to me being tired, recovering from knee surgery, and in pain, and on drugs, but I could not follow you either. My husband read your response as well and he couldn’t follow your thoughts entirely either. I think they could be articulated a bit better. But maybe it is because you’d rather get in the nitty gritty, the minutia of theological philosophy that is too esoteric for the arguments and audience that Mr. Buckley had intended.

      I concluded that Mr. Buckley’s overall premise and conclusion is true, and although I cannot speak for Mr. Buckley, I think his whole argument is that we have a need for Christ due to our nature. The Gospel is simple, and I don’t think we should try to over complicate it. We have an evil and wicked nature about us, and we desperately have a need for Christ for redemption and help.

      1. Rachel

        Sorry that my initial comment was not clear. If you are remotely interested I have replied again to Kyle and tried to clarify my point.

        Unless I am unaware of some radical changes in Kyle’s life recently, I am of the same religious persuasion as Kyle. I absolutely agree that we have a need for Christ. I think that need is brought on by our creation and destiny, not our nature so much. The gospel is simple, and we need not over complicate it, but we definitely need to be precise and accurate. Faith is a hope in things that are not seen but are true. Belief in inaccuracies cannot be faith.

        Thank you for taking the time to read my comment. I sincerely appreciate the discussion.

    3. Shawn,

      Regulating porn is nothing at all like regulating hate speech. Hate speech is speech, and so is protected by the 1A. Regulating pornography is regulating a product, not speech. There are plenty of products that the government regulates, all of which is legislating morality. Every law legislates morality.

      1. Hi Anthony

        I’m not a legal scholar, but at least from the comments here it seems that there is disagreement about whether or not porn is speech. Either way, I was not saying that the government can’t regulate porn because it is speech. Neither was I saying that the government can’t regulate based on morality. I was suggesting that some might find it prudent to limit the extent of government regulation based on morality, or more specifically to this article, religion. The article argues that pornography is sinful. Not all agree with that. I certainly don’t want the government regulating based on sinfulness. There are certainly other arguments to be made in favor of additional regulation, but I think religious arguments are dangerous.

  22. Kyle

    To be sure, I never suffered under the illusion that I would, or could, change your mind. It is not my aim, despite the invitation to do so. I am simply engaging in an intellectual discussion by which our own differing ideas can be challenged and explored.

    Again, please define your term ‘Good.’ Mark 10:18 suggests that the unique set of characteristics that defines God is what constitutes good. In this case, it is self evident that humanity is not good. This does not seem to be your usage of the word. According to Google, good means 1) to be desired or approved of or 2) having qualities required for a particular role. Again, I do not think this is your usage of the word. Additionally, good can have a moral connotation to it. In this case, individuals and humanity as a whole can do good, but you are clear to distinguish the question at hand from this definition. You can not possible defend your position well without this term being clear.

    You absolutely argued that humanity is inherently bad. Here is your quote:

    So, why would mankind slip into total depravity without divine goodness?
    Because we are naturally bad.

    Throughout your article you use naturally and inherently as synonymous. No mention of being left to conclude that we are naturally bad. You simply state it as your position. In fact, the majority of the article is devoted to establishing this position. You may have concluded that humanity is not good, but that does not mean that we are bad. In fact, your interpretation of Moroni’s declaration that little children are ‘whole’ concedes this point. There are possibly infinite alternative conclusions that can be reached if you establish that humanity is not good. However, good is unclear.

    As your instrument for depravity (a state of badness, or a state that is not good) you describe sinful behavior generally, pornography specifically. You say that without Christ humanity would inevitably succumb to those vices. The problem with your argument is that some folks who embrace the gospel and strive to follow Christ commit serious transgression while many who do not subscribe to christian values do not. To make the argument, even theoretically, you would have to describe a state of being where Christ does not exist and explain why humanity (all of humanity) would gravitate towards this depraved state. The intellectual problem with such a discussion is that Christ and his teachings defines and sets a reference point for the behavior that you call depraved. A state of being without Christ would by definition be a state where no reference point exists by which to define behavior as depraved. In such a state humanity would simply be. This, I believe, characterizes the LDS idea of ‘Satan’s Plan.’

    The scriptures you referenced refer to adjectives such as evil, carnal, sensual, devilish, and wicked. Certainly these are traits that are undesirable to a person trying to follow Christ. However, I fail to see from these scriptures that this is a complete list of the natural man’s, or traits. To say that humanity is fallen, prone to sin, or imperfect is well defended by these scriptures. Again, a clear definition of good is needed.

    I do not disagree that God is more powerful than Satan. However, I am not so sure that there is ‘so much depravity’ in the world such that God’s influence is inadequate to overcome our own natural badness. There is no way to quantify the amount of depravity in the world or the amount of goodness. Lacking still is any standard of how much depravity is acceptable given Satan’s and God’s influence effects, and still conclude humanity is good. Given that God is all powerful and Satan is not, God’s influence should be infinitely greater than Satan’s and therefore no depravity is the only condition to conclude humanity is good. This is poor evidence to support your argument, or conclusion.

    While I do not have a formal definition for you, nor do I think it is my responsibility to define one since it is your post that spurred the discussion, but I would say that being good is the aggregation of all we are. If I could quantify good, or goodness somehow, and define all values greater than 0 as some degree of good and all values equal to or less than 0 as some degree of not good, that would be a good starting point for answering your question. I have been fortunate enough to associate with people from around the world with different ideas on religion, politics, or moral codes. In the end, I absolutely conclude that nearly all individuals, and certainly humanity as a whole, would have a goodness score well in excess of 0. Not infinite, because we are not perfect. But people are far more better than they are depraved.

    1. Yeah, I know what I had said. In my previous comment, I was merely trying to clarify that it is not my claim that we are inherently evil, it is scriptural truth. Ether 3:2 “…because of the fall our natures have become evil continually

      Sorry, but esoteric doctrine is not pure or simple and it seems like you are trying to dive into philosophical weeds that have no place with the pure simplicity of the gospel. Due to a bad personal experience from years ago, I no longer get deep in philosophical weeds regarding simple gospel truths from the clearly written word of God. Scripture warns about this.

      Based on many scriptures (not just the verses I cited), due to the fall, human nature as a whole is evil. Christ is the solution.

      Thanks.

      1. Thanks Kyle. Evil is not the opposite of good. Still waiting on a definition of good:)

  23. Holy crap Shawn. Can’t see the forest for the trees? Good grief.

    Dude, you need to read your bible more. The very fact that we require a savior also says that we are not inherently good. This is in black and white, all over the bible. Why do you want to get deeper than that and argue definitions and crap? I think you must like to talk or argue or something.

  24. @Shawn

    Again, you seem to be overcomplicating. You appear to try to make your arguments as convoluted as possible in order to falsely elevate your intelligence above others, to confuse people, or to trap them. I, like Mr. Buckley, have no desire to be drawn down into the minutia.

    I kindly suggest that you study scripture. Good is defined and clearly implied throughout holy text. You arrogantly said that good and evil are not opposites. That statement goes against scripture and causes me to wonder if you study secular philosophy found in the halls of higher education more than you do holy text. Good and evil are mentioned together many times throughout scripture as direct opposites. That you don’t know this is a possible indicator to me that you focus more on secular philosophy instead of holy text. I would quote precise verse for you, but based on your other comments, you will either ignore them or ask me something irrelevantly esoteric like what the definition of “is” is.

    Or maybe, as my husband concluded, you just like arguing just to argue. This goes against holy text as well.

    @Kyle Buckley

    Thanks for not wanting to get pulled down into the minutia. Although I am what the secular world would call a highly educated woman, I prefer the simple word of God. And by the way, my husband and I have the same low opinion of the judiciary that you appear to possess.

  25. Shawn, it really doesn’t matter what you believe about this. You can twist and pontificate all you want, but your hot air will not and can not change the word of God. We are fallen, we are wicked, we are not good, we are evil, Christ is the way back. God has spoken this truth. Period.

  26. Kyle, and everyone else
    It has been my experience that in the age of social media, if one persists in disagreeing with the original poster of an idea, then that person is blocked. I certainly hope it will not be the case here. I am returning to post because I think the subject is of high importance and I care about the author. The others commenting on my thread are advocating for pure and simple doctrine but show an astounding durth of charity towards me, a total stranger. How ironic. To be sure, I take issue with Kyle’s idea and conclusion here, but can unequivocally state that in my experience he has been nothing but a kind, upstanding man that exemplifies a true and sincere follower of Christ. Of that I am grateful.
    Kyle, Rachel, Steve, Jeff, and all others- The details are of the upmost importance. The forest is only beautiful (and exists) because of the trees. A god that created the world and all that is in it is one who cares immensely about the details. Perhaps if Cain cared about the details a bit more the Lord would have respected his offering and his story might have ended up much differently. The details of baptism are of the upmost importance to many followers of Christ. All roads do not lead to Rome, the way is straight and the gate narrow.
    I have asked for a simple definition of good. The entire article is dependent upon this definition. Kyle, you went to great lengths to clarify your question, but have offered no definition of the main term. I have offered at least two. If good in your article is to have the same definition as Christ’s usage in Mark, as I previously cited, then the entire discussion is moot. Christ declared there is none good but God. In other words, Good is perfection and all that entails. Without question humanity does not meet that high standard. If your use of the term good is to have a contemporary meaning of being desired or approved of, then humanity most certainly meets that standard. Good does not mean perfect. Christ’s willingness to descend from on high and complete the atonement for us is clear evidence that humanity is desirable and approved of. We were and are good enough to warrant his sacrifice.
    As I read the scriptures (yes Rachel, I read and study them. I also study philosophy and walk the halls of higher education. I believe an omniscient God has done the same. Indeed, he must have or else he would not be omniscient.) Evil, wicked, carnal, sensual, etc all refer to sinful behavior. Humanity is sinful, we are fallen, we are carnal. The scriptures are clear on this. When good is used to refer to the unique qualities of God then it is in opposition to evil, wicked, and carnal. However, Evil is not mutually exclusive with being desired or approved of. Neither is any of the other terms. The gospel of Jesus Christ is predicated on this idea. That despite our imperfections, we are desired, approved of, and deserving of Christ’s sacrifice. Mark 2:17.
    Many of our characteristics, traits, qualities, and behaviors are not good. This is self-evident even right here in this discussion. Using the term ‘parts’ to generally refer to characteristics, traits, qualities, behaviors, and all other aspects that make up our individual self, I believe that are self is greater than the sum of our parts. I believe this because we are children of God. We are of divine origins and have eternally infinite potential. Despite some, or possibly many parts of us that are evil, carnal, and fallen, the individual is so much more. Kyle’s question was not about the individual though, but about humanity. In like manner, humanity is so much more than the sum of the individuals. Collectively we are the family of God. We are the inspiration for all creation and for the greatest singular event in human history, Christ’s atonement.

    An interpretation that humanity is inherently bad is a defeatist, discouraging, and negative message. It is also entirely unsupported by scripture. Nowhere does it state that humanity is bad. All the examples provided state that people have some unrighteous qualities, but not that humanity is bad. It is antithetical to Christ’s message of hope and salvation. As is evident from the comments from those that disagree with you Kyle, this message has little to no power of persuasion. I do not see that it lifts or inspires. I chose to believe that we are good. That in the eyes and mind of Christ and God the father, we are desirable and worthy of their approval.
    Kyle, you asked for others to change your mind. I take that as an invitation to discuss the topic with you. If I have erred in that understanding, or if I have in some way offended you, I am truly sorry. It is my sincere hope that if you cannot find common ground with me on this subject that you at least understand and appreciate my point of view. I hope that my lengthy responses are sufficient evidence that I have carefully considered and pondered your article. I think I understand your position. I understand your point of view and why you hold it. I simply disagree. Please, continue to write. Continue to formulate, express, and defend your positions, ideas, and beliefs. You have been a light and an inspiration to many as expressed by the commenters. That is good. You are good. Your message is good. Thank you.

    1. I’m new to the conversation, but I’ve been observing for the past few days, and I figured I should put in my two cents worth.

      Shawn, you said, “An interpretation that humanity is inherently bad is a defeatist, discouraging, and negative message.” That is true only if the message is not followed up with testifying of Christ’s Atonement. Kyle seems to have gotten this argument from others, or from himself, before he wrote this article, because he brought up this very point, and then testified of the power of Christ and the divine value every individual has. I guess you failed to read that particular portion, even though part of it is quoted immediately under the picture of Christ. Perhaps you were too focused on the little things to feel the spirit behind Kyle’s message of hope and redemption.

      It is not an interpretation. It isn’t even an implication. It is written, in scripture. The word of God. You said “It is also entirely unsupported by scripture.” Kyle has provided a verse for you multiple times and you have failed to address it, each time. Ether 3:2 “because of the fall our natures have become evil continually.”

      NATURE
      EVIL
      CONTINUALLY

      Kyle has provided other verses as well. If you want to get bogged down with definitions of what each of those words and phrases mean, and knit pick, then I think that you are totally missing the point. Quit relying on your secular philosophy training. It has a contentious nature about it and distracts from purity and simplicity.

      Look at this from Kyle’s and the other commentators’ perspectives. Mankind is fallen. Because of this we have a wicked nature about us. Christ cleanses us, but we, because of our CONTINUALLY (Ether 3:2) evil and wicked nature, return to sin. Christ can cleanse us again. And again, despite our nature. There is hope, despite our nature. With time, we can get better and better at controlling our nature, but it will always be there. But we always have Christ as well. There is hope. There can be joy. Although we have a wicked and evil nature, we are still literal children of God and have divine value. We need to love each other to help each other use Christ’s Atonement. All of these things were articulated in Kyle’s words, and others have apparently been able to recognize this, but you are getting absolutely hung-up on the very first point: mankind has a wicked nature. Forget how it is worded or how you think it should be worded. The essence is plain and pure. Forget the definitions, you know what good means through implications in the article and the verses already mentioned. If you disagree, if you think that mankind has a righteous and good nature, then provide scripture that says that, instead of trying to argue about definitions and, as an other commenter said, minutia. That is how you can change minds on this. Children are not applicable though, since as Kyle already pointed out, the fall of Adam (our wicked nature) does not apply to little children. But I don’t really know what your motivation is. In one comment you said that you were not trying to change minds, but then you later said that you were. I wonder if you just like contention, due to your nature.

      Kyle did invite for those that disagree to change his mind, but disagreeing about a simple message deserves a simple response. A disagreement about a scriptural conclusion deserves scripture in response. One person tried to change Kyle’s mind, by simply posting a verse in Genesis and a basic and simple commentary. That is how you change minds in this situation. You seem to not want to change minds, but to be contentious. The scripture verse you noted about little children had already been contemplated by Kyle and has been discussed and does not cancel out Kyle’s initial point. At a basic level, it did not change Kyle’s mind, but you persist with seeming contention.

      The fact that you have been blocked on other websites speaks volumes and supports the assumptions of others that you like to argue just to argue. Most people have a low tolerance of arguing just to argue because it is nonsense, time wasting, and contentious. I don’t know for sure if Kyle will block you (I doubt he will), but it seemed as if you were egging him on to block you so you could appear to be the victim.

      Here is the most serious part of my comment. And the only reason I bring it up is because I know Kyle and know that he will not defend himself because he doesn’t like contention and he rarely advocates for himself. So I will defend him. You said that Kyle’s scriptural conclusion and message is antithetical to Christ’s message of hope. Seriously, what were you thinking?! I sincerely hope that Kyle fails to read your comment. If I had bared my soul, my testimony, of the hope and power of Christ, as Kyle did, and then you absolutely ignore the heartfelt testimony, and the solution to the fall (or our wicked nature), I would not want to converse with you. I would be deeply hurt. Calling it antithetical to Christ’s message?! I cannot think of anything more insulting to a person’s personal witness. Kyle clearly stated that everyone has value, and that we are to love each other, despite our nature. Kyle clearly understands that we have fallen and Christ is the way back to God. You make it sound like all that Kyle said is we are evil and that we will always be evil. He made it very clear that that is NOT the message he was delivering. Furthermore, his overall goal in writing this was obvious: “It is meant to bring a better understanding of human nature and the need for Christ, and the joy that comes from repentance, and turning our will to God’s will.” All your other words of praise for Kyle were completely wiped out and destroyed, they became utterly worthless and vapid, because you ignored Kyle’s message of hope in Christ when you said that Kyle’s testimony is antithetical to Christ. If I were Kyle, my first impulse after reading your biting words would be to block you. But I don’t think he will. And again, I desperately hope he doesn’t read your comment. Ever.

      The very reason for the Atonement of Christ is because our nature is evil and wicked due to the fall. Tons of scripture support and declare this point. If there is other portions of scripture that cancels out Ether 3:2 and the other scriptures that clearly say the reason for the Atonement is because our nature is evil and wicked, then please provide them instead of contentiously dismissing a testimony of Christ. Provide scripture that cancels out the verses and the points already mentioned instead of falling back on your secular philosophy training which appears to demand that you dissect at infinitum the minutia of every word and phrase. If Kyle and I get into the deep minutia of the points of his article, I know that we would find points to disagree with, but Kyle and I won’t do that because neither of us want to risk it leading to contention and distracting from the overall message. The Gospel of Christ is simple. Good is the opposite of evil and evil is the opposite of good. Christ is the only way we can cleanse ourselves and control our nature.

    2. Shawn, I think you meant “dearth,” not “durth”. The details are of the upmost importance. I suspect you used that word to make you sound smart, but the fact that you misspelled that particular word made you look more of a fool. Don’t use a college word if you do not know how to spell it. And when trying to persuade people to your side, don’t use a five-dollar word when a nickel word will do. But I don’t think persuasion was your ultimate goal. I think you were more concerned with where others viewed your level of intelligence.

      Others refusing to go deep into philosophical matters is not equivalent to a lack of charity. Pointing out fallacies and sophistry is not equivalent to having a lack of charity. Again, the fact that you do not understand what charity is, and what it is not, shows to us the possibility that you study worldly philosophy more than you study the word of God.

      And Kyle did give you a definition of “good”, in one of his replies to your comment. If you reject the definition and keep pushing for another, it makes it obvious you are phishing in order to elevate your own conclusions, not discussing or learning.

      The “details” you are arguing have no place in the discussion. One such example is that Kyle never articulated a scenario where Christ never existed, but you have attempted to drift to that scenario so you can argue a philosophical point.

  27. Bologna in your underwear? That’s awesome.

    Good message. I can see how some people might get upset with you, but that is just their nature. 😀

  28. Hmmm . . .

    Well, I think I agree with your basic premise. Some of the smaller things I might disagree with, but I may agree with them in time. I need to think about it. But like I said, the basic premise is scripturally sound. I’m going to bring this up at my next Bible study. I’ll report back and let you and your readers know what was discussed. Thank you for your words of Christ Jesus.

  29. I see human depravity and evil everywhere.

    That Shawn guy says that Kyle’s message was negative. I saw it as a message of hope because of Jesus. Shawn may have thought that way because of a spiritual gift he has. He may look at everyone as being of great worth and he has a hard time processing human nature as evil. It might be that Shawn is talking more about worth or potential and i can tell Kyle is talking strictly about human nature as a whole. I can tell Kyle clearly knows that everyone has great worth in the eyes of Jesus, and I know that Kyle pointed out potential of people too, but I think Shawn might have a mental block because of a spiritual gift. I don’t know for sure because I don’t know him. He may just be one of those persons that like to get angry and argue. I hope not though. I just wanted to point those things out.

    Knowing that we are evil by nature actually helps me love others. If someone cuts me off in traffic or flips me the bird, I might just assume they are a jerk and try to send them to hell. But when I remember that they are just acting that way because of the fall and their bad nature, it is much easier for me to forgive them. “Oh, that’s just human nature, let it go.”

    thank yo

  30. I had never thought of it that way that our nature is bad, or wicked, or evil. But yep it is true. Thank Jesus Christ that we have a way to give our nature slaps and spanks to get it under control.

  31. Thank you for this article. We desperately need Christ. I hate my nature. I find when I am not trying hard to serve God and my fellow man, my nature wants me to do wicked things. But I know this is bad. I hate have these fights inside me. It wears me out. Serving God and his children, helps me control my nature and makes me feel lighter and happier because my bad nature is more under control. I like how Kyle said it, it makes me feel like I have true liberty.

  32. Shawn,

    We have a wicked nature. I take it you are LDS and you should know that the natural man is an enemy to God. Our nature goes against God. Our nature is therefore bad.

    Did you not read the entire article. It didn’t only say we are bad and leave it at that. For the love of everything holy, the whole article is about the power of Christ and his atonement being used to repent and to rid the nature within us. If all I had read was the question and the answer, it would be a downer, but as Kyle suggested, I read the entire article and I don’t see fault in it. We are wicked because of our carnal wicked nature, we can heal through Christ and control our nature through divinity. We can repent. This is a message of hope. I sincerely hope you re-read Kyle’s words and get off your fixation of only the “we are naturally bad” part.

  33. Holy smokes Shawn, I think you must have read just a small portion of this article. You are arguing that every person has value, worth, and is loved by God and that means that we are inherently good. Kyle was clearly NOT concluding that we are worthless and unloved. It is quite obvious that Kyle was writing that HUMAN NATURE is not inherently good. He was not writing about human value not being of worth. Not only that, but he also made it abundantly clear that every individual is loved by Christ Jesus and that each of us have worth. Kyle pleaded with everyone to pray and to ask for the help of Christ Jesus because Christ loves us. It seems like everyone else, minus the porn freaks and anti-religious people, concluded that we have evil natures, but Christ still loves us. But you were not able to gather that from reading the article. You have a blinder on or something. At the beginning of the article Kyle warned about making assumptions about his conclusions, and it appears that you fell pray to the assumptions. Let me sum up Kyle’s whole article a different way since it appears that you failed to read it in its entirety: We have a wicked nature, and evil nature, a bad nature, however, we are also loved and valued by God, so he provided a Savior for us so we can return to him.

    Human nature and human value are two different things. This particular article discusses both:

    Human nature = evil
    Human value = infinitely priceless
    The solution to these contradictions is Christ Jesus.

    I, like Jon, was saddened when you called Kyle’s message antithetical to Christ. Based on Kyle’s publicly written words, he is going to forgive you for appearing to attack his witness, but I encourage you to let this be a learning experience for you. Your assumptions, even if you thought you were not assuming, lead you to look like an argumentative buffoon, and you attacked a witness of Christ’s message of hope because you reacted to your hyper-focus. I really don’t know how you assumed Kyle was talking about human value. But you stuck to that assumption with such religiosity, you were unable to comprehend Kyle’s testimony of Christ’s sacrifice and love. I kindly suggest that you do not put the blame for this assumption on anyone but yourself, for this will be the only way that this will be a learning experience.

    The definition of good was quite clear, infered by examples given in the article, by the verses given, and in the comments. Good is the opposite of evil and evil is the opposite of good. It is that simple. The first example of this biblical truth is in Genesis when it mentions the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Good and evil are written about several other times in the Bible as direct opposites.

    Thank you. I sincerely hope and pray that your eyes will become open.

  34. I have not been able to respond lately due to a nasty cold and Christmas activities. All I’ve had time for on this site is to approve comments which were held from being posted automatically.

    Shawn,
    Yeah, it seems like you are talking about human value. The question is about human nature.

    And no, you will not be blocked unless you begin to consistently post obscenities, start spamming, or become harassing or threatening. I don’t anticipate this. With few and rare exceptions, I am a free speech absolutist in principle as well as on my websites. The only reason I sensor obscenities is to make the site as inviting as possible to all sensitivities. And the only reason I’d block spammers and harassers is because they waste time and server resources.

    To everyone else, let’s try to use a little less harsh language towards Shawn and to others. I had to edit some of your comments due to words that were too nasty when considering the spiritual nature of the subject at hand. It’s perfectly fine to disagree and to discuss things, but let’s keep it light and friendly. I’m pretty sure that Shawn has merely misunderstood (human value being different from human nature). We have all been guilty of this type of misunderstanding before, and I’m sure it will happen to us again at other points in our lives.

    Thank you

  35. Merry Christmas Kyle
    I had no intention to comment again given the comments. However, your response has inspired me to believe that some thoughtful and productive discussion can still be had.

    You did not ask for a critique of your writing, but allow me to point out that the question in the title refers to mankind which is significantly different than human nature. With few exceptions, the reiteration of the question in your text maintains this reference. I was not addressing human value, nor was I addressing human nature. My comments address mankind (or humanity in a more inclusive terminology). Your article, as it is written, does the same. I maintain that mankind is more than human nature. While there are a great many folks here that seem to not put much store on precision, it is a significant detail. One in which your entire thesis relies.

    As to human nature, you have still not changed my mind. I have read many, if not all the scriptures you have cited (since I first read the article a few days ago). I have read a fair amount of other scriptures relating to the topic also, as well as modern day discourses on the topic. Nowhere do I find that the scriptures state that exclusively evil is flowing from the natural man. It might be continual, but most certainly not exclusive. Also, while you previously disagree with Anderson about Genesis 1:31 (I would add Abraham 3:23) I fail to find where God states after that fall ‘Well, now all y’alls are bad.’ I do not think that entering a fallen state Changes the declaration that we are good. Abraham talks about our spirit, not our natural self. I find it a tough argument to make that our spirits are not a part of our nature. I would be happy to discuss that if you disagree, but it probably deserves a new post.

    It is instructive to point out that you go to great lengths to claim that only through Jesus Christ can our human nature become good. Or at least that is my understanding. Anecdotally I can list a great many people who have deliberately rejected Christ and his message and are most certainly good. By all observations, they have very good natures. Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, and Hindus. While I acknowledge that you include the caveat of ‘lacking a moral compass’ to your argument. These people absolutely do not lack one, but neither do they rely on Jesus Christ to be good. They are good because they are naturally good.

    In the end, I find that your argument is that having the ability to do or desire good from our natural self is insufficient to be considered good but having evil desires are more than enough to condemn us as naturally bad. I simply cannot agree with this argument. I am sure we are at an impasse. I am good with that. I hope you are too. Keep up the good fight.

    1. Shawn, I’m really going to try hard to be civil here. . .

      You seem to be changing your arguments over and over again.

      Criticizing Kyle’s writing instead of admitting that you were mistaken? Especially after you said that Kyle’s testimony of CHrist’s atonement was antithetical to Christ. That is repugnant.

      Is Mankind Inherently Good? That is the title you criticized and blamed for you arguing the wrong arguments. The word “inherently” in the title refers to nature. That you missed this is YOUR fault, not Kyle’s. don’t blame him, to do so is. . . nevermind, trying to be civil. Kyle specifically pointed out that the question was not “Can mankind do good, can mankind become good,” etc. It was about human nature. In your past comments, you have been all over the place arguing that man can do good things (which Kyle already admitted in his article, he said that wasn’t the argument, so your arguments on this point were pointless), and then in other comments your thesis changes to the fact that man are valued by God and have worth (again, already in the article) and that proves that mankind is inherently good. And now, after being called out by others and pushed by scripture, and FINALLY realizing the overall question is about human nature, you admit that our nature is evil, but you falsely concluded our nature is not exclusively evil, so we are actually naturally good. There is no scripture that says that man’s nature is good. Just the opposite in fact. And that verse in Abraham you noted refers to spirits before becoming mortal and having the fall applied. These spirits did not become evil, but the bodies these spirits would possess have an evil nature. I don’t know why you can’t realize this. The verse in Abraham is not referring to human nature, nor the natural man. You are attempting to apply attributes of some pre-mortal spirits to all mortal natural flesh. You cannot do this because it is not in the verse. The subject is human nature, not human potential, not the value of humanity, not pre-mortal nature.

      What frustrates me most though, like I said in my previous comment, is that even though Kyle has been quite gracious and will not ban you on this site, you still have yet to admit that you were mistaken to attack Kyle’s personal testimony as being antithetical to Christ. He did not say that humanity had no value, but you accused him of such. You were highly critical of him and went off on him (even though this was your mistake to assume he was talking about humanity having no value). Antithetical to Christ?! This was due to YOUR mistake, not Kyle’s writing or the title. Kyle never ever said that humanity had no value.

    2. Shawn, are you saying that you only read the title before you posted your first comment(s)?

      1. Even if you had only read the title, the word “inherently” refers to nature, or human nature. And it is all over the article that it is about human nature being evil and Christ and his unconditional love being the solution to our nature. But you still assumed and incorrectly concluded that Kyle had written about the value of humanity. Who’s fault is this assumption? Yours. But did you apologize for your incorrect assumption? Did you admit to your incorrect assumption? Nope. You pointed your finger at Kyle and the title he used, even though that title refers to human nature as well. Real classy.

        Then, you admit that human nature is evil, but not always evil. I could not help but note that you did not provide any scripture to support your opinion, but there have been plenty of scripture already supplied to counter your argument.

        You ignored the counsel of others to let it go. You ignored the counsel of others to not blame others. You ignored scripture repeatedly. And, unless your opinion has changed, you are still ignoring clearly written scripture, but are relying on your own wisdom. As others have said, it does not matter what your wisdom or experience tells you. It does not matter what you believe. What matters is the words of God. Human nature is evil. Due to the fall, our natures have become evil continually. It does not say our natures have sometimes become evil continually. It does not say part of our natures have become evil continually. It says our natures have become evil continually. Dissecting and philosophizing will not change the meaning. You cannot will this or other verses into oblivion. How the nitty gritty details work regarding atheists, muslims, Buddhists, and their apparent goodness are irrelevant to this scripture. Our human nature is evil. Period. Everything related to this subject MUST flow from the truth of this verse that says due to the fall our natures have become evil continually. If your logic doesn’t fit with this verse, the fault is with your logic, not the verse. If your wisdom does not fit with this verse, the fault is your wisdom, not the verse. If your conclusions based on your life experience do not fit with this verse, the fault is your conclusions, not with the verse.

        I don’t know what else you could be told. It’s all been said. If you are so blind to scripture, you will be blind to all sorts of gospel truth and are at risk of being deceived by the arm of flesh and the wisdom of man. Good luck with that.

  36. @Shawn, are you seriously that obtuse, or are you just trolling?

    A person’s nature cannot be good, because that contradicts scripture. A person’s nature can not be both good and evil, because that would not be nature. Nature refers to the natural, or inherent, or default state of being. It cannot be two things. If you are at an impasse, than it is due to your refusal to accept the word of god. You have had multiple individuals point out your flawed and spastic arguments, and have had multiple scripture mentioned. It does not really matter what YOU believe. God has spoken in scripture, and it is quite clear, our nature is evil. You cannot change the word of God in scripture. You have yet to provide any scripture that says that human nature is good.

    You know you are wrong and you are grasping at straws. Just admit it. Put away your pride and stubbornness.

    1. Hey Shawn, if Muslims are naturally good [opposite of evil], then why do you appear that you are Christian? If Muslims are naturally good [opposite of evil], then why not convert to Islam? If Muslims are naturally good [opposite of evil], then it means that being good [opposite of evil] and doing good [opposite of evil] comes naturally and they do not have to work to achieve goodness [opposite of evilness] or perfection [opposite of imperfection]. If they are naturally good [opposite of evil], it means their default state, their inherent state, their natural state is good [opposite of evil]. Despite what you say, a natural state is of one exclusive characteristic. Therefore, if Muslims are naturally good [opposite of evil], they are always good [opposite of evil]. Sounds pretty sweet. I think you should convert if being always pure and good [opposite of evil] is your goal. So why be Christian?

  37. Someone shared this article at our family’s Christmas get-together yesterday and it spawned a good discussion. Some had a hard time with it at first, but during the discussion, all came to the same understanding that our nature is evil. I think it takes time for some people to separate, in their mind’s argument about this, the natural person and the person that desires good. They are separate though.

    Anyways, I like the perspective. Rings true for me. Besides, with all the verses provided, I cannot refute the written word of God. To do so would be heresy.

  38. @ Shawn

    I don’t know what to tell you Shawn. You’ve made so many arguments and so many conclusions. Some quite arrogantly. You have also made false assumptions about Kyle and attacked him because you assumed he was talking about human worth. After being proven guilty of this, you continued with your argumentative behavior and blamed Kyle’s title of the article for your mistaken assumptions. Are you trolling? I really don’t know.

    You have yet to provide any verse that says that human nature is good. You have been provided several scripture verses from your religion that clearly say human nature is evil. You are bitterly clinging to your belief which has NO support from scripture.

  39. Shawn,

    I was going to provide you with even more verses from Alma, Mosiah, D&C, the Bible, which show that human nature, or the natural man is always evil, but you’ve been told enough times and have been provided with enough evidence. You reject all the verses already given, and would likely reject more verses if they were given. It appears that you have no desire to look up all the verses related to the natural man, or else you have looked them up and don’t want to admit you were mistaken. I’m not going to waste my time writing scripture verses for someone who is arguing against scripture. And yes, you are arguing against scripture. All that you have provided to support your claim that human nature is good is your own opinion. The verse you presented from Abraham refers to only pre-mortal spirits, not to human nature. The only way to argue your opinion without arguing against scripture is to use scripture. Please tell me and the others where in scripture it says that human nature, or the natural man, is good and not evil.

  40. Shawn,

    You cannot apply two opposite attributes to something’s nature. It would not be nature. Water’s nature is wet. It cannot be both wet and dry. Fire’s nature is hot, it cannot be both hot and cold. A mother bear’s nature is protective, it cannot be both protective and apathetic. Human nature is evil (Ether 3:2), it cannot be both evil and good.

    You say that the natural man, or our nature is not exclusively evil, and that Muslims, atheists, etc can be naturally good (the opposite of evil). This is false and contradicts scripture (Mosiah 3:19 comes to mind). The natural man is exclusively evil, continually. Throughout scripture, the natural man never has good attributes. In scripture, the attributes associated with the natural man are all evil in its derivatives. If someone is doing good (the opposite of evil), the source is God, not the person’s nature. We know all good things come from god, and we know, through scripture, that man’s nature is evil continually. Therefore, the good things a person does, does not stem from their nature, but from God. I’ve already talked about this. If you missed this, the mistake is not on me. If you didn’t miss it and read it, and if you disagree with it, then you disagree not with me, but with scripture.

    concerning your conclusion that man’s nature is not exclusively evil, I’ve already mentioned the fallacy of applying two opposite attributes to something’s nature, but let’s use scripture:

    Mosiah 3:19 The natural man is an enemy to God…

    There is no qualifier or exemption here. This is an absolute. The natural man is an enemy to God. It does not say that the evil part of the natural man is an enemy to God. It is the whole natural man that is an enemy to God. Let’s use your multiple reasonings here and apply them to this phrase of this verse to see how your multiple conclusions line up.

    Man is naturally good.
    “The natural man is an enemy to God.”
    Therefore, good is an enemy to God.

    Let’s contradict nature and apply one of your other conclusions, both good and evil to the verse:

    Man is both naturally good and naturally evil.
    “The natural man is an enemy to God.”
    Therefore, both Good and evil are an enemy to God.

    Now let’s try the scriptural conclusion:

    Man is naturally evil.
    “The natural man is an enemy to God.”
    Therefore, evil is an enemy to God.

    Only one of those is eternally logical.

    Mosiah 3:19 …and has been from the fall of Adam…

    It was the fall of Adam that created the natural man referred to in scripture. And yes, the “good” spirits you referred to in Abraham are included in this fall once they gained bodies and mortality. Of course God did not say, after the fall, “Well, now all y’alls are bad.” I never claimed God said that, nor would I portray God as being a hapless hillbilly. But I can quote what He actually has said in scripture. “The natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam…” and once again, Ether 3:2 “Because of the fall, our nature has become evil continually…” (again, this is an absolute statement). Please note, He did not say that we are bad, He said our nature is bad. Christ is the solution to this natural state, because God loves us and knew He had to provide a way for us to putteth off our nature and to eventually become perfected.

    God manifests himself and his power through imperfect people. The “good” spirits in the verse you cited in abraham were not perfect men and women in mortality. The fall and the natural man applied to them. They had to bridle, control, or putteth off the natural man, just like we must do and practice, by repenting, being baptized, and then when we succumb to our natural impulses and sin again, we must repent again, take the sacrament, and be made whole through Christ, again, and again. As I already said in my article, this can become easier with practice and time, but we will still succumb to our nature when we fail to bridle our nature through the Atonement of Christ.

    Sometimes, men and women who God uses will yield to their nature, and fall short. One possible example that immediately comes to mind is Samson. He did many great and good things, but he also succumbed to his nature and had sex with a prostitute. Judges 16:1 “Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.” Eww. There isn’t much room for misinterpretation there.

    That particular verse in Abraham is describing a specific set of pre-mortal spirits, not human nature (natural man).

    And yes, our spirits are distinct from our nature. Our nature is related to flesh, our bodies. Tons of discourses about this, our bodies and spirits are distinct from each other. And you know this. This does not mean that one cannot affect the other, it just means they are each distinct.

    Back to Mosiah 3:19 …and will be [an enemy to God], forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man…

    We are told to “putteth off the natural man.” This is another absolute. It does not say, “putteth off the part of the natural man that is evil,” it says to put off the natural man, meaning the whole natural man. We would only be told to do this if our nature was exclusively evil. But, let’s use your multiple conclusions here:

    Man is naturally good.
    We are told to putteth off our nature.
    Therefore, We are told to putteth off goodness

    Let’s contradict nature and apply another of your conclusions:
    Man is both naturally good and naturally evil.
    We are told to putteth off our nature.
    Therefore, we are told to putteth off good and putteth off evil.

    Let’s apply scriptural conclusion:
    Man is naturally evil.
    We are told to putteth off our nature.
    Therefore, we are told to putteth off evil.

    Our nature is exclusively evil, otherwise, this verse makes no gospel sense.

    There are no exceptions to this, human nature is evil. It does not matter to what religion a person does or does not belong. The natural man is evil, exclusively.

    If a person does good things, this is not due to their nature, but to God, whether the person recognizes it as God or not, it is God. Paul in his epistles, says and demonstrate that God can manifest himself through wicked people, atheists, etc. If God can talk through the mouth of a donkey, he can utilize anything and anyone to manifest himself. This is where people’s moral compass comes from, also known as the light of christ, which we know everyone is born with. But this light of Christ merely prompts us to know the difference between good and evil, it doesn’t compel or force us, nor does it eliminate the natural man (or our evil nature). If someone chooses to do good, this does not come from a person’s nature. It means they put aside their natural person for a moment, followed the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and did good. This good flowed from God, not from the person’s nature.

    Mosiah 3:19 The natural man is an enemy to God… and will be, forever and ever, unless he… becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord.

    We know from Mosiah 3:19 that we are an enemy to God, unless we putteth off the natural man, and the only way to effectively do this is through the Atonement of Christ. We cannot naturally do it. According to Mosiah 3:19, due to our nature, we will be an enemy to God FOREVER, unless we accept Christ, are baptized, and repent and take the Holy Sacrament whenever we sin ( or succumb again to our nature). The ultimate goal is total perfection and then total destruction of the natural man, which we know will never come in this mortal life.

    What about atheists, muslims, etc? They can do good (the opposite of evil), but this is not from their nature. This is from God. Human nature is evil, all good flows from God, therefore the good (opposite of evil) that an atheist may do is from God, not from their nature, or else it isn’t good, but merely appears to be good. This good that they do does not make them pure, it does not save them, it does not bridle or eliminate their nature. There is another step mentioned in Mosiah 3:19 which I have already mentioned.

    This is not MY claim. It is written truth found in multiple verses of scripture.

    Furthermore, you do not know these people’s behavior when you are not looking. They may only appear to do good things while being watched, and then succumb to their nature in private. Therefore, I do not know how you can assume they are naturally good, since naturally good means to be in a constant state of good, and you do not see everything they do, nor do you know their motivations. How can you conclude they are naturally good? Is there a verse which says something contrary about human nature?

    If there are verses that add to or take away from this word of God, please point them out to us. I do not know what else to say to you than what has already been said.

  41. This comment is intended for a specific group. Some of you have posted comments disagreeing with my scriptural conclusion, but also claim to be libertarian or have libertarian leanings. I have not been able to approve these comments being posted because they are too riddled with obscenities and if edited, the essence of their points would be lost. So they do not appear publicly. Mallory, Kevin, Chuck, Danny, Erin, Shannon, this is for you and anyone else to whom it may apply.

    So here are my thoughts. I was actually going to mention my proceeding points in the article, and it was in my first few drafts, but I opted to remove it as to focus more on the spiritual nature of the subject and not bring politics into it. But since others have asked, here are my points.

    I can understand why your initial reaction to “we are naturally evil” is “NO WAY is that true! Ridiculous!” I had a hard time with it at first too. In fact, I wrestled with it for over a year. It is hard to admit that your nature is evil. But as I and others have noted, your reaction and your belief does not change the word of God in written scripture. But still, I can understand your initial opposition. I can even understand that you disagree with scripture on this point, because it is natural to react emotionally at first, instead of relying on scriptural facts.

    What I can NOT understand, are those that emphatically believe that mankind is naturally good and also demand limited government. If you believe that mankind is naturally good, then you should trust everyone to always do good. Why then, don’t you trust those in government and let government be? If mankind was naturally good, government would be good, and would not need to be limited, because everything government would do would be good.

    In case you did not know, the founding fathers knew that human nature was evil, and because of this knowledge, they knew they had to create a limited government. In their seemingly never-ending political discussions prior, during, and after the Revolutionary War, they frequently quoted Bible verses to show that human nature was evil. Verses like Jeremiah 17:9, which I have already cited in my article.

    If you believe that government should be limited, then you also believe that mankind is NOT naturally good, even if you can’t admit it.

  42. Wow Shawn, that is a pretty awesome deal that you get to re-write scripture. How did you get that gig?

    Scripture: Our natures are evil continually.

    Shawn: Our natures are NOT evil exclusively.

    With that, one could also do this:

    Scripture: “I am the Lord thy God”

    Non-penitent person: It really means “I am the Lord thy God, but not exclusively.”

    Scripture: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

    Football fan who watches football instead of attending church with his family: It really means “Thou shalt have no other gods before me, except football is okay” (I’ve been guilty of this before, and am constantly tempted — my nature).

    Scripture: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife.

    Sinner: It really means “thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, unless she is really hot and your wife has been nagging you all day.”

    In all seriousness, and I say this because your attitude really makes me worried for your soul, but you are rather gutsy for ignoring scripture and rewriting it to fit to YOUR wisdom.

    As a previous commentator noted, if your wisdom does not line up with the verse, the fault is with your wisdom, not with the verse. For the sake of your everlasting soul, you need to re-evaluate yourself beyond just the subject at hand. If your logic does not allow you to understand all the subsequent effects and implications of any particular verse, then you need to put off your logic and instead trust the verse and therefore trust God that he knows what he is talking about and what he is doing.

  43. Porn is not evil. If you were not grossed out by the human body, you would like looking at naked women.

  44. People who appear to be good people do evil, wicked, selfish, carnal things all the time. Because it is human nature.

    I once worked with a lady who was married and was so religious, so charitable, always carried a Bible with her, etc. I walked in on her having sex with our boss. And believe me, it was absolutely consensual. He was not her husband. She later lied about it. I also witnessed her stealing from the company. I also witnessed her spitting into the coffee cup of a co-worker. And many more things. Most people were oblivious to her misdeeds and only saw the pious side of her.

  45. Shawn, you need to not get hung up on the mechanics of why people do good things. It is unimportant. Thanks to the fall Our nature is evil. This is why people sin. If someone does good things, it does not mean they always do good. People do good things despite their nature, and it is therefore because of God, because of their upbringing, because of what they heard at church on Sunday, because of what they read in scripture that morning, because of something their child said at dinner, because of answer to prayer, because of the redemptive nature of the Atonement, because of… GOD! It doesn’t matter about the little things. The motivation to do good can have any number of gears and other moving parts, but the ultimate source is always GOD. It NEVER comes from our nature. We know this because our nature is evil. Always. Good cannot come from evil.

    The important thing is that our natures are evil, we are forever loved by God, He provided a savior for us to overcome sin and our nature.

  46. My uncle showed me this article, and it really angered me, which I think is why he had me read it, he likes to tease. I rejected it outright. But I began to think about it more, and for the week afterwards, every time someone used the word or phrase “nature” or “human nature” I found myself thinking about this article and scripture references.

    Well done.

    Although I don’t like the idea, and I don’t know how all the details work, I have accepted the scriptures you mentioned as truth. My nature, everyone’s nature, are evil. It has gotten me thinking about many other things as well. Thank you.

  47. Porn ruined my marriage. It is evil. If you think that porn has any virtue, then you are lost.

    Of course our nature is evil. If we were naturally good, there would be no crime, no road rage, no twitter mobs, no arguments, no mass shootings, etc.

    Nature is permanently either a 1 or a 0. It cannot be both. It cannot change, or it would not be nature. All it takes is noticing that crime does exist, proving that our nature is set to evil.

  48. If porn only involves consensual adults, there ain’t no harm in it. Calling it evil is judging and your bible says not to judge, so I guess you are evil too.

  49. To shawn, and to others who may be hung up on human nature being evil:

    Human nature, our individual nature, cannot change. It will always be present and it will always be evil. Christ cannot change it either. Christ merely helps us control it, bridle it, weaken it, put it behind us, or “putteth it off.”

    As has already been written in the article and in the comments, our nature will always be present in this life of mortality. If we desire to be more godly, we will always have battles with our nature throughout life, because are nature IS evil. It cannot be anything else. But through God, we can develop gifts and defensives to battle our nature, but our nature will always be present, and will also be evil. The only way to finally rid ourselves of our evil nature is through Christ, and this will never happen in mortality, but in the eternities. We know that Christ is a critical component to the elimination of our nature from many scripture, but specifically Mosiah 3:19.

    I like the perspective of the article because it gives me something real to fight against. It also makes it easier for me to forgive others. Let it go, it is just human nature. Don’t take it personally.

    And finally specifically to Shawn. This is not to pick on you, but rather I am sincerely worried about you. It really does appear that you have reacted emotionally (or dare I say naturally) instead of reasonably, humbly, openly, etc. It really does appear that you did not read the entire article nor the scripture citations, nor all the words in the comments responding to you. Some comments have already pointed out that you missed all the times Kyle said we had godly value, and then you verbally assaulted him and his message for saying we have no value. I won’t pick at this. It’s been done. I would just like to point out another example of you missing/rejecting something, and my motivation in doing so is being hopeful that you will re-evaluate yourself and how you react to knew ideas and/or your assumptions and mistakes.

    You asked Kyle for a definition of good. This definition is implied in the article, but Kyle still gave you one in a comment in which he responded to you. Good is the opposite of evil and evil is the opposite of good. In one of your subsequent comments, you rejected this definition, saying “good is not the opposite of evil” or something to that effect. You then insisted on a definition again. This behavior is not the behavior of someone who wants to discuss or to learn, it is the behavior of someone who wants to argue, who wants to stir things up, who wants to be right. You are responding to your nature. Put it aside and ask why Kyle wrote this article. He states his motivation in the article, to bring a better understanding of human nature and a better understanding of Christ’s Atonement.

    Thank you.

  50. Wow, so many good thoughts expressed throughout the article and comments. Well done and well said, Kyle! After having read the entire article and all comments I have found great value in this discussion. Many people enjoy reading for different reasons. I enjoy reading for one main purpose: to change. I desire to continually improve myself and develop much needed character attributes, bringing me closer to God and fulfilling my purpose. The gospel of Jesus Christ is practical, and simple truths can be found in everyday life in many different books of different genres or in a discussion such as this. These attributes don’t come naturally, they take work and careful study and application. I have fought against my nature for as long as I can remember. Just as water takes the path of least resistance and makes its way to the lowest point possible, so do my thoughts, and thus my actions, unless I am deliberate and put in the effort to direct my thoughts and actions to the right place. In order to overcome our natural tendencies our focus must be riveted on Jesus Christ. This is hard to do on a continual basis. Really hard. I fail a lot. But His words and example are the measuring stick we must use as we are sifting through the many philosophies that we as natural beings can bring in. So, what did I learn from what I just read and how can I apply it to improve my character? The article is a good reminder of my natural inclinations and the work necessary to put off those inclinations. Ive been reminded that I can’t let up on my efforts because my nature will take me to a lower point, and quickly.
    Most importantly, I am inspired by the reminder that I am destined for something better than my natural inclinations will bring. I have an all powerful ally to look to in every thought. Jesus is my example and my friend. He makes up the difference when I fall short and he helps me close the gap. Right now that gap is a gaping chasm and Jesus covers the distance. He accepts my meager efforts and encourages me to keep improving a bit at a time. He is kind and patient and because of this, I need to try harder and do more. This is a way that I can show a bit of gratitude to Him. Those are my main takeaways, although I would like to comment on a few other things that have been said.

    To the comment that one person made about absolutes (that only Satan deals in absolutes):
    Talk about turning something on its head! Satan wants us to believe that there are no absolutes, that everything is relative and truth is whatever you believe is right for you. There are so many reasons why this is wrong and harmful that I don’t think I need to mention them here. God is the exact opposite. There are absolute and eternal truths and he expects us to know it. Some things are absolutely right and some are absolutely wrong. Or to put it another way, some things are good for everyone and some are bad for everyone, no matter how you try to spin it. If you believe in God, you believe in absolutes. Even many atheists believe in absolutes, they just refer to it as natural law.

    To the defenders of pornography:
    Our natural tendency as imperfect humans is the great ability we have to justify things. We can cherry pick little truths or look the other way until we believe something is a certain way. We do this very well as part of our evil nature. The fact is that pornography is evil. It degrades you, it robs you of self respect and it puts a barrier between you and any real human connection you could have. It occupies your thoughts and causes you to objectify women. It requires coarser and coarser material to get the same feeling over time. Thought precedes action and I have seen people make devastating choices that they never would have made had the lines of reality not been blurred by pornography. I have also seen it harm people to the point where they will go to great lengths to get rid of the feelings of shame it brings, even forsake previously known truths and commitments that had brought them true joy in the past. To those struggling with pornography but want to overcome it, a word about guilt. Feeling guilt is a gift we are given that when used properly causes us to bring things to light, repent and change. We can’t do this when we hide. When we bring things to light and take them to the correct source (Jesus, your spouse, And any other ecclesiastical authority or professional help required) it will be eliminated. In this process it’s important to distinguish between guilt and shame. I like to think of it this way:
    Guilt: I did something wrong and I need to change.
    Shame: I did something bad, therefore I am bad, and I need to hide. One last thing about pornography. Do you think the people in the videos actually enjoy it? They are being degraded and demeaned, especially the women. It is painful, not pleasurable. They are acting. If they really do enjoy this, it is because they have been abused and a survival mechanism has taken over. Listen to the stories of those who got out of that life. Significant psychological and physical damage has been done. Counseling is needed. How can anything about this be good? In an effort to empathize, a couple people commented that they don’t believe in god and don’t see anything wrong with pornography. When your value system is that different from those who believe in God and understand the sacred nature of sex and chastity, I can see how it wouldn’t be as big of a deal. It doesn’t seem as devastating or damaging to someone in that situation. It’s kind of just a normal thing according to the ways of the world. However, if these people discover some more absolute truths and start gaining more light in their lives, they will begin to see it for what it is.

    One last valuable thing that came out of this discussion that I’ll mention (there are many more I could bring up but I’ve written so much that I’m starting to feel restless, kind of like I have bologna in my pants): The importance of having the right “why”. What’s the purpose of this discussion? Am I here to gain something or simply tell how much I know? Am I here to prove someone wrong or consider the points made and add to the discussion? I think of all the negative commenters that had plain truth right in front of them but decided to rail against the author instead of consider something that might help them. Or to any who may have been looking to argue and pick apart rather than take the Intended message from the article and profit from it. We all get what we seek and we all find what we are looking for. Sometimes we look beyond the mark and miss great opportunities for growth if we don’t have the right why.
    Thank you all for the great discussion!

    1. Hey, I don’t like porn, but we cannot ban it because of freedom of press. to start would be a slippery slope.

    2. I get so tired of the one or two times a porn actress becomes a christian and then says that the industry is corrupt and evil and kidnaps teen girls. That happens, but hardly at all. Most of the industry is regulated and very strict with disease control and making sure no one under 18 is being filmed and that everyone is safe. Don’t condemn the hole industry and people’s way of life just because of a few bad apples.

      It is a woman’s’ choice to be a porn actress. No one forces her to do it. If she wants to do it, let her do it.

    3. I hate people like you who don’t like something and want to stop everyone from doing it or seeing it just because you don’t like it and think it is evil orwatever and send us to hell just because we like something that you don’t if you don’t like naked women then you should just come from the closet and be a homo because only homos don’t like looking at naked women.

      the women in porn get paid for it or they do it for free because they like doing art it does not hurt anyone leave my porn alone and go to hell.

    4. Looking at porn is a hell of a lot safer than sleeping around with random chicks with who knows what kind of diseases.

    5. God is not going to send me to hell for looking at porn. I look at it all the time go to church on sunday and god still loves me and hasn’t punished me. When I get to perly gates I’m not going to be asked if i looked at porn i am going to be asked if I did good things. Women are beautiful and it is normal for men to like looking at women bodies.

    6. I don’t care if my husband looks at porn. Anything to leave me alone when I would rather sleep or read.

    7. go to hell you religious zealot!

      we have a constitutional right to have porn and if it doesn’t hurt anyone then I don’t see what the big deal is

      if you don’t like porn then don’t look at it but leave it alone for those that want to see it.

    8. Whatever. If you feel guilty after looking at porn, that is your problem, not mine. This a free country, so we have the right to look at naked women if the women want to show off their beautiful naked bodies.

    9. The amount of porn defenders replying to you is astounding. I happen to know that porn is poison. It is demonic. It is evil. It is a drug. It rots.

    10. You are living in the wrong time period. I believe your people are back in the 1600’s. Porn is natural and perfectly harmless. Tons of evidence to support this.

    11. The amount of porn defenders replying to you is astounding. I happen to know that porn is poison. It is demonic. It is evil. It is a drug. It rots.

  51. Shawn, why the hell are you a member of your religion if you don’t believe the religion’s sacred text?

  52. This subject has consumed my thoughts for the past week.. Dang you.

    I did not like your conclusion. I hated it. I actually started searching in scripture to prove you wrong. One night, I stayed up until 2:30am studying scripture. Lost track of time. That is how badly I wanted to prove you wrong.

    I could not find any scripture that disproves your conclusion about human nature. As far as I could determine, it is a scriptural fact: human nature is evil. If we were naturally good, there would be no temptation, no sin, no need for Jesus. I think the reason that most people don’t take too kindly to the conclusion, is that they fail to hear the second part, that Christ is the solution to our nature. Our nature can ultimately be defeated.

    Shawn’s arguments are illustrative of how secular philosophy taught in higher education can corrupt and control someone’s faith. Quite sad.

  53. I look at porn all the time. And guess where I am going to this morning feeling no guilt. Church. Christ will still love me. Quit judging others you self righteous hypocrite.

  54. I will be surprised if Shawn come’s back to make anymore comments.

    He has attempted to turn the question into a philosophical argument, rather than a simple scriptural discussion. He has been presented with absolute scriptural truths, and my experience with those educated in secular philosophy is they are taught that that there is no absolute truth and everything is relative. They generally lose interest when others deal in absolutes and if others won’t be dragged into their philosophy arguments. It’s their nature.

    1. Hi Rachel,

      I have had similar experiences with philosophy gurus. It kind of seems that Shawn might fit in that category, but I don’t know. But let’s give him time and be hopeful he responds to the questions from the other commenters. I would really like to know his answers.

      I took philosophy in college, and hated it. All it taught me was how to argue and to stir up contention. To pick apart everything. Secular philosophy does not support faith, but destroys it. I now refuse to get into philosophical weeds. I avoid secular philosophy. My rule of thumb to determine if philosophy is more secular in nature is to find its foundation. If the philosophy teaches, directly or indirectly, that everything is relative, or that there is no absolute truth, then it is secular. If the philosophy argues against absolute truth, it is secular. If the philosophy stirs up confusion, it is secular. God is not the author of confusion.

      Everything is relative. This statement destroys itself. It is an absolute, so it proves that everything is NOT relative. It proves itself to be wrong. Therefore, ALL philosophy that flows from it is bunk.

      There is no absolute truth. This statement, if true, is an absolute truth, so it proves itself to be wrong, and not true. ALL philosophy that flows from it is bunk.

      This is what is taught in most philosophy classes, there is no truth, and everything is relative. Problem is, it is all bunk. This kind of philosophy is not about the pursuit of truth. The problem with most philosophers and their students is that they go down deeper, stay down longer and come up murkier than anyone else I know. “Congratulations, you’ve just suffocated your brain and confused yourself.” The things that they teach and learn is ultimately nonsense. This is the nonsense that Colossians 2:8 warns about:

      “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

      There is absolute truth. If someone’s philosophy does not allow this, then that person will naturally have a hard time with Holy Scripture. Therefore, they will have a hard time being taught from scripture. This philosophy dissuades from faith and from God’s absolute word.

  55. Porn calms me down and makes me feel better. Cheaper than medicine. I’m not the only one who feels this way why do you want to take away something like this that helps lots of men and women cope with the **** of life. You just hate human body because your church tells you too.

  56. My wife and I watch porn together all the time. Guess what, we don’t cheat on each other, we love each other and watching porn brings us closer together and gives us ideas on how to spice things up.

    I don’t understand why you would think this is a bad thing.

  57. I have had my own theory about human nature, and I was going to comment about it last week, but I realized that my theory didn’t entirely line-up with scripture.

    I didn’t like that my theory, based on my life experience, was being challenged, but then I realized that it was scripture that was challenging my theory. I agree with this: if your wisdom does not agree with scripture, the fault is with your wisdom, not with scripture. I thew out my theory.

  58. Holy crap Shawn, if you cannot accept plain and simple truth found in scripture, then I think you should get away from higher education. It is rotting your spiritual mind. Stay away from philosophy, it has deceived you.

  59. Porn porn porn. Why don’t you spend your time doing something else rather than fighting against Art.

    Jackass.

    1. Nope. He has not been blocked or banned. I don’t know why he hasn’t answered the questions from others, since they are pretty simple questions. We can only guess as to why he hasn’t responded.

  60. Shawn, you need to give yourself a good deep look into the mirror. Just another note that shows your absolute naked motivation to “prove” Mr. Buckley and others wrong, rather than to have a discussion and to learn from others. You had said that Mr. Buckley made the claim that our natures are evil. Mr. Buckley responded by stating that it was not a claim from him, but rather a truth found in scripture and he provided the scripture. You were so hell bent with your motivation to “prove” your opinion to be fact, that all you had seemed to read from Mr. Buckley’s response is that he didn’t claim our natures were evil. You failed to read or understand that he was articulating it was found in scripture, not from his opinion. You even quoted his article back to him to “prove” what he had said. Your response was so laughably childish. You were so hyper focused on proving Mr. Buckley wrong, your reading comprehension was lacking. I really don’t know why you desire to prove scripture wrong. Your behavior and attitude will make it challenging for you from fully hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. I speak from experience. I was once like you. Always something to prove. Always needing to be right. I feel sorry for you.

  61. Thanks for the article. I really think that this truth needs to be taught more in Christian homes. I would label it as a fundamental principle of christian foundation.

    I don’t think Shawn is going to return. He has been asked by multiple people to provide any scripture verse that says that human nature is good. He cannot do this, because none exist. He was also not able to persuade anyone with his pontificating opinions which are unsupported by scripture. He didn’t appreciate the simplicity of the truth, went deep into the details, minutia, and muck, and then drowned. So sad.

  62. The premise of this article did make me squirm. Naturally evil? Blehk!!

    But, it must be true. It explains all the **** in the world. And it is written so in scripture. I don’t think I fully understand all the implications, but I don’t think that is the point. Savior Jesus Christ as my Redeemer is the point. He makes it possible for us to control our nature. That is all that really matters

  63. There is no good or evil. Things are what they are. Religion is the reason for all the suffering and pain in the world. Religion is the cause of all wars. Religion is the cause of everything wrong on the planet.

  64. Shawn, I think you meant “dearth,” not “durth”. The details are of the upmost importance. I suspect you used that word to make you sound smart, but the fact that you misspelled that particular word made you look more of a fool. Don’t use a college word if you do not know how to spell it. And when trying to persuade people to your side, don’t use a five-dollar word when a nickel word will do. But I don’t think persuasion was your ultimate goal. I think you were more concerned with where others viewed your level of intelligence.

    Others refusing to go deep into philosophical matters is not equivalent to a lack of charity. Pointing out fallacies is not equivalent to having a lack of charity. Again, the fact that you do not understand what charity is, and what it is not, shows to us the possibility that you study worldly philosophy more than you study the word of God.

    And Kyle did give you a definition of “good”, in one of his replies to your comment. If you reject the definition and keep pushing for another, it makes it obvious you are phishing in order to elevate your own conclusions, not discussing or learning.

    The “details” you are arguing have no place in the discussion. One such example is that Kyle never articulated a scenario where Christ never existed, but you have attempted to drift to that scenario so you can argue a philosophical point.

  65. If human nature was good, God could of just created mankind, and let us be. But he frequently visited Adam and Eve, and their descendants, to instruct them on how to be good. He would not have done this if we were naturally good.

  66. Shawn, your arguments veer so far from the original message, you turned a simple doctrine into convoluted philosophical drivel. I truly fear for the eternal state of your soul.

  67. Hi Kyle,
    Thank you for calling porn what it is: evil. The world needs godly men to stand up against all forms of evil, but porn is one form of evil that really needs combated in the world today. The pervasiveness of porn is turning men into weak, selfish, dependent, indulgent, abusive, lazy, warped, entitled, brainless, non-aspirational, depressed, and cowardly beings. It also prevents boys from becoming godly men.

    My fellow sisters in Christ have also suffered. Most wives deal with on-going depression after discovering their husbands have a porn habit. These wives feel confused, worthless, abused, neglected, ugly, undesired, betrayed, etc. I am currently giving spiritual and emotional support to over half of the wives in our local congregation because their husbands consume porn and masturbate instead of being intimate with their wives. I am fortunate enough to be married to a man who learned how to effectively combat the temptation of porn while he was a teenager. He fully admits the temptation is still present, but he knows how to fight it, and does. Even though I have not personally experienced the betrayal of porn addiction, I have witnessed the sorrow it brings. I have held so many crying women as they shed tears of betrayal and hurt, because of porn. It has weakened and destroyed countless marriages and relationships. I have even dealt with young women who discovered their dads, who they thought to be righteous and godly, looked at porn. They lost all trust and respect for their dads. Heartbreaking.

    To married women reading this, I, like Kyle, highly recommend the book “Through a Man’s Eyes” by Shaunti Feldhahn. When I first read it, I had been married for 20 years, and it opened my eyes as to how hard it is for a man to keep his thoughts pure. I also learned how disrespectful it is to wear revealing clothing around men who desire to be godly. These men want to control their thoughts and temptations, not be subject to constant views of female flesh. They don’t like constantly battling their nature. It is respectful to help their godly desires by dressing modestly.

    Before I write what I am about to write, I want to be clear about something. A man’s habit of porn and masturbation is 100% on him and his nature, nothing and no one else. It is all him. Period. What I am going to write is merely a way that a wife can help her husband control his temptation and to only desire her. Feminists are not going to like what I am going to say, but I don’t care. My goal in writing this is to help marriages who adopt the gosple of Jesus Christ, it is not my goal to appease the delusions of feminists. Wives, make yourself available to your husband to be intimate. Create an environment that shows him that you sexually desire him. Let him see your beauty. I am not telling you to be subservient, or for you to be intimate with him every morning and every night. I am not telling you to be a sex slave. Just know that being sexually desired, seeing the beauty of his wife’s body, is incredibly important to a husband. And this needs to happen much more frequently than you imagine. It is as important to him as it is for you to be secure in your relationship with your husband. This is not a solution to a husband’s porn habit, it is just something that wives need to know.

    To husbands, keep your eyes only on your wife. Don’t wander. If you have a porn and masturbation habit, seek help, knock it off! Pray continually. Pray continually. Pray continually. Never cease praying for strength and for help. Get help from your clergy. Get help from studying the word of God, get help from a support group. Pray always to control your thoughts. Pray always to control your nature. Pray always to only desire your wife. Pray for the aid from Jesus Christ’s Atonement. Pray that you will remember that your eyes and hands are only for your wife. Pray always that you will stay true.

    To fathers and future fathers, man up and show your boys what a godly man is. Control your thoughts and develop mastery over temptation and your nature so you can teach your boys how to effectively do this. Your sons need a father who does not consume porn. Your sons need a leader. Your sons need a father that only has eyes for their mother.

    Kyle, thank you for calling evil by its name, and thank you for testifying of human nature and the way to combat it.

  68. to Shawn and the other naysayers: good grief. Study the word of God more. Much much more.

    If humanity was naturally good, why on earth would God give us the ten commandments? We wouldn’t need them, because the principles behind them would come naturally.

    Matthew 15:19 says that from the human heart – or human nature – comes murder. God gave us the 6th commandment to confront this.

    Matthew 15:19 says that from our nature comes forth adultery. God gave us the 7th commandment to confront this problem.

    Matthew 15:19 says that from human nature comes lying. God gave us the 9th commandment to confront this problem.

    Matthew 15:19 says that from our nature comes evil thoughts. God gave us the 10th commandment to confront this issue.

    Matthew 15:19 says that from our nature comes blasphemy. God gave us the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th commandment to deal with this issue.

    Matthew 15:19 says that from our nature comes theft. God gave us the 8th commandment to deal with this problem.

    God would not have need to give us these commandments if our nature was good. Pretty obvious.

  69. Okay…

    I don’t understand why Shawn is fighting against scripture. That seems pretty stupid. .

    Why on earth would God give us so much instructions in scripture on how to be good and to do good? If we were naturally good, doing good would come… naturally. We wouldn’t need all the commandments and instructions in scripture.

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