more thoughts on human nature

I have had more thoughts about my something my ex-wife said to me.  I’m not sure if I shared this part but one of my daughters received inappropriate messages from a boy her age.  She was upset, her mom was upset and I was upset.  I had to call the parents of the boy in question and so on and so forth.  It is now a he said/she said situation and these situations never have a winner.  I believe my daughter and would defend her accusation but I didn’t see the need to pursue the matter with the boy’s parents when they did not find the messages.  They would defend him just like I would defend my daughter.

In the ensuing conversation with my ex-wife I told her what I said to my daughter.  I said to her that this is how the world is.  Some boys will say inappropriate things because they are influenced by the music they listen to, the movies and television shows they watch and their friends and these influences shape their sexual attitude.  I also mentioned that it doesn’t help that most clothing designed for women is meant to accentuate their bodies.   I am not validating or excusing any inappropriate sexual comments.  It is wrong and always will be wrong to make such comments.

Her mother told her it should not matter if she walked naked down the hallway the boys should not have any sort of sexual comment or thought about her.  And then she latched onto my statement about the clothing, completely ignoring what I had previously said, started on some diatribe about men’s attitude towards women is that men feel like sex is owed to them by women and that men are taught by their fathers and brothers to assert their dominance over women, with whatever means necessary.  I was incensed but refrained from responding.

After I calmed down and had time to think about it, I realized that those comments came from a wrong view of the basic nature of man.  She believes that people, men and women, are born with a good nature.  Anything that can be seen as bad or evil must’ve been learned by the person.  All bad behavior is learned behavior and if people were not exposed to bad things they wouldn’t do bad things and we would have a utopian society.  In other words, a pipedream.  This is a worldview that is doomed to confuse people, anger people and depress people because they will not be able to understand why people do bad things.

I told my kids that what I believed was that people are born with a bad (read: sinful) nature with the ability to do good things.  Many people more knowledgeable than me have developed better arguments and provided a better dissertation on this topic.  I basically told my kids that all of this behavior that seems contrary is not learned but instead is inherent in all of us.  We are born with these tendencies and do not need to be taught how to do bad things.  Quite the opposite, we need to learn good behaviors because we are essentially selfish.

As I thought about this afterwards I realized that if we held to the latter view, even if we are not necessarily born-again Christians, we would probably have a less stressful life overall.  We would encounter this type of behavior, understand where it comes from, a sinful nature inherited from Adam, and be able to move on.  We would know not to dwell on the whys and hows and what was that person thinking when they did that.  This is what is usually causes people to pay vast amounts of money to therapists and psychiatrists and such because they do not know how to process evil intentions of other people

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