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littlekori's avatar

Is a person born inherently good?

Asked by littlekori (676points) December 6th, 2010

Last night I was at a church youth group and we had a little debate.
Is a person born inherently good? or bad?
We first started the debate by just backing up our answers with things from history and culture and what not, then we looked at it from the religious, spiritual side.
So what do you guys think?

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13 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Neither. We’re born with nothing but pure selfishness, which we need so that we can stay alive until we get to an intellectual and emotional stage where those around us can define what they believe to be good and what is bad. Then those around us start shaping us into their own notion of what they think we should be.

Summum's avatar

Children are born innocent of any sin or anything bad. They are taken care of spiritually if they pass before the age of accountabliity.

crisw's avatar


kess's avatar

The purpose of life is always intended for good, so therefore all born into it are also part of it.If there be any evil , then it was created by the one who believe it to be so. so we see death would reign over him cause he gave his allegience to death instead of Life.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I really don’t believe so but I can see why in certain religious circles, it can be said that people are born good or born full of sin or any variation between.

wundayatta's avatar

Good and bad are human constructs. We decide what is good and what is bad. That’s why there is so much disagreement about good and bad.

Anyway, a thing is morally neutral until an observer decides otherwise. A person’s actions are morally neutral until a human makes a judgement. A newborn baby is neither good nor bad until someone decides otherwise. Most people say babies are good things, but a woman who sees her life being ruined by the baby thinks the baby is bad.

Some people argue that their God decides what is good and what is bad. However all of God’s words come out of human mouths, so it is impossible to show that it is that God making the judgment and not the person. Given the number of people who make completely different judgments of the same thing based on their understanding of their God, either God is completely schizophrenic, or people are using the word to give power to their opinions.

nebule's avatar

I agree with @wundayatta. I grew up with the ethos of all children are born selfish and it screwed me up. We are what are…beautiful, miraculous beings. If anything, we are born innocent…as a blank canvas.

flutherother's avatar

Babies are completely selfish but fortunately also completely powerless. Can you imagine if one ruled the world as supreme dictator? Total nightmare.

AmWiser's avatar

What I am thinking is that all children are born pure and innocent (good). During their life they are subjected to thoughts and actions of others via their parents and their environment, making it inherent that they will learn good and evil as they grow up.

ratboy's avatar

I can’t generalize from so small a sample, but I was born inherently good and I haven’t changed a bit.

fundevogel's avatar

Good is a value judgment. I don’t really see how a brand new person could be judged morally since they don’t have a past to judge. They aren’t good or bad, just new.

If you want to judge babies you really have to stick with things that are present to evaluate. Like the circumference of it’s head or the clarity of it’s snot. These are attributes we can qualify.

YARNLADY's avatar

Children are born with absolutely no idea of Good or Bad. They want their needs met, and they learn over time the best way to accomplish their goals is to please other people. There are various ways of doing that, which they learn by trial and error.

Junfan's avatar

Only for a while after they take their first breath!

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