by Mekelle Tenney
“It’s human nature!” This popular saying is often used to justify behavior. Human nature, or men in the state of nature, was a topic that we studied and debated a great deal in college. And it is something that I have been thinking a lot about lately. The state of both our country and the world has me very concerned, disheartened and worried. I read the news and see what’s happening to our society and I can’t help but ask “how did we get here?” But I already know the answer, we are here because of laziness, greed, selfishness, fear, ignorance, anger, hate. We are here because of human nature. We have used human nature to justify everything and now we find ourselves in a very difficult place where wrong is okay, me is the new priority, and right is completely subjective. A good example of this is pornography. How many times have we heard phrases like, “They’re teenage boys who are just curious,” or “Boys will be boys,” or “They are boys it’s only natural”. Movies and TV defend pornography by saying that sexuality is simply human nature and therefore cannot and should not be controlled. We now have an entire generation raised on pornography who have no understanding of healthy relationships. Another great example is marriage. Our society believes that feelings condone every desire. Therefore we have redefined marriage to include any individuals who love each other. Along those same lines, I read an article the other day about a company that makes anatomically correct life-size dolls. The dolls are meant to resemble children up to the age of five and they are sold to pedophiles. The dolls come with different facial expressions of pain and fear. The designer of the dolls is a pedophile who believes that those desires are natural and that they should be met. The article mad me sick. Is this really human nature?
While reading an account of the Vietnam War, I was horrified by some of the stories of cruel men who caused pain and suffering for pleasure. But for every cruel and heartless man there was a brave man. One who stood up and defended the defenseless. One who risked his life to do what is right. We see similar stories throughout history. During WWII millions of people were sent to concentration camps, starved, tortured, and killed. The popular book, The Hiding Place, is the memoir of Corrie Ten Boom who risked her life to protect people who were being hunted. She was discovered and sent to a concentration camp where she was starved, tortured and humiliated. She never regretted what she did. The American Civil Rights movement is a great example of men and women standing up for their God given rights. Many who were involved in that movement where not there for themselves. They were there because they wanted to end discrimination against others.
So now the question is, who is really acting on human nature? The ones who give into their selfish desires or the ones who exercise self-control and benevolence? Does human nature provoke cruelty and disgusting acts or is it the driving force behind every act of selflessness and courage? Studies increasingly indicate that humans are designed to be empathetic and compassionate. We are naturally capable of kindness and caring, selflessness and bravery. We have a natural understanding of right and wrong. If not, society would not be where it is today. If history was only written by the cruel and selfish, we would not have freedom, families, and prosperity. How else can the good in this world be explained if not by design? That is exactly why we still have a chance to change our direction and right the wrongs. It’s human nature.