By Stephen Russell-Lacy. There are lots of cultural and individual differences between people, but do humans have something innately in common? According to philosopher John Locke, there is no such thing as human nature. In his view, the mind is at birth a “blank slate” without rules, so data are added, and rules for processing … Continue reading Human nature – Does it exist?
By Stephen Russell-Lacy We can find plenty of goodness in the world. Human patience, generosity, forgiveness, and tolerance abound. It’s just as well. How else could we hope to tackle crime, moderate the effects of tyranny, lessen terrorism, and decrease warfare? Bad things if left to themselves will go their own ‘unsweet way’ and cause … Continue reading Goodness – Where does it come from?
We hear of thousands of ordinary people who have lost their lives or been severely traumatised by civil war, terrorism, ethnic cleansing, invasion, slavery and so on. Where is the meaning of life in this innocent suffering? If humankind has a humane spirit of care, generosity and goodwill that respects the rights of others, where does social coercion and violent aggression come from? If there is an all-powerful divine force within the universe, why are tyrants and suicide bombers allowed to cause such misery?
Similar questions arise in connection with natural events. Some people in the world, through no fault of their own, have experienced devastating earthquake, like the one in Haiti, not to mention volcanic eruption, tsunami, hurricane, flood, or famine. These events can result in much suffering and many casualties. And then there is disease. Which of us, during the course of our lives, will have to endure serious injury, congenital disability, or progressive, mental or terminal illness?
The creator seems careless about creation. If there is a perfect force that made the natural world, why are there imperfections in nature?