A question Anne Rice asked her readers: “I believe people are basically good, that the evil ones are the true exception. After 69 years on Earth, this is what I’ve seen. I’m not sure religion has much, if anything, to do with it. What do you believe? What have you seen? (Forget the headlines for a moment; I mean what have you seen around you?)”
I believe that:
Most people want to be good. Almost ALL people start out wanting to please and be good. Then…..
1) Most people fall short of their own expectations or the expectations of others and make mistakes, but keep trying to be the best they can be. Therefore, in my opinion, still “basically good people”.
2) Many people make a few mistakes and give up on themselves and say “F*** it” and just make the subconscious decision to not bother trying to be good. They’re not necessarily seeking to do BAD. Just perhaps not making an effort to do good.
3) Many people blame their struggles on society, government, bad teachers, bad parents, whatever….and use this as a justification for doing things that are wrong and make the subconscious (or often conscious) decision to not bother trying to be good.
4) A few people are decent people who do a couple of REALLY evil things that taint their whole lives. I’ve known a couple of these.
5) VERY few people are truly evil. I’ve known a couple of these, too. I have no use for them. They can’t be fixed and we don’t need to try. They need to be contained to keep them from doing more harm.
6) A few people are just truly almost all goodness and light. Not to say that they never make mistakes but their spirits have a higher level of purity than most of ours do. I’ve been blessed to know a couple of these.
Almost everyone I know (including myself) falls into #1.
I don’t have a strong opinion on the religion part. I’m personally a Christian but get VERY squeamish about “us” being judgmental of others whose beliefs may differ. I DON’T believe everyone who doesn’t believe as I do is going to hell (another post, another day). I have seen a small number of people completely turn their lives around when they turned to a higher power, but I think that we are inherently who we are, regardless of religion.