Are people good or bad?

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otseng
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Are people good or bad?

Post #1

Post by otseng »

brunumb wrote: Even if the Bible did not exist, the notion that it is good to love others would still be there. I find it hard to get my head around the need for some sort of instructional manual to tell us how to be good people.
For debate:
Are people good or bad?
Are we inherently good or morally depraved?
Do we need an instruction manual to tell us how to be good people?

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Post #71

Post by otseng »

Exhibit 6: Child sex abuse

Related to sex trafficking is child sex abuse. This ranks among the vilest of sins committed by society. Even in prison, the inmates consider child molesters worthy of death and often take the matter into their own hands.
Though prison officials in some Northeastern states question the idea of an automatic social hierarchy among prisoners based solely upon their offenses, most agree that if there is one, child molesters and informants derided as "snitches" occupy the lowest rungs.

"Once their crime has become known, they usually don't make it" without protective custody
https://abcnews.go.com/US/prison-living ... y?id=90004
"Chomo" is prison slang for a child molester and, inmates and officers often claim, they are at the absolute bottom of the implied prison hierarchy.

Chomos are definitely bottom, then snitches are targeted after them. Drug dealers, white-collar, common folk, the former inmate said. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) talks a good game, but you won't ever provide a safe haven for a chomo in custody.

Two months earlier, Clinton Don Simpson who was accused a decade earlier of abusing more than a dozen children in his backyard was killed at the age of 76 by a fellow prisoner in Texas. In May 2018, an inmate in California jail killed an accused pedophile telling authorities that it was his "public service."
https://www.foxnews.com/us/jeffrey-epst ... rison-hell

Odds are you know someone who has been sexually abused as a child.
About one in seven girls and one in 25 boys with be sexually abused before they turn 18.

Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children aged 17 and under.
http://www.d2l.org/wp-content/uploads/2 ... nitude.pdf
One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old
https://www.nsvrc.org/node/4737
In the United States, child sexual abuse (CSA) affects approximately 16% of men and 25-27% of women.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518746/

In the majority of cases, it is not the "evil" person that commits child sexual assault, but by a "normal, regular" person.
Approximately 60% of boys and 80% of girls who are sexually victimized are abused by someone known to the child or the child's family (Lieb, Quinsey, and Berliner, 1998). Relatives, friends, baby-sitters, persons in positions of authority over the child, or persons who supervise children are more likely than strangers to commit a sexual assault.
https://www.rifleco.org/250/Myths-and-F ... -Offenders
You cannot pick out a sex offender in a crowd. People who may sexually abuse children are fathers, mothers, step-parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. They are neighbors, babysitters, religious leaders, teachers, and coaches. They come from all classes, racial and religious backgrounds and may be homosexual or heterosexual.
https://www.stopitnow.org/faq/is-there- ... s-children

Those who molest children look and act just like everyone else.

Abusers can be neighbors, friends, and family members. People who sexually abuse children can be found in families, schools, churches, recreation centers, youth sports leagues, and any other place children gather. Significantly, abusers can be and often are other children.

About 90% of children who are victims of abuse know their abuser. Only 10% of sexually abused children are abused by a stranger.

Approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members.
http://www.d2l.org/wp-content/uploads/2 ... rators.pdf

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Post #72

Post by otseng »

Mithrae wrote: And those burning witches and torturing heretics were regular, normal Christians.
Completely agree. I do not discount Christians from being able to commit evil. They can even use the Bible to justify their actions. So, what is the correct way to interpret the Bible? This is quite complicated, but I'll just suffice it to say that Christians should follow the model of Jesus as he walked on earth. He calls Christians to deny themselves, carry the cross, and follow him.
Some people are smarter than others.
Yes, of course. But, if it's used to justify they are morally superior to another, then I would disagree with them.
You're not really going to try arguing that Hitler's moral framework held the same merit as Gandhi's, are you?
Well, who's to say anyone's moral framework is better than anyone else's? On what objective basis can we say one's moral framework is the one everyone should be following?

As to Gandhi's moral framework, I'm not sure his was entirely innocent.
Gandhi frequently slept and bathed with his young female followers. When others criticized this practice as being unseemly, Gandhi argued that it was a way for him to increase his spiritual power. And as Gandhi said of his practice of bathing with Sushila Nayar, the younger sister of his secretary, “While she is bathing I keep my eyes tightly shut. I do not know … whether she bathes naked or with her underwear on.� Obviously, it wasn’t an explanation that satisfied his critics. But the opportunity to bathe or sleep with Gandhi was seen as a great honor among his followers.

Gandhi sometimes asked the women he slept with to perform strip-teases or make sexually explicit conversation. As Gandhi explained it, this was the ultimate test of his vow of chastity.
https://historycollection.co/sources-cl ... ndniece/2/
As he grew older (and following Kasturba's death) he was to have more women around him and would oblige women to sleep with him whom – according to his segregated ashram rules – were forbidden to sleep with their own husbands. Gandhi would have women in his bed, engaging in his "experiments" which seem to have been, from a reading of his letters, an exercise in strip-tease or other non-contact sexual activity.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-ente ... 37411.html
His behaviour in the winter of 1946-47 shocked many of his followers. At least two of his helpers, his stenographer and his Bengali translator, quit his service in protest when they discovered that he was sleeping with 19-year-old Manu. The Indian press stayed silent. Unusually, Gandhi kept his “experiment� with Manu reasonably private – behaviour that he later regretted because it violated the principle that the seeker after truth must keep nothing hidden.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... aked-women

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Post #73

Post by otseng »

Danmark wrote: I see no need to invoke the word 'power.' It connotes a sense that this 'good' comes from a being. Is that why you use it?
Well, I turn the question around. Do you reject the word 'power' because it could imply a being?

Power can include a being, but I'm using the word in a generic sense. I'm using the word synonymously with authority, jurisdiction, control.
In any event, I see no need to claim it must come from an external source, whether one anthropomorphizes that source as a 'power' or not.
In the context of what I'm arguing, the prosecution in the Nuremberg trials had to appeal to an external source (international criminal law) and not an internal source (personal ethics). The prosecution relied on an external source to be able say the Nazis are guilty.

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Post #74

Post by otseng »

Danmark wrote:
otseng wrote: Because it is the normal, ordinary people who are buying children for sex.
As I say, there will always be outliers, sociopaths, who belong to a tribe of one.
Do you dispute my claim that it is normal, ordinary people who are buying children for sex? Or is it only abnormal, eccentrics that are doing this? If so, please provide evidence for this.

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Post #75

Post by Danmark »

otseng wrote:
Danmark wrote:
otseng wrote: Because it is the normal, ordinary people who are buying children for sex.
As I say, there will always be outliers, sociopaths, who belong to a tribe of one.
Do you dispute my claim that it is normal, ordinary people who are buying children for sex? Or is it only abnormal, eccentrics that are doing this? If so, please provide evidence for this.
How do you define "normal, ordinary people?"
But what of the men who paid to rape this child? What consequences did they suffer?
Not a single one was ever charged.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/ ... 073459001/
As I wrote earlier, when people have little fear of getting caught, they are more likely to give in to their lesser selves.

The title of the article:
"Who buys a trafficked child for sex? Otherwise ordinary men."

One of the key points is the use of the word "otherwise."

Jeffry Dahmer was 'otherwise ordinary.' I do not believe someone who buys a child for sex is 'ordinary.'

I have no doubt the problem is horrific and widespread.
One in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult.
82% of all victims under 18 are female.
Females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
https://www.rainn.org/statistics/children-and-teens

I don't have the source at hand, but when I was practicing criminal law the stats I heard were worse than what is quoted above. There seemed to be so child molesting going on I remember wondering if it was almost normal. But I think almost everyone, or every man rather, may, in some circumstance, especially when in his teens, be tempted to some anti social act.
The 'demand side' has been 'woefully understudied' compared to the 'supply side.'
But here are some key findings:

"Most men have never paid for sex. In fact, only 6.2% of respondents have bought sex within the past 12 months.

• “High-frequency� buyers purchase so often that their actions account for a disproportionately large share of the illegal sex trade. About 25% of active buyers report purchasing weekly or monthly, and their activity accounts for nearly 75% of market transactions. These buyers are more likely to have started at a young age and with the help or encouragement of others in their social networks.

• Demographic traits are poor predictors of sex buying. Race and sexual orientation have almost no profiling power. Buyers are found across the income distribution with one important exception: currently active high-frequency buyers are much more likely than other men to make $100,000 or more annually.

• Plenty of would-be sex-buyers are not currently active, including about one in five men who have never bought before but who “could envision buying sex in the future if the circumstances were right.�

https://www.demandabolition.org/wp-cont ... y-2019.pdf

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Post #76

Post by otseng »

Danmark wrote: How do you define "normal, ordinary people?"
Most of the people that you see in the airport, in the mall, at the workplace, in your neighborhood, in church, in sports arenas, in concert halls, etc. They are the everyday people that we encounter and interact with.

Evil is not limited to a subgroup of people on the fringes of society. Evil of various sorts are committed by people from all stratas of society.
As I wrote earlier, when people have little fear of getting caught, they are more likely to give in to their lesser selves.
Totally agree.

And I would add this is why God is a counter force to evil. An omniscient God who sees everything would ultimately hold us accountable to all our secret actions. Without God, people who believe they can get away with evil when nobody else would know can more easily fall into committing evil.
Some more tidbits from that source:

- Child Sexual Abuse Is a Widespread Problem
- Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse Are Often Related to the Victim
- Sexual violence is notoriously difficult to measure
The 'demand side' has been 'woefully understudied' compared to the 'supply side.'
I can't imagine many sex abusers signing up to be studied or even letting anybody know about their dark side.

Even when one was caught, he was suicided before he was able to reveal any details of his evil.

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Post #77

Post by otseng »

Exhibit 7: Sonderkommando

In the Nazi concentration camps, we wonder what evil people can lead the Jews to the gas chambers, force them to undress publicly, lie to them that they are going into the showers, pull out the gold in their teeth after they are dead, cut their hair to be sold, carry the bodies to the crematorium, crush the remaining bones, then throw the ashes into the river.

The people who did these things were ordinary people. They were called the Sonderkommando. They were not typically Germans, but rather, most of them were Jews.
The Sonderkommandos were groups of Jewish prisoners forced to perform a variety of duties in the gas chambers and crematoria of the Nazi camp system. They worked primarily in the Nazi killing centers, such as Auschwitz, but they were also used at other killing sites to dispose of the corpses of victims.
https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/ ... rkommandos

How could a Jew commit such evil against another Jew? Because like all of us, we would rather choose our own welfare over another. They were given better rations than the other prisoners, allowed to live longer, and had better quarters. And if they didn't do it, they'd be immediately executed.

The Sonderkommando were not "evil" people. They were normal people that when tested under the most extreme test decided to commit evil.

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Post #78

Post by Willum »

[Replying to post 77 by otseng]
In the Nazi concentration camps, we wonder what evil people can lead the Jews to the gas chambers,..
You say people, but any believer can only say "God."
The religio-Jews themselves brag about surviving the diaspora, the trials of Egypt, wandering through the desert for 40 years - miracles.
And miracles are the happenstance of God alone.
Do you think ANY of those events were any fun, or didn't have horrors as bad as or eclipsing the ones you describe? You don't describe many sexually based horrors, which says something about modern events.
You don't even want to think about what went on in primitive societies without the concepts of human rights.

As I was saying, religious Jews brag about surviving the horrors inflicted on them in the Bible because they failed their god.

Nazi camps seem just a logical extension of this horror by Yahweh, of the 'Jews,' for not doing what is required of them - as per usual claims, as indicated by the Bible or Torah.
Nazi were no different than Romans or Babylonians. Pawns in the hand of Yahweh.
If you believe. Whereas only if you don't, then it is men's responsibility.

The Nazi were indeed ordinary people. The Nazi movement was a Christian movement, with everyone in the party required to swear an oath to God. With this in mind, one must assume these ordinary people, with allegiance to God, could only be conducting such horror in accordance with his will, and looking back on the Holy Book, with a precedence.
What else could authorize ordinary people to conduct such horrors, but a lord of the universe: The one who makes the rules with his will?

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Post #79

Post by otseng »

Exhibit 8: Dehumanization

The start of much evil is when we dehumanize another person. When we believe another is less of a person than another, or not even a person, then we start the path towards mistreatment.
Dehumanization or an act thereof can describe as the denial of full humanness to others, and the cruelty and suffering that accompany it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dehumanization

Lest we think we are immune to dehumanization, we are all very prone to it.
Political prisoners favored fellow-activists over criminals and asocials category that included the homeless, the mentally ill, and prostitutes whom they regarded as practically subhuman.

Like many Nazi institutions, the K.L. embodied conflicting impulses: to reform the criminal, to extort labor from the unproductive, to quarantine the contagious. But most fundamental was the impulse to dehumanize the enemy, which ended up confounding and overriding all the others. Once a prisoner ceased to be human, he could be brutalized, enslaved, experimented on, or gassed at will, because he was no longer a being with a soul or a self but a biological machine. The Muselmänner, the living dead of the camps, stripped of any capacity to think or feel, were the true product of the K.L., the ultimate expression of the Nazi world view.

The impulse to separate some groups of people from the category of the human is, however, a universal one.
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015 ... oks-kirsch

We see this in the treatment of Native Americans.
So "sub-Saharan Africans and Native Americans were denizens of the bottom of the human category," when they were even granted human status. Mostly, they were seen as "soulless animals." And that dramatic dehumanization made it possible for great atrocities to take place.


We see this in the treatment of blacks in America.
The Supreme Court's rejection of Dred Scott's claim to freedom was not based on legal precedent alone, but also the deeply held belief of Black inferiority. The belief in their inferiority and the superiority of whites was a long held justification of oppression and brutal practices against Blacks. Even constitutional amendments could not eradicate the sentiment.
https://www.aaihs.org/they-had-no-right ... o-respect/
It has once again placed an ugly truth about mainstream America in the spotlight that it views African American boys as less than human.
https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/ ... story.html

We see this in female infanticide.
Female infanticide is a major cause of concern in several nations such as China, India and Pakistan.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_infanticide

We see this in our attitude towards the homeless.
But human beings in our society ”including me” have an ingrained proclivity toward labeling, judging, and punishing the unhoused. The behavior fits into a category with a name: the dehumanization of the homeless.
https://hmmdaily.com/2019/03/08/how-we- ... -homeless/

We see this in the treatment of LGBTQ.
Discrimination and dehumanization by individuals, institutions and societies, rob LGBTQ people of their God-given dignity.
https://www.umcjustice.org/what-we-care ... btq-rights

We see this in the treatment of the disabled.
Press coverage of a young man thrown out of his wheelchair during the UK student protests suggests that "real" disabled people are not whole human beings.
https://www.thenation.com/article/archi ... humanized/

We see this in the abortion debate.
Central to the abortion debate is the extent to which a fetus
constitutes a person under the Fourteenth Amendment. Pro-choice
advocates argue that categorizing the fetus as a person will lead to the
prioritization of fetal rights over and against the mother's
constitutional right to privacy.93 Alternatively, fetal personhood, or the
idea that zygotes and embryos are legal persons subject to the
protections and benefits of the law, frequently serves as the ideological
underpinning of anti-choice legislation.

Although all human beings likely qualify as constitutional persons,
there is no jurisdiction in the United States that treats prenatal entities
as persons for purposes of constitutional protection.
https://lawreview.law.ucdavis.edu/issue ... -1_Key.pdf

The list can go on and on. Bottom line, we frequently dehumanize another and we all are prone to treat another as less than human.
For now, it's important to acknowledge that dehumanization is more common than previously thought.
https://www.citylab.com/life/2015/09/we ... rs/403030/

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Post #80

Post by Willum »

[Replying to post 79 by otseng]

I am not sure where you’re going with that. Though it was eloquently put, What do you wish is to say? “Just like God programmed us to do?“

I am afraid the theater side of the equation does not make much sense, especially when in consideration of your arguments.

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