We are born sinners; being sinful is in our nature. For centuries we have been fed this narrative. But is it really true? What makes us so eager to believe in our own badness? Maybe it is a kind of comfort that comes from being able to shrug our shoulders and say: “ Resistance is futile. We cannot help ourselves”. Maybe it allows us an excuse to look the other way; to remain silent in the face of injustice.
Our belief in humankind’s ‘inherent’ sinful nature provides a very tidy explanation for selfishness, for anger, for hatred, for violence, for suffering, for judgement.
Maybe a more helpful belief system is that people are essentially good. Much as the universe may conspire to convince us otherwise with its barrage of events broadcasted daily. Sadly still today, The Sharpeville Massacre remembered on South Africa’s Human Rights Day plays itself out across the world in so many different shapes and forms.
If you choose to believe humankind is essentially good, you are forced to question why bad exists; why suffering persists. You are forced to not accept it; forced to act against it. Believing in the good of humankind is a declaration of war against our own corruption. A war fought with weapons called compassion and caring.
Happy Human Rights Day!