For those who have been following the comment string on sex it has diverged into talking about good and evil so I'll start another post.
Simon said 'I don't believe that humanity is any more or less evil than the rest of nature (or the world).'
Chris said 'Isn't the world a good place gone wrong?
I do think that humanity is both more and less evil than the rest of nature. I think humanity is the only species able to see the world in terms of good and evil. Jo will probably know differently about some monkeys somewhere but I think I'm by and large right - other species can manage family or group loyalty but otherwise act selfishly.
My observation, day to day, is that there are a lot of people who simply don't notice what's going on around them. They are selfish out of ignorance. I was a passenger in the car of a good friend the other day in a situation where it was obvious that merging in turn was the received wisdom. He just ploughed on. And he is one of the nicest, goodest persons I know. By coincidence Euan Ferguson ranted about this tunnel vision in the Observer Magazine yesterday.
There are many, on the contrary, who make constant judgements about the well-being of others in deciding what to do. Humans as a species are very mixed in their behaviour patterns but many are charitable, hospitable, kind and thoughtful - all activities that, for me, belong on the good end of the spectrum just as much as rudeness, litter and mugging go on the evil end.
When Christians talk about the world as a good place gone bad, or wrong, we are simply making the observation that there are tales in the Bible of 'sin' entering the world as if it came once for all. Whether it is the Genesis story of Adam and Eve eating forbidden fruit, or Paul's observation to the Christians in Rome that 'All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' the authors of the Bible want us to know that we are all on the spectrum of evil somewhere. No-one is completely good. Now we probably didn't need the Bible to tell us that. It's pretty much apparent.
In fact sin probably evolved too. For me it was at the point that we developed the intelligence to know some actions were bad because they were harmful. Harmful to individual members of our own species. Harmful to other species unnecessarily. Harmful to the planet we share.
We did need the Bible to tell us the story of Jesus. Most would agree he was a remarkably good man. The Bible says he was so good he must have been God.
We live in a good world in the sense that it is beautiful and fascinating. We live in a bad world in the sense that it is 'red in tooth and bloody in claw' (was that John Ruskin? I think so).
Not an essay really. More a discussion starter. And I wrote it speedily so I'm not wedded to it as my own opinion yet. Let's see what comments it produces.