Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Lucifer Effect

I stumbled upon this on Guy Kawasaki's blog. . .

The Lucifer Effect

Incredible and captivating experiment about the sin in us all and what each us is capable of. Despite the evidence the author and conductor of the experiment comes to this faulty conclusion when asked this question. . . .

Question: Are people inherently and consistently good or bad?

Answer: I begin my book with John Milton’s classic statement about the power of the human mind, that it is its own place, and can “make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” I follow with a psychological celebration of the mind’s infinite capacity to make any of us villains or heroes by enabling us to be caring or indifferent, selfless of selfish, creative or destructive.

People are not born evil, but rather with survival talents, and remarkable mental templates to be anything imaginable — just as infants readily learn to speak and understand any of a thousand languages in an instant in their development. We get a push from nature in various directions, such as being more inhibited or bold, but who we become is ultimately a complex process of cultural, historical, religious, economic and political experiences in familial and other institutional settings.

Situational settings only bring out what already lurks inside and what lies beneath. The Bible is clear. "There is none righteous, no not one."

What are your thoughts?

Have you seen what you're capable of?

The degree to which you see your sin and sinfulness, to that degree will you love and get the grace of God in the Gospel.


Tim Weaver said...

The Bible is very clear that we are born as sinners and it is quite obvious when you watch kids. You don't have to teach them to be selfish, lie, cheat, or steal. They figure it out all by themselves.

What am I capable of? I can sin with the best (worst of 'em). I've seen some of it in my passed, but when I used to visit the jail, those guys were not that different from me. I had more self-control, a better childhood environment, and mercifully, I didn't get busted for the stuff that I pulled. It's God's mercy that I wasn't meeting the guys from the same side of the bars.

I think that our experience as well as looking at characters in the Bible shows that specific sin types run in families. Some is nature and some is nurture. Some people just seem to have a bent that is toward sexual impurity or addictions or scheming and being unfair or dishonest or just plain defying authority. I don't doubt the research that has said that alcoholism, homosexuality, as with other sin bents have genetic ties.

That doesn't excuse our sin though. We have been provided a Savior that offers forgiveness, a new nature, and His Spirit to help/cause us (insert your theology here) to overcome our particular sin bent.

We have MUCH to be thankful for as Christians.

Brianna Heldt said...

I've always thought that this was one of the most intriguing psychological experiments ever done. It's all an excellent reminder that we're all capable of evil and that we should put no confidence in our own ability to be/do good. I'm no more deserving of God's love in my best moments than in my worst, and He loves me no less in my worst than in my best!

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