No Anne, People Are Not "good at heart", They Are "Evil"
For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. Mathew 15:19
Reflecting back on elementary school in the 1970's, I keenly recall my school teacher reading to the class after lunch. Her name was Miss Spence. Although she had a reputation for being the "mean" 3rd grade teacher, I quite liked her. One of the books she read to the class was "The Diary of Anne Frank". This was one of the pivotal influences on my philosophy about life. One of the most famous quotes from the book goes as follows, "Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart". What a moving thing to hear about the nature of man. It felt so wonderful to learn that all people, (including myself of course!) were really "good at heart". I spent the next 40 plus years of my life very confused. Because, after all, people are "good".
After stabilizing my spiritual life and making a real commitment to Christ as my savior, I still had not worked out what the Bible said about human nature. I read about it many times, but somewhere in my psych I must have dismissed it. In my 8 year old mind in Miss Spence's 3rd grade class I had made the decision that no matter how bad people were, in the end, we were all really "good at heart".
I remember when I finally decided to watch the movie "Dogville" several years after it came out. I was confused by it. I didn't fully understand at first what the movie was trying to convey. I still did not want to accept that people are evil. It would be years more before I finally realized the message of the movie and how it revealed true human nature. This became clearer to me as I read what the Bible says about human nature. The movie summed up the point with one of the lines (see video below) by saying, "The light now penetrated every unevenness and flaw in the buildings and in the people". That is what the holiness of God does in our lives. It shines through the dark places and reveals our true nature. When we repent and ask forgiveness, it cleanses us from our unrighteousness. This is because we are not good at heart, we are wicked, and we need a savior in Christ.
Whatever your interpretation of "Dogville" may be, I found it a good example of the parallel between good and evil. Though it is not a christian movie, it demonstrates the human need for a savior through the story.
Dogville (2003) - Grace's Revelation
For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
As I stare at a photo of Anne Frank's sweet little face, I think about the pain and suffering she endured at the hands of Hitler's regime. I wonder to myself if she ever realized how wrong she was? I fear that this revelation may have broke her spirit in such a horrific place as the concentration camp where she spent her last days.
Once I discovered my own revelation about human nature, life made more sense to me. We live in a political climate that revolves around the false philosophy that people are good at heart. This confusion and lack of wisdom about the wickedness of man has created a chaotic world. The current climate is bringing us to the finally climax.
Accept Christ as a savior and the path will be lighted for your feet. You will be planted on steady ground and the fog will clear. Life will make more sense.