Cynicism and hurt have caused many to doubt the truth of this headline.
Maybe these two negative visions, an inability to see obvious reality, come from the same mud on the windscreen. It seems that one must be a perfectionist or a nitpicker to be less than completely thrilled with life, G^d, and people. Let’s investigate if this intuitive hunch can hold up.
G^d is Good
People who say that they know G^d are either not talking about G^d or lying. We can’t know G^d. Not in the sense that it’s hard to know oneself or one’s spouse. It’s more like a carrot being unable to understand us.
However, as the saying goes, to the fruits one knows the trunk. His generosity gives us an idea of Who He is.
Now, let’s say that He gave each of us a very special car and a card for free repairs and service and free gas. Someone who wants to be rich gets a Rolls-Royce. Someone with a large family gets a beautiful station wagon. Someone who wants to live down town gets a shopping car. farmers get cars with extras for sowing and harvesting. And, none of them pollute. And they will still work even if we’d put in inferior fuel for 50 years.
Who wouldn’t be thrilled? I’ll tell you who: someone who wants what others have, and doesn’t recognize that they got the perfect gift to do with their lives exactly and elegantly what they want. Or people who are never pleased with anything. Yes, it’s a nice car but it can’t fly.
And so it is with life. We got life for free in abundance. How spoiled must we be to complain? Still, there might be certain complaints to study.
Imperfections. G^d’s deeds are perfect (in the longer run) but He created an imperfect world so that He could invite us to partner with Him to bring it to completion. This way we can dedicate our lives to good causes.
Powerless about injustice. Billions of people live unsafe, substandard lives and we can’t do anything about it. Good you notice. But, that is only true if you see yourself as detached from everyone else. As united humanity, we could accomplish anything over time.
Suffering. Much suffering doesn’t come from G^d but from others and/or we ourselves misbehaving. We were created to bestow reward on us, not just for being but for partnering with G^d. When we do good despite our suffering, we are rewarded at least a thousand times the regular reward.
People are Good
We are naturally connected to everyone else, we care, we all mean well and want the best for the world. Sometimes some of us may get confused between a couple of principles. We lose track of the idea that we have no long-term conflicting interests. What’s truly good for one is good for all. We may have acquired goals that are not truly good. We want to be rich because we assume that money will make us happy. But, wise people teach us that we must be happy first, or we’d end up unhappily rich.
We may be each so obsessed with healing our own suffering that we forget to listen to and help others. The simple solution is to split the time and take turns listening to each other.
The proof that our nature is good and benign goes as follows. When we set an evil goal, we hamper our intelligence. Evil so shows itself as counter-human. We are good because, when we think well, we’d choose good.
People steeped in evil lose their human face. We all understand that people are good.
Calvinism, the predominant worldview in the Netherlands, says that humans are evil and not inclined to any good. Such an outlook is evil.
Judaism teaches that our most inner self is like a spark of G^d, our Soul, and can’t be spoiled by anything. And that we only would sin (commit evil) in a mood of folly: If we’d always think ahead of time of the consequences, we would never sin. In other words: Humans are good, benign.
My grandfather, the scholar Louis Karel Nieweg, may G^d revenge his blood, always said: The fire brigade, ambulance, and regret always come too late: when bad already happened.
Harvey Jackins taught that the bad side of humans is removable, like mud under our soles. You wouldn’t throw out your favorite boots because they had some mud under them.
Therefore, we don’t need to employ evasive, philosophicallish, semantic, or debating tricks that claim that G^d is good but not the (limited vision of) good as we know it, and that people can opt between doing good or bad.
That G^d and humans are Both benign should come as no surprise to us since G^d tells us that He created humans after His image and likeliness.