I was prompted an Essay for my Religion Class and I went a bit off topic, but I came up with a bunch of questions and I’d really like to hear your all’s responses to the issues. I have a lot to write about and as soon as I catch a break I will! (I’ve been SUPER busy!)
Nature verses Nurture is one of the oldest debates in psychology. The question is, does a person’s personality develop through learned traits, or are those traits inborn? If a person achieves success, did they do so because they were genetically programmed and predispositioned to be successful? Or are they successful because their parents instilled a sense of hard work in them when they were young?
The Nature verses Nurture debate has raised many issues over the years. We see a lot of this debate happening in a courtroom. For Example, If a man molests a child, we come down on that person with the full force of the law. BUT, as soon as that person claims they were molested as a child themselves, we all take a step back. Did he molest this child because he didn’t know any better? Or did he know it was wrong all along?
Paul’s argument in Romans makes it hard to say that Nurture is more important that Nature. Paul says in Roman’s 1, verse 20: “There are things about Him that people cannot see- His eternal Power and all the Things that make Him God. But since the beginning of the world those things have been easy to understand by what God has made. So people have no excuse for the bad things they do.” (NCV)
According to Paul, everyone has been exposed to the Lord in some way, and they have no excuse for sin. But I must ask: If we are all exposed to God, do we all have an inborn sense of what’s right and wrong? As Christians, we say that the Holy Spirit enters us when we’re “saved” and that’s how we know how to make Godly decisions. But if we don’t receive that Spirit until we accept Christ, do we really know what’s right and what’s wrong?
If we go by Paul’s letter to the Romans, then nurture has no chance in the debate. By Paul’s letter, we’re all exposed to God, therefore we all know what’s really right and wrong.
Another question that is raised when we read Romans is what happens to the people in the third world countries who have never been told of Christ? If someone never hears about Christs death, do they still go to hell? And if they do, how is it just if they do not know what’s right and wrong? According to Paul, everyone, including those in third world countries and on “desert islands” know who God is because God is visible everywhere. But Even the most devout Christians don’t agree or practice everything that’s in the bible because the nurture we gain our society keeps us from believing it. And we have trouble believing that everyone knows who God is and everyone is responsible because it raises questions like what happens to a child who is killed in a car accident, Or the aborted fetus that never lived on this earth?
Personally, I believe that nature and nurture aren’t two concepts to be looked as separately, but rather as a whole, and I know that my religion has a direct effect on what I believe about this debate. Paul would definitely say that Nature wins while I, influenced by my upbringing and society, would say that nurture and nature are the same thing. But then, there’s the irony: my nurturing influences my decision, nature didn’t.