Even though some people have done things that make them end up in jail for life, I still like to view all people as inherently good overall even if they sometimes don’t act like it. I think the people we view as “bad” are hurting in some way or have been badly mistreated at some point in their lives, and that these “bad” people can become good people through rehabilitation and healing. Many of the people seen by society as being “bad” or as a criminal are treated differently than someone who society views as good.
Growing up in suburbia, one does not see many people that society would consider “bad” and from childhood to the beginning of college, I thought that all people were inherently good because all the people I really knew could be considered “good.” A major reason for believing this probably comes from going to church as a child, where I learned that God forgives everyone for their actions on earth supposedly, and this idea probably led to believing that all people are good.
Another reason for believing this is just my hope that people will choose the good over the bad in their daily lives. My parents also led me to believe this, but I think their motivation was religious. A huge factor in me believing this was that nearly all the people I associated with could be considered to be good people overall.
Religion could also have the opposite effect on people in regard to this belief. Some religions view people, and themselves, as being inherently “bad” or sinful, which is the reason why they have to ask God for forgiveness. A person that is influenced by a religion like this would not view people as being inherently good but the opposite instead. A child raised under these types of views would be told by their parents that they are inherently “bad”, along with everyone else. Being repeatedly told that humanity is “bad” could eventually influence the person into believing it. If one’s church tells them every Sunday that they are sinners, they may possibly end up believing it. The parents can take it one step further also; to punish the child physically solely because of their belief in man being inherently “bad.” I knew a kid whose parents were like this. He was very skittish around other people, which is probably due to the fact that his parents abused him. He viewed people as “bad” because his parents and church basically made him believe this or he would be punished otherwise.
A person who was teased as a child would probably disagree that people are inherently “good”. Being teased would cause them to view others in a negative light. If they constantly see other people as a type of threat to them, then they would not believe that people are inherently “good”. The constant fear of being teased could also make them afraid of other people in general because anyone could tease them. If other people only cause you fear, then that would probably influence you to view others as “bad”.