Are there more good than bad people in this world?

I don’t really know what this blog is about other than some mind spinning. I read something today, and it raised a question in my head: Are there more bad than good people in this world? Or is it just the few bad people ruling this world? I know this is a major philosophical question, which is hard too answer, and the more you think about it likely raises more questions. So take this blog for what it is: random, intellectual boredom or wisdom, whatever you prefer, that might not lead to anything intelligent.

However, I do find the question interesting. First of all it raises another question that we need to define first: what is the definition of a good person and a good act? The first thing you do today, when you have a question, is turn to Google. That act results in a lot of different approaches to the term “being good”. The simple explanation is “a person who is good to other people.” Duh, I could have come up with that answer, but it still snowballs into new questions such as “what is being good (to other people)? I guess the only thing we can agree on is the fact that goodness is an individual and subjective definition. If you’re religious it may refer to your holy book’s definition of living a good life. If you’re an atheist or just don’t live your life accordingly to defined religions, it may take it’s starting point in a spiritual or philosophical belief. No matter what, most people have a defined and common stomach feeling of the definition of good and distinction between good and bad/evil. I’m not talking about religious, cultural or society based definitions, but definitions based on pure humanity. In short, the things we would not like to happen or be done to ourselves. Examples, though this is just a short extract of the definition, could be treating people kindly, don’t talk behind their backs, don’t hurt them physically or emotionally, don’t lie to them, don’t cheat (on) them, compliment them etc. See more suggestions of being good here. So to sum it up, I will take the liberty of defining goodness as having people’s best interest in mind (if possible). If we leave out sociopaths in these statistics, we are left with people, who are good and choose to act and live on it, and the people who are fundamentally good, but choose to act despite the knowledge of what’s right and wrong.

So to get back to my wonder: are there more good people in this world than bad? I’m just wondering, since it sometimes seem that this world is completely screwed up in basically all areas. The environment is so fucked up that it’s threatening our physical existence; diseases like AIDS and cancer affects people in both the industrial and 3. world to an extend that cancer will affect almost all of us (us= assuming that since you have a computer you live in the industrial world), and AIDS will affect almost every living generation in Africa and South East Asia; the rain forest and many animal species are threatened with extermination; pedophiles, rapists and physical and emotional abusers ruin the lives of many people;  unscrupulous politician take whatever they can get without keeping the people’s best interest in mind. For someone like myself, naive, kind, friendly and always trying to be as good as I can to other people, it’s just a mystery that some people do not care about being good to others or even worse: make it a lifestyle to be bad or cruel to other people. I’m no saint, and I’m not trying to judge anyone. Most people I know are good people, who, just like myself, try to be good (by whatever level or definition of goodness they have chosen for themselves). Maybe my wondering comes from all the public, so-called role models, who dominate the media picture. No one can convince me that Bush Jr. did what he did not knowing it was wrong. He just didn’t care. He was not a sociopath with no conscience; he simply chose to act cruel without any concern of the consequences of his decisions. I know that in this world of screwed up values it’s not always the smartest people who gain power. Right now I’m left with a feeling that most people don’t give a shit. The people, who know right from wrong, who have the competences of distinguishing between right and wrong, but who chooses to ignore that at the expense of someone or something else.

So I’m still left with an unanswered question: are there more good than bad people in this world? Enlighten me, please.



Filed under Philosophy, Religion

9 responses to “Are there more good than bad people in this world?

  1. twls

    For some reason, I want to tell you and everyone else in this world that people are naturally evil, that people choose to hurt others, steal, lie, and yell at one another because its easier to do than the right thing.

    But, I honestly can’t. People are wonderful creatures that strive to do the best they can or at least live and pursue the happiness that everyone should have.

    People will always do the wrong things, but somewhere along the way they will prove themselves to be amazing human beings who will go to lengths to help out one another, even in the most minute of ways.

    I know, that someone out there can argue against me and make a better argument, but you have to keep believing… people are good, if not for any reason, but just because you still have that small sense of childhood innocence and hope that there are such things as happy endings.

  2. Sony

    I feel as if the number of good people are very limited in this world. So many people are driven by greed and selfishness. Most people believe they need to live like this to get ahead of other bad people. People always judge and discriminate in this world. I have the upmost respect for a person who can treat everyone as equally important … no matter if they are what they look like or what they been through. I thought there was no hope for this world but I have met a few people who are driven by something other than greed and selfishness; and knowing that there’s at least one other person in this world who is good at heart, helps me to believe in staying good.

  3. Anonymous

    I think the difference between being a bad person and a good person is good people have love and compassion for others, and they don’t let their own selfish wants and needs stand in the way of how well they treat others. They may make mistakes, since we are all human. For example, I know it’s obviously a wrong thing to do; but cheating in your spouse/whoever you’re with doesn’t actually make you a bad person, unless you can do it multiple times with multiple people and have no guilt or regret whatsoever, and actually feel good because you’re doing what you feel you need or want to do. You ignore the pain that others feel, and do whatever it takes to do what you want even if your the one causing that pain. Good people know when they’ve done something wrong, they feel at least a little guilt, they actually care for others and have empathy for them. I think the worst people on this earth are; rapists, child molesters/pedophiles, animal abusers, women abusers, etc. because they can repeatedly cause pain and suffering for others without even feeling a thing except maybe even joy, which to me is just sick.

  4. Anonymous

    Oh, and I forgot to answer your question, sorry. Honestly, I don’t know if there are more good or bad people in this world. All I know is there are a lot of awful people and a lot of wonderful people. I would like to say there’s more good people, but with how much horrible, sick stuff is going on in this world nowadays, I just don’t know. The biggest problem in humanity is selfishness- that’s what everything comes down to in the end, I think.

  5. anonymous

    The sad reality is that there are more bad (or evil) people in this world than good people, not necessarily driven just by ego but by an innate feeling of emptiness. There are a lot of psychopaths and malignant narcissists that have their own seat in the establishment of military and science and in government authorities. The bottom line is the world is damn insane, insane enough to make the rational, sane person go insane.

  6. Genevieve

    I would like to argue for a moment that maybe there is no such thing as good or evil. We are (some believe) distant descendants of primates. Scientists have found that chimpanzees are very similar to us, they love, care but also make war and sometimes take pleasure in torturing other chimpanzees during territorial confrontations. One could argue that humans too have these same opposing qualities. Would you consider one of these chimpanzees evil? What about a human who does something similar? I am inclined to say that when humans enter the equation then it can be considered ‘evil’ by us, but if an animal does something violent, then it is ‘instinct’ or ‘survival’. So which is it? Some will say that animals do not have the intent to harm, but the example of chimpanzees proves to me that animals can have the intent to do harm. So, is the perception of good and evil an illusion?
    If someone does something ‘evil’, does that mean that there is no good in them? We all make mistakes, big or small. I tend to agree with anonymous, that if there is regret then maybe there is some hope. According to some studies, approximately 1% of people are psychopaths (thats a whole lot of people) (there are many different types of psychopaths). Many of them have the inability to feel fear or guilt because their brains are lacking capacities that ‘normal’ people have. Is that ‘evil’ or a handicap?

    I am not defending people who do horrible things, but just trying to give another side of a question with no real answer.

    P.S. I am using chimpanzees as an example. I certainly do not mean that they are ‘evil’. Like humans they have wonderful intent as well.

  7. George Horn

    After all these years, has your question been answered to your satisfaction???..when I have more time I will finish the main premise of this subject. As for now, mankind’s greatest drawback comes from the word and action of “want”….I will finish this in time…there is an answer to your question ….

  8. “Want” – a cat laid that on me yesterday. “Want”, as in: even if you “get” something – you revert almost immediately to the state of “Want”ing again.
    A lack of reflection, perhaps. Does that make me evil (aka “bad”).
    A “bad” boy, perhaps – not a “good” little boy who listens to the teachers and preachers when they tell you not to “Want”.
    I don’t buy that “Want” is what sets us down the road to perdition. Seems to me that Neediness and Privation are far better states to explore if you are looking for a proliferation of bad (e.g. cancer, AIDS).

  9. James

    If there were more good people than bad we would not need laws or rules. The general morality of people would create a natural balance making bad behavior an unacceptable trait in mainstream society. But we have laws. Laws that apply to the entire population that everyone must follow. Therfore the assumption is that people are collectively more prone to bad behavior and bad behavior tends to be the norm rather than the exceptions.

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