Most people recognize human potential for good and evil behaviors. By most accounts our potential for evil is an inherent part of our nature and therefore unavoidable. When people attribute behavior to human nature, quite often they refer to our potential for evil. Unquestionably human history is replete with stories of human perpetrated atrocities which highlight our dark side. Culturally, our inherited propensity to look for evil in others and to war against it, predisposes us all to focus on humanity at its worst.
Because of all the above, many are prone to see human potential for evil as almost limitless. By contrast it is a common belief that humanity, at its finest, is constrained by our basically flawed nature. Thus, when men bother to consider human possibility, their vision is very severely restricted by a feeling of impotence, frustration, and resignation. In this mindset, any effort to formulate plans for a brighter and more enlightened future are subverted by a sort of psychological and moral malaise which assumes failure from the start.
So the question is not one of whether human kind are capable of much evil, but rather whether we believe that we are capable of and destined for accomplishing much good. Our prevalent theology answers with an emphatic No! Doom and gloom in relation to our future has been the mainstay of church doctrine in almost every age. Divine wrath and destruction are always taught as imminent and well deserved. It is obvious that such thinking and preaching cannot foster a future based on humanity's potential for good.
This observation is the very reason why so many see the church's influence as detrimental, rather than beneficia, as church members are prone to see it. In denying a future and railing against our potential for evil while ignoring our potential for good, the church engages in a self fulfilling prophecy. Their preaching of defeatism and alienation is the perfect formula for encouraging the dark side and derailing our finer inclinations.