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Total Depravity and Self-Esteem

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by doubtingmerle, Jun 19, 2022.

  1. myst33

    myst33 Well-Known Member

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    "Totally depraved" in this theological context means that we are unable to satisfy the righteousness of God by our mind, by our will or by our flesh on our own and therefore we need His mercy.

    The "totality" here refers to all main parts of our being, it does not refer to every single thought, cell or decision.

    "Total depravity doesn't teach that we are all as bad as we possibly could be in a practical sense. Total depravity simply means that every part of our being is corrupted by sin. And specifically, that our will, our human will, is bent in on itself, so that we will not seek God, we will not choose God, in and of ourselves. We need God's effectual grace, His powerful working, to change our hearts, and to change our minds, so that we do choose Him.

    So total depravity is really about our inability to do what God calls us to do, because of our own sinful corruption."

    What Does Total Depravity Mean?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2022
  2. myst33

    myst33 Well-Known Member

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    The doctrine of total depravity is really against a religious self-esteem, i.e. against self-esteem towards God, see Lk 18:9-13.

    Regarding daily life self-esteem, if you believe in the doctrine of total depravity, then it applies to everybody around you, not to you only. Therefore you are on the same level as others.
     
  3. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

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    I see. So if you were to say that a friend was a stupid fool, and you are sorry he is so dumb, that would be a lamentation, so it does not count as an insult? Is that how it works?

    Or, could it be that, since Isaiah says all our righteousness is as filthy rags in his lamentation, he might actually mean that all our righteousness is as filthy rags?
     
  4. Psalm 27

    Psalm 27 Well-Known Member

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    Ezeikel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

    John 3

    The human heart is wicked. The Lord needs to change it for us.
    I Don't rate self esteem. When 'self' is mentioned in The Bible, it's in the context of denial, control etc.
     
  5. Psalm 27

    Psalm 27 Well-Known Member

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    ?
     
  6. Psalm 27

    Psalm 27 Well-Known Member

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    All have fallen short of The Glory of God. All
     
  7. Larnievc

    Larnievc Well-Known Member

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    I don’t see how a reasonable person can believe that; but it takes all sorts.
     
  8. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

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    Are you saying that unregenerate people have no basis for high self-esteem?

    I am an Agnostic with a long story. See How My Mind Was Set Free - The Mind Set Free. Based on that, would you consider me to be unregenerate?

    Forgiven is not the same as good. Do you now have reason for high self-esteem?
    What does this mean? Does this mean he treats you as though you are good, or that you have now become good?
    Are you sure?

    I am glad you are changing to become a better person. I too am changing to become a better person.

    So, can we both have a decent feeling of self-esteem? Can we both say we are humans, with all the goodness and frailty that this involves, but we are growing and learning, and becoming better people with experience?
    Good, you have a purpose in life. I also have a purpose in life.

    But I have prepared my own purpose.

    Do you think of yourself more as a worthy participant in society or as an unworthy slave? The Bible says, " So you too, when you do all the things which were commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” (Luke 17:10)
     
  9. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

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    So, should all have low self-esteem?
     
  10. BobRyan

    BobRyan Junior Member Supporter

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    In the Bible there is mention of those who "give large gifts to charity" to "religious institutions" to be "seen by others". Good deeds can be tainted by motive and only God and that individual are in a position to know about it.

    So then "all my righteousness is as filthy rags" apart from Christ - is the teaching of the Bible -

    Is 64:
    6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
    And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
    And all of us wither like a leaf,
    And our wrongdoings, like the wind, take us away.
    7 There is no one who calls on Your name,
    Who stirs himself to take hold of You;
    For You have hidden Your face from us
    And have surrendered us to the power of our

    In the Bible there are only two groups on Earth - born again saved saints and there are lost sinners. This is called "the wide road" and the "narrow road" in Matt 7

    13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

    15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.

    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

    ================

    The bible says the lost who reject the Gospel will end in the lake of fire of Rev 20 - but someone may ask "what if one of the lost donated money to charity?". Well we could say that certainly that may have helped someone at some point.

    Jer 9 -
    23 Thus says the Lord:
    “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
    Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
    Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
    24 But let him who glories glory in this,
    That he understands and knows Me
    ,
    That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
    For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

    Some find fulfillment in "self" , the more they uplift self - the more confident they feel about the future. But the other option is to uplift infinite all wise, all powerful, God who "is Love" according to 1 John 4. Having confidence that one is in His care, guided by the almighty who never sleeps and misses no detail at all - is even more confidence building when you think about it.

    "Well done thou good and faithful servant" is the praise that the saved are seeking - for their praise is from God not merely from sinful fallen man.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2022
  11. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

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    I agree that doing good things to show off is not a good idea.

    However, we can all be motivated to do good things because we know we are human, and need to do good to others if we expect them to do good to us. That is a good motive.

    So, if I am a worthy member of society, doing good things for others to our mutual benefit, can I not feel good about that, and have a healthy self-esteem?

    Ah, so we cannot simply discount this verse because it is in a "lamentation"?

    Are you saying that my good acts, as an Agnostic, are as filthy rags, but your good acts are good?

    I know many good Agnostics and Atheists.


    How about those who were once born again, saved saints, and then deconverted? Where do they fit in to your dichotomy? See How My Mind Was Set Free.
     
  12. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

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    Ah, as an agnostic I can help people and be a productive member of society.

    Can I sit back at the end of the day with some healthy measure of self-esteem?

    If a good God exists, why would we not have the option to both feel good about that good God, and to also feel good about the goodness within humanity?
     
  13. timf

    timf Regular Member

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    I think both total depravity and self-esteem have problems.

    The bible tells us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. I think it is not too bold to extend this to include not to think more lowly of ourselves than we ought. We might encapsulate this as the we should see ourselves in truth.

    If we look at the world in truth, we have to admit that there are plenty of unsaved people who are kind and even charitable. While they may lack Christ's redeeming grace and thus fall short of eternal life, they also do not fall into a category that sounds like total depravity.
     
  14. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Step back a bit. Practicing righteousness is exactly what God wants us to do with our lives. So why would that be considered filthy in the eyes of Isaiah? Context! This verse is sorely misunderstood and unfortunately used to prove a man made doctrine.
    Thanks for engaging!
     
  15. Hawkins

    Hawkins Member Supporter

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    It is rather a yes and no.

    Law distinguishes good angels from the fallen angels, while angels are with much high ability and intelligence. When this piece of information is to be conveyed by humans, it's better to be written as "the snake is made much more crafty than others". So under the influence of the fallen angels, no human can stand a chance to be saved when the same Law is applied. "Total Depravity" in this situation means, those fallen angels will try their best to make sure that the less intelligent humans will be deceived to fight against God as they do. Men thus stand no chance to pass the Judgment of Law to be saved, under the influence of those much more intelligent and much more capable fallen angels.
     
  16. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable

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    If someone is good at math or at boxing, they can feel good about being a good mathematician or a good boxer, but that doesn't address the issue of sin and righteousness before God. No one who realizes how holy God is, who realizes his knowledge and his supremacy, can rightfully feel good about how good they are. No one is good enough.

    I would consider you lost, but as long as you're still breathing, you can come back with a healthy faith and perspective.

    Doesn't change anything. I'm "good" in placement (Ephesians 2:4-6).

    "High self-esteem" is a rather gross way to describe how I feel about it. I feel humbled and grateful. It gives me something to live up to.

    That is a divine mystery to me. And I'm fine with that.

    Yes.

    We could say that. But before God, the important question is where do you stand with him. For eternity, I have a hope of getting into Heaven, but you have a problem. Solvable still, but you have to deal with that by repenting.

    OK. I'm discovering my purpose as life goes on, as revealed by the God who wrote it.

    In terms of my works, unworthy. In terms of the adoption I have received by grace, humbled and grateful, and included in God's family.
     
  17. Psalm 27

    Psalm 27 Well-Known Member

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    I don't rate self esteem. I belive that we are to die to self, and live for Christ.
     
  18. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

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    What does this mean? Does this mean you do not care about your self-esteem?

    I was once part of a church where the members were regularly concerned about maintaining a healthy, positive self-esteem, while simultaneously maintaining a belief in depravity. This was always confusing to me.

    Are you saying that Christians should concentrate on their depravity, and not "rate self-esteem"?

    Is the self something that we need to die to, or is it something that we need to actualize? That is the question. I find that in many churches, the desire is to actualize the self, not to die to the self.

    Personally, I think Christian theology is, in general, opposite to the desire to build self-esteem. But that is why I am here. If the two are compatible, then I want somebody to explain that to me.
     
  19. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

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    You say I could feel good about being a good mathematician. OK, but, if God exists, I am not as good of a mathematician as God. But I can still feel good about my math skills?

    You say I could feel good about being a good boxer. OK, but, if God exists, I am not as good of a boxer as God. But I could still feel good about my boxing skills (if I ever got them)?

    Similarly, I wonder why I cannot feel good about being a good father. Sure, if God exists, I might not be as good of a father as God (ignoring for now the atrocities the Bible says about God). Can I also feel good about my skills as a father?

    Can I not feel good about being a caring friend, a loyal husband, a moral citizen, and an employee with integrity? Why not?

    Why is it that you will allow me only to feel good about my non-moral accomplishments, but not feel good about my moral accomplishments?
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2022
  20. doubtingmerle

    doubtingmerle I'll think about it. Supporter

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    I didn't ask you if you thought I was lost. I asked you if you thought I was unregenerate. Let's try it again: Do you or do you not think I am unregenerate?

    The reason I ask is because you said that "Every unregenerate person is in fact totally depraved." Do you think I am unregenerate and totally depraved? Do you think I can never feel good about my moral accomplishments?

    You said that by contrast regenerate people like you are, well, er, uh, ah, "That is a divine mystery to me. And I'm fine with that."

    Could you come up with something more concrete to deal with? If you think I am unregenerate and totally depraved, then what, by contrast, do you think of regenerate people? Are they also totally depraved?
     
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