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Nature and nurture: A spiritual outlook

From the March 2019 issue of The Christian Science Journal

What is it that most affects how we identify ourselves, our potential, and what we can achieve? That’s the question at the heart of what is commonly known as the “nature versus nurture” debate. Is it our human nature, composed of our DNA, sex, ancestry, race, IQ, personality type, mental health, family health history, physical body, and/or personal attributes? Or is it who and what has nurtured us: our parents; where we live; our country of origin; our moral or ethical training; our mental, social, and physical environment; our economic or citizenship status; our religion; how others treat or respect us; whether we are bullied; the quality of our education; our exposure to violence and crime; the opportunities that come our way; and/or just plain luck?   Clearly, many things could affect our sense of ourselves and what happens in our future, but the teachings of Christian Science reveal that we never have to be trapped into adhering to either the human nature view or the human nurture view, or to both views.