what is good and evil?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by KnowSelf, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Exactly my point. Cancer, ebola, tsunamis ... they're neither good nor bad, they just are. It is we who offer subjective and emotional responses to our environment as either 'good' or 'bad' or, indeed, indifferent.

    Mind you, being told you have cancer or have contracted ebola can be qualitatively determined as 'a bad thing'.

    But bad and evil are not the same thing, that was my point, and people too often conflate the two.

    I ran into a car once, my bad. A car ran into me, his bad. We lost a child, bad all round. Good and bad are in the nature of finite contingency. To say 'everything is good' is the same as and naive as saying everything is bad.

    It's all contextual.

    But the nature of evil is quite precise and well defined within the respective traditions.
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, but it is nevertheless a miscomprehension of Christianity, for example, a tradition in which that error is probably widespread, but human nature being what it is, I'm sure it's prevalent in all traditions.

    I would be naive to downplay the philosophical struggles monotheism has over theodicy, but it does seem to me that a right view of the world goes some way into reconciling the question of why bad things happen to good people.
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    We-e-e-e-ll, 'infinite possibility' within a finite context ...
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    No.
    It's quite possible for a finite and contingent cosmos to exist without evil.

    It's in the nature of Nature. The cosmos is finite, it suffers contingency.

    According to science, life as we know it can be attributed to a number of 'happy accidents', a cataclysmic change, for example, that resulted in an oxygen atmosphere, the particular combination of RNA and DNA via bacteriological interaction that allows evolution ... the emergence of life can be read to be against all the odds if one looks at the evidence a certain way ...

    Self-generated extinction events aside, we could get sideswiped by a passing asteroid ...

    I think that's wrong. All spiritual commentaries speak of a necessity of detachment, and too often we are owned by our emotions/feelings, rather than own anything through them.

    And really, we own nothing, nor should we seek for ownership. Participation, yes, possession, no.
     
  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Highly unlikely, not yet been discovered, yet possible.
     
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  6. Truthseeker9

    Truthseeker9 Member

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    Do you mean that spiritual and character growth may come from suffering? The Baha'i Faith teaches that. However, I believe that if suffering is bad enough it can also hurt character development. On the other hand, I believe that God recompenses us for suffering in the next world.
    God created us with a good spiritual nature. All of our evil acts come from our lower nature which is derived ultimately from our material nature and our ego.
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Over the years I've heard G!d doesn't give us more than we can handle. I've often thought she had mistaken me for someone else.
     
  8. Truthseeker9

    Truthseeker9 Member

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    Are you getting at that evil is the lack of good, and does not have a positive existence. This is what Abdu'l-Baha taught:

    Evil is nonexistent; it is the absence of good. Sickness is the loss of health; poverty, the lack of riches. When wealth disappears, you are poor; you look within the treasure box but find nothing there. Without knowledge there is ignorance; therefore, ignorance is simply the lack of knowledge. Death is the absence of life. Therefore, on the one hand, we have existence; on the other, nonexistence, negation or absence of existence.

    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “The Promulgation of Universal Peace”
     
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  9. Truthseeker9

    Truthseeker9 Member

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    Yes, he that commits more good than evil is better off in the judgement of God. But there is always forgiveness, and it is up to God ultimately in the end regardless of what we do what our spiritual fate will be. God judges us for the degree of our faith and the deeds we do, both. I believe that Satan is not an independent entity but symbolizes the evil part of ourselves.
     
  10. Truthseeker9

    Truthseeker9 Member

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    I agree that's it the price of the freedom. God allows bad things to happen to good people or causes them to happen to test the character of the person and to help us to grow in character and spirituality.
     
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  11. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Ok. But I might take it a step further and say that being equipped with the above knowledge to continue to persist a wilfull and deliberate action/rebellion against what is 'good'? Something like that, perhaps?
     
  12. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    It may come down to a person being honest to his own personal code, not to the social law? A soldier may believe he can kill, but not to shoot an unarmed man in the back, etc? As long as I am true to my own personal code and what I myself agree upon? It's when I go against that?

    It's the gap where satan enters and slips through and in a single instant can go on to destroy a whole life and all the good that went before?
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
  13. KnowSelf

    KnowSelf Active Member

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    God knows our heart and our heart knows good and evil
     
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  14. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Enslaving another human being..

    Some folks used the Bible to continue the practice...

    Others justify....well it was the norm, it was a different time.

    Yet quakers used the same bible to decry the institution and protest...

    Their protests were met by deaf ears of supposed Christians...
     
  15. KnowSelf

    KnowSelf Active Member

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    Irregardless a pure and good heart produces positivity, a malicious heart creates negativity and pain. My reference said nothing about the bible, about church or about God, So why did you travel down that pathway?
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Unlike the diversion forget the Bible and its discussion on the proper treatment and handling of slaves shall we?

    What exactly do you think of things that are legal, sanctioned by govt and society yet evil?

    Slavery, separating children from their parents, apartheid, etc
     
  17. KnowSelf

    KnowSelf Active Member

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    The determination of what or what is not evil is subjective to individual consideration. When the US housing market crashed I do not recall lending institutes feeling remorseful for selling homes to unqualified buyers.
    Excellent point! I cannot vouch for government policies nor their actions, however, historically speaking our leaders really F*** up from time to time. What if a government employee followed orders against better judgment, what if that governmental order destroyed thousands of innocent people..who is to blame and who or what is evil? The action or the responsible party. Is following orders bad?

    Who is responsible for these things? What was his/her motives. Were these things evil or bad or both?
    Universally not everything can be bad when whatever might be beneficial in some way. If the world ended there would be redeeming value.
     
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  18. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Because he just can never miss any opportunity to take a swipe at the Bible, lol
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  19. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Yup, I swipe one of them off the shelf as my goto spiritual reference every time I need one.

    I get a similar complaint from many white hetero cisgender christian males (and Americans) because I boldly state my beliefs right along with unabashed truths of the problems my ilk has caused in the past and continues to perform presently.
     
  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    yes we humans are the biggest scourge on this earth. EE have polluted the water, land and sky, exterminated numerous species of animals. Disrupted the planet exponentially more than we've improved it, as we've really only tried to improve it for us, but actually all our construction has in the end been to our detriment.

    The world will not end, the world will not only survive, but will thrive without us. As man cannot destroy the world, man can (and is) just making it inhabitable for man.
     

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