is Evil real?

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by maya, Mar 29, 2003.

  1. maya

    maya New Member

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    I don't believe in evil. people just do stuff. We decide whether they are evil.People blame satan for evil but ive never seen Satan and think people use him as an excuse.We need to take responsabillity for our selves and not blame others.we make the choice. ???
     
  2. exastra

    exastra New Member

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    evil does exist, but relative to good. each defines the other. good and evil-- as manifestations of consciousness energy-- are very real forces that we can feel intuitively and see the effects of in action. good and evil as value judgments are merely relative distinctions, but good and evil as intent to harm or help are actual.
     
  3. brian

    brian Administrator Admin

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    The whole "good" and "evil" notion is definitely a relative concept, based on cultural paradigms and personal morality.

    I don't see any workable concept of external "evil" having it's own independent existence, abstract or literal.

    There are extremes of the human condition - selflessness can be "good", and "selfishness" can be evil. But these are simply personal traits and motivations, with an entirely internal existence.

    Just my 2 cents. ;)
     
  4. Dave the Web

    Dave the Web New Member

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    Is evil real? Now that is a tricky one! Sometimes I think that it cannot exist but in ourselves, but other times I am not so sure. I wonder if there are greater beings out in the universe. If so, and we call the good ones Angels, then is there not room for others that would spitefully abjure and goodwill to humanity? (I have just learned to use the word abjur byt the way!)
     
  5. Omar

    Omar New Member

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    The waters of reality surround us and they are unforgiving. Nature both gives life and takes life. Is nature therefore evil? Nature offers essential sustainence and greedy temptations. Is nature therefore evil? No, nature is evil. The satan, which is opposition to Allah, is our own pride and selfishness. That is when we roll in the waters, unheedful that they will eventually drag us to our doom. But Mohammed is like throwing bread on the water and through this we can sustain ourselves. For it is not merely bread but spiritual sustainence. When we taste we realise that one day we shall leave these waters of reality, and more than this, know that we have the option to embrace either complete destruction or else Allah the All Compassionate.
     
  6. Talia

    Talia New Member

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    Everyone brings their own evil into the world. Nothing more nothing less.
     
  7. mac1

    mac1 New Member

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    Good and Evil are merely ways of percieving the world around us. To live our lives, we need some sort of moral code. Ethical value is placed upon the preservation of sentient life, but this is simply a concept humanity has come to perceive as true. To kill off a viral infection that poses no real threat is considered natural, to kill a human who poses no real threat is the epitomy of evil. Why? The human perception of importance of human life, by humans, thats why. Possibly just a survival instinct and little more. It is after all simply the human moral belief system than decides whether we consider something evil or not. In our perception of Good and Evil we only consider someone evil if "they should have known better". In this respect the concept of evil is simply betrayal of a persons own moral code. Consider this (somewhat unlikely) scenario: A ferral child enters a populated city and kills a young baby in cold blood. Is the kid evil?? Most people would not consider this ferral child to be evil due to the nature of its upbringing. There would of course be public outrage if the child was let free, but if the child "knew no different" then who could possibly be judgemental about its actions. This is why I say that the concept of evil is simply a betrayal of a given persons own moral belief system. By this definition, how can we possibly judge what is evil, and what is misguided. Is it evil to steal something of value from someone with seemly endless riches, even if you don't need what you steal? Some would say its evil, some would say its imoral, others would say its totally harmless. Whether the act is evil or not is down to the perception of each individual person assessing it, the answer is different for everyone, as a result of our various upbringings. It seems to me that evil is just a more intense form of imoral, where we draw the line between imoral and evil is, like I said simply down to individual perception. If no act is universally evil, and all decision making is simply a result of our upbringing, then it makes sense to suggest that the concept of good and evil is simply a means by which to percieve the universe around us, hence evil exists only in your mind.
     
  8. brian

    brian Administrator Admin

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    Ah - now I do like that - it's a great summary. It also makes for a powerful way of viewing the Christian notion of Good vs Evil and God vs Satan. As God is effectively the foundation of moral code, betrayal of that moral code is effectively a betrayal of God. And that fits in nicely with the development of Satan from HaShatan - opposer of God. Interesting. :)
     
  9. mac1

    mac1 New Member

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    Nature, like death is not simply Good.
    Nature, like death is not simply Evil.
    Nature, like death, simply "is".
     
  10. Mr Ecumenical

    Mr Ecumenical New Member

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    There is of course an opposer of God. Why do you think that people suffer so in he world?
     
  11. mac1

    mac1 New Member

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    Why are you positive there is a God? If you are positive there is a God, makes sense to be positive in some sort of oppostion I guess. But why the overwhelming belief in a higher form of life?

    In my opinion, from my own personal experiences, most people tend to suffer due to anti-social behaviour, bad decision making, the actions of others (usually actions which betray what the given subject believe to be considered good), oppressive government(s), lack of ambition, and other such more worldly reasons. I think it to be unlikely that this is the work of a malicious omnipresence, but I guess I shouldn't rule it out.

    [The anglican religion in britain actually has a really interesting history. Did loads of reading up it for the sake of research a few years back. The reformation, the scottish prayer book crisis, the rise and fall of puritanism, the trial of the seven bishops, the restoration of charles etc. all really facinating stuff. Well worth reading about if you like history. The whole era surrounding the english civil war was quite an interesting time in terms of changes in religious and political trends actually]
     
  12. brian

    brian Administrator Admin

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    [quote author=Mr Ecumenical link=board=3;threadid=64;start=msg441#msg441 date=1050321943]
    There is of course an opposer of God. Why do you think that people suffer so in he world?
    [/quote]

    I guess the question there is - how can you be so sure?
     
  13. exastra

    exastra New Member

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    as with the Divine: for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible. for those who do believe, no explanation is necessary.
     
  14. Ali

    Ali New Member

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    Evil exists only in men's minds! When they see it only in others is truly a folly.
    We should be clear that death is not evil, for thence we are returned to the bosom of the Almighty. Where is the evil in Heaven?
     
  15. WHKeith

    WHKeith New Member

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    My belief is that evil is that which mutilates or destroys the soul.

    I do not believe in Satan. I find the theology shaky in the extreme, leading either to a Manichean philosophy with two equal and opposed gods, one good and one evil, or a bizarre situation where an omnipotent and all-powerful deity deliberately surrenders some of His power to an adversary...essentially allowing or even causing evil to happen.

    I agree with you, friend Ali, that death is not evil. My tradition sees death as change and regeneration, not as something to be dreaded.

    I'm not sure I follow the reasoning that evil is ONLY in the mind, however. Much hangs on one's interpretation of the word. Hitler's concentration camps were physical constructs and were, in my opinion evil. They also existed because a terrible evil existed first in certain men's minds. We have here, to my way of thinking, evil as noumenon (internally expressed) and as phenomenon (externbally expressed.)

    Or are you saying, rather, that what we think of as evil exists only in our minds? That what is evil to one is good to another? To a certain extent I agree with the relativist concept. A favorite example of mine: Islanders in the South Seas thought nothing of women exposing their breasts. Breasts were milk organs, nothing more, and certainly not sexualized in that culture. Only when western missionaries came along and preached that nudity was sin and forced the women to cover up did that change. At the same time, those same islanders felt that touching lips--KISSING--was dreadfully filthy, a clear taboo. Different cultures, different concepts of morality and sin.

    But I fall back on my definition of evil at the beginning of this post. The true evil in that situation was the wholesale destruction of those natives and their culture, the twisting of their beliefs and spiritual rights into something alien to their very existence.
     
  16. Iacchus

    Iacchus God of the Mask

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    Evil is the misappropriation of God's power which, can only be brought about by one thing, "ignorance." And yet since God is all knowing, then evil cannot be not perceived as such. On the other hand when God created man, who in and of himself is nothing but ignorant, then that generates a void, which necessitates the need for an antithesis, "the Devil."

    Originally posted on PhysicsForums.Com
     
  17. brian

    brian Administrator Admin

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    I've seen fundamentalist Christians become quite frenzied at the mention of moral relativism. They seem unable to handle the idea that humans can determine what is right and what is wrong – that agreement by consensus is invalid as an ethical statement, that right and wrong cannot be decided either by society, the group, or the individual. Which, really, presents its own strawmen – notably when placed against the development of fundamentalist Christian belief itself, which was dictated to by society, developed by the group, and accepted by the individual. Hence it remains entirely relativistic in itself, regardless of the presumption of that particular set of moral relativists. :)
     
  18. Iacchus

    Iacchus God of the Mask

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    I think to the degree that we remain true to ourselves, and not base our lives upon ignorance--i.e., provided that we have standards--then evil should not become an issue.

    And yet this is probably the overall scheme of life, to rebel against the established norm, only to discover our "inherent evils," before attempting to reconcile ourselves on a "higher level." ;)
     
  19. WHKeith

    WHKeith New Member

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    Okay. Let's up the ante, here.

    In the book of Deuterononomy, it says:

    25:11
    When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets:

    25:12
    Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.

    These two lovely verses represent part of the priestly law put forth by the Pentateuch. If I understand this . . . a man is fighting with someone else. The wife of one of the men runs up to help and, being a quick-thinking sort, grabs her husband's opponant by the balls, a sure-fire way to win that fight once and for all. For this service, she will have that hand cut off, and her husband is not allowed to feel sorry for her.

    That law was put forth within the dictates of a culture very different from ours today. Women were property, or nearly so. Unfortunately, it's hard to imagine, but there are people today who feel the entire Bible--and therefor this verse--is as completely and as literally true for us today as it was for the ancient Israelites.

    And so, I ask you, would that act--cutting off a woman's hand--be evil in and of itself?

    Would that act be evil even though the person committing it would, in Iacchus's words, be remaining true to himself by following the absolute dictates of his religion?

    What if such a person chose NOT to cut off his wife's hand? By not being true to the tenets of his religion, has he committed an act of evil?

    Is the act as described less evil when committed against someone living in a barbaric culture three thousand years ago than it would be if committed by a follower of that religious tradition today?

    Women had few rights, if any, in that culture. Women were denied the most basic and fundamental right of human dignity. Is that denial of dignity evil? (It certainly maims the human spirit, IMHO!) Is it evil "now that we know better," but not back then when everyone knew that women were worth less than a couple of donkeys?

    I daresay there is no law in Deuteronomy saying the MAN'S hand gets cut off is he accidentally grabs the "secrets" of another woman in the heat of combat. I guess what I'm really asking is this:

    Is there such a thing as an absolute evil that transcends dictates of local culture and belief? An evil that goes beyond the bounds of mere social taboo or religious law?

    Fascinating debate, here. . . .
     
  20. Iacchus

    Iacchus God of the Mask

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    First you have the establishment of the law--in the "external sense"--which is typically rugged and inflexible, thus comparing to the ancient Israelites in the Old Testament. Then you have the fulfillment of that law--in the "internal sense"--which is typically compassionate and forgiving, thus comparing to the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. Hence the second aspect of the law becomes the means by which to transcend the first.

    Does evil still somehow fit into all of this? Yes it does.
     

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