Saturday, October 4, 2008

Blog #4 - What is the nature of evil?

In our discussion of St. Augustine's world view, inevitably, we end up looking at the difference between good and evil. Augustine lived a decadent life before becoming a Christian midway through his life, and after he became a Catholic priest (but not before going through Manicheanism and NeoPlatonism), he wrote much on the problem of evil. His thoughts on evil were influenced by Manicheanism - an ancient Persian religion that looked at the world in purely terms of a struggle between good vs. evil. We could look at the war on terror as a battle between good and evil, but that would be too simplistic of an argument.

Augustine wanted to delve more deeply into evil and adapted the NeoPlatonic world view to Christianity. In this case, the farther you were away from God's will, the more evil you were doing. I don't believe that Augustine felt that evil was an actual force or being that existed in the physical or metaphysical realm (picture either a serial killer here in our world and Satan in Hell or demons or whatever you like). This tendency to do evil, to stray away from God's will goes all the way back to our beginning as humans, Augustine says, when Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis disobeyed God's command that they not eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. They disobeyed Him and were cast out of the Garden of Eden. For Christians, this is the Original Sin, or the first sin, and is literally already one strike against us as soon as we're born before we've done anything wrong!

So, that's his take. My question for you to consider/ponder over/ruminate upon is "what is the nature of evil?"

Thoughts to consider:

1. Is evil a tangible force that we can fight against in our physical world? For example, genocides, mass murders, serial killers, etc. If so, where does it manifest itself and why?

2. Are acts of nature (floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes), deadly diseases, catastrophes, and horrible accidents evil? Why or why not?

3. Are things like poverty, war, crime, injustice, racism and other things like this evil? (please, no jokes about political ideology here). Why or why not?

4. Is evil inside all of us just waiting for the right circumstances to arise - like if no one was watching, or if we knew we could get away with something?

5. Where does evil come from? Can it come from just one single person or do you need at least two people to commit an evil act? If you were the only person left on the Earth, would it be possible for you to commit an evil act?

6. If God exists, why hasn't He/She/It done away with evil if He loves all of His creations (us, the planet, animals, etc.)? If God is all-powerful and still leaves us alone w/ evil, does that make God evil? Or less than all-powerful?

I think examining this issue will take at least 250, maybe even 300 words. I put these questions here for you to consider, not necessarily to answer. Putting the full power of your noggin' behind this will help you write a better essay upon the same topic that will be due later this month.

Due Monday, October 6.


  1. What is evil?

    When I think of the word, the first thing that comes into mind is the Wicked Witch of the West, and other fictional characters. Green villians usually end up making the cut to be evil, as well as other antagonists in popular stories.

    It's a loaded word, really. While some people believe that people are born evil, some people believe that anyone can commit evil deeds.

    Heading towards the thoughts to consider list...

    Is evil a tangible force that we3 can fight against in our physical world? I don't believe that an entire event such as a genocide can be pure evil. Horrific events such as said genocide exists because of extreme and scewed opinions of people, but I do not consider if pure evil.

    Where I am ultimately going with this is that "evil," in my definition, is one action deliberately degrading another by one person. Furthermore, evil is not a human quality or trait (someone cannot be evil), is exists only as the direct result of an action as described above.

    To clarify, I cannot be evil. No matter what terrible actions I do to murder, steal, etc, I cannot be evil. Each of the actions can be evil, but that does not make me an evil person.

    Looking at the second thought question, Are acts of nature...accidents of evil?
    No, I do not think so. Going back to my definition, in order for evil to exist there needs to be one person committing one action. Nature? No, that's not evil at all. It is committed by the forces of nature and it is not one action, it is an entire series of events which is out of one man's hand.

    Is evil inside all of us just waiting for the right circumstances to arise - like is no one was watching, or if we knew we could get away with something We all have the ability to commit an evil action. That does not necessarily make the statement true that we all have evil inside of us. Until the ideas or the desires to commit evil surface and actually occur, the evil does not actually exist.

  2. Is evil inside all of us just waiting for the right circumstances to arise - like if no one was watching, or if we knew we could get away with something?
    I believe that evil is inside us all; however, what makes a person evil is their choice of listening to it or not. We always will have little thoughts of evil, whether it’s to look off of a peer’s paper while taking a test, going against your parent’s rules, etc. Everyone has this so-called “evil” inside of them. For example, look at Lord of the Flies. Once the children understood that no adults were on the island, code for no consequences, they started listening to that evil voice inside of them. Also, the quote from the movie “The Italian Job” sums up what I believe: “I trust everyone; it's the devil within them I don't trust.” Everyone has the choice of doing good or becoming evil. Sure, sometimes people do have mental issues that can sway them to one side or the other, but every sane human makes the choice of evil and good every day.

    Are acts of nature (floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes), deadly diseases, catastrophes, and horrible accidents evil? Why or why not?
    No I don’t believe that natural disasters and deadly diseases are horrible accidents of evil. Looking back, I can see why humans used to believe that these catastrophes were acts of evil, however humans have the technology today that explain why these occurrences exist. Humans need explanations of why things happen, that is probably why they used to believe that floods, tsunamis, hurricanes and tornadoes were evil—it made them feel more comfortable that they knew why these disasters where happening to them.

    Leah Cenko

  3. I believe that the concept of “evil” is 100% subjective. Nothing is pure evil, because what we view as evil is all based upon our perceptions. What is seen as evil by one person may be the definition of righteousness to another. Self-righteous people believe that they are doing absolute good (and in some cases even believe that they’re doing the work of God), but others who view their actions from an outside perspective may disagree. Hitler, for example, believed that he was doing the work of God by cleansing the world of Jewish people. To those of us who aren’t Nazis, he is viewed as evil, because we think that what he did was very wrong and not at all God-like. Hitler himself, however, might disagree with us, and would probably say that those who tried to stop him were evil, because they tried to interrupt the work of God.
    I can think of one excellent example in particular that does a great job of illustrating the fact that evil is subjective. It may be a television show, but Heroes – particularly the current season, Villains – thoroughly examines this idea. The actions of every character that has been viewed as a “villain” are, in that character’s mind, justified. Sylar has been regarded as the most evil “villain” since season one, but this season promises to provide insight about his past and why he feels justified in eating people’s brains. Knox, a new “villain”, is motivated by revenge against Noah Bennet – who isn’t exactly a saint himself. Every character who has done morally questionable things believes that they are doing what is right, no matter how many other characters disagree with them.
    Every person, real or fictional, has their own idea of the definition of evil. It is a vague concept, and although some things have always been widely viewed as evil by the majority, there is no pure, absolute evil that everyone who has ever lived has viewed as bad. As for the origin of evil, it is based solely on the motives of the people viewed as evil. The origin of Hitler’s evil is his self-righteous task supposedly handed to him by God. The origin of Knox’s evil is his desire for revenge against Noah Bennet. Everyone who commits an “evil” act has justification for their actions, and I doubt that there are many major acts of evil in the history of the world that were committed by someone who actually thought that what they were doing was evil. In conclusion, evil is subjective; what is evil to one person is righteous to another.

  4. Evil is abstract, and thus humans (being the only animals with abstract thought) are the only ones who can experience evil. But that’s not to say that evil doesn’t exist, per se. There is no great, angry, bearded Jehovah dressed in a flowing white tunic who sits in a marble throne dictating that condoms are evil or video games are wicked like some transcendent bureaucracy of holy red tape. “Evil” is one word: coercion.

    Because of my beliefs in relation to this subject, I feel as if Khaled Hosseini created Baba just for me. His idea of absolution, the black-and-white mentality that founds the basis of, “Thievery is the only sin” makes perfect sense to me. When one steals, they take coercive action against another by forcing property from its owner. When one murders, they take coercive action against another by forcing their life from them. To make things clearer, I’ll define coercion by negation: If an individual does not, by their own volition, wish to do something, they cannot be forced to do so lest they become the victim of coercive violence.

    Let’s say I walk down the street and a man in a trenchcoat approaches me. He opens the coat and reveals a broad selection of drugs ranging from happy magic mushrooms to opiates that he offers to sell me. I politely decline, and he frowns, shrugs his shoulders, and we go on our way. Did the drug dealer try to force his wares on me? No. Did the drug dealer try to force my money out of me? No. No harm, no foul. No coercion here, no moral tangles and no evil. The drug dealer had the choice to peddle his goods or not and I had the choice to accept or decline his offer.

    Continuing, as I’m halfway down the block I hear sirens and a police car whizzes past me. Ahead I see a jewelry store and the fuzz pull up next to it, apprehending a thief in the middle of a heist. The jeweler never gave his consent for the thief to take his merchandise, but despite that the thief took the jewels anyway. The thief took coercive action against the jeweler, and therefore committed an act of evil.

    There is no justification for coercion. There is no situation in which any man should do something under involuntary compulsion, not even if the draft says it should, not even if a union says it should, not even if the government says it should. And coercion shouldn’t exist because of this, but it does. It springs from the idea of entitlement: the state of mind that honestly believes someone deserves something that isn’t theirs for nothing. Nothing comes from nothing: If I haven’t earned something, I don’t deserve it. One’s social status or level on the economic hierarchy does not change that. If a man is a business owner, he cannot expect workers to work for nothing and cannot expect to receive materials for free. If a man is a hobo on the street corner panhandling, he has done nothing to earn money, and therefore should not feel that anybody—no person or organization—owes him anything. However, if a person decides to donate by his own volition to either the hobo or the business owner, there is no coercion, and therefore there is no evil.

    The beauty about coercion, though, is that we have the choice to enact it. We have the choice whether or not we should surrender to the evil. We have the choice to steal, murder, or kidnap. There is nothing that can compel coercion but coercion. There is no riddle of the chicken or the egg here: there is only clear-cut responsibility. No one is responsible for their choices but themselves, and therefore no one is responsible for their coercion but the coercive. It is through this that we can find justice.


  5. Because I’m not religious, it’s hard for me to pin down exactly what I think evil is; I can’t simply say that it’s straying from God’s will and leave it at that. I believe that evil is causing something or someone capable of suffering great physical or emotional pain. I do agree with St. Augustine and Neo-Platonism in saying that evil is the absence of something, but instead of God or a divine being what’s missing is empathy. It’s only once we stop seeing other people or animals as thinking, feeling beings just like us that we become capable of evil.
    I also believe that only humans are capable of evil, because only humans are capable of empathy. Storms and viruses aren’t able to think at all, much less understand the suffering they cause. Similarly, accidents are not evil, because whoever caused them didn’t intend to hurt anyone. Only humans who are able to understand the pain their actions create and then commit them anyway are truly evil.
    I think that many people don’t believe that killing or hurting animals is evil, but I personally don’t agree. While it’s true that we don’t know if animals are capable of reasoning or thinking the same way we do as humans, anyone who has ever seen a hurt dog or cat knows that they are certainly capable of suffering, which is all that matters. This is the reason I became a vegetarian.
    I agree that you need at least two people to commit an evil act; if you were the only person or animal on Earth you would have no one to physically or emotionally harm, so you would be incapable of evil.

  6. Are acts of nature (floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes), deadly diseases, catastrophes, and horrible accidents evil? Why or why not?
    I don’t believe acts of nature should be considered evil. I think evil is when someone or something intentionally hurts someone or something. Acts of nature are not intentional. People do not have control over when these things occur. Even though the things that these acts of nature can cause are evil they are not done on purpose. These acts of nature are more like horrible, traumatic events. I don’t consider deadly diseases evil either. Even though they can cause evil things like death, they are not given to people on purpose. Unless, people brought that disease upon themselves by making bad lifestyle choices. I also think the topic of whether acts of nature, deadly diseases, catastrophes, and horrible accidents relates to our blog topic last week. People’s opinion whether or not these things are considered evil could have to do with whether or not they believe in good or bad luck. Or are these horrible things part of a person’s fate?

    Where does evil come from? Can it come from just one single person or do you need at least two people to commit an evil act? If you were the only person left on the Earth, would it be possible for you to commit an evil act?
    I believe an evil act can come from one single person or 100 people. Something that may be considered evil by one person may not be by another. So, Evilness all depends on a person’s definition of evil. One person spreading a rumor could truly upset someone, and be considered an evil act. I don’t think the amount of people matters, but if someone suffers along the way they have been affected by an evil act. I believe by you committing an evil act you could end up hurting yourself. Upsetting a person could cause that person to commit an evil act against you and you could loose all your friends.
    -Shayna Stillman

  7. After reading about the thoughts to consider, I began think what does evil really mean. I came to the conclusion that comes from the word wicked. I think evil basically comes down to jealousy.

    I think we can fight evil in our physical world. I think it is more of changing people’s opinions because I do not believe any person is an evil person. For example, people who commit mass murders or who are serial killers are not mentally okay. Although this is not an excuse for their actions, I do not believe that they are not evil, but just have the wrong ideas. I do not really know why people think this way or “think evil”.

    Floods, hurricanes, and diseases are acts of nature. Floods or hurricanes might be caused by climate change. Diseases are only brought on upon to the person because they do not take care of themselves or expose themselves to something dangerous. (For example to get to much sun) Evil are acts done by humans.

    Yes, war and racism are acts of evil. Wars are usually caused by someone being jealous of another and wanting what they have. Usually then the person decides to take it by force and therefore starts a war. Racism is an act of evil because people do not like those who are different than them and are therefore mean or evil to them.

    I think evil is an outside force. For example, someone might be jealous of someone else. I think “good” comes from within. Everyone has “good” in them. To commit an act of evil, there must be more than one person. Evil is a base of one person’s opinion in another. For example, to us a terrorist is evil, but to the other side they are seen as hero because we are the evil.

    Allison LaSota

  8. I believe evil is a part of human nature. If I were to categorize evil, I would say that in it's purest form, evil comes in genocides and war. To define it is a hard task since everyone has his or her own opinions. I would say evil is the act of consciously bringing hardship on another human being. To me, genocides are the perfect example. The only forces willing this to happen are the minds of human beings influencing others. Being the mastermind behind a genocide is an evil act and so is taking part in it. But does that make everyone that watches without stopping it evil too? This is a difficult question, one I'm not sure I can answer. However, I think that standing back doesn't make you evil; it just makes you feel helpless in a time of need. There are genocides happening all the time and although I'm not doing anything to stop them, I don't think that makes me an evil person.

    As far as the question of whether or not G-d exists to destroy evil, I don't think He does. I think that this supports the theory that we as humans have free will. G-d can look over us, but I don't believe He has any real power to intervene. If he did, I think we should have some evidence by now and many acts of evil would have been stopped. Humans make the conscious decision on how to act and G-d has nothing to do with that. This is why I don't believe evil comes in the form of weather, such as hurricanes or tornadoes. These are things we cannot control. When it is something that we choose, that is when it becomes evil.

    -Rachael Malerman

  9. There are thousands of different ideas that shoot into my mind when I think about whom and what is evil. First off I would like to say I am a strong Christian so many of my beliefs have been influenced through God and my religion. Evil to me is doing something wrong when you know it is wrong but you do it anyways. That is an act of evil in my eyes. Obviously the severity of these acts differs. I mean yes robbing a bank or murdering someone is an act of evil and is breaking the 10 commandments. But also lie to someone is an act of evil as well. To me everyone has a little evil inside them, except god. The main point is if we choose to let into our evil ways or do we use common sense and our good nature to resist from evil. Evil is in everybody and it doesn’t take more than one person to perform something evil. Individually, everyone van perform something evil. I would also like to add that many things that people might say is evil is not. For example, acts of nature such as hurricanes, tornados, and floods are not acts of evil. In my eyes these acts of nature are tests from god to see if we are strong enough to not let into our evil ways. Society is supposed to stick together and help each other out to get through hard times and these acts of nature that god creates are all test to make sure the evil stays out and the good stay in. Now I am not saying that everyone who has died in a hurricane or a tornado is evil. But maybe people who could have helped them survive and choose not to are the ones who are being tested in gods exam. Evil is tangible and the good will fight the evil for as long as the world lives. But when evil overcomes the good in people that’s when god will decide the world should end. God has a test in store for us at some point in our lives. Either we stay good, resist evil, and get an A or we go bad, let in evil, and get an F on our test. It’s all in our hands.
    Ryan Bertrand

  10. What is evil? What is the nature of evil?
    These two questions are very different even though they are so closely related. Evil, as defined by the dictionary, is the wicked or immoral part of someone or something. I believe that this is a fairly close definition of my own personal view on evil. I don’t believe that someone is all good or all evil but the parts of their inner self, soul, and conscious that allows them to act in “wicked” ways are the evil portions of a person.
    I don’t think that anything but humans can be evil so that is why I use the word person. Things like nature, poverty, war, crime, injustice, and racism aren’t evil; they are just produced and run by evil portions of human(s) winning out inside of them.
    It is in the nature of human kind that the nature of evil resides. Evil wasn’t created by any higher power, or at least I don’t think, and wasn’t just waiting on earth for humans. It came as an all in one package with humans. We develop and learn right from wrong, good from evil, and have that whole free will thing that other species don’t possess. This gives us the power to choose what we as individuals deem socially right and wrong and decide what we deem personally right and wrong, good and evil.
    Also, in order for something to be evil, someone has to feel that way about an act. If one commits an act that they feel isn’t wrong, someone else must say it is for it to be perceived as an evil act. Therefore, if you were the only person on earth, it would be up to you and your conscience to decide if you committed an evil act.

    -Henry Moss

  11. I characterize evil as lack of moral conscience. There is a certain extent where if you are doing something bad to another person not matter what it is, there is a certain extent to which it is not okay, and it is normal to feel guilt or disgust and stop. Humans who do not feel those things are people who cannot control their evil. It is similar to the id, ego, and super ego. There is one telling you to go on your impulse and just do it (the devil) and then there is the part of your brain that talks sense into yourself, at which point you reconsider a drastic circumstance you could have otherwise taken. I think Augustine is very right about how evil is the absence of something. We all as humans have it in us to imagine doing a drastic, typical 'evil' crime such as murder, you can imagine it as much as you like, but having the ability to actually do it is rare; due to the conscience. Evil doesn't necessarily have to be that violent either. It could be an emotional thing, where one person just rips the other one apart and never speaks to them again. In the movie mean girls, you see the girls doing these really MEAN things to one another, but you also see their character and the fact that they feel terrible at the end of the day for being that way. Some people just really don't care about anyone but themselves, to the point where they don't just look out for themselves, they enjoy others misery. To shortly respond to some of the questions posed... Is evil a tangible force that we can fight against? I don't believe so. Can you fight love? No, but you can fight the people involved. It's like don't hate the player hate the game, but you can't hate the game because that's just the way it is. Poverty, war, racism, they are all terrible things but are all very different. You would have to pick apart each topic and analyze it debating whether it has evil characteristics or not. Nature is nature; it is not a human making a hurricane. The weather patterns do no have to feel bad about killing millions of innocent people.

  12. I think that people’s definition of evil will differ depending on each person. Nobody living is “perfect”, meaning that each and every person alive will end up doing something wrong at different parts of their lives. Therefore, I would say that there could be a little bit of evil in all of us whether it’s in our thoughts, or in our actions. However, I think the degree of evilness depends on each person. I think a lot of the measure of evil is determined by the way we were brought up. For example, I’ve learned that children brought up in abusive, non-loving households, can result in that child being very aggressive while growing up and even to the extent of being abusive. I know that situations like that are not true in all instances, but it is likely.
    I also agree and believe that some evil can be a tangible force that we can fight against. I think that there is a way we can attempt to minimize murders, genocides etc. Unfortunately, I feel that there will never be a way to completely eliminate evil in these types of scenarios. There will always be those certain few people who have so much hatred built up inside them, and will be the ones to come up with a plan that hurts or kills people, like the terrorists of September 11th.

    -Stephanie Alexander

  13. Evil, unfortunately is part of our human makeup. The very element that separates us from any living creature, because we are aware if it and are capable of using it at any given moment. We learn the difference between good and evil as soon as we become conscious of our existence. Evil thoughts and acts are interpreted very differently. What I think is evil could be different from your view or what other cultures or societies dictate. What we all have in common, is that evil, and in whatever form we choose to exhibit, is in fact the purest form of destruction. Something that we as humans have been trying to avoid.

    We know the power that is in our thoughts and ultimately in our hands. What we choose to do with that power will define us. In our world, which has based itself on religion, has tried to control it since the beginning of time. Most rely on the bible/religion and its wide range of interpretations, to know the difference between right and wrong and to fear the punishment of a bad deed. I believe that with the natural existence of evil within us, we also posses the highest quality of goodness. I believe that we have equal parts of “everything” within our nature or personalities. For example, our happiness can be just as extreme as our sadness and we can be either balanced or imbalanced.

    Our wills are strong and easily persuaded by our egos. The rules, laws and guidelines were put in place for a reason. I don’t think that religion has benefited the outcome. However, because we are humans, we are mammals and mammals are animals. We are literally trained to behave in a certain way so that we don’t hurt each other. Good always outweighs evil. We still have a fight chance!

  14. There is evil in the world and it is inside everyone. Everyone has the capability to do good or evil, and it is the choices that you make that set them apart. I define evil as acts that have a negative influence or directly have a negative effect on people. Everyone in their life’s makes decisions that are evil in someone’s eye. The only important thing is to know that in your eyes what you did was not evil.
    However even if you think that what you did was right there are something that no matter what are wrong. Like murder and crimes against humanity or things of that nature. There are people that are not right in the head, for example people that have mental issues that go on a serial killing rampage. Those people are the exception to the rule, because in order to have a rule there has to be an exception to it. There is no such thing as someone being born evil; it is the actions that they make after that defines them.

    Patrick H.

  15. Mark Young
    5th hour
    H Philosophy

    What is evil?.... What makes something evil?.... What things are evil?.... Is stealing evil?.... What about defaulting on a loan?.... Deception, trickery, jealousy?.... Surely murder must be evil?.... Are these things evil?.... Yes, no, sometimes, always. The answer to this varies with the person, and with the times. Evil is not a proper discriptive adjective. Its definition changes as constantly as the seasons and just as surely. It is a word that cannot be defined. What is evil today may very well not be evil tomarrow. Fifty years ago the very concept of abortion was met with gaping mouths and gawking eyes, now its as easy as ordering take-out. Evil is a relative. If I were to attempt a concrete definition I would say that it is a concept distinct to each individual thats encompasses all that that person deems immoral, unethical, and unjust. Each persons definition independent from all others. My personal thoughts.... I'll make a list....
    --Class distinctions as a method for taxes and political gain
    --Flag Burning (It's just so damn
    --Purposefull ignorance
    Well there you have it. If you don't like it then make your own list. Have a nice day :)

  16. Evil is a definitive thing. It may not be able to be defined but it can be described most simply as hurting someone or oneself. Evil is something that is everywhere. Evil kills. Evil lies. Evil steals. Everyone has evil in them but not everyone is evil. People chose to do evil. No one makes you do evil things. Even the clinically insane have the choice to kill or eat people. People may not intend their actions to be hurtful but to the person hurt the intention does little to ease the person’s pain. I do however believe that things can affect and even impair a person’s choice to commit evil over good. Things like drugs, mental disorders and one’s past. These things do not excuse the action nor make it less evil, it simply explains the action. People who were abused or hurt in the past tend to commit evil deeds because feeling hurt evokes feelings like revenge which drives people to hurt those who hurt them. However like I stated before; people have the choice. Someone can persuade people to do evil and if the person gives into the persuasion then two evil acts have been committed, the act of trying to get someone to do evil and the evil that is actually done. In my opinion it’s just tough luck if you were manipulated into having sex with a married man. But if you were raped than you didn’t commit adultery. I guess what I’m trying to say is that evil implies the choice to do good, when you choose not to do good, for any reason, you have done evil.

  17. What is the nature of evil!
    The nature of evil is a general question, in terms of what evil is defined as, and the word evil has only a general definition, but no definite branding on things in life. We all surely brand things for being evil or being good, but let us not forget, it is our judgment on what is and what isn’t right. In class today I discussed the concept of all humans being born with certain traits, genetics, and possibly morale standings, surely that has a partial influence on who you become, but the environment also shapes you into what you become, whether society accepts it or not, you have become a child of all human kind, and you have grown. Now from this point you may be sickened, afflicted, mentally ill, graciously giving, or devoted. But those are all standards for what we find to be good, in relation strictly to how it affects us, and not the world around us. What we do to the world may be an evil act, but how can that be defined as evil. Evil does not have a scale or a set boundary, but some general things can be seen as wrong, because they go against what is humane. Some things to be easily considered, not good, wrong, or evil are malice, deception, theft, enslavement, and torture. Now all of these are our creation of what is wrong, but surely, all other animals do not have these standards. A human may do something very sick and disturbing, such as killing people, skinning them…using skin for other purposes, that is a horrid, and disturbing idea, to a animal, it may seem as strange or different behavior. Our consciousness creates the right and wrong, because of our emotional and humane imbedded beliefs. Nature and the world around us does horrid things such as plagues, winter embrace across the glove ( supposedly global warming in its prime ), droughts, famine, tornadoes, and other disasters. These events, are suicidal to the earth, and massacre many lives, but one thing we have to remember they are natural events. They are what is nature in our lives, and no one, is to ever say that they are evil, or good. What is essence in life, is the balance of things, unquestionably the balance is not always upheld, but it is a scale of good things happening, and bad things happening (And good and bad is ONLY understood by us, and because of our knowledge, educated, and emotional understanding of the world). This is our judgment, between right and wrong, and I believe we are attuned with nature in MANY ways, people sometimes really forget that. And our nature is just as real as the nature of the world. Our judgment may gives us a different view, but what we do, is all natural, whether considered good or evil. We are apart of nature, and natures goal isn’t to do good and bad, and equal out. It is to follow processes of existence in addition to something we cannot comprehend, whatever the formula, religious belief, or prophecy it holds.
    Evil is not a reality, it is not a thing, nor a tangible idea. It is simply OUR human label for what we see based on our morale, emotional, and humane consensus on right and wrong.
    And our consensus, and our judgment originates from us, and we are apart of nature, and nature doesn’t choose right or wrong, it simply acts, and exists, with the possible addition of a god, deity, or other unknown source’s influence. ( Our intellectual understanding, does NOT give us superiority to say what is right or what is wrong, but it DOES give us to tell each OTHER what is right and what is wrong, to hold a balance because of our emotional, morale, and humane consensus.)

    ~ Dmitry Ionan.

  18. This is a question I've struggled with since being asked. The word evil can even be debated on. My first thought was serial killers: they have to be evil, if they're killing innocent victims. However, many serial killers are crazy, which poses the question: are crazy people evil? Not if they're completely unaware of their actions and wouldn't do such a thing in their sane state, no. If completely unaware of it (an example is Johnny Depp's character in the movie Secret Window), then that can't possibly be evil, one might say. But if this insane, evil person is locked inside the normal person, would they be evil for subconsciously allowing that person to exist in their brain? If a serial killer has no justifiable motive (self defense, for example), no identifiable mental problems, and just kills for the joy of it, then that is completely evil, and I think it can be possible for evil to exist.

    Another point is God. If God is all-powerful, why doesn't He intervene when he sees evil? Raised in a churchgoing family, I've been taught to always believe in God, and that He's looking out for me. Now, though i question it, I don't always doubt it. In Dan Brown's book, Angels and Demons, a monk asks the camerlengo, if God is all powerful, why are there wars? Why is there famine? Genocide? The camerlengo replies with a hypothetical, asking the monk that if he had a son, would he allow the son to skateboard? Upon answering in the affirmative, the camerlengo then asked, if your son fell and skinned his knee, would you let him skateboard again, in hopes that he learned to wear kneepads? The monk then understands. It appears that free will exists on Earth, yet God has a say in the afterlife, if one chooses to believe such a thing. God let's us do as we please, in hopes that we learn from our mistakes.

    It's difficult to say where evil originates. It is possible that evil exists in one person, for example Adolph Hitler. Yet it's difficult to say that Hitler instantly instilled hatred of Jews into people. Was Hitler really charismatic enough to turn a good part of Germany racist? Did he do so using fear? People must have been very easily manipulated to instantly hate an entire group of people.

    I also find it hard to believe that events like tsunamis, or global warming are results of evil. Tsunamis, for example, are caused (the scientific definition) by a vibration in the ocean, perhaps a plate shifting. It's hard to believe that something that devastating to innocent people could be some kind of karma. Global warming, it has been proven, is caused at least in part by man (i'm not trying to get political). If we keep abusing the environment, it's going to turn on us. Does that make us evil? Ignorant, perhaps. But evil? Not so much.

  19. Question 4: Is evil inside all of us just waiting for the right circumstances to arise - like if no one was watching, or if we knew we could get away with something?

    I don’t believe that people are evil. I also don’t believe that people are good, though. I think people are just people and are, like all things, made up of good and bad features. There is no such thing as someone who is all good all the time, or someone who is totally evil. Even Hitler- not to legitimize his disgusting crime against humanity- had good intentions; in his eyes, he was doing his people a favor. While people do have the tendency to do bad things when nobody is watching, I wouldn’t call it evil as much as curiosity. I also don’t think that the ‘evil’ is just lurking under the surface. I think that everything has both good and bad at the same time. And for that matter, evil isn’t something you can tangibly fight (this is part of question 1 now). I think that evil is necessary, as well as good. It seems like no accident to me that even though we keep coming up with more and more advanced ways to kill tons of people at a time, we are also discovering new ways of keeping people alive much, much longer. This sounds terrible, but think of how huge the population would be without wars but with all our modern medicines- it almost seems necessary, which is sad to say but people have to die so others can live. And although we have a lot of extreme wrongdoing going on, like the genocide in Darfur, there is an equal amount of extremely good things done to counter it, leaving everything in balance, as always. I don’t think it is possible to eradicate evil, unless we also eradicate goodness. Basically, either way life will have positive and negative aspects, so I don’t think it would really make much of a difference anyway.


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