Wednesday, January 20, 2010

#32 - Evil and its Nature

We talked recently about evil and what it is and what it isn't.

There can be a natural evil - something like a natural disaster (like we have seen so vividly in Haiti in the past week that may have killed almost 200,000 people and possibly left a million people homeless); diseases like cancer, AIDS, etc; accidents or other things that don't seem to have an intent to do harm but just happen (an agentless cause).
- 4th hour broke this one down to discuss a thing like lung cancer. If lung cancer is caused by someone's smoking habit, then it can be considered evil. The cigarettes themselves, however, cannot be thought of as evil, because they needed to be used in order to become toxic. If a person develops lung cancer b/c he/she lives in a high pollution area and has lived w/ heavy smokers his/her entire life, then the person wouldn't be considered evil. An evil has been done to him/her by another person's free will (the smoker, the polluting company).
- 5th hour broke it down with the atomic bomb - we tried to figure out if an object itself could be evil w/o an agent to use it. Discussing the atomic bomb, I think we came to the conclusion that there had to be some agent who needed to enforce his/her will upon the atomic bomb to make it do his/her bidding. Otherwise, the bomb could be used as a planter, couch, etc. without such an agent and therefore isn't evil.

Then there are moral evils. These have an agent as the cause or someone or something doing the evil with intent. We tried to break things down to universals - is there a universal evil in every society? Wikipedia broke the nature of moral evil down into 4 groups:

"Views on the nature of evil tend to fall into one of four opposed camps:
Moral absolutism holds that good and evil are fixed concepts established by a deity or deities, nature, morality, common sense, or some other source;
Amoralism claims that good and evil are meaningless, that there is no moral ingredient in nature;
Moral relativism holds that standards of good and evil are only products of local culture, custom, or prejudice;
Moral universalism is the attempt to find a compromise between the absolutist sense of morality, and the relativist view; universalism claims that morality is only flexible to a degree, and that what is truly good or evil can be determined by examining what is commonly considered to be evil amongst all humans. Author Sam Harris notes that universal morality can be understood using measurable (i.e. quantifiable) metrics of happiness and suffering, both physical and mental, rooted in how the biology of the brain processes stimuli." 1

As we had mentioned in the past unit, St. Augustine thought that evil was not doing God's will. Judaism believes (correct me if I'm wrong) that evil results when one forsakes God.

Then there is the problem of evil - why does it exist at all? This is the school of thought that if God (or any all knowing, all powerful good diety) existed, why would that diety allow evil to exist? If it did allow evil to exist, then is the diety really good and/or all powerful? There are many ways to look at this - see Problem of evil - here - and here - and here - for ideas. Some religious types think that this argument is so corrosive that they devote a lot of energy to debunking it - they think it might lead to atheism.

C.S. Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia, wrote this about his early athiest days:

"My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?... Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too--for the argument depended on saying the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies" 3

Occam's Razor is an idea credited to 14th Century friar William of Ockham which states that the conclusion based on the fewest assumptions is most likely the right one. 2

Questions (pick 3 of 4 questions to answer):
1. Is it better to prevent evil than to promoting good when making rules or standards to live by? Why?
2. Do you agree with the problem of evil - that a benevolent, omnipotent diety wouldn't allow evil? Why or why not?
3. Are we making this more complicated than it has to be? Or should we just reduce it to the simplest explanation (Occam's razor - see above)?
4. If we as humans can conceive of evil or evil acts and thoughts, does that mean we are evil by nature? Why or why not?

Due Thursday, January 21. 200 words minimum.

1. Evil,
2. Occam's Razor
3. Problem of Evil
4. Problem of Evil
5. Problem of Evil
6. Problem of Evil


  1. 1. No, I think that it is better to promote good than to prevent evil when making rules or standard to live by. In my opinion, giving others positive rules to follow is more helpful in preventing evil from occurring. When telling others what they can or cannot do, you’re simply giving others ideas about what crimes they can commit. When telling people of all the good they can accomplish, this may inspire some in doing good.
    2. No, I don’t think that a benevolent, omnipotent deity wouldn’t allow evil. In doing so wouldn’t that God be evil? That action would be taking our free will away and making the world a perfect place. Who would want to live an ideal world? As Agent Smith, in the movie the Matrix said, humans are not satisfied with perfection, our world needs flaws.
    4. I don’t think that since we can conceive of evil or evil acts we are necessarily evil. In my opinion, recognizing these things is actually a good thing. I think that a person who can’t separate good from evil would be more dangerous. As humans most of us have a conscious and are able to discern what is right or wrong.
    Laetitia Crosnier

  2. 1. I agree with Occam’s philosophy because I think sometimes we think too deeply into things and we fail to see the simpler side of things. If we start to over exaggerate we start to lose focus on the topic at hand so me mist look at what specifically makes people evil whether than go too deep to the point where there is no answer. I think we should do both by making it simpler and we do complicate things as humans because we want to get answers.
    2. No I do not think when people think evil thoughts they are evil because they are just thinking about the worst case scenario in an instance. I think in reality they are just trying to stick to the status quo and figure out a way to prevent evil things from happening to themselves and the people around them.
    3. I think that there is higher power preventing evil around us but also I think that God is also putting his rage on us because of sin. There are multiple instances where God has put his rage on humans because of their wrong doings. I don’t think that this is evil I think this is his way of giving his discipline and we sometimes forget that. Some people think that it is fate or bad luck but I think its God doing most of it.

  3. 1.) In a society that promotes good and deplores the evil acts of man, I think that it is essential for any person creating rules or standards to live by to follow the same guidelines. I think that evil acts can be defined but no person should make their life standards by evil acts alone. There needs to be a balance between the way evil is looked at and how we make our guidelines. I think if people focus on the things that they could possibly do wrong they are more likely to do those things.
    2.) I do believe that there is an all-powerful god but I don’t think that there can be good without a measure of evil. I think that god created evil so that there is some sort of free will for man. This evil allows man to choose what they want to do instead of the will of god being forced upon them.
    4.) I don’t think that humans can be evil at the core. I think that the environment in which the person grows up gives them the propensity to commit evil but no person can be evil in their way. I think that the times and the people that win the particular problem define evil.

  4. In my opinion I think that it is better to promote good rather than prevent evil when making rules to live by because if we only promote good in society then people won’t know what are acts of evil and will only know what are acts of good therefore they can’t commit any evil. Promoting good while making rules and living standards will help people have the mindset of only doing good and not doing evil acts to other people.
    I don’t think we are making this more complicated because I believe that God is deciding what people do whether it’s an act of good or evil. God chooses when something happens because I believe that everything happens for a reason. I think that God has evil things happen to balance out the world with the good in the world because nothing can be perfect.
    I believe that we humans are not evil by nature and that certain people learn and develop being evil in their lives. People in society learn from their surroundings or by seeing what other people do that is bad which is how they become evil. Someone may see on television someone murdering another person or robbing a bank and other may go out and do those acts because they are upset or they want revenge.

    Stefanos Thomopoulos 5th Hour

  5. 2. I don’t necessarily believe that a diety wouldn’t allow evil, rather that a diety, if there is one, never created evil or good. I believe that once mankind came to the world then evil was created in man’s mind. And if there is a higher power that actually did create good and evil then I believe that this higher power would allow evil because without evil there would be no good, and sometimes evil can teach people a lesson.
    3. I think that we may be making this more complicated than we should, but how much more simple could we make it? We have no idea how or why good and evil was created and who created it. I think it’s in our human nature, along with good and evil, to be curious of this. Occam Razor may be right when he says that the conclusion with the fewest assumptions is most likely to be the right one, but that assumption isn’t certain, which is why mankind can’t seem to simplify this everlasting question.
    4. I believe that every human is good and evil by nature, so yes I do believe that the fact that we can think and conceive evil makes us evil. No one, not that I know of, every laid out the rules of what was evil and what was not when mankind was created, so that means that mankind had to come up with it on their own.

  6. 1. I think it is better to prevent evil than promoting good because if you prevent evil then there is a higher chance that there will be less evil. People will listen more if you prevent something. However, if you promote good that doesn’t guarantee you that all the evil in the world will be gone. People won’t have to listen and will still have the free choice to do evil. Promoting good will give them a choice of whether they want to be good or not.

    2. Yes I agree with the problem of evil because if a benevolent, omnipotent diety truly exists then I would imagine that he would want everyone to be happy. He wouldn’t set evil into the world so humans can trick and hurt each other. I would imagine that he would want everyone to live peacefully together.

    4. Yes I believe that we are all evil by nature because anybody can think of evil acts. Children starting as young as 2 can think of mean things to do. However, as we grow older we learn what is right and what is wrong. We are able to make better decisions. Everyone has conscious and morals which allow us to make decision that are best for us and the community around us.

    Irina Laczkovich 4th hour

  7. Eric Singer
    1. As I talked about in class, I thought that doing evil is what makes an object evil. Which feeds into the question: “Does doing good make an object good?” Using a needle to maim someone is clearly more evil than drawing someone’s blod for donation. But where I fail to see congruency is in the more. How can we quantify evil or good? Just like beauty those are very abstract thoughts. So, is promoting good just promoting lesser quantities of evil? Could be. Which would make promoting good just as good or bad as promoting evil. Thus making standards to live by, by defining evil or good, is just defining an infinite amount of lesser good or lesser evil, which is inconclusive.
    2. I’m not sure that good or evil are the responsibility of an omnipotent power. I think that good and evil are unquantifiable terms to describe things that have happened in relation to other ideas. If one were never to learn about a hurricane, but had heard that earthquakes were evil, and one day that individual heard someone else referring to the hurricane as evil, he could readily understand the meaning. Same thing with good, too. So to suggest that an omnipotent deity wouldn’t “allow” evil is to suggest that the deity has any control over the concept of good versus evil, which I do not think is viable.
    3. I don’t think that evil or good as a concept is that important. I think that things happen, but in time whether or not they were good or evil during the times they occurred is irrelevant. Mainly because something that happened 300 hundred years ago, perceived by people as evil then might have a simple scientific explanation now, which doesn’t seem to make the event good or evil. All that is key is that the event took place. End of story.

  8. Tyler Friedman
    5th Hour

    1. To answer this, I think you have to examine the reason why we make rules and standards in our society in the first place. In my opinion, I think we do so mainly to protect three things: life, liberty, and property (as our friend John Locke so elegantly put it. And by John Locke, I don’t mean the bald dude from Lost). If we can accept this as true, then it’s clear that the true reason behind why we make these rules in the first place is in fact to prevent the evil actions of others that infringe on those three things. Because of this, I would have to say that it is better to prevent evil when making standards and rules.

    2. In all honesty, I think the question is irrelevant. While I am a member of the Jewish faith, the one specific issue I disagree with is this, that god is in control of what is good and evil. For me, god is more of an idea, something that helps people explain the unexplainable things in our lives so that we can, in a sense, “breathe easier” knowing that there is someone “out there” looking out for is. With that in mind, I think that, while good and evil do exist, they are a product of human-to-human relationships, and thus have no connection with god.

    4. As I said before, I think good and evil are simply a product of human-to-human relationships, and thus are extremely subjective and don’t follow any specific guidelines. With that in mind, I think this statement is untrue, and that it would be more accurate to say that because we can conceive of evil thoughts and acts, this means that we all have the capability to do evil. This is a very important distinction in that accounts for the subjectivity that surrounds good and evil.

  9. 1. I think that promoting good would be better than preventing evil when teaching people between right and wrong. If we taught them what not to do, then they’d have the idea of what’s evil in their head. If people were just taught what was right, hypothetically they’d never know what was wrong and would be unable to commit something evil.
    3. I agree with the definition of Occam’s Razor when talking about if an object is evil or the intent in which it is used is evil. It’s simple to see that something doesn’t have to be evil if you don’t want it to be. An example would be a Knife. You could use it to cut food, or the knife could be used as a weapon.
    4. By nature, I think that it depends on the person if they are truly evil or not. A person isn’t born into the world with evil thoughts or intentions. It’s the environment and the influences that surround someone that molds them to view things in a way that seems evil or acceptable. One evil person would be Hitler. He wasn’t born into hating Jewish people but through his experiences in life and people that he came to meet, he developed such a strong hate for them that he decided to try to erase their existence. The point is, he wasn’t born with a deep hate to kill.

  10. It is better to prevent evil than to promote good when making rules and standards to live by because preventing evil is necessary in creating a healthy societal environment, whereas promoting good is usually just ends up helping individuals rather than helping the society. When a society prevents evil, good will appear to naturally fall into place due to the absence of evil. If good is promoted without the prevention of evil, evil is still likely to exist within the society.
    I agree with Occam’s Razor because with philosophy, simpler always seems better, and reducing ideas to the most concise form still allows them to speak volumes, despite their simplicity. Over thinking and overanalyzing is a common theme in philosophy, and people seem to make order out of nothing rather than accepting something for what it is.
    The fact that we as humans can conceive of evil or evil acts and thoughts does not mean that we are evil at nature. Evil is derived from external experiences, rather than internal thoughts embedded in someone at birth. We learn what is moral and what is not moral from society and personal experience. We are able to understand what evil is because we see things established as evil by society occurring frequently in our world, such as the killing of innocent lives.

    David Mohan

  11. 2. I think a diety would allow evil, I don’t think that a diety ever created evil or good. Mankind’s actions lead us to label things good or evil. I think that if there is this higher power, then he watches over us. He does not stop evil because it is part our world.
    3. I think we are definitely making it more complicated than it actually is. If we constantly try to investigate and deeper and deeper meaning, we will shy away from the question at hand. It is human nature for us to over think everything because we want answers so badly but we need to refrain from it before were discussing something completely off topic.
    4. I do not think we are evil by nature at all. I do not believe that we are anything by nature. We define ourselves by the choices we make. Just because we have to ability to do certain things does not mean that we will use that ability.

  12. 1) Promoting good goes father in the long run than preventing evil. To prevent evil is a quick solution and is short term, that’s why promoting good is better when making rules and standards. Promoting good makes people follow rules and standards to do good, making it the normal thing to do, not to try to get away with evil.
    3) Good and evil have always been the simplest form of explaining why we do things. As long as anybody can remember this is the true form of rivalry and the longest on going rivalry. The only thing complicated about evil is how it is interpreted, evil to one person may not be a evil to another. Evil only has one simple explanation, and it’s to do harm to something or something.
    4) No, just because we can conceive evil does not mean we are evil by nature. I feel if we could not conceive evil it would be worse. The fact of the matter is that we can also conceive good as well, does that make us good by nature? No it doesn’t, just because humans can conceive does not mean we are either good or bad, going by this train of thought anything we conceive, we are. Which isn’t realistic at all to the real world.

    Mostafa Bendali-Amor 5th

  13. 1) When creating the rules and standards for which a society should live by, promoting the good would show incentive in doing good, rather than the motivation destroying punishment that would occur in a society set on preventing evil. It is unarguable that there will be degenerates in a society that live to rebel, solely because they have no other productive value. These people will disobey all rules. Where all rules prevent evil, these belligerents will rebel against all law, and commit evil crime. Where the rules promote good, the belligerent men will simply not do good; they will be shiftless layabouts with no life goal. What is a better place for a mindless belligerent than confined to his house, rebelling by being lazy? Nowhere. In a society where the best are rewarded, the potential is high; people want to do good for their society so that their society can do them back good. Where a bottom line is set that one must not cross, the people will be less motivated to work hard, and doing the bare-minimum will be the popular route for the average citizen. People thrive on incentive. This is an unarguable fact. With the good-promoting society, the search for incentive is a short, easy task: do the right thing. Incentive and freedom teach one better than cold punishment. This cold punishment is exactly what the evil-preventing society promotes.
    2) To start off, I believe in no such deity. This is important to know when reading my answer to the question. I would guess that an all-powerful god would not allow evil, for what reason would he allow evil. I know counterarguments would say that allowing a man freewill allows him to have freedom, but if you were an all-powerful being with the ability to eliminate evil as a whole, why wouldn't you destroy every evil thought? The human race does not need to live in a balance between good and evil. Most people live where evil is not present, and they live well. Because of the fact just stated, evil is not necessary for a society to exist with freewill. So if a deity were to be benevolent and omnipotent, the allowance of evil thought would not occur. Evil thought is not a necessity to man, rather it is a parasite of the mind to every man unfortunate enough to not know better.
    4) Everyone has had an "evil" thought in their life. People always say ridiculous things like "jeez, I hate that person so much I could kill him" and other silly statements similar to that. In no way would this thought make us evil. The human race is not an evil one. To be truly evil, one must perform an action more than once. The reason that an action must be performed more than once is that a semi-moral person can perform such an evil act, and then feel remorse for the action, and never carry out his wrong doing again. Should the person carry out this action once, not feel enough remorse to stop his actions right there, and then repeat this action, it can be deduced that the person is evil.

  14. 1. It is better to prevent evil than to promote good when making rules or standards to live by because with preventing evil, good will come sooner or later. The prevention of evil is essential for a healthy society and if you only promote good then there will always be somewhat of an “evil”. If anything there should be a balance between promoting good and preventing evil but a society must focus on the promoting of good as a normal everyday concept.

    3. Yes we are making this more complicated than it has to be. Occam’s razor’s explanation is perfect. Is this object evil or is the intent of using the object evil? Was it meant to be good or evil? These questions are asked about the problems of evil. Does evil even exist, if so, why? That is the problem, nobody can answer these questions. People complicate this way to much, it is very easy to tell if an object can be used to cause evil, but it is easier to tell if the intent of the object was to be evil. These thought processes/over thinking are ordinary with many philosophers, that is what makes philosophy in a sense.

    4. Humans conceive evil and acts of evil every day. Stealing, murdering, etc. But that does not make them evil by nature. Evil can come from anywhere, from experiences, friends, relatives, parents, and more. Evil isn’t by nature and it doesn’t come from birth, it comes during someone’s life and personal experiences and it can either be prevented or not be. Everyone has the power to be evil but it takes more power to do good than evil. You must realize what the moral standards are in a society; you must see what is right vs. wrong in order to conceive good.

    Armen Topouzian 5th Hour

  15. 1. I think it is better to prevent evil. When preventing evil you are trying to get rid of all evil. When promoting good you aren't physically making people good, you are just suggesting that they should be good. If a society only promoted good, there would still be people that were evil.
    2. No, I do not agree with that. If that omnipotent power didn't allow evil than what would we know what good was. We need evil to have good and we need good to have evil. If there was no evil and someone did something bad that could be characterized as evil that person wouldn't be guilty because he/she didn't realize it was bad. Therefore, we wouldn't know right from wrong.
    4. I don't think we are born evil. I think that people become evil or good because of experiences they went through. In society, we are told what is wrong and what isn't wrong, that helps shape us. If someone chose to do the wrong thing, such as killing someone, it doesn't mean that that person went through life knowing he/she was going to kill someone. We weren't born knowing/thinking we were going to kill someone or do something bad. So no, I do not believe we are evil by nature.

  16. In my opinion it is better to promote good rather than evil when making rules or standards to live by. I think that it is better to promote good in society because if we only promote good then most people wont know what evil. One reason I think that it is better to promote good is because seeing evil gives peoples ideas and also because to some people evil is like the forbidden fruit, people want to try it.
    I don’t think that a diety necessarily created good or evil. I think that good and evil are judged by each individual person. If there is a higher power that created good and evil I believe that this higher power would allow evil. I think this because sometimes having evil can be like a test of fate.
    I believe that all humans are born good and evil, but there are things in our world that can cause a person to become evil. I do believe in that fact that we as humans can think and conceive evil makes us evil. I think that the environment in which humans grow can cause them to be evil or do evil things.
    Maia Knox

  17. 1) I personally think that in our society, we need to promote good and prevent evil. If people see acts of kindness being done, then that will encourage them to be kind. Also, people need to be told what is evil and what is not acceptable in society so they know how to act. Only having one without the other would not work. If we only prevented evil, people m ay learn to never do evil things, but then they would also not go out of their way to do good. If we only promoted good, then people would do evil things.
    2) I personally do not beleive in a higher power for the exact reason that if there is so much evil int he world, it's hard to believe in a higher power. If there is a higher power I feel like their role should be to protect us and to not let evil fall upon good people, but evil falls upon good people all of the time.
    4) Just because someone can conceive of evil dosen't mean that they are evil. For someone to be evil, they have to act upon whatever is evil, not just understand it, or think about it.
    Sara Dziubek
    4th hour

  18. what i typed in word was too long for one comment. my bad.
    3. AP Lang told me that Occam’s razor is a fallacy. I would tend to agree. When operating under the theory that the conclusion with the fewest assumptions is correct, the size of assumptions becomes irrelevant, and we simply count. But if I were to argue that the sun was actually a giant purple monster, assuming only that it tricks our eyes, other possibly true things could be deemed incorrect. One of these could be that the sun is a ball of gas, constantly combusting: we assume that our instruments have studied the sun correctly; we assume that we understand elements and their reactions; we assume that what we have been taught is true. All of these are assumptions, and they outnumber the single assumption made in the former argument: that our view of the sun is warped; that the purple monster is an optical illusion. Occam’s razor assumes all assumptions to be equal, they aren’t. I do not mean to say that simplicity is a bad idea, when it comes to things to believe in. I do mean to say, however, that if a simple conclusion is reached, it should be able to face other “simple” questions. To simply conclude that Adolf Hitler is evil is fine. If the conclusion was reached by answering questions like: “Are all of his German followers evil too?” “Would Hitler be evil if he killed every non-German on earth?” “Did Germans think themselves to be wicked?” with logical reasoning, the conclusion can pass as true. In this classic argument, all of the above questions can be answered no (good is a matter of perspective; if his cause unified the world, would it be evil? If his cause prevailed, would anyone be able to call it evil (or would it be the greatest victory in history)?). I have defended relativism before, and my argument was shot down by the opposition without much evidence; this situation is not much different, and to approach such an argument without a bias towards either party (in this case, America or Germany) is futile, as my challenger refuses to abandon their own bias. Maybe I’m “being too relativist,” maybe it’s parents’ generation’s fault for raising me to “not judge anyone,” or maybe it’s their parents’ generation’s fault for raising them to judge all but themselves. I argue not for the Nazis, but for the logic that proves that they cannot be defined as evil. I am no fan of the Nazis, and I disagree with their motives and actions; I too have judged them. But I refuse to accept that anything is evil, just because someone says it is. Are we evil because terrorists say we are? Are they evil because we say they are? We commit sins unspeakable upon their religion (I believe the term “Great Satan” has been coined to refer to the U.S.). They destroy our buildings, killing thousands. Which one of us is evil? One cannot support either side of the argument without demonstrating a bias. To say that the only truly evil things in this world are mindless killings is unfair too. The killer(s) (in massacres (school/restaurant shootings)) have reasons for their actions. Perhaps society has tormented them into acting upon inconceivable rage. Perhaps so much has gone wrong in their lives that they feel killing is the only way to justify those wrongs. The killer had to justify it, somehow in his mind, to see it as an okay thing to do. If either side of an event or conflict has a reason for their actions, they can see themselves as good (or at least, not evil), just as much as the opposition.

  19. Part 2
    . I’m not looking to attack your views, Mr. Wickersham, I’m looking to discuss them, without being dismissed as a quirky teenager with warped views. I didn’t read these ideas in a book: I avoid reading philosophy, in order to keep my views my own. I use my own logic to deem things agreeable, and nothing else. I want to discuss this, not fight about it; I want to follow at least one discussion to its logical conclusion in this class. I feel that logical conclusions are necessary for new philosophers, to take ideas from both sides of debates that are floating around in their heads, and turn them into concrete beliefs. Another teacher once suggested (upon hearing that I was in this class) that philosophy should be taught by studying the logic behind ideas, not the ideas themselves. Of course, this is your class, and your method of teaching is all that really matters; you are free to do what you think is best, you have more experience in the field of education than I. I would not be so hardheaded to assume that my views are at all practical (or valid, for that matter). I came to this class in search an authority, who could show me flaws in my logic; who could prove me wrong. I crave the challenge; I long to find a philosopher whose wisdom so far exceeds my own, that I have no choice but to change my ways. I do not prompt you with questions and arguments to fight with you or demonstrate my own knowledge, but to provoke you into discussing something with me until I simply have no choice but to accept your beliefs.

  20. 1) I think that it is better to prevent evil than to promote good. Not everyone can want to do good things, or agree that you should depending on if they are more interested in bettering themselves. But in general, evil can be a universal concept. Well, for the most part. We have debated in class on whether different things are evil or if evil even exists at all. But I think for the most part everyone can agree that evil may be intentionally harming others. Therefore, if there were rules to prevent types of evil like these, then people would be more likely to follow them.
    2) I don’t really believe that there is an omnipotent higher power watching us all, but if I did believe in it I think that this higher power would allow evil. Because you cannot know happiness without knowing pain as well. I think things like evil would just be a ‘test of faith’ for people and also tests of people’s moral standards. If people experience pain and evil it can ultimately make them stronger…
    4) I think That humans are naturally evil. Humans are animal-like in nature except for that we have advanced in society to create authority and things like that. But without it, I think that humans will act for themselves selfishly. I’m not saying that humans do not do things for other people, because I myself enjoy doing things for other people, but I guess that means subconsciously I do things for other people so I can feel happy? So I am benefiting from doing ‘selfless’ things therefore making them selfish. I’d like to think this isn’t true but I think some humans that do evil things just prove what humans are capable of without the proper sort of authority and education controlling them.

    sammy voutyras

  21. 1) Promoting good is far more valuable than trying to prevent evil because once people get used to doing good things, they will do less evil. Commercials and anti-smoking campaigns try to prevent people from smoking all the time merely by telling them not to smoke (preventing evil) but the most effective method is when they bring in something that will replace the cigarette, like smoking patches or pills (promoting good). The power of goodness greatly overpowers the power of evil.
    3) There is a simple answer out there as to what is good and what is evil. It is the different countries, cultures and religions that have a different connotation of that simple explanation of what evil is. I do not necessarily agree with Occam’s razor because if we reduce it to the simplest explanation, then we might leave important parts out. Evil is far too complex to be simplified into a single, universal definition.
    4) We can conceive of evil, but we weren’t born with it. We didn’t come onto this earth urging to kill someone or to rob a bank. Evil is something you gain from an experience or another person. You can experience something so bad or ‘evil’ that it makes you so mad that you do something evil yourself. We are not evil by nature.

    Richard Widdett
    4th Hour

  22. Jake, I will do my best to dazzle you with logic and reason and ideas, but it already sounds like you're set in your ways. If you truly believe in relativism like you say you do and it's not just the idea d'jour, then you don't need me to tell you what's right and wrong about the Nazis or school shooters, etc. You have already determined that for yourself b/c you are the final arbiter of what is good and evil for you. In the relativist world, that's all that matters.

    As for the examination of the logic behind ideas, we will definitely do that. If you find something you want to bring up or you want to question the logic of any of these philosophers' ideas, go right ahead. Just b/c I present them doesn't mean I believe in them.

    Third, I agree with you on Occam's Razor. It's a copout to me to not do the intellectual hardwork needed to connect the dots. Please understand that I put ideas and questions on the blog to provoke discussion. If I believed all of the stuff on that site, I'd be a mental case.

  23. 1.It is better to prevent evil opposed to promoting good when making rules or standards to live by because if good is only promoted, how is anyone supposed to know what extent to evil is acceptable? Obviously, evil should be avoided at all costs and there is no “good” evil, but some evils are more tolerable than others; for instance, a little white lie is more reasonable to live with rather than murdering someone else. If one does not have standards as to how far you can go with evil, it could be ruthless and people cannot determine what degree of sin they are living in. Sure, if good was promoted there would be many people who demonstrate acts of kindness, sharing, helping, loving, etc., but evil has the potential of going just as deep as the promoted good. However, I also believe promoting good means preventing evil, making this question irrefutable.
    2.I do not agree with the problem of evil because I presume that a higher, divine being created evil so one is not blind to what is good. If everything was good, nothing could be appreciated such as donations, or helping a friend in need. That poses the same thought that if there was no sadness, would there be happiness? I believe there needs to be an opposite to everything so you know what something isn’t.
    4. From a religious perspective, I do believe that we as humans are evil. We, as said, are born with original sin thanks to Adam and Eve. Even after baptism or confession, we are not “good”. We still have temptations developed by the devil, Satan, and for every good decision we make, there is the option of the evil decision. I imagine that Satan follows your every move taunting, tempting you to defy God and live in sin. People of the Muslim or Jewish religion may have other views, all of which I am open to.

  24. When making rules to live by, I think that it is more important to focus on promoting evil. In any society it is a good idea to decide what common things the people see as evil. If the evil things can be decided upon and prevented, it leaves much more decisions for each individual person. If I were told that according to the US constitution that I was required to do certain things that were considered “good” I would have a much harder time listening to authority than I do with a list of things that I cannot do. I do not agree with the problem of evil. I think that all evil and good are relative. What may be evil to one person may be just a little bit distasteful to the next. If there were no evil things in the world there would just be good and slightly less good. The slightly less good things would start to be considered evil to people. If evil did not exist, then neither would good. I think that right now in the world that the good outweighs the evil, and therefore evil is sort of a good thing. I also don’t think that just because we recognize evil when we see it that that makes us evil. I think that makes us good. I think that someone who does evil things and doesn’t see any problem with it and doesn’t recognize it as evil then that person is more evil than the person who recognizes the evil in their acts.
    Megan Walsh

  25. Yes, it is better to prevent evil then promote good when deciding rules we can live by, because order is maintained by laws that protect against evil and harm. Although, laws can be broken, enforcement can make it much harder to do cause harm towards others and therefore evil should try to be blocked as much as possible with laws and enforcement of these laws. People do not always know what is wrong unless it is told to them, so merely promoting good behaviors will lead to more bad deeds by people. I believe that a benevolent omnipotent deity could allow a concept of evil because everything in life is balanced and has an opposite. Just like Plotinus’s concept of opposite poles (light and dark, good and bad) there is an opposite to God that evil takes place. Bad things happening to people are also trials, which they must overcome and learn valuable lessons from. Some people however fail to see the good these bad situations bring and therefore cant learn from them and grow. Humans can conceive evil thoughts but unless they act upon these and cause purposeful malice to others they are not evil. Thinking about harming others in some way is not evil until the deed is committed.

  26. Veronica says..
    1.Promoting good by making more rules and standards would be a back fire plan to prevent evil. This is because people both rebel towards rules (by breaking laws they don't believe in) or some people just have devilish ways,laws can't change a person.
    4.Just because humans have evil thoughts and such does not mean that they are evil by nature that means that were humans by nature! The explanation also ties into "ID,ego,Superego" ID is the "devil"on the shoulder and superego is the "angel" and you weigh the two with the ego and morally decide, the evil thought or the morally correct thought.
    2. i don't believe in the problem of evil, because it's not that the man upstairs created evil, he left people with a mind that makes decisions, and he expects you to follow his decide to follow his word,have trust,faith and honor to it and he sees the people who really do feel that way towards his word by seeing the decisions they make. He feels that if you read the bible and truly believe in him&word then evil thoughts won't lead you in, you may have them but you won't fall through.
    Veronica Washington 5th

  27. Jake Ozar
    Blog #32
    Honors philosophy

    1. Yes it’s good to promote good because we need a positive role model. Giving positive rules is better than preventing evil from happening. If people grow up in an evil society they have to find pure otherwise they will grow up corrupt and evil if they have no morals. It would be better to help people grow up in a positive optimistic society than a negative pessimistic society.

    2. A benevolent, omnipotent deity would allow evil because good and evil have to balance out without that balance the world would be perfect and the humans would reject the perfect society As Agent smith said if the world was perfect we would have our free will taken away and humans need a world with flaws because we are not perfect why do we deserve a perfect world.

    4. If humans can conceive of evil or evil acts that doesn’t make us evil. In the book The Lord of The flies that story is about the evil that lies inside man. As Mrs. Petrino said when parents are away teenage boys will act a certain way than if their parents were around. Christians were born into this world with ‘original sin’ Because of Adam and Eve and the temptation God put on them because of the fruit they were forbidden from eating. Then the serpent aka Satin told eve she could hence forth creating original sin. Just because we can conceive evil doesn’t make us evil.

    Jake Ozar

  28. 2. First off I’m not so sure there is such a thing as a perfect deity, however I don’t think that if God is real I think he would allow evil because that gives people something to be scared of, something to keep them making good decisions. He made people flawed and societies flawed so why not have something evil in the world, he would want life to be real, not a perfect dream.
    3. I agree with Occam’s razor when he says that the conclusion based on the least assumptions is most likely the right one. I think we do tend to over complicate things, but it’s because our race has a very sophisticated mind that allows our thoughts to wonder and for these topics to be in question. It’s not a black and white topic to me, good vs. evil, everyone’s perception of what’s evil is different and I think it’s a bit harsh to call someone evil. However, I don’t think that we should reduce it to the simplest form because some things aren’t so simple.
    4. I don’t think the fact that humans can conceive evil necessarily makes us evil, it just means we can go there if something makes us. I do think that we have evil in our nature though, because it’s not really a learned thing to want to get back at those who wrong you, if anything we’re taught to talk it out in order to solve the problem. I would definitely not call the human race evil; I would just say we are all capable of evil thoughts and acts.

    Jessica Keyes
    4th hour

  29. 1. I think it is more important to prevent evil than to promote good. As history has shown people are prone to great acts of evil and kindness. The fact is however that recently evil has been more predominant than good. This is why we must attempt to thwart evil at every turn. If people see that evil is punished they will be less inclined to commit evil acts and thus be more likely to do a good turn daily.
    2. I do believe that an omnipotent being would not allow evil if this being watched over us at all times. I believe that “god” created us and then left us to do our own bidding. If he actually had a hand in everything that happened he would not allow us to suffer or do evil upon others.
    3. Just because we think of an evil act does not mean we are evil. I believe it is following through on our evil thoughts that make people evil. Just because I consider stealing a pack of gum doesn’t make me evil, to the contrary it makes me seem better because I fought the evil urges and remained true to my own morals.

  30. Noah Saperstein

    Preventing evil is much more important than to promote good. Almost everyone in the world can be good, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, so on and so forth, but if there is just one evil person he/she can change everything. Look at Germany just after World War 2. The German people were persuaded, brainwashed and misled by Hitler. A country that promotes good is doing nothing to counteract evil but a country which is preventing evil has less of a need to promote good.
    IF there is a higher being of some sort, god or whatever you want to call it, why would it allow evil. Why would the higher being, so called higher intelligence allow genocide, slavery, war to all happen. Tens of millions killed, billions more never created because of it, why would a higher being let this happen. Allow such acts of violence and hate occur. There are three possible answers, one there is no higher being, two the higher being doesn’t care and left us on our own or third, the higher being is watching us for its own amusement. We may be nothing but a form of entertainment, a live action soap opera if you will. Just something to kill time until the misses comes home from whatever the higher being(s) do(es).
    As humans we can obviously conceive the idea or evil. We are aware that many acts are inherently evil such as genocide and mass murder, but the ability to understand evil does by no means make people inherently evil. The ability to comprehend and idea does not make humans the idea. We can understand pregnancy but that doesn’t make mankind all pregnant.

  31. 1. I think it is better to prevent evil than promote good. I believe that all humans are born good and that we become evil depending on what kind of events happen in our lives. Because humans are naturally good, it is unnecessary to promote good. Promoting good would be a waste of time and we should strictly focus of preventing evil and finding ways in which we can prevent people from acquiring evilness. If we prevent good, then humans will establish certain ideas about what exactly is good and bad. They will gain knowledge about what is considered bad instead of focusing on what is good.

    2. I don’t agree that there is a problem of evil because I don’t believe that there is some kind of good deity or god. I believe that an extremely long time ago, some kind of higher power created matter, causing the big bang, causing a really long road of science to bring us where we are today. I think that evil is just a way to show us what good is. Seeing acts of evilness allows us to determine just how good we can be. However, if there was some kind of good deity, then there would be no such thing as evil. Why would god do such horrible things like the earthquake in Haiti? This is what leaves me to believe that there is no god.

    4.I don’t think people are evil by nature, I think that all humans are born good and we become evil based on certain experiences that we go through in our life time. Everything that happens to a human shapes them in some way depending on how they handle it. Even the littlest things can trigger someone to become evil but I don’t think we are born that way. Just because we can think in evil ways doesn’t mean that we are evil. If we act in evil ways, then we become evil but we are not born that way.

    4th hour
    Jago Ma

  32. I think it is better to prevent evil than set up rules or standards to live by. In societies there are always rules, such as laws, that are broken all the time, from J-walking to murder. If we set up rules and standards we are only setting ourselves up for failure because rules will always be broken. Sop preventing evil would be the best way to counter this problem. I believe that a benevolent, omnipotent deity would allow evil to occur. If it didn’t want this to happen it would have been able to stop us from conceiving thoughts of evil. This being allows evil because it’s natural, and all mankind is born good with thoughts of evil. I feel that this deity allows this because it allows us to choose our own path and has given us a sense of good and evil. If it didn’t allow us to do evil we would never know what good is. I think since mankind can conceive evil or evil acts, it means that mankind has a dark design to its nature. Humans can be consumed by the seven deadly sins, which mean they can be evil. Since they can be evil, I believe mankind can have an evil nature.

    Raphael Egziabher

  33. Ian perfitt says..............

    1. Promoting good is better than preventing evil because I don’t think that humans can prevent evil. We can’t prevent nature events of evil like hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes; however, we can promote good with those acts of evil by encouraging people to donate to the Red Cross and helping out victims of evil.
    2. There is no way that a good deity would allow evil on our earth. If there was a good deity, then there would be no such thing as evil. Evil things happen naturally and I think that it is very hard to prevent. I think that evil can bring out the good in people and encourage them to encourage others to be good. It happens like a chain reaction. Even though evil brings good out in people, evil is still evil and there’s no way that some kind of god would allow it.
    4. I think that some people are born evil and that some people are born good. Everyone, however, still has the potential to become both good and evil, no matter which way they were born. Just because we think of evil things doesn’t make us evil. If we think of good things, that doesn’t make us good either. It all depends on whether we act on those thoughts or not.

    .......said Ian Perfitt
    4th hour

  34. 1. Well, one way to look at it, and the way I’m sure many people look at it, is that by making rules and standards to live by that prevent evil is, in itself, a way of promoting good. But the way I look at it connects to what I learned about behavioral psychology last year in psych class. There are two methods of shaping a person’s behavior. One is through negative reinforcement, where a punishment is received for doing the wrong thing, like when someone goes to jail for a crime. The other way is through positive reinforcement, where a reward is given for doing the right thing, like when you get a good grade on a test that you studied extremely hard for. At this point in time, I think the easiest way to promote good on a large scale is through negative reinforcement, but to make a truly good person, both types of reinforcement are necessary, so that they not only know what’s wrong, but also are aware of what the right thing to do is.
    2. No, I don’t agree that a benevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent deity wouldn’t allow evil. Especially if this same deity created man and gave us our free will. And I think that anyone who truly believes this has not yet learned the values of balance and moderation. Just because a deity is benevolent doesn’t mean that deity cannot allow evil. If that deity is omniscient, certainly it would know the value of balance in all things, and therefore would allow evil to occur. It would allow this because it created man and gave us our free will, which allows us to have equal potential for both good and evil. And even if this benevolent deity decided that evil shouldn’t exist, in its omniscience, it would understand the value of “everything in moderation”, and therefore would not necessarily use its omnipotence to eliminate and prevent all evil.
    4. True, we are capable of conceiving of evil and evil acts. But that does not at all mean we are evil by nature. Just as we are capable of conceiving of evil and acts of evil, we are equally capable of conceiving of good and acts of good. As I said in my answer to #2, man is equipped with this thing called free will, and by its nature, is allowed to employ it however we so choose. So mankind is not evil by nature, but it’s not good by nature either. Instead, it is free by nature, and is given an equal potential for both good and evil through the decisions it makes by employing its free will.

    Drew Fisher

  35. 1) I think it is better to prevent evil than to promote good. Everyone needs some structure in their lives, and that’s why there are rules that should be followed. I’ve grown up learning that I get punished for evil, and for good behavior or actions, I usually don’t get anything in return. Just knowing that I will get in trouble for doing something bad prevents me from doing it. But I don’t always do the right thing because I’m expecting something in return. I do it because I either want to, or feel like I have to.
    2) No, I don’t agree with the problem of evil. I believe that a benevolent, omnipotent deity created evil so mankind could choose which path to take for themselves. Each action a person takes, whether it is good or evil, is their own decision. It isn’t something that was chosen for them. Creating both good and evil gives mankind the power to choose for themselves.
    4) I think that everyone can be evil. The difference of being evil by nature and acting evil on occasion, is that being evil by nature means you can’t control your actions of evil. The thing is, is that most of us have the power to act evil, but we restrain ourselves and do good deeds. I truly think that no one is evil by nature. The people that seem that way are because something triggered that unhappiness or sadness to create evil.
    Hilary Sircus
    4th hour

  36. 1. I think it’s better to prevent evil rather than promote good because once you prevent evil you can create a platform for good. Let’s just say that what you do actually works. If nothing is evil there is a base that you can build good off of with some in between and some great while staying completely away of what evil is. If you promote good and that works than who knows exactly how far people can go. Preventing evil sets a clear line for what people are supposed to do. Promoting good just says reach for the stars but doesn’t say how low the stars can be.
    3. I think that the idea that the conclusion based on the fewest assumptions is most likely the right one is not necessarily true but I think it’s how people many people should view the world. So often people let these philosophical questions that sometimes it might be best to let them be unanswered or answer them as simply as you can
    4. The age long debate about humans being naturally evil or good is one that can never be answered. I believe that humans are naturally a blank slate. When a baby is born it is an empty canvas that can be painted by anything and everything around them. I do think that parents personality traits are given to their children. The environment they were brought up in effects them and their attitude when they grow up and are away from their parents but I don’t think anyone is naturally born with personality tendencies.

  37. Marcus Johnson 5th Hour

    1. I feel that no matter what rules are made there is always someone who is going to break them. Rules may be made to prevent evil but at the sometime it provokes it. This makes me go back to when I was a kid and my mom would tell me not to touch the hot stove but I did anyways, I feel this is what happens with rules. We break them to see what happens.

    2. No, I think that a deity would allow evil. I feel that by there being evil in the world a natural balance is made throughout the planet. I think that a benevolent deity condones most acts of evil because I feel that the deity made us to be imperfect and have flaws as well as act in those flaws causing evil. It’s as if evil is the deity’s way of making a more stable way of life because if life were a complete utopia or dystopia the world would crumble in my opinion.

    4. No, just because we commit evil acts doesn’t mean we are evil. All humans being have good and evil components in my opinion and certain situations bring certain components out of us. It’s not that we are in whole evil. It is that we need some sort of opposing force to keep the world in full swing.

  38. 1.Rules or living standards should be made to prevent evil. The reason for this is because rules are made to prevent evil, or tell you what you shouldn't do for the good of other as well as yourself. If they were to promote good, there would be no restrictions on how you may go about a certain action. For instance, lets analyze the laws on driving a motor vehicle. Some may consider cars evil because it pollutes the air the more someone drives it or a moving metal death trap, because it has the possibility of killing others. We have set laws that restrict what you can do with the car to prevent those evils. An example of the prevention is that each road, highway, or street has a set speed limit depending on the number of people around. These rules are set with the intent to prevent evil, and in doing so, they create a safer community for others.

    2.I agree that evil is a problem and that it exists; a benevolent, omnipotent deity, if in existence, would not allow evil. We were all born with a sense of what it is good and bad. Although, we all try to prevent evil, evil may still prevail at times and no one or nothing can do anything about it. That's life, we must take the good with the bad. Everything is made with a balance of good and evil. We love the good, and hate the bad.

    4. Because humans are capable of evil acts and thoughts does not mean we're are truly evil. Evil can also be described in the eye of the beholder; it differs between each person and what their ethics are. If we are evil, then what is good?

    Timothy Weerakoon, 4th Hour

  39. 1. I feel that in order to have a society that isn’t running mad there needs to be structure; it has to be structure with a positive connotation. By trying to prevent evil we would waste too much time on locking people up because of what they did wrong that we found as “evil”. Also, when you tell people what they can and cannot do, they are more likely to act out, which typically results in crime. When you promote good, you’re promoting happiness and people who want to do good.
    3. I think we’re making it more complicated than what it should be; evil things happen because we live in a world were there are evil people. For the most of the population we have good people who try to protect us and look out for others, but we also have the bad guys. Evil happens because of the devil and good happens because of God and his angles, I believe when evil occurs it’s because and angel lets his guard down for one second, and within that second the devil was able to come in and do damage. Of course God doesn’t like it so he has his angels come down and hell whoever or whatever it was that had damage done to it. World has evil because our world is not perfect and neither are the people in it.
    4. Just because one can conceive evil thoughts are acts does not mean that one is evil by nature. We were not born murders. In order to do evil we must know evil and to do that we must either be around it or learned. A baby doesn’t come out of the womb wanting to kill, it’s only until it starts to grow up and its brain starts receiving evil thoughts or images due to a movie or hearing of some evil. To conclude, I feel that’s its one’s surrounding that turns an innocent child into a murder, not a mother’s womb.

    Bianca Kea

  40. 1. If you want to create standards to live by then you must promote the good rather then prevent the bad. If you only promote the good then people only know of and therefore follow the good standards because there is nothing to compare it to. But also if you only promote the good and dismiss preventing the bad you may have begun a backlash against the very morals you promote.
    2. I believe that the concept of evil is purely human-made, if there is an omnipotent deity I believe it only created life and the Universe, evil only exists because we do. If an omnipotent deity were to be aware of evil and not do anything about it I think that the deity itself would be evil.
    4. Yes, if humans have thought of evil then we must be evil or else how could we even develop the concept. I believe also that we are as evil as we choose to be, definitions vary depending on culture and region so anything and anyone can potentially be evil. We can also choose to be good if we completely denounce or completely ignore the evil principles we have made. If because we can conceive of evil we are in fact evil, then it is equally possible that overcoming the evil in us is the best way to fulfill the omnipotent deity.
    Claire Holton 5th hour

  41. 1. I believe that it is more effective to promote less evil then it is to promote more good. We see it today with all of our laws that try to deter or prevent someone from doing something evil. I believe these laws work better to promote the common welfare of society then say a reward for 1000 to not kill anyone. We will still find as many sociopaths that feel the need to commit crimes but now there will be no punishment.

    3. I do believe that the concept of evil is looked at too closely and needs the be addressed in more broad terms. If not done many arguments can be thrown away with a simple what if? I also believe that good and evil are not ideas that can be picked apart and .are extremely subjective terms

    4.I do not believe that people are necessarily born evil but acquire these traits throughout there lives. A rough childhood where a person does not learn the immoralities of stealing can cause that person to become a thief at a later age. This person was not born evil but through his environmental interactions was made to become evil.

  42. 1. Yes I believe it’s better to promote good than to prevent evil. If you are promoting the good in a way you are preventing evil. By encouraging others to do the right things and setting an example your promoting good and preventing evil in the same essence. That person may take your inspiring or encouraging words and think before they do something considered “evil.” In a way you can’t prevent evil, but it depends on your definition of evil.
    2. As a human just because you conceive evil thoughts doesn’t mean you’re evil. A person that is considered evil can have good thoughts, but are they a good person. Good thoughts are not always to preoccupy your mind. There are times you will have what are considered to be “evil” thoughts I don’t think that makes you evil just based off of your thought. Now whether you act on those thoughts is something totally different. I don’t believe in a conspiracy charged, being charged with thinking of the crime but not committing it. How can someone judge or define you of your thoughts alone?
    3. Yes in a way I do believe we tend to make this more complicated than it has to be. I think we can reduce it to the simplest explanation of God’s doing. At the end of the day were never going to be able to get to the bottom, it going to be question after question but never an explanation for evil.

    Alyssa T. -4th

  43. 4: I think that if we humans do evil acts or have evil thoughts, we are still not evil by nature. I believe this because even if someone has evil thoughts or does an evil act, I don’t believe that God –or any other higher power- would see the person as being evil by nature. God did not make any one human being evil to begin with. I think that if a group of humans –like the people in charge of 911- were to do an evil act, then if does not make that whole group, or minority evil by nature. Because of 911 we think that all Israelis are evil and they get dirty and suspicious looks wherever they go. I think that this is wrong. Just because one group does an evil act, it doesn’t make the whole “human race” evil by nature.
    1: I think that it is better to promote good rather than to prevent evil. Prevent evil just “stops” the evil acts that are going on at the time. If we were to make rules geared more towards promoting good, then that would be like killing two birds with one stone. It would –hopefully- stop some evil acts and it would ALSO help the community and the people because it would have more good acts happening.
    2: I don’t think I agree with this problem of evil, but I don’t really understand the problem exactly. I do believe, however, that God would have to allow some evil because if we didn’t have evil in the world then we wouldn’t know right form wrong… because there wouldn’t be any wrong. There would be nothing to learn from. I think that God does need to allow some evil in the world, but he needs to keep the evil in check and make sure that it doesn’t get out of hand.

  44. When making rules or standards to live by i feel that each person has there own life style to live up to and what maybe evil to one might be good in the mind of another. When I make person standards to live by I decide them by pros and cons. I feel like most people do both prevent evil and promote good because thats the way most were taught. But, if someone always promotes good there will be a point where something evil is done. What is seen as evil isn't always done to be evil, but we have choice and that gives us the power to choose between good and evil. So it is better to make standard rules preventing evil than promoting good because by preventing evil you know what is right and wrong. Sometimes when promoting good a situation comes up that is evil and before you know it, you've been sucked into it. So when thinking of rules it is better to try and not do evil then to always make sure everything that is done is good. Yes, I do believe a benevolent, omnipotent diety wouldn't allow evil becasue they have the power to walk away and not be tempted by it. When someone has set certain morals or principles they abide by and if they stick to them then that person will not allow evil to come into there lives and ruin it. I think humans think of evil because they choose too. Humans can do right and give themselves the power to do good, but they let the temptation take over them. Everyone is not born with evil, evil is either taught to someone or that person has choosen that way of life.

    Samantha T.

  45. Ben Goddard 4th HourJanuary 25, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    1. I don’t know how I am supposed to fully answer this question in the first place because it is assuming that I myself am making the rules and standards that I live by. I don’t have to make my rules and standards because I get my ‘moral code’ from the bible. If I look to my moral code that I already have though it would tell me that it is better to be promoting good. If everyone lived by the bible which is the only ‘moral code’ that is written down and followed (agnostics don’t have a moral code that they follow, as neither do atheists) would mean everyone would for the most part be promoting good which wouldn’t even leave much room for people to be doing as much evil so then it would be better to be promoting good.
    2. I don’t agree with the problem of evil because God does allow for evil in our world in the sense that bad things do happen to people.
    4. I wouldn’t say that we are evil by nature but I would say that we are sinful by nature because we are born with original sin. We were made perfect in the image of God but because of original sin we will do or conceive of evil because we aren’t perfect.

  46. Blog #32

    1. I believe that promoting good in a society would definitely be better and more beneficial to the people, rather than preventing evil. For one reason, humans have a natural want to rebel against what their told, seeing as why some people break the law to begin with. Also, if people were taught the things that they should not do, rather than what they should, people will get those bad ideas that were not previously there into their heads. If the example of evil was not put in front of them in the first place, that problem would clearly be taken care of. If you are taught what is good, and that you will be rewarded externally or internally for those decisions and actions you choose, you will be more likely to engage in such things. An idea of “evil” would probably rarely even come to mind.

    2. I personally believe that if there is a G-d/diety that they never really created good or evil. I think that evil is something that was created by man once put on Earth. People have decisions to make almost everyday where they can choose to do something good for others/themselves, or hurt the others around them. Although it is wrong, some people feel the need to choose the bad, or “evil,” route. I don’t think that this is something that a deity put into their heads, but rather their own decisions on how to live their lives and treat the other people surrounding them. With that being said, I do not think that a deity would even get rid of the evil in the world, because people need to react with each other and experience good, as well as bad, things so that they can learn from those occurrences. Without something bad, you can never appreciate the good.

    4. Although we as humans can conceive of evil or evil acts and thoughts, I do not believe that makes us evil by nature. To truly be evil, you have to act upon those thoughts in order to intentionally hurt the other people around you. Just because those ideas are thought of in the mind, that does not make the person evil. For example, if you think something bad or mean about a certain person, it just means that you are upset with them in that particular moment. To really be evil, you would have to come up with some crazy plan in order to hurt your friend in an unforgivable way, and then go through with this plan on purpose. I think that mankind is naturally good, but there are always a few exceptions. People also do make mistakes, and to make a mistake does not make you an evil person at all.

    Amanda S.

  47. Clare andrew: hour #5April 14, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    #2. The other night while sitting at the dinner table with my parents, I asked them what they believed God really was. They told me that they believed Him to be a loving and caring ruler who is forgiving and understanding. When I asked them about what they thought was the cause of all the cruel things that happen in this world, they answered that it was Satan's doing, not God's. After hearing this opinion, I felt like there was something wrong with this explanation and when I tried to introduce the possibility that God could be evil as well as kind, my parents recoiled and scolded me for saying such a thing. I explained to them that the reason that I thought this was because the Bible stated that humans were created in the image of Him. We have evil inside of us, so why can't our ruler have the same traits? Of course they told me that once again it was Satan that did this to us, but I still couldn't accept it. I do believe that God has to have an evil side to Him and that if he didn't then the awful things like what happened in Haiti and New Orleans wouldn't have happened. Of course that is just my opinion:)


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