Friday, April 20, 2007

What is Evil?

This is a very deep question because it has so many people confused about the real difference between a “sinner” and an “Evil” person.

A sinner can make bad moral decisions that may or may not harm others.

If we steal a pencil from work, we are a sinner, but we would not be classified as an Evil person.

If we look at the dictionary definition of Evil we find things like “1. Morally bad or wrong; wicked. 2. Causing ruin, injury, or pain; harmful.” – American Heritage Dictionary

When we are born, we are all born with “free will” or as my moniker says with “Free Agency.”

I choose the word “Agency” because it shows that we are free to “choose” good or bad. I also choose it because I always want to point out that “others” don’t make choices for us. “He did what he did because others bullied him, so it wasn’t really his fault.” Baloney! He made the choice. Nobody “made” him do it, not even the “devil!”

As we journey through life we are moving toward a preponderance of morally good decisions or one of mostly bad moral decisions.

(Update - Added the words intentionally - FAR )
If those decisions intentionally continually do significant harm to others, or if they only once intentionally do the ultimate harm to many, (murder), one might classify them as an evil person.

At one time I thought, (and even blogged on it), that we should never hate anyone or anything, and after further review, I need to correct the stance that we should never hate. We should never hate people or a person, but it is O.K. to hate evil.
(Update - Maybe better word(s) than hate would be "fight against" - FAR)

Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. – Ps. 97:10

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. – Prov. 8:13

Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. – Amos 5: 15

We have to recognize that some people are truly Evil and we need to stop making victims out of them because they didn’t get their spinach when they were little, therefore they must be looked at as what they are, Evil.

If there is Good, there must be Evil. There are quarks and anti-quarks; there are protons, and anti-protons, the ying and the yang. Anyone who denies that there is Evil, is deluding himself or herself that there is balance in the world.


Note update on the word "hate."

"Biblical Hebrew lacks the necessary language to exactly define the comparative sense, i.e., 'more than' or 'less than'. Instead it tends to express two things which may be comparatively of different degree like 'first' and 'second' as extremes such as 'first' and 'last'. In this way love and hate whilst appearing as opposites may in fact be related but lesser terms such as 'love more' and 'love less'. " See Hebrew Studies - http://www.biblicalhebrew.com/nt/lovehate.htm

So, perhaps we should say we "dislike" evil instead of saying we "hate" evil. - FAR

14 Comments:

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

I don't think it's okay to hate anything. Hate just eats you alive and that's why every religion warns against it. You don't have to like everything, but to affirmatively hate requires a lot of negative energy. In addition, I would contend that it is through the act of hating that most people do evil things, regardless of the object of that hate.

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

As we journey through life we are moving toward a preponderance of morally good decisions or one of mostly bad moral decisions.

If those decisions continually do significant harm to others, or if they only once do the ultimate harm to many, (murder), one might classify them as an evil person.


Didn't you tell me a week or two ago that intent matters? That you need to know what's in someone's heart? Here you seem to be suggesting that intent is irrelevant so long as the results show a destructive pattern.

 
At 1:29 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

ii,

As far as hate goes, I definately see your point as I am struggling with the very thing you said in your first comment.

As to the second comment, I am not sure that I am saying anything about intent.

In all seriousness, can you explain how you get that from my post? I am always interested in your views and opinions and I should try to clarify if I gave the impression that intent doesn't matter. --- "Context is King" is my motto.

FAR.

 
At 1:30 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

P.S., maybe dislike or to "fight against" would be more correct?


FAR.

 
At 6:00 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

It was this statement of yours that gave me the impression that intent doesn't matter -

If those decisions continually do significant harm to others, or if they only once do the ultimate harm to many, (murder), one might classify them as an evil person.

Is that not a correct interpretation?

 
At 6:58 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

ii,

I just soooo respect your input. :)

I like to refine my statements to become as clear as possible and you have found a hole in one of them.

I will change it to be more correct, thanks to your keen eye...

If those decisions intentially continue to do significant harm to others, or if they only once intentially do the ultimate harm to many, (murder), one might classify them as an evil person.

FAR.

 
At 9:47 PM, Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Well said and I agree!! I'm getting ready to do a post on Fred Phelps and the word evil is the first one that comes to mind so I may link to this.

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

So, perhaps we should say we "dislike" evil instead of saying we "hate" evil.

I don't know. This seems like we are just quibbling over semantics. Ok, so you dislike evil, so what?

The fact is that evil exists. Those who are spiritually healthy accept this fact of life and do what they can to keep it out of their lives. But you cannot have good without evil.

 
At 11:07 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

But you cannot have good without evil.

On this we are soooo in agreement.

:)

FAR.

 
At 8:14 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

BTW - I just got finished reading Phil Zimbardo's "Lucifer Effect" on how "good" people do "evil" things. It is worth a read for anyone who cares about this subject.

 
At 5:20 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

I remember someone else commenting on this book.

He said that the old saying "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" - Lord Acton

Is basically showing that all men when given a even a little authority will immediately begin to exercise wrongful subugation or force on others.

We see this in "Managers" at work who find that having power over people will currupt. This is also seen in governments especially dictators, but it applies to congressmen as well - they become "do gooders, but by using the force of government."

He also said he heard of other similar tests but by using religious people versus "secular" or non-religious people and the conclusion was that people who believe they will be held accountable for their acts on this earth, tend to be more compassionate and restrained.

I personally believe that God will put no one in a situation where they will not be able to make the right choice if that is what they really "want" to do.

Choice is wonderful!


FAR.

 
At 5:24 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

P.S.

I also believe there is a hugh difference between in-human things and truely "evil" things, and finally a person who by his "preponderance" of acts throughout his life, seem to indict him as an evil person, versus a "sinner" who on occasion will do immoral things.


FAR.

 
At 10:01 AM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

He also said he heard of other similar tests but by using religious people versus "secular" or non-religious people and the conclusion was that people who believe they will be held accountable for their acts on this earth, tend to be more compassionate and restrained.

What a load of B.S. It's convenient and self-affirming, though, so it's not surprising that some religious person peddled this con. Given that the history of the world is a history of pathological violence between and among religious people, I have yet to witness such restraint. Anyone who wants to be violent can find a justification for it in virtually any religious text.

Moreover, the majority of people on the planet subscribe to one religion or another. By the retarded, warped logic, there should be no war or, at best, very little. But, alas, religion isn't the recipe for paradise it is peddled to be. It is the world's longest lasting fraud. Any other product would have been discarded long ago for false advertising.

 
At 7:41 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

ii,

I think everyones view is biased based upon their worldview and I certianlly see where you can see that point of view.

I happen to think that the facts are Anti-Religious Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot have murdered Orders of Magnitude more people than all of the religious or religions have.

Perhaps one could say that Communism is a religion, but I think that is a stretch.


FAR.

 

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