Good vs Evil - How do we even know which is which?

Yin and Yang
Yin and Yang | Source
Half and half
Half and half | Source
Good vs Evil
Good vs Evil | Source

Philo

I feel that Philo is right that there is more suffering in the world than there is pleasure, and this would certainly make one wonder as to the benevolence of the Deity responsible for creating and maintaining our world. It makes since to reason that if the world around us has a great deal of evil; weather it is less than, equal to, or greater than the amount of good, really doesn’t matter; there seems to be a flaw in the idea that the Deity is all good, and all powerful. If the deity has all good intentions, is all powerful, and never makes a mistake, why is there so much suffering in the world? Why, does it sound as though evil was introduced into the world by mistake in the stories connected to this religious belief? Lucifer was not planned to become what he became, nor was Eve meant to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. If it was a part of the plan it was definitely not a part of the story, and according to the text contained with-in the same book, the book itself is perfect, therefore it must tell the entire story, mustn’t it. This is where I side with Demea in the idea that there could be good yet to come from all of the evil; at some point in the future, or on some level that mankind just can’t comprehend.

Cleanthes

Cleanthes, in my opinion has dug himself into a hole that will be very difficult to escape, with his declaration that there is a greater amount of good in the world than there is evil, and has done so completely in vain. Even if you could prove that there is more good than evil in the world, it doesn’t make the Deity seem any more likely to be benevolent, because evil does still exist. And as Philo pointed out to stake a religious belief on the idea of there being more good than evil seems to discredit his own belief, because it would be impossible to accurately measure. So I ask, if the deity is perfect, all powerful, and all good, why is the world he created so seemingly imperfect, and why are there so many inconsistencies in the book that he supposedly overseen the creation of, that is supposed to represent him perfectly. I have personally always looked at evil in the world as a necessity; if there was no evil there would be no reason to define good, and we must remember that we are dealing with words and the ideas they represent, not absolute truths. The word good may take on a different meaning than the word it was translated from, and then again from the originator of the idea. It comes down to faith that something that seems bad may be good for some unknown purpose, which brings to mind the story of a time traveler who goes back in time to change something that went wrong, only to discover that changing that one thing had catastrophic results on the future. There are so many variables to consider when deciding if something is good or bad, how could anyone ever be absolutely sure?

Good and Bad

For example, there might be a man who murders someone, which definitely seems like a bad thing, but he is then caught, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison, which seem like a good thing to me. However, the story may not end here in the world of free choice, which we all live in. If he had not killed that person and been caught, he may have gone on to kill many other people and perhaps never have been caught. Or perhaps the person he killed could have gone on to be a tyrant who brings about the destruction of the world as we know it, if he wasn't killed. In either case, was it bad for him to be killed in the first place; in the grand scheme of things? Who are we to judge what is good or what is evil?

Do you think we can ever really know what is good and what is evil?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I don't know
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Comments 18 comments

Website Examiner 4 years ago

You have written an outstanding hub. I have often reflected on this, and written stories from the perspective of evil being the norm. We, humans, will probably sense evil when we confront it: Especially the type of evil that is misery, like extended pain and hopelessness. But in more complex situations, even politics, it may be difficult to separate one from the other.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

@ Website Examiner, Thank you for the compliment, and for reading, it is much appreciated.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

@ The Finance Hub, thanks for the compliment and vote I will certainly check out some of your work.


penofone profile image

penofone 4 years ago

Good is evil when comprehended properly it examines itself under the microscope of truth within the confines of existence. Blissful and downright jealous people tend to undermine self-righteousness. It is a curse of conscious activity. Bellyful of joy!! Real Nice Hub. Thanks.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Good comment penofone, I think you understand where I'm coming from with this writing. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Civil War Bob profile image

Civil War Bob 4 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

Dmop: Good hub with some challenging insights. You write that you find evil a necessity...you pretty much agree with the Deity who says that He created the wicked for the day of evil in Proverbs 16:4 of that Ancient Near East Text I've been studying for 31 years... actually read through the whole thing 23 times. Perhaps you might find the start of where I picked up my sense of grace and humor by looking over John 3:16-18 and seeing what that Deity has in mind for you, assuming you believe that a Deity exists? Just a suggestion...


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Civil War Bob, thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I have also read that Ancient Near East Text a few times and have studied it's origination quite a bit. I certainly believe that there is a deity, perhaps I just get too caught up in asking questions, rather than just having faith in the path he has set out before me.


zzron profile image

zzron 4 years ago from Houston, TX.

I think good and evil have a lot to do with right and wrong and we as people need to be able to tell the difference between the two.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

I agree with you Ron, but from a philosophical point of view the line becomes very fine if exists at all. The point I make is that perhaps God has a good intent even behind evil, if he is benevolent he must have, wouldn't you agree?


Civil War Bob profile image

Civil War Bob 4 years ago from Glenside, Pennsylvania

Dmop: You've just said what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28 which Christians quote so much to each other, "God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love God,to those who are called according to His purpose." Unfortunately, they do so sometimes at the wrong time and come off sounding stupid or unfeeling, but the truth of the statement isn't diminished by faulty practice. The reality of the situation sometimes requires a lonnnnng time before we get to see just exactly how it 'works to the good;' which, in itself helps build patience in the individual.


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 4 years ago from New York City

I like this hub, it points out the troubling dualistic approach to good and evil. Well since you've already read one of my hubs on it I really don't have much to say about my perspective, and since I answered your question with it, I think its all relative as you've also stated here to the observer of such right or wrong doings.

Those who feel they're in charge of others will always have the role of playing judge, there will always be a jury involved and punishments will commence there after getting caught for anything that appears to violate ones moral code of ethics, and this is also what you've stated here, and so your accurate in those things I must agree, as for Philo, and the other characters you've portrayed here I have no clue whom they are, but it worked in your favor here to prove your points of interest.

Nicely written & getting voted up!


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

CloudExplorer, Thanks for taking the time to read and comment it is appreciated, I am adding some links that will lead to some information on the portrayed characters in my Hub, I hope it helps to clarify who the characters are.


LaThing profile image

LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

Great hub! Yes, there is a Deity, but is the human mind capable of knowing the true essence of the Deity? We will never apprehend it completely! I agree with you, when an evil befalls, the future outcome is unknown to us, thus the evil seems really intense....

Voting up, and interesting!


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

LaThing, who are we to judge what God allows to take place in our lives, maybe we must suffer in order to grow and be ready for whatever comes next. Thanks for reading and for your comment, have an awesome day.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States

I think we have differing perspectives on life, but I find your ideas very interesting.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

angela_michelle, I suppose I have somewhat of a unique perspective on life. I'm glad you at least gave me a moment of your time and gave my ideas some thought. Thanks for stopping and for your comment, enjoy your day.


Vegas Elias profile image

Vegas Elias 4 years ago from Mumbai

A very interesting topic which has intrigued me all my life. I personally feel any action that gives me pleasure without giving pain to someone else should be good. Of course a definite definition of good or evil may not be possible.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN Author

Vegas Elias, from a logical stand point I agree that any act I enjoy that hurts no other should be good, but it seems so much more complicated doesn't it. Great comment, I'm glad you stopped by, and hope you have a great day.

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