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Good and Evil

  1. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
    Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago

    "Good" and "evil" are concepts we apply to human behavior.  When are these terms accurate, and when are they labels of convenience we apply out of laziness or prejudice?

    1. Jomine Jose profile image78
      Jomine Joseposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Since it is we who decide, it's our choice.

      1. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
        Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Simple.  I like that.

    2. wilderness profile image97
      wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Discrimination is evil.  Affirmative action (legally mandated and required discrimination) is good.
      Killing people is evil.  Capital punishment is good.
      Stealing is evil.  Taxation (legal theft) for purposes unrelated to the good of the country is good.
      Mistreating groups of people is evil (denying gay marriage).  Doing it for God is good.

      Absolutely it can be convenience, including politically convenient.

      1. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
        Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Nice juxtaposition of ideas.

    3. oceansnsunsets profile image88
      oceansnsunsetsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I think everyone is born with a conscience about what is right and wrong.  Often, no one needs to say and action is good, evil, or indifferent, as they just know it instinctively.  Some disagree on those things of course, but you can usually tell what a person thinks about an action, if you apply it as happening to them, to imagine how it would be if it happened to them or a loved one. 

      I think you can tell when a person is applying it out of convenience or selfishness, or a simply egocentric point of view.  Sometimes it is laziness, or climbing on a bandwagon, or simple prejudice born out of a held belief about another person or group.  It often isn't about the facts, reason, or logic in those cases.  That is another way to tell.....when they maintain the stance in light of the true facts, reason, or logic.   A stance, belief, idea, or actions that hurt another or others.  Good question.

      1. wilderness profile image97
        wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        I would disagree on people knowing the difference instinctively.  If that were true all cultures would have the same mores, yet they differ and sometimes radically.  Consider the natives in Brazil that kill infants when food is short, the cannibalism that has been seen in various places and the wildly differing ideas of proper dress.  What is evil also changes with time; witness the concept of slavery in our own country.

        No, the ideas of good/evil, right/wrong, etc. are all learned from parents and society.

        1. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
          Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          You make a good point.  I guess I can only speak for my own moral compass, not that of another.  It comes down to nature vs. nurture.  I always questioned everything my parents, religious institutions or society wanted to instill in me, but perhaps that is more unique to Western society than I might imagine.

          1. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            In this case, I think, "nature" includes the society and culture one is raised in.  A great deal of our morality comes from there, unconsciously absorbed without any real teaching.  "Nurture" also plays a great part, of course, but in the end it is all learned and not instinctual.

        2. oceansnsunsets profile image88
          oceansnsunsetsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          I think when parents and society can be wrong, people can still know what is right and wrong.  Its not too often a whole society is wrong, but societies have gone wrong directions before in history.

          Its a battle with our consciences and thinking so often.  You don't have to "buy" a parent's idea, or any authority, or any society, if you know something is wrong.  Sometimes, these people are the heroes we see written about in stories. 

          You can test this when you learn of people that have left what they were taught, in the society they were taught it in, and were brave enough to get out of it.  Its crazy hard, and takes a strong person, but it can be done and usually people esteem it.  I don't believe we have to be victims of evil ideas and people, in the sense we have to automatically adopt those ideas.  We are free creatures that can think for ourselves.  No need to be bound by someone elses bad idea, or a cultures bad ideas.  Unless you are literally bound in some way, which is another form of evil, and I don't think anyone would argue that.

      2. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
        Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        I agree with the idea that deep inside everyone has a moral compass.   Yet we sometimes see very large groups of people committing horrible acts.  Short of mass insanity, what do you think is happening in such a case?

        1. oceansnsunsets profile image88
          oceansnsunsetsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          I think it depends on the situation exactly, and we can look to history and psychology to help explain such behavior on a larger scale.

          I believe in good and evil.  Evil can have a way with even large groups of people when destruction of life and freedom are the goal and there is a true distortion in thinking, and a quieting or killing off of one's own conscience. 

          Facing that kind of evil head on can be hard.  I heard of a story and have a picture in one of my hubs, of a situation during or around WW2, where a bunch of armed men were going to kill all these farmers in a field that were of the wrong nationality.  They were told to line them up and kill them all.  One man couldn't do it, wouldn't do it.  He was made to line up with them and die with them, and he chose to do that instead, because he couldn't kill them. That is some serious good standing up to some huge evil, and probably made some of those people think. 

          Your question is good, and has probably many facets to it, ways that it can be answered.   People are scared of evil, so sometimes join it, thinking it will save them or work out somehow in the end.....  Its just a trick, and hurts them still in the end I think.  Evil has an appetite that is never satisfied, and I think it is part of what we are seeing these days.  I think it makes the good shine all the brighter though, wherever it can be found.  I think good and evil are very real things, and not relative.

          1. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
            Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Perhaps then evil exists so that good can exist.  If so, then the opposite must be also true:  yin and yang actualized.

            1. PhoenixV profile image79
              PhoenixVposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Or another possibility that there is no evil, it is all good and we are choosing to not see it or something is hindering our view of it and that choice of, or hindrance of, is a created evil.

            2. oceansnsunsets profile image88
              oceansnsunsetsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Very interesting.  I think its possible that evil is allowed to exist for a time, but its very existence depends on the good that exists ongoing. I think good could exist without evil, but not the other way around.  As for yin and yang... perhaps its like how hatred and cruelty can make love and gentleness and grace shine all the more, and be more coveted, so to speak.  We can appreciate freedom and life so much, because we can see how in our history a lack of it is horrible, perhaps.

            3. WiccanSage profile image94
              WiccanSageposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              I would not compare good and evil to yin/yang, actually (if I may toss in my 2 cents on that).

              The yin/yang are complementary forces, not opposing forces. The goal with yin/yang is not to obliterate one another. Neither is to be resisted, and the ideal is not to choose sides, but to find balance between the two.

              Neither sides in yin/yang represent good or evil-- good or bad can live in both if they are not balanced.

    4. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
      Slarty O'Brianposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I think the answer is in why we think something is good or evil. It's not an arbitrary thing at all.

      There are objectively negative acts and positive acts relative to a subjective being.. Real objective harm that is done and real objective good. Harm is what we call evil, and positive beneficial acts are called good. The terms themselves are just convention and change with language. But the conditions relative to us are objective and most of us no matter what culture we live in would categorize someone who is torturing us as being evil.

      We would almost all agree that someone providing food when we are starving is being very good to us.


      But outside of real harm or real good being done we often use those words in subjective ways. This is where an act that does no real harm but offends the sensibilities of an individual for what ever reason is deemed an act of evil, where as others experiencing or witnessing the act see no real direct harm in it.

      A lot of these acts fall into the category of ethics, not morality.

      This has a lot to do with our sense of fair play. Again, that sense is rooted objective conditions. Fair play avoids conflict, conning people creates and escalates  conflict.

      For subjective beings, conflict is what we try to solve, and conditions that create it are bad and to be avoided, with laws if need be.

      Now, is anything objectively good or evil on it's own? No. The universe doesn't care what we do, it just reacts to it according to what it is. But it is good or evil relative to subjective beings, namely humans and the more advanced biology of the planet.

      The directive of living things is to continue living in peace and relative comfort as long as it can. what really or actually threatens that is objectively negative to the goal.

      So, is morality subjective? yes. But it is based on objective problems humans have, and addresses the real objective conditions we face.

    5. PhoenixV profile image79
      PhoenixVposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      If I close my eyes or someone blindfolds me, does the sun stop shining? Perception of reality and reality are two different things.

      1. wilderness profile image97
        wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Except that good and evil are defined concepts, not actual and real events or things.  And that definition changes with culture, people and time.

        So yes, blink your eyes and what was evil is not good or vice versa.

        1. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
          Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          I am tempted to ask, "What is real?"  The world in front of us is real because we perceive it so with the help of our senses. 

          All definitions change with circumstances and time.

          1. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Yet the definitions of a "real" thing do not change but little.  The sun was mentioned here - we all know what a sun is and that has not changed.  Our understanding of what makes it up or how it behaves has changed of course, but that it is that yellow ball in the sky has not.  But the definition of evil has changed throughout history and will continue to do so as we develop as a people.

            1. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
              Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Of course it has changed.  A star has a life just as does everything else in this existence.  The only thing that remains constant in life is change.

          2. oceansnsunsets profile image88
            oceansnsunsetsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            In think what is real is what actually exists, however it exists, despite what anyone thinks about it, believes about it, or does about it.  What is real, just is, and isn't limited to any constraints people might try to put on it. 

            I think opinions and definitions can change, but what is real isn't reliant on those things.

            1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
              Slarty O'Brianposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              For once I completely agree with you. But I also completely agree with wilderness, except to say that learning is not the only factor at play here. There is a dynamic between learning and genetic predisposition. So on the genetic side there can be a predisposition to a sense of fair play, empathy, etc, which can make a person just seem to know that to harm others is wrong, if only because they do not want harm to come to them or can imagine/feel other people's pain and cringe at the thought of inflicting that pain on someone.

              Born without a sense of empathy, no amount of learning is going to give it to someone. But that does not mean those people will automatically inflict pain on others and enjoy it. There are other built in and learned factors that determine such actions as well. Your beliefs play a big part, and again they are formed through this dynamic between learned and predisposed. . 

              Even a person with empathy can kill if threatened. We can all learn to hate, even learn to hate hate and do violence to those who hate others. 

              It all depends on which factors are dominant at that moment.

              Are Muslims evil? No. But a radical faction of them believes it is their duty to god and to themselves to protect themselves from western influence. But coming to realize they can't, have decided that to wipe out western influence is the only way to protect what they believe.

              They also believe that the middle east should be one religion, their form of it of course. Much like the Catholics felt during the inquisition periods and just like the Protestants and Catholics felt during that little 300 plus year war they had with each other.

              Is it wrong? It certainly is as far as we are concerned they are the evil ones. But they see us as evil. Both sides see themselves as good and right. Remember that we have not been angels when dealing with the middle east in the past.

              Is it wrong to settle your differences with blood? I'd say so. But without another solution humans turn to killing each other, always blaming the other for the conflict. There are always other solutions but too few that have the power or will to see them through.

              Are these radicals evil? No. They are, as far as I am concerned, delusional. Their delusion stemming from their belief. Same as the Christians up to a couple hundred years ago..

              Belief is dangerous, plain and simple. But people haven't learned that yet.

              1. oceansnsunsets profile image88
                oceansnsunsetsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                Do you really think that all belief is dangerous?   I think we believe in all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons. I was speaking more about what is real, and I am glad you agree with me at least in part. 

                All I ask is for people to be fair about these topics, and if they are not, to be able to maybe look at why that might be. I am not sure all people are totally fair to just how much they believe about things.  Especially when they put down belief in others.   This is my observation over time, by the way, in many people.  I even think it could be said that belief in the idea that belief is dangerous, is a belief.  That you think people just need to just be corrected that don't yet agree with you (if you really believe that) is another possible belief.  (Since you may have wanted an example from me for saying what I said.)

                Sorry for the delay in response.  I think we do agree that forcing conversion at the tip of a sword is wrong, since you brought up history.  (Tip of the sword, or forcing people to change their beliefs or else suffer in any way, I think is immoral, and I think most would agree with that.)

    6. DrorBenAmi987 profile image61
      DrorBenAmi987posted 2 years ago in reply to this

      The New Testament says that only God is good and Jesus said that he only spoke the words God told him to say. Jesus is also described as being without sin and sin is an archery term meaning: to miss the mark. Accordingly, good represents teachings which come from God and evil represents teachings from any other source....

      1. Righteous Atheist profile image60
        Righteous Atheistposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        So, slavery and killing homosexuals is "good."? sad

  2. someonewhoknows profile image29
    someonewhoknowsposted 2 years ago

    Every individual defines good and evil by their own personal experiences and desires.
    Religions have defined good and evil under their religious beliefs.
    Society defines good and evil through mutually agreed upon civil laws.

    1. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
      Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Yet individuals, religions and societies often disagree.  What is the best way for an individual to define good and evil for themselves?

  3. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
    Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago

    Perhaps, good is whatever promotes abundant life and bad is whatever destroys it.
    What is life?
    Life on earth?
    Life in Spirit?
    It is a constant?
    Does it apply to all in every situation?

    Was it good that I cut down and chopped up my beloved plum tree? It was old and half dead… but only half dead. The water table was too low for some of its roots to reach… but, not all. It had become unattractive. Was it good or evil that I terminated its existence. I feel terrible… even for a tree!

    Was it good or evil that I put down my dog who still had joy of life… He had terminal cancer and could no longer take himself outside to relieve himself…Was it for his good or mine? I still feel terrible about that too.

    Are there some necessary evils?
    Are there some senseless evils?

    Life, it seems, is always good...Untimely death, not so much.
    Now, when death comes naturally, that is good…Right?

    So, Perhaps Good is whatever promotes happiness and bad is whatever destroys it.


    According to Plato, Justice is good and consists in giving a man what is owed.
    What are we owed? Whatever it is, it is good. When it is denied, it is evil.
    Freedom, Liberty, Independence. These are good. To take them away is evil. Because they are owed.

    (Be careful what you willingly give up.)

    1. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
      Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      A lovely, thoughtful answer. 

      I agree that nothing is black and white.  Also I observe that often things that seem to be of a positive nature turn out to be negative and also the reverse.  Good and evil are not so easy to define, it seems.  But I like what you chose to define.  I think these choices are mostly true.

    2. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
      Slarty O'Brianposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      "Freedom, Liberty, Independence. These are good. To take them away is evil. Because they are owed."

      By whom? Who owes you these states of being? No one. And no one can grant them. They are negotiated with others or taken. They are ideals many of us strive for. They are not intrinsic natural rights. Where did we get these rights?: Through the development of constitutional democracies and entrenched bills of rights and freedoms.

      You can always do what you want until others stop you. But that's you claiming something is your right. It only becomes your right when others agree.

      And we can agree as to what rights we have because we live with others who share our desire for those rights. Hence we all agree that we all have specific rights. Someone threatening your right then threatens everyone else's too.

      For you to be guaranteed your rights you have to give up the right to stop others from having their rights. That's the price of freedom.

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
        Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        I believe we are "endowed by our creator with inalienable rights." They are natural rights.

        "Natural rights are those not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable." W

        1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
          Slarty O'Brianposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          And where does he do that and how are they guaranteed? I must have missed that part of the bible. It's mostly about what you can't and or must do.

          They aren't worth much if they can be taken away.

          There are no natural rights. In nature rights are taken until something takes them from you. Humans have fought hard for societies we have in the west. Many don't have the rights we have.

          1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
            Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            We are born free with free will. Who ever takes it away is evil…Good is granting free will.  By "free" I mean self-guided.

            1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
              Slarty O'Brianposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              We have will, to be sure. But again, no where in the bible does it say god granted you free will. In fact he doesn't want you to use it if you have it, he wants you to do his will. Am I wrong? And are you not supposedly punished for going against his will?

              So, If the human laws say you can not kill others, is that law saying you are free to kill others anyway, it's just that you will get punished if you do? No. The threat of punishment means you are not free to do it. You physically can do it, but there are consequences. Being free to do something means there are no consequences except those that come with the choice naturally.

              That is to say, you are free to choose what flavour ice cream you eat depending on availability. No government in the west is going to punish you for your choice unless your ice cream contains something illegal. You might gain a few ounces, and if you think that's something you don't want then you probably should not choose to eat it. But that gaining of ounces or pounds is not a punishment because no agency, god or otherwise, is putting those pounds on you for wrong action. It is just a natural cause and effect scenario. You may even want to gain a few pounds.

              Being able to do something and having the right to do it according to society or god (if there is one) are two separate things.

              I will agree that we are self guided because we all have will. But what is will? What are you?
              Will is the manifestation of your conditioning, both genetic predisposition and environmental (learned) and how those two factors play on each other.

              You are the result of that conditioning. What else could you be? That conditioning is you and how you will choose. Each of us are unique due to having unique conditioning. That means that though you may have the ability to take something that is not yours, you may not be able to if theft goes against your conditioning. Others are able to because their conditioning allows for that choice.

              You have the ability, but will not have the will, So while you have many possible choices in any given scenario, You will choose that which you feel is right or necessary. You will do it through your will and therefore think and feel self guided. And you are. Self is the culmination of all your conditioning.

              1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
                Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                The fact is, none of us can do as we like without considering the effects of what we do on others. We owe others peace, regard, consideration and kindness.  We must follow The Golden Rule. We must have a basis for free will: boundaries of right and proper behavior. Evil is not following these boundaries. The Bible points out the boundaries that will help us avoid negative consequences. Many stories in the Bible are teaching lessons which illustrate right thinking and behavior. What are they based on? Love. God's love for us. Without boundaries in which to guide one's free will, anarchy, tyranny and lawlessness result.

                    In other words, Freedom and Boundaries are two sides of one coin.



                                         You can't have one without the other.

                1. wilderness profile image97
                  wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  If that is the case then both Islam and Christianity are both evil as neither one follows the golden rule.  Both do their best to impress their religion on everyone else, while deploring the efforts of any other religion to do the same.

                  1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
                    Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                    Like I always say, the atheists are not afraid to reveal the dogmas of religion. There is certainly room for improvement in both religions as far as how they are interpreting and preaching their religions. The truth is in the fine print I guess.  Maybe they don't look there.
                    TWISI

                2. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
                  Slarty O'Brianposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  I couldn't agree more. It;s the boundaries we may disagree on at times

                  1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
                    HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                    This right here is why I find the God of the bible most relevant.

                    The fact that we even have these discussions about morality is because each of us are capable of actions and behaviors that go well beyond what we all can agree is immoral. The mere fact that we're able to choose and determine our own behavior flies in the face of what we understand about the natural world. If we truly are capable of willfully choosing our actions and behaviors, then that is significant.

                    Science is the study of behavior of matter and energy. And matter and energy behave in such consistent ways that we are able to define laws around those behaviors. If we are actually able to choose our actions and behaviors through reason and intellect, then that makes us truly unique. As far as we understand, because our brains are made up of matter/energy, we should have no more willful control over our actions as a river has in choosing its path. Which would mean we're under the illusion that we're in control, when in actuality we're just passive observers experiencing the brain first-hand, fooled by it into thinking we're in control.

                    The fact that the central theme of the bible has to do with human behavior being out of whack with the creator of the natural world is significant. If we humans are truly capable of choosing our own actions and behaviors willfully, then we are the only bundles of matter in all the universe whose behaviors and actions are not governed, at least as far as we know. And as humanity has shown, we don't exactly fit in with the rest of nature. We used to. Now we don't. We've disconnected.

                    Like Mr. Smith says in the Matrix ... “It came to me when I tried to classify your species, and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment; but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer on this planet, you are a plague.”

                    Though he's a fictional character, there's a lot of truth in what he's saying. We don't live in harmony with nature. We don't behave the ways other mammals do. We're destructive. All other life exists in harmony with nature. There's a balance there. There's an island-sized pile of trash floating around the Pacific ocean right now because of us. A hole in the ozone. We don't fit. But there's a very particular time and place that we started behaving this way. And it just so happens that's exactly where/when the events of Genesis are said to have taken place. The free will that it's speaking of, being introduced into the world, is what changed humanity. Disconnected us from the natural system we're a product of.

                    These moral discussions are a testament to that. No other life has to sit down and hash out what is moral and what isn't. All around the world a horse is a horse and a cow is a cow and a bear is a bear. Behavior wise, we know what to expect. Humans, on the other hand, are a whole different matter.

                    This is the primary reason why I find the God of the bible so relevant. The central theme of that story is the most relevant thing it could have been. If there's anything a God powerful enough to create the universe would show such a vested interest in such a seemingly insignificant species in a seemingly insignificant corner of the universe, this is why. Anything that exists, whose behavior is not governed by natural law or instinct, would be of the utmost of interest. Free will means we're creators. We create and add to this universe things that are not 'of God's will', but is 'of our will'. Just like everything else, we're a physical part of this universe. And just like everything else, our behaviors and actions effect the world around us. Free will is a big responsibility. It's a dangerous and volatile element. It makes evil possible.

    3. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
      Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I like what you say here, but right now there are people torturing and killing people because they don't have the right religion, according to the killers.  These people seem to feel the opposite - that death and torture are good, and happiness is irrelevant. 

      I know if I look deeply within, I see we are all connected.  I am told that if I were to look deeply enough, I would find that we are all one.  I cannot say that I would never harm another, but I can say I would never harm someone simply for their beliefs.  It seems so alien to me.  Yet it seems to happen a lot. 

      To simply say that what "they" are doing is evil somehow misses the point for me.

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
        Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        - what "they" are doing is taking lives…
          is this not evil??? Isn't this the point?
        If they are killing in the name of religion how confused are they?
        Very!
        They are sinning in ignorance.
        No, they are acting with evil intent..intentionally.

        1. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
          Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Yes, I wholeheartedly agree.  Yet, since we are all connected, what is my role in this? 

          I feel compelled toward taking action or demanding that action be taken, yet I have said to myself that I trust the universe to unfold as it should.  I know anger is weakness, yet these horrific acts make me angry. 

          I feel there is a very high priced lesson to be learned here, and I get the feeling that attempts have been made to teach us this lesson many times before.   

          But I think that perhaps this just might be nature culling the herd.  We act as our own predator.

  4. kj force profile image75
    kj forceposted 2 years ago

    Thought to be an interesting question...and many different interpretations, evil vs good... depending on where in this world you live.
    What is considered civilized to some differs from others.
    It can be an inherited act or society taught, how would one realize, if there is nothing to counter act the deed ?
    It appears the majority of human nature is to follow the leader..regardless..hence the likes of Hitler/Jimmy Jones/Osama bin laden/ to name just a few...it takes a strong individual to break from the folds and follow their own heart without question.I feel there are those out there, but few and far between...can they eventually overcome ? We will never know that answer...just my thought...
    by the way awesome thought provoking question.....

    1. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
      Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Thank you.  Thinking about good and evil is good, I think, unless the activity of thinking prevents one from being present in the moment.  smile

  5. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
    Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago

    Good= whatever promotes:
    1. Life
    2. Liberty within appropriate boundaries.
    3. The ability to pursue happiness.

    Evil= Whatever needlessly takes away:
    1. Life
    2. The conditions or boundaries which promote freedom.
    3. The right to purse whatever promotes individual happiness, as long as it does not infringe on the happiness or rights of some one else.

  6. WiccanSage profile image94
    WiccanSageposted 2 years ago

    I don't believe in good and evil in a religious or spiritual literal sense. I don't believe the world is engaged in a battle of good vs. evil. The term good is very broad and general, but when paired with 'evil' it makes me think of forces outside of ourselves, that are innately benign or malevolent. I just don't believe it.

    I see the world more in shades of grey than black-and-white terms like that. Yes, there are some things that are wonderfully good, and some things terribly terribly bad. Most things fall somewhere in between and a lot of times it's a matter of opinion, not fact.

    I think it could very potentially show prejudices, because people usually mean what I like/believe in/agree with is 'good' and what I dislike/don't believe/disagree with is 'evil'.

  7. Tom Rubenoff profile image91
    Tom Rubenoffposted 2 years ago

    I would differ on the point that deer must be killed by man, since as you said, Wilderness, starvation or disease will do the job anyway.  But it does bring into my brain the idea that the deer is 'designed' to need a predator, not just to limit its numbers, but to help the process of natural selection. 

    Another idea is our difference from animals.  Except for our brains we are very much like animals.  In the world of animals, killing another animal for food is certainly not evil.  Neither is fighting, perhaps to the death, for the privilege of mating.  Yet these activities are considered evil (in Western cultures, at least) among humans. 

    Perhaps we can view the ideas of good and evil as being out of step with nature, as Headly suggests we are. 

    I think, however, that it is really arrogance on the part of humans to think themselves as apart from nature.  I think it is a dangerous delusion to think that we are immune from, or somehow above nature's cycles. 

    Since we are 'blessed' with a brain organ capable of guessing with reasonable accuracy complex outcomes, perhaps the greatest evil lies in caring only for ourselves, without regard to the future of our species.   

    I will say a little about the Bible, although I don't read it much anymore.   It is full of stories rich with the kind of ideas we are discussing here. It is full of stories about people trying to do the right thing, whatever that is, or trying not to do the right thing, and what happens as a result.  The "good" are not always rewarded; neither are the "evil" always punished.  It is a complex and layered text where one can learn much.

    1. wilderness profile image97
      wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      "Except for our brains we are very much like animals."

      That's probably because we ARE animals (at least I am; some people I've known resemble plants more than animals smile )

      "In the world of animals, killing another animal for food is certainly not evil."

      Few animals kill their own species for food, and man is the same.  It has been done of course, but is quite rare.  Animals kill other species for food, including the animal labeled "man", and do not find it evil.

      No, we are not apart from nature; we are PART of nature.  That was kind of my point; that we are no different than any other animal.  We all have our strengths; man's just happens to be the best brain (we think) on the planet.

    2. rebekahELLE profile image90
      rebekahELLEposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I think your statement above encapsulates the concept of good/evil.  Carl Jung said 'the only real danger that exists is man himself', 'we are the origin of all coming evil'.  Evil doesn't exist without man.

      1. Slarty O'Brian profile image86
        Slarty O'Brianposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Evil doesn't exist without conscious intent to do harm. And that intent, of course, only applies to conscious beings; be they human or animals or gods.

        This evil exists even when the intent of the being is good from its own perspective.

        We have no problem killing millions of bugs because they invade our homes. We don't consider that evil though the bugs might find us very evil if they could think in those terms, as their intent is just to survive. But we can't let them take over our houses or it is we that won't survive. So are we evil? Most would say no.

        Yet extermination of an entire population of humans by people who fear that they will, in the end, exterminate them or their way of life; is seen as evil by almost everyone except those who are doing the exterminating.

        The bible tells stories about people being told by god to exterminate every man woman and child of several tribes along the way to the promised land.

        Those tribes probably would have attacked them had they just tried to cross their land, so we can see why preemptive measures would have been taken. But it was common in the time to try to kill everyone you you were attacking. Kids grow up and want revenge. Woman want revenge and will teach their kids about who killed their father. So it was a matter of survival for them.

        The problem is, wasn't that evil? It is by today's standards. And if a god did indeed tell them to do that, a god who could have done this any other way, wouldn't we consider it evil for that god to intentionally choose that way of doing things? Why don't the religious consider it evil?
        The god of the bible even admits to intentionally creating evil in Isaiah, yet Christians tell us he didn't mean what he said. It's amazing.

        The religious have a double standard as to what evil is. What is evil for humans is not evil for god, because it is what defines good and evil so is above them. They don't apply.

        Yet evil is evil isn't it? So of course it applies. So if this god intentionally created the conditions for evil, it's intent was that those conditions would be used, and is therefore responsible for evil. One might say it was an evil thing to do.

        But if the universe has no such god, and nature, so to speak, is god, (defined as that which produced all this) then it just is as it is because it couldn't be any other way and even though nature created the conditions for evil, it can't be considered evil for doing it because it has no conscious intent.

        And then humans are indeed on the hook for the evil we do. No one to blame but us, and our nature.

        And still. great good is in us as well, and that is what we strive for as a whole, to rid ourselves of evil and conflict.

        And I do think things have gotten better. Slavery is now considered evil, genocide is considered evil,  ownership of woman and children by the father is no longer the case in the west, and the list goes on. We have come a long way, but there is a long way to go.

        That's evolution for you.

      2. oceansnsunsets profile image88
        oceansnsunsetsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        That is very interesting......  I don't recall hearing that quote by Jung.  Thanks for sharing it.

        One of the reasons I continue to think as I do about life and everything, is because what I believe answers that problem of evil in humanity.  We as humans are very unique in this way.  We know what is wrong and sometimes do those things anyway.  It is a problem, and it could sound like we are just up a creek or without hope, but I don't think that is the case at all.  I think there is great hope and for that I am very grateful.

        1. 0
          Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          We are creatures who have evolved to live in a different environment, one without lights and computers and stores and cars and within very small groups. Mess up in that group and someone will slap your hand and put you one the right path, no one to do that know so many do as they please. All these other things like lights at night and stores and computers that constantly give us new information are have an effect on our lives and causing all kinds of problems. We are biological creatures like every other biological creature and we do what we have evolved to do. Not unlike what rats do when they are overcrowd we attack each other.

          All other creatures do things they shouldn't do as well. Leave a sandwich on the floor by a dog and leave the room.

          Evil is something we invented to explain bad things that people do. It's not evil for a lion to chase down and eat something even before it's dead. But we would consider someone evil for eating something while it's still alive. There are no real evil forces, just bad people and of course corporations.

  8. lone77star profile image92
    lone77starposted 2 years ago

    Tom Rubenoff, powerful subject and so misunderstood. After 6 decades, I think I understand it a little, but my learning continues every day.

    First and foremost, we are spirit. Spirit is superior to the physical, yet we are mostly oblivious to our spiritual nature. That obliviousness is the evil and source of all evil.

    With spiritual awareness comes love, connection and a lack of self-concern (Ego).

    Self-concern (Ego) is the source of all evil. It's difficult for most people to imagine not being self-concerned. Some think they will disappear without at least some self-concern. Nothing could be further from the Truth.

    Good and evil in this physical plane are both Evil! When a person is good for reasons of self-concern, then they are perpetuating evil. Even if they are innocently giving and seemingly altruistic, any self-concern attached to their actions pollutes the good and keeps it in the realm of effect, rather than spiritual cause (creation).

    Jesus talked about this "good" being evil. He mentioned that the First (egoist) shall be last, and that the Last (humble) shall be first.

    The Buddhists knew of this. They talked of this in their paramitas. Any dichotomous action (good-evil, right-wrong, generous-selfish, wise-stupid, compassionate-indifferent, etc.) will be tainted by evil. These are the vectors of Ego. Only the paramita actions -- those of pure good, right, generous, wisdom, compassion, etc. -- will result in real good results.

    Paramita confidence, for instance, rises above physical law, to the point of creation. Thus, walking on water is possible. Thus, healing others of great illness and physical deformity is done. Thus, mountains can be moved effortlessly.

    Ultimately, we will come together as one, but great suffering will happen, first, if we do not heed the lessons of love.

    Ego perverts everything, including love. Self-concern is poison and disease. Every crime stems from Ego. Every victim is borne out of Ego.

    The antidote is humility. The cure is love absent self-concern.

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
      Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Yet we have a self and ultimately that self is the challenge because we never loose it.
      As I Understand.

      1. 0
        Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Sure we do. Unconsciousness looses the self.

        Alzheimer's patients loose them selves.

        1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
          Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          This loss is temporary, Radman. It is temporary.
          As I Understand.
          We take on a new body and try it again every 500 years or so... LOL!
          We'll be back!

          1. 0
            Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Back it up. I can make up all kind of stuff as well.

            1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
              Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              You won't listen to history or words of Jesus... or Krishna. Read the Bhagavad Gita!

              1. wilderness profile image97
                wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                So what is THEIR evidence?  What proof do THEY offer?  What experiments/observations did THEY make?  Or do they just make claims without ever offering proof?

                1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
                  Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  Check it and see!  Get an interpretation of the Gita.  You can say all we have is speculation and little physical evidence of metaphysical reality...  But you can check out valid sources of knowledge and then experiment and use your intuition to know for sure. I can't convince you. The knowledge of the science behind religion comes more clearly from the East. There is truth and science behind the teachings of Krishna to Arjuna.

                  1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
                    Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                    If there is a way in there is also a way out.

                  2. 0
                    Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                    When intuition is used for things it hadn't evolved to do, it's usually wrong. That a proven fact that can be demonstrated. Intuition evolved to let us know if we are in immediate danger based on past experiences not wether or not a God exists.

  9. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
    Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago

    Well, Good..  So, I believe whatever brings us to the awareness of Spirit and the spirit of ourselves is good… everything leading us away from awareness of "heaven within" is evil…

    The Way I see It
    In My View
    As I Believe.
    Pardon My Mental Instability.
    Pardon My Craziness. (Hmmm, I think I will use that from now on instead of TWISI)
    PMC
    Is that better, guys?

    1. wilderness profile image97
      wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      As what is bringing what you define as "spirit" comes from within you, from your own mind and brain, I have to agree that it is good.  Of course, that brings up the matter of the person that feels their god is telling them to kill, murder or otherwise do evil...

  10. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
    HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago

    I'm not the one struggling with understanding this "time thingy". Look, I know it can difficult. Let me try it another way. The only reason a future even exists for God to look to is because you were there to make the decision. What is future to one self is present to another. God seeing what you "did" doesn't mean you didn't have a choice. The fact that you made a choice gave God a future to look at.




    Remember, in the context of the story Isaac was the son that Abraham and Sarah always wanted. God promised them a child, even though they were too old to bare children. So Isaac represented a gift from God, a blessing. God, to test His free-willed creation, gave him a choice to either obey and 'sacrifice' his cherished son, or have his personal-self be unable to let go of this gift and override God's command. Remember, God's trying to accomplish something if the story is read in the right context. He's acting just like any breeder would. He examines the flock, finds the ones showing the favorable traits He's trying to establish, breeds from them. He also manages what they eat and separates them from other herds.

    God tests Abraham, then says his descendants will be many, then begins to breed through them, giving them very specific rules about who to breed with, what to eat, etc. That's why, I think, God did it. Sacrificing Isaac was most definitely something Abraham was going to be very strongly opposed to. That was the test. Would the wants of the self, the free-will, override God's will? Abraham showed a willingness to override his own will and carry out God's, a favorable trait, so God then promises to make his descendants many. And that's what the rest of the bible is about.

    So... kind of on a side note, why do you think, if its as you say and the authors of Genesis are merely slave owners who are looking to justify their actions, why make beating a slave to death a punishable offense? I'm just curious.

    1. 0
      Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Why would a God make owning and betting a slave Okay as long as he didn't die?

      1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
        HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        I'm asking from your perspective. If these were just slave owners trying to justify their actions in how they treat their slaves and their women, why make it a punishable offense to kill a slave? This seems counter-intuitive to your viewpoint of what the bible is.

        I don't think God "made slavery okay". I think the world that free will created is a world where slavery was a reality. God didn't override free will by abolishing this practice, but He did put some guidelines around it. Many people tend to read the bible as if everything they're reading is exactly as God intended or wanted. Not acknowledging the fact that a lot of that was the free willed choice of humans.

        Besides, slavery is a lesson humanity learned over time. For God to come down and abolish slavery would have taken that opportunity to learn away from us. We still, to this day, in conversations regarding the rights of individuals, still refer to our slavery past. What if that were removed from our history? I think, in your haste to point out something you find to be terrible about God, you're undervaluing the lesson to be learned and the wisdom to be gained by allowing us to learn this lesson ourselves.

        1. 0
          Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          He comes down and makes homosexuality punishable by death. He gave us all kinds of rules that only make sense if looked at from coming from some guys trying to keep what they have. Why would any loving ethical/moral God tell us it's okay to beat anyone with a club as long as you don't kill them? Why would any God say that if a girl isn't found to be a virgin on her wedding night put her to death, yet say nothing to the men? I could go on and on.

          1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
            HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            First off, it makes sense, considering God's primary goal was to realize His promise to Abraham by making his descendants many and breeding through him, that homosexuality would be counter-productive to this effort. However, for this to be the decree of slave owners, that one doesn't really make any sense either.

            You're dodging the question. I'm asking from your perspective. If the bible is what you say it is, then how does it make sense that they'd make killing a slave a punishable offense? How does that make any sense from your point of view?

            1. 0
              Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Because they want slaves. So they don't want the dead. They also don't like homosexuals. We both know making laws against homosexuality doesn't work. If they had laws against heterosexuality would it work? Why didn't he just snap his fingers and make men or women not have any homosexual tendencies? It just happens that homosexuality happens in all mammals. Why would he make mammals this way if he doesn't want it?

              Please stop and think about this for a moment. Who would most like right a law that says you can keep and beat a slave to within an inch of his life, a slave owner or a moral perfect God?

              Who would most likely right a law that states that you kill someone a girl is she is found not to be a virgin on her wedding night, but doesn't mention the man?

              What is the most likely truth, a virgin birth or a girl lied to prevent her likely death? If you had a daughter who came home and said she was pregnant, but hadn't had sex and an angel told her God put the baby there. Would you think she was lying or telling the truth?

              1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
                HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                There you go again, asking why God didn't just "snap his fingers" and override free will. That would undermine the whole concept. So why do you think these slave owners didn't like homosexuals? Wouldn't that mean less competition for the men as far as women are concerned? How does that make sense? You just assume they didn't like them? So they decided to make a law to kill them? Based on what? I'm sorry, but if your view is right, it'll make sense across the board. This whole part makes no sense whatsoever.

                I would say slave owners making up their own thing to justify their actions would be less likely to write in a punishment for themselves.

                Again, the priority is all about controlled breeding. To control breeding it's better to ensure the women are not sleeping with others other than who they are meant to. It goes against the whole priority of what God was trying to accomplish.

                Personally, the virgin birth aspect of the story is unnecessary and makes less sense. Considering God is going through all of this effort to breed for a particular outcome, it would make sense, in the context of the story being told, that Jesus' birth be natural. Both mother and father came from this line. Besides, what made what Jesus did so significant was that he was human. Jesus being half-God would make what he accomplished less significant.

                1. 0
                  Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  Do you think people will to be gay? They decide to live a harder life? Is it something they choose? Funny I don't remember any laws stating women can't sleep with other women as a man sleeps with a women? Wonder why? Typical male stuff, written by heterosexual men.

                  Why, we make rules for us to live by, why not make rules for other slave owners to live by?

                  Sounds like something racist people would tell you.

                  So you might consider that part an exaggeration, what other parts are exaggerations? All of the so called miracles? Rising from the dead? What if he didn't actually die, as it was said they didn't leave him on the cross for as long as they usually kept people? If the NT is based on exaggerations and lies, wouldn't one question the OT as well?

                  1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
                    HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                    Clearly, if there had to be a law to address it, it was happening. I don't think someone chooses to be gay. Like you said, it can be seen in other mammal species as well.

                    As far as there being nothing about women with other women, I think that has more to do with sexual relations not being the same for women than for men. Without getting into too much detail, women with women can only go so far. There's a deeper level of... let's call it commitment... for male homosexuality. There's also a much higher risk of disease and infection and that kind of thing.

                    Seriously with the racist thing? It makes it clear, through numerous laws, that they are only supposed to breed with their own kind. These aren't blanket laws that apply to everyone. They applied to that particular group in that particular time to achieve that particular desired outcome. Anyone doing controlled breeding would do the same thing. They keep certain groups separated from one another so cross-breeding can't happen.

                    The reason I went back to the OT to find the right context, is to find solid ground to stand on to then make determinations about other parts of the bible. I don't think the virgin birth is so much an exaggeration as much as it's a translation error. Raising from the dead, however, does fit the theme of the rest of the story. As for miracles, I think you're missing the whole point of a miracle. What makes something a miracle is that it doesn't usually happen that way. What's significant about a guy who's been dead for three days getting up is that that usually doesn't happen. What's significant about a talking donkey is that, generally, donkeys don't talk. That's kind of what makes something a miracle. If donkey's talked all the time, not that significant.

                    As you well know, I have questioned the OT. Extensively. And I've found it stands up and there's a ton of evidence to back it up.

                    Keep in mind that confirmation bias goes both ways. If there's something you want to see, chances are you're going to see it the way you want to see it. I've grounded what I've found in historical evidence and can show a timeline that matches up and a series of events that are accurate both chronologically, as well as location wise. You just seem to be making wild assumptions, then confirming to yourself they're right, though they make no logical sense.

                2. 0
                  Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  Further, who might write this stuff? A God or an army general? Where do you think Mohammad got his ideas?

                  Deuteronomy 20:10
                  When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

                  And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.

                  And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:

                  And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:

                  But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

                  Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.

                  But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

                  But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

  11. 0
    Rad Manposted 2 years ago

    Headly, nobody doubts some of the findings in the books you've read or research you've done, but there is no evidence whatsoever to backup the way you've lined it up with the Bible. If things don't line up, it's easy to say it is a translation error, or you have to have this other perspective. But there is literally no backup for his whole theory at all, which is why you keep running into the same challenges and oppositions with every person you talk to.

    1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
      HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Wrong. There's a very specific timeline given that can't be twisted around. I have pointed out a series of events that line up chronologically with the stories of the bible that actually did happen in that same region of the world. Not only do these happen along the same timeline as what's specified in Genesis, in the same place as what's specified, but these events actually did have the same impact as what's described. To say there's "no evidence whatsoever" means you clearly haven't looked very deeply into this. Which is disappointing, considering how much you and I have discussed.

      The flood happened 1656 years after Adam's creation. Cain's banishment happened within the first 130 years of Adam's existence, based on Seth being born (as Abel's replacement after his death) when Adam was 130. 1656-130 = 1526 years. This is the same length of time as the Ubaid culture (5500-4000BC, 1500 years). The Ubaid culture is the first site where that behavior change happened... "The Ubaid period as a whole, based upon the analysis of grave goods, was one of increasingly polarized social stratification and decreasing egalitarianism." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubaid_culture

      Not only did the Ubaid culture last the same length of time as pre-flood Genesis, it actually did end abruptly due to a large flood... "Woolley was one of the first archaeologists to propose that the flood described in the Book of Genesis was local after identifying a flood-stratum at Ur: "...400 miles long and 100 miles wide; but for the occupants of the valley that was the whole world". - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Woolley

      Then, the clincher, I made a prediction that said if this hypothesis is true, then I should see an event that mirrors what's described in the Babel story where people were scattered all throughout the world. According to the story this happens roughly 100 years after the flood. So, if true, then there should be an event that mirrors the Babel story around 3900BC in this particular part of the world. That was the prediction based on my hypothesis. And right there, at 3900BC, in that same region of the world ....

      "The 5.9 kiloyear event was one of the most intense aridification events during the Holocene Epoch. It occurred around 3900 BC (5,900 years BP), ending the Neolithic Subpluvial and probably initiated the most recent desiccation of the Sahara desert.

      Thus, it also triggered worldwide migration to river valleys, such as from central North Africa to the Nile valley, which eventually led to the emergence of the first complex, highly organized, state-level societies in the 4th millennium BC." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.9_kiloyear_event


      Genesis 10:32 - These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.

      Sumer (3500BC), Egypt (3400 BC), the Indus Valley Culture (India)(3300 BC). Each with their own unique language.

      And those are just the events. That doesn't even include the fact that the behavior change I often talk about started in the Ubaid, and spread from there. This behavior change is another expected result, another prediction, based on this hypothesis. It starts right where/when predicted, and spreads as predicted.

      These are no small predictions. These are very specific in time, in place, and in context. To say "there is no evidence whatsoever" is wrong. If you can honestly say that then I have to assume you've never really looked into this. There's no way you could say that if you'd actually looked at the evidence.

    2. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
      HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I should specify that what you're saying is true where the creation account is concerned. I can only point out how what's described is what could be seen in that order by an observer from the surface. But there's absolutely nothing to show a concrete correlation. Much like our creation conversations, and my creation conversation on Dogma Debate went, it's a lot of arguing with no real resolution and no concrete answers.

      Gen2-11, however, is different. That portion of the story gives a very specific timeline and a very specific series of events. I can actually prove what I'm saying by using the highly documented evidence of that period of time in that part of the world. We actually know quite a bit, and I can show how the events described in Genesis line up with a series of events that happened right there in that very place that really are the events that set the modern human world in motion. This is the part that I feel it's most important be recognized and acknowledged. This is our human origin story, and it turns out Genesis is undeniably talking about those events in particular. Whatever happened there, whether or not you agree what happened is what Genesis says happened, something significant happened to humans right here in this part of our history. We changed. It's a significant development in our history that must be understood if we ever hope to gain a better understanding of ourselves. Because it's these events that most shaped and molded us into what we are today.

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        Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        It would only make sense that these people were describing events that happened in the past and attributing them to Gods. Maybe the world wide flood was local, but that doesn't mean a boat was needed or made by a God like person with the local tools of the time. The story no longer makes sense when you say it was a local flood because God could have simply directed the animals in that area and Noah to get out of that area. A local flood would not have been able to cover mountains.

        It also makes more sense that people would change when they started farming and needed and fought over land. Rather that changing and start farming. Again with this story you have to change the story to fit with what we know happened. We have a group of people who told themselves that they have a powerful God behind them. Why? Well because that's what others were doing at the time and that's what works. It also made great warriors of the Christians and the Muslims. The people you are talking about described themselves as descendants of fallen Gods and Gods favourites with a God given right to land and resources.

        BTW, it's my understanding some still think that way today and feel that Jewish souls have more levels and are more complex that the rest of us.

        1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
          HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Yeah, it would make sense that these people were describing events that happened in the past. What doesn't make sense is how they so accurately, down the number of centuries, kept track of what happened when over a 2000+ year span.

          What the flood would have accomplished is it would have cleared out all of this land for a new beginning. Sending them elsewhere would have just meant going into another populated area. A large flood would clear the way for them to start again, with no other life other than what they brought with them.

          As for people changing when they started farming and "fought over land", that just isn't true....

          "There is the same lack of evidence for violent conflict throughout the simple horticultural period of history as in the hunter-gather era. Graves don't contain weapons; images of warfare or weapons are still absent from artwork; and villages and towns aren't situated in inaccessible places or surrounded by defensive walls." - Steve Taylor

          "If this was the case - and most scholars agree that it was - then we would expect the transition to agriculture to be accompanied by a great deal of conflict as the groups competed over dwindling resources. But as we've seen, there is almost no evidence of warfare in these areas until the fifth millennium BCE, more than 3,000 years after the advent of agriculture" - Steve Taylor

          In any case, anthropological studies have shown that scarcity of resources does not necessarily lead to conflict between groups. Data collected by the anthropologists Carol and melvin Ember establishes that "chronic, ordinary resource shortage is not a significant predicator of war." Or, in the words of R. Brian Ferguson, "the data just does not support a direct association of increasing [population] density and increasing war."  - Steve Taylor


          It's important that we understand what happened in this age. But misassigning causes isn't going to bring us closer to the truth. You're doing as a lot of others are doing, by assuming farming must have been the change that changed humanity. But the evidence says otherwise. This change happened independent of farming. It did not happen alongside farming like you'd expect if farming were indeed the cause.

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            Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            LOL, independent of farming. Right. It just by chance happened in the extremely small percentages of land that was being farmed over and over again. First farming starts and then wars start, but they of course are independent of each other.

            Tell me, I believe women should have equal rights, I believe that slavery is wrong, I don't think we need to fight for land. I certainly don't think I can convince many Canadians to take over the U.S. Do I have free will?

          2. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            "What doesn't make sense is how they so accurately, down the number of centuries, kept track of what happened when over a 2000+ year span." (bolding added)

            Accurately?  You mean like forming the universe in 7 days?  Like making a man from dust or a woman from a man's rib?  Like a world wide flood that killed all the animals (but not the vegetation)?  Like a man in Africa gathering animals from Australia and South America?  Or an ark that lasted for months with 2 or more of every animal on earth aboard it?  Like a sea that split, leaving dry land long enough for thousands of people to walk across but not soldiers?  Like the firstborn of every Egyptian dying in a single night?  Like a woman becoming a pillar of salt?  Like a bush on fire that does not burn?  Like a dead man that rots for 3 days and then walks about?

            Are these the kinds of "accuracies" you refer to?

  12. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
    HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago

    You do understand that's a style of writing, right? It's poetry. It's a literary device to break the story up in days. It's pretty obvious by what's going on between those lines about the days, like life being told to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, that it's clearly talking about things that take way longer than a day. It's talking about procreation, an already rather lengthy process, carried out enough generations to populate the earth.




    How inaccurate is that really? We are made of star stuff, are we not? The same elements that make up the physical world around us came into being in a supernova just like the elements we're made of did. And we now know there's enough genetic information in a rib to grow a whole other person. Just a change to a chromosome and that other person is female. This is closer to reality now than has ever before been understood.




    You know, nearly 5,000 years after that flood Columbus set out to find a new route to India, not realizing that there were whole other continents between him and his intended destination.

    To these people, the whole world was the land they lived in. The flood that happened in the Mesopotamian valley around 4000BC was 400 miles long and a 100 miles wide. It ended a 1500 year old culture. A culture that had thrived, and was actually still on the rise when it ended abruptly due to this flood. To them, that was the whole world.

    Besides, it's important not to be so anxious to dismiss this or that as ridiculous and give this ancient text the respect it deserves. I know we get into this theist/atheist mindset and get knit-picky, but let's really think about this. The actual authors lived in a time when that valley was the whole world to them. And then, centuries later, translators who always just assumed a global flood, translated it that way. Making 'hills' 'mountains' and making 'all the land' 'all the earth'. They had no idea what all the earth was. No concept.

    Besides, even within the context of the story, there are survivors of the flood. In Genesis 6 it talks about the "Nephilim" being on the Earth in that age (before the flood) and after (the flood). Then, later, in the book of Numbers, Israelite spies report seeing descendants of the Nephilim. So even within the context of the story, it couldn't have been global. It's just been assumed to have been global for a very long time.




    Wilderness, I think you're missing the whole point of a miracle. What makes a miracle so significant is that's not how things usually go. People who are dead three days don't usually get up. Bushes on fire usually burn. What makes a talking donkey significant is that donkeys don't usually talk.

    This God this book is talking about is working in a world dominated by free will. These humans He created are out of His control. He tries all kinds of approaches to get them to do what He needs them to do. Adam and Eve made necessary a savior. God had promised Abraham many descendants. To accomplish these things God tried literally everything. And they still didn't listen most of the time. He threatened them with terrible punishments, struck some down in full view of others, turned people into salt, killed the firstborn male of every family in Egypt, literally carved commandments into rock. Still, these people would not follow the rules He gave them.

    So how do you get one of these humans' attention? A burning bush. A talking donkey. If a donkey talked to me, I'm pretty sure I'd be hanging on every word so later, when I went to tell somebody, "Dude, you're never going to believe what happened to me, a freaking donkey talked to me." The first thing they're obviously going to want to know is what did the donkey say. Donkey's don't usually talk. This one is. He has something on his mind, and is somehow able to tell me.

  13. 0
    Rad Manposted 2 years ago

    Headly, the Sumerian King lists have been dated around 4000 BP. It's thought that Genesis was written around 2500 BP. Both contain 10 generations of leaders/kings chosen by Gods or brought to earth by Gods who live very long lives before a flood. For both the third on each list have names that mean "mankind" and had advisors that ascended to heaven, and the seventh figures on each list share a solar symbolism. Both at fourth on the list have connections with craftsmanship and at 10th wen the hero that survived the flood.

    1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
      HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Yeah, I'm familiar with the Sumerian King's List. Parallels are to be expected between the biblical accounts and the Sumerians since it was the Sumerians who lived in the land that the stories of Genesis were happening in.

      1. 0
        Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        So you don't think one group toke to the idea from another much like Muhammad and Joseph Smith expanded of the concept for there own doing? Researching the origins of Genesis leads one to understand why we have repeated stories of the same events.

        There are repeated stories of floods all across the earth thousands of years ago, but they could be explained by the melting of the glaziers when sea levels rose. Much like today some think
        Gods are responsible for natural disasters.

        I find it funny that in each of the stories of the local floods people assign their God as being responsible for saving humanity. The story is also told in Africa.

        BTW, Even the Quran describes the flood as something Alah has done for Islam.

        1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
          HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Of course it's a possibility one group could have been inspired by the stories of the other. But I don't think that's what happened here simply because the physical evidence lines up with what's described. Another expected result would be echoed themes in Sumerian stories.

          Such widely spread repeated stories of floods all across the earth could maybe be explained by melting glaziers. It could also be explained if the ancestors of all these different groups all around the world were in the same valley that flooded. Before 'all the world's nations' were dispersed, they were all in the same part of the world when a rather large flood happened. So for all these different cultures to share such a common story, the most likely explanation isn't different floods all around the world, but one flood happening and those who remember it being dispersed all around the world.

          1. wilderness profile image97
            wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            "It could also be explained if the ancestors of all these different groups all around the world were in the same valley that flooded."

            Unfortunately both Australia and the western hemisphere were occupied by people long before the biblical flood.  It seems rather unlikely, then, that the tales of a world wide flood came from one group in the area of the Hebrew people.

            "In a genetic study in 2011, researchers found evidence, in DNA samples taken from strands of Aboriginal people's hair, that the ancestors of the Aboriginal population split off from the ancestors of the European and Asian populations between 62,000 and 75,000 years ago—roughly 24,000 years before the European and Asian populations split off from each other."
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aboriginal_Australians

            1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
              HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Yeah, that doesn't affect this. The entirety of the globe was already populated by 10,000 BC, 6,000 years before the flood. But the story would have still propagated the same way if the people from that valley were dispersed into an already populated world.

              1. wilderness profile image97
                wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                You miss the point.  People the world over talk about a giant flood, whether it was in a little valley in Africa or in South America.  Nearly every point on the globe has been flooded at one time or another - even the tip of Mt. Everest was probably under water before it rose.

                So it doesn't need a flood tale to travel with people as they disperse; it is already there.  Plus of course, any tale would be for the area left and not the "new world" they inhabited over time.

                1. HeadlyvonNoggin profile image86
                  HeadlyvonNogginposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  For it to be within the realm of human memory then you've got a pretty limited section of earth's history to allow for such wide spread flooding. I'm sure the last time the top of Mt. Everest was submerged in water was long before humans were around to recollect it.

                  The much more likely answer is that this one large flood in southern Mesopotamia inspired tales told the world over. Especially since we can tell, by the archaeological record, that those that lived in that valley at the time really were dispersed all throughout the world by a climate change. And they took with them a distinct behavioral change that then propagated everywhere they went, so we can actually track their progression archaeologically all across the world. Given this information, combined with the rather catastrophic flood that came just a century before that mass dispersion, I would say this is the more likely explanation for all the flood stories the world over.

                  Especially when you add in how many share similar non-flood like themes. Like, did you know tales of giants existing before the flood are also pretty wide-spread?

                  1. wilderness profile image97
                    wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                    But the top of Mt. Everest is covered in water even today!  Given than the last couple of miles or so of "water" would have had to be snow/ice, perhaps Noah's flood was around 650 million years ago?  If we consider the "flood" as snow covered ground instead of liquid covered ground there is even enough water to do that.

                  2. 0
                    Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                    Perhaps the end of the ice age brought floods all over the globe. I find it interesting that the story of Noah is just a retelling of a much older story, it's almost like the story was written to make people believe they we God's chosen people.

  14. WiccanSage profile image94
    WiccanSageposted 2 years ago

    I don't believe in objective, external sources of good and evil, and I don't believe in a good vs. evil universe.

    Evil is just what we call bad things we can't explain easily, like serial killers.

  15. DrorBenAmi987 profile image61
    DrorBenAmi987posted 2 years ago

    Slavery is a metaphor for being compelled to study the beliefs of others......homosexuals are a metaphor for men studying the teachings of men

    1. Righteous Atheist profile image60
      Righteous Atheistposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I see. So god doesn't actually teach us anything at all. God and Jesus are metaphors as well I suppose. When Jesus tells us how to beat our slaves - what is this a metaphor for?

      1. DrorBenAmi987 profile image61
        DrorBenAmi987posted 2 years ago in reply to this

        I am not sure that Jesus told people to beat their slaves, but the Hebrew word used in the ten plagues of Egypt is indeed hit, hence, in my opinion, a hit is a metaphor for giving some sort of a shock to the established opinions of others

        1. Righteous Atheist profile image60
          Righteous Atheistposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          I see. So - nothing in the bible is to be taken literally, so god did not give us instructions as to what should be considered good. But - this is just your opinion. Presumably other have different opinions - hence the 2,000 years of religious wars.

          Personally - I determine that this is "evil."

    2. jonnycomelately profile image85
      jonnycomelatelyposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I honestly cannot understand how you come by such ideas.  I am homosexual, have been all my life, but if you only regard me as a metaphor, is there anything else you think I am good for?

      1. Righteous Atheist profile image60
        Righteous Atheistposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Sounds to me like "jonnycomelately" has a chip on his shoulder.  Not much rational discussion. 
        Where does all that anger come from?   Do you deal only in absolutes?

        1. jonnycomelately profile image85
          jonnycomelatelyposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Cheap, RA.   Come on... you can do better than that.

          1. Righteous Atheist profile image60
            Righteous Atheistposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Interesting that when it is applied to me it is OK, but when you demonstrate the exact same type of response to BenAmi, it is now cheap to call you on it.

            I made my response plain to the esoteric mumblings of intuition being messages from god which only some listen to. I do indeed find it shocking that some one would think that. Don't you? After posing numerous questions - all of which were ignored in favor of more esoteric mumbling, I guess I do get frustrated.

            How terrible of me.

            1. jonnycomelately profile image85
              jonnycomelatelyposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              To say this sort of thing in a response to another commentator's reasonably mentioning "the Inner Voice" is totally nonsense, in my opinion.

              Anyway, this thread does not seem to be drawing out a reasonable discussion so I will leave you to it.

              1. Righteous Atheist profile image60
                Righteous Atheistposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                Well - to take it personally that the same commentator reasonably considers homosexuality in the bible to be a metaphor is exactly the same response so I find your criticism rather hypocritical. wink

                Many people's "Inner Voices," tell them to rape children and murder innocents. Thus to suggest that this is a message from god I find ludicrous.

              2. 0
                Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                Actually, I think it's a very reasonable thing to say. To think that the inner voice is a message from God and to tell others that they should listen to and obey that inner voice is and could and should be criminal. There are some that have committed horrific acts after listening to that inner voice, we at the very least should be responsible and RA is doing just that.

      2. DrorBenAmi987 profile image61
        DrorBenAmi987posted 2 years ago in reply to this

        i don't understand the sequence of these posts....are you talking to me?

  16. DrorBenAmi987 profile image61
    DrorBenAmi987posted 2 years ago

    Well,each to his own, but my impression is that the tree of knowledge of good and evil is the bible and the title: son of man, in Hebrew, is actually: son of Adam and this means the words of Adam....

    Since god breathed his spirit into Adam, this means that god's teachings come directly from god, not the bible and certainly not from rabbis or priests....

    1. Righteous Atheist profile image60
      Righteous Atheistposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Well - that doesn't actually mean anything when determining good or evil does it? And as god only teaches in metaphors.....

      1. DrorBenAmi987 profile image61
        DrorBenAmi987posted 2 years ago in reply to this

        I think it has something to do with intuition....

        1. Righteous Atheist profile image60
          Righteous Atheistposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          So god doesn't tell us what is good and evil. We use our "intuition," which is a rather complex subconscious process rooted in our past experiences. Therefore god is irrelevant. Just another metaphor.

          1. DrorBenAmi987 profile image61
            DrorBenAmi987posted 2 years ago in reply to this

            except that "the little voice" spoken of by Plato, may be coming from God....so, the saying: many are called, but few are chosen suggests that the many ignore the messages being sent to them by god

            i think this is also related to the idea of being born again....one must turn a deaf ear to the teachers of men and train one self to only listen to the internal voice...

            thus, the kingdom of heaven is within...

            1. wilderness profile image97
              wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              If so, that "little voice" from God is telling people from different areas different things.  "Evil" is defined much differently in different parts of the world - why do you think God tells some people one thing and others something entirely different?

              1. DrorBenAmi987 profile image61
                DrorBenAmi987posted 2 years ago in reply to this

                what's in the message or why is not something i can talk about, all i am saying is that it seems to me, based on the scriptures, that it is possible to receive communications from a higher or inner source....who gets what and why i don't know...

                1. 0
                  Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  I believe you've missed the point. If we were able to get messages from God then why don't we all get the same message? Instead we have people from all over the world seemingly getting opposing messages straight from God.

                2. wilderness profile image97
                  wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  You mean, of course, the old writings Christians have chosen for their holy words.  But other scriptures tell a different tale, with a different message and differing instructions.  Even among the Christian  community there is great disagreement with the meaning of their common scripture, and it changes constantly as society develops and becomes more civilized.

                  Given that, is there any real reason to view those old meanderings as anything but a crude and often mistaken historical account?  Deduct the obvious fallacies, the miracles and such, and what is left is a reasonable account, considering the many translations, changes and centuries of only verbal recording.

            2. 0
              Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Except it's been well established that intuition usually gives us the wrong answer while reason give us the right answer. The people of ISIS are using intuition.

              1. DrorBenAmi987 profile image61
                DrorBenAmi987posted 2 years ago in reply to this

                That 's not what Conrad Hilton said.....besides ISIS does not use intuition.....

                1. 0
                  Rad Manposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  Why do we care what Conrad Hilton said, we have studies that tell us that intuition most often leads to the wrong answer, while reason leads to the correct answer. Intuition has evolved in us as a way of us predicting danger or events based on past experiences.

                  ISIS is not using reason to tell themselves that they must behead people to be left alone, as reason would tell them that doing so will wake the sleeping bear.

                  1. DrorBenAmi987 profile image61
                    DrorBenAmi987posted 2 years ago in reply to this

                    it depends on your definition of intuition, you are talking about first impressions or spontaneous reactions....i am talking more about an edgar cayce type experience or george washington carver

                    ISIS bases all their decisions on the koran, not the logic you are discussing....

            3. Righteous Atheist profile image60
              Righteous Atheistposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Shocking. You don't understand where your "intuitions" come from? May be coming from god huh? Go ahead and listen to that internal voice that wants you to have sex with a 13yo - see where it gets you. wink

              1. DrorBenAmi987 profile image61
                DrorBenAmi987posted 2 years ago in reply to this

                But you do understand, right doctor ?

                1. jonnycomelately profile image85
                  jonnycomelatelyposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  Sounds to me like "Righteous Atheist" has a chip on his/her shoulder.  Not much rational discussion. 
                  Where does all that anger come from.  Are you a-theist to the exclusion of any theist opinion?  Do you deal only in absolutes?

                2. Righteous Atheist profile image60
                  Righteous Atheistposted 2 years ago in reply to this

                  Yes I do. Past experiences. Not god.

 
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