Evil is a subject of contention among some people. There are people

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  1. gmwilliams profile image84
    gmwilliamsposted 9 years ago

    feel that the issue of evil is morally relative while others believe that there is absolute evil.  A few strongly insist that evil does not even exist.   There is evil in this world and in same cases, there is pure evil.  Do you believe that there is pure evil?  Why? Why not?

    1. profile image0
      Rad Manposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      What definition of evil are you referring to?

      profoundly immoral and malevolent: his evil deeds | no man is so evil as to be beyond redemption.
      • (of a force or spirit) embodying or associated with the forces of the devil: we have been driven out of the house by this evil spirit.
      • harmful or tending to harm: the evil effects of high taxes.
      • (of something seen or smelled) extremely unpleasant: a bathroom with an evil smell.

      Surely there are people who do immoral and malevolent things, but that doesn't mean the devil exists.

      1. gmwilliams profile image84
        gmwilliamsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Referring to all aspects of evil from a philosophical perspective.  Evil is many things to many people.  Some contend that evil does not exist at all but is a manmade construct and/or judgement while others maintain that there is PURE EVIL.

        1. profile image0
          Rad Manposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Isn't evil a word to describe behaviour? Does that make it an abstract? Is someone murders someone they have done something profoundly immoral which is the definition of evil, but does the evil exist or does the act of murder exist? I would have to say that evil is simply a word that describes very bad behaviour.

          1. MelissaBarrett profile image59
            MelissaBarrettposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            That's where I'm at Rad.

            I will add that from a philosophical standpoint, you would be hard pressed to find a "pure" or "absolute" evil. Evil is always in the eye of the beholder.

            1. profile image0
              Rad Manposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              My personal opinion is that the most evil (immoral) thing we can do is destroy the earth which will lead to our own destruction. We can't seem to put the climate ahead of anything and given that any changes we make now will affect people 100 years from now we don't make the change. The strangest part of that is that the most destructive to our environment are those to the far right. The deeply religious ones who don't even acknowledge climate change are to me the most immoral and evil as they can't see past their own needs.

              Evil (immoral) are those that lend money to Brazil and then when Brazil can't pay back the interest the lenders tell Brazil to start to cut down it's rain forest to pay back the interest on the lone.

              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                Good point.  Although man is incapable of destroying the earth and even causing permanent loss of life, we CAN kill all or very nearly all people through either pollution and/or nuclear war.  Can there be anything more evil than that?

              2. Chris Neal profile image80
                Chris Nealposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                Equating the 'far right' (which tends to have the most vocal deniers of climate change) with the vulture funds is a bit of a red herring. Some of the richest men in the world (and women too) are anything but 'far right.' For every Rupert Murdoch there is also a George Sorros.

                Do you, since you personally consider failure to put the climate ahead of people (implying that if a million people were to die in order to avoid climate change, you would consider that to be good) do you do all you can to help avoid climate change? Do you take your house off the grid? Walk when you can avoid driving? Use only the barest necessary amounts of water? Make sure all your containers are made of natural, recyclable ingredients? Get involved with groups promoting awareness and attempt to persuade your friends and family (and others) about the evil of not trying to live as eco-friendly as possible?

                1. profile image0
                  Rad Manposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  I think the Republicans appeal to peoples core values and sensibilities, so they then can do as they please and will be agreed with. I'll put the blame once again on greedy corporations that are able to gain more and more control.

                  I do however walk when I can avoid driving. We have two cars with 3 drivers and another in training and one of the cars is an 07 with 24,000 miles on it and the other is an 05 with 65,000 miles on it. The house is sweater cold in the winter and rather warm in the summer. We've had people over who have asked us to change the temperature. We only end up with a small container of actual garbage and the end of the two week cycle with 5 people and a dog in the house.

                  Even David Suzuki has to get in a car once in a while.

                  1. Chris Neal profile image80
                    Chris Nealposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                    You walk the walk to the best of your ability. I respect that.

    2. oceansnsunsets profile image85
      oceansnsunsetsposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I believe in evil because of what I observe.  To answer your question more fully, I think I would need to know what you mean exactly by pure evil.  That was it can be more accurately answered. 

      Some actions are pure evil for sure.  Like people who are gassed to death, and to those that do the "gassing of them", that kind of evil does not depend on who calls it such, it just IS or not.

  2. HollieT profile image82
    HollieTposted 9 years ago

    This is a bit of a tricky one in some respects. Firstly, because [evil doers] would surely have to be aware that their actions are evil, in order for them to be truly evil. (does that make sense?)

    I look around society and see lots of evil doers, but, for me, the contention comes with the motivation. I see, what I believe as an evil political party gaining momentum in the UK. They are homophobic, racist, sexist and generally intolerant. They frighten me. However, they have gained momentum amongst an angry and disenfranchised public, who do not check out their policies, but bow to their soundbites. Are their followers evil? I don't believe they are, but the leaders, yes. Because they know what they are doing and the damage their policies will bring.

    1. MelissaBarrett profile image59
      MelissaBarrettposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I know very little about UK politics, let me preface with that.  I will say that while I consider intolerance horrible, I am also aware that others have a list of reasons why they do they things/think the things they do. Generally, people do what they think is right. Those who don't think like them believe it horrible, those who think like them think it honourable.

      What you see as damage, they likely think of as preservation. So, not evil. Possibly wrong, possibly damaging... not evil though.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        Good point.

        However, I would tentatively define evil as unnecessarily and intentionally hurting someone else.  As a belief system including harm to gays is both unnecessary and intentional, that would be defined as evil.  For those defining "necessary" as whatever they think their god wants of them, let the prove it first.

        1. MelissaBarrett profile image59
          MelissaBarrettposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Unfortunately, most religions see it as very necessary and as saving someone else. They don't really need any more proof that homosexuality is evil than we need for us to believe it's not. Again, they are possibly wrong (I believe they are) but not evil... as a matter of fact, if they truly believe that they are saving souls... from that point of view... they are doing good.

          We could move to the topic of idiocy and religious zealotry now...

          1. wilderness profile image95
            wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Understood.  My point, however, is that until it can be shown to be good (required by their god, or whatever) then it is evil regardless of intentions.  The intention may be to do good, but intentionally causing harm to someone will always be evil until shown to be good (such as a surgeon's work).

            If that makes the religion itself evil, so be it.

            1. MelissaBarrett profile image59
              MelissaBarrettposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              In that case, then the actions of Fred Phelps and the WBC were actually "good". Many gay-rights advocates believe that the unpalatablness of their actions led to a distancing of moderate, and even some conservative supporters of "traditional marriage."

              The same thing has happened repeatedly through US history... black panthers, KKK, etc. Most extremist groups ultimately end up working for the other side...  So if evil is evil regardless of intentions... is good good regardless of intentions?

              Edit: And the opposite of good is not good. That is not the same as evil. Things that aren't good aren't necessarily evil.

              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                You're pinning me against the wall and it hurts!

                But the Phelps crowd intentionally cause harm to people, making their actions evil whether the intent was to follow God's will or to gain converts to fill the collection plate (IMO the latter).

                But I'm not following the rest; if the KKK turns around and supports integration, equal rights, etc. then the action is not evil.  What am I missing here?

                You're right - not good is not necessarily evil.  And there is the matter of degree as well; causing distress to a bigot by kissing the same sex in public is not evil.  Not even if the distress is intentional.

                1. MelissaBarrett profile image59
                  MelissaBarrettposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  Well, if we go purely on intent... and assuming (probably not correctly) that Phelps was doing it to save people... then his actions were good. If we go on the effect they had-which was certainly unintended- then his actions were good as well. Damn, Phelps was a saint.

                  Now, hurting people on purpose for no reason... OK, I'm willing to concede that that might be construed as evil... as close as a definition as I'm good with anyway. However, I don't think that happens very often at all... if ever... There's always a reason.

                  In addition, there are very few events that no good at all comes out of. There are lots of events where the bad largely outweighs the good, but I literally cannot think of one event ever that nothing good came out of at all... If you can, let me know.

                  So, basically, IMHO no "pure" or "absolute" evil.

                  Unfortunately, again, I'm thinking evil is completely subjective... relying on which side of the fence you are standing on and your view of how much bad there has to be to override the good.

                  Edit: The same thing with the KKK as with the WBC. People hated the group so much that they embraced integration just to separate themselves from the ideals that the KKK held.

                  So the actions of the KKK were horrible and terrible, but also lead to good.  So were the actions evil... even if they brought about greater good?

                  Edit again: Generally men like it when I pin them against walls... sorry, I tried to resist... just couldn't.

                  1. wilderness profile image95
                    wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                    See, I disagree here.  Phelp's actions did harm, not good.  If Phelp's, you or anyone else can prove otherwise then show it; otherwise the emotional harm that was readily apparent stands as the primary effect of his actions.  Evil, regardless of intent as Phelps did not KNOW his actions were wanted by his god.  Intent does count, but only where the intended outcome is known to be possible.  Not guessed at, not faith based, KNOWN.  A surgeon, for instance, may slip and kill a patient even though he is giving his best effort.  No evil, just accident.

                    But I never said there was no reason; I said that it was unnecessary, and unsaid was that it was not for the benefit of the harmed person (such as surgery is).  Necessary for the wants of the evil one doesn't make it OK.

                    Something with no good: Phelp's actions at funerals.  At least no good for the hurt survivors; Phelps may well have gained converts.  Nevertheless, there is probably no pure good or evil.

                    Yes, the KKK actions were evil even when resulting in a small amount of good.

      2. HollieT profile image82
        HollieTposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I get what you're saying, and up to a point I agree. I think some intolerance stems from fear and possibly the belief that those different from them are evil or driven to do evil things. But this particular party (or some of its candidates) believe that it's ok for a man to rape his wife etc. So from that angle, yes, it's about preserving certain rights to harm and hurt.

  3. gmwilliams profile image84
    gmwilliamsposted 9 years ago

    Some people believe in moral relativism.  They strongly contend that evil is a subjective and judgemental word.  They believe that evil is not an absolute but is mainly circumstancial.  They assert that the concept of evil is a holdover from religious morality.


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