Atlantis Online
December 04, 2022, 06:53:38 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Giant crater may lie under Antarctic ice
http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn9268
 
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

The Nature of Good & Evil

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 35   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: The Nature of Good & Evil  (Read 5441 times)
Dawn Moline
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1943



« on: December 12, 2007, 10:58:22 pm »

The Nature of Good & Evil

And now, friends, I would like for us to discuss the nature of good and evil, specifically the inner human qualities that make us judge one to be good and one to be evil. This is meant to be a wholly interactive topic, and once again, I encourage everyone to participate.

It would seem like an easy question. We can all recognize both ultimate good and ultimate evil when we see it, especially if it is portrayed vividly. To put it simply, the embodiment of human good would, perhaps, be Mother Theresa, while the embodiment of ultimate human evil would, perhaps, be Adolph Hitler. Yet, it is not the extremes of human behavior that interest me, but rather that gray area] that so many of us (myself included), fall within.

What is it, exactly that makes one human be judged "good", and what is it that makes one be judged "evil"? And who's definition do we use?

If one knows the Bible by heart, yet deep within, feels naught but hatred and contempt for his fellow human beings, does that make them good?

And if one spends most of their time giving to others, yet has never listened to religious teachings one day in their life, does that, in turn, make them evil?

It cannot simply be that if one follows, the will of God they can be said to be judged "good." Innocent children often die without ever receiving religious instruction, does God not allow them into into Her realm, simply because they have not heard Her name? The God I worship makes allowances for that, the God I worship, understands.

And yet, how well do the rest of us understand?

Nor cannot be just the quantity of our sins, for most of us would readily admit that we all do sin. More often than not, it seems to come down to another, often more vague criteria. One often borne of the minds of men, rather than the mind of God.

And how well do each of us pass the test that we human beings have set for ouselves?

Our friends Calvin and Anteros seem to know a great deal about the Bible, yet each also have shown a capacity to be judgmental at times. Does their devotion to religion mean that each of them is beyond reproach? Our friend Baphomet seems to show a great interest in demons, yet has also, at times shown a caring heart, does his interest in demons make him evil? Our good friends Bluducky and HereForNow almost unfailingly demonstrate both never-ending faith and extreme good nature, for the most part neither one taking part in the petty squabbles that so affect so many others here...yet would either of them claim to have been untouched by evil?

I would like us to look at the evil that we not only see in others, but the evil we might well see in ourselves. We all walk with evil, hand-in-hand, everyday. For some, it is a struggle to do the right thing, for others, they could not even conceive of doing something terrible.

And myself, who I must look at in an even harsher light: I know that I am at times, both vain and presumptuous. I have behaved badly at times and know that I am equal portions both good and evil. I know my faults better than any other, which is why I examine my actions constantly. One thing I have learned: I must first always listen to others if I am to ever understand them, and I try not to judge anyone. Each human being is a living story, and, for the most part, our lives are more drama then comedy, often more tragic than we ever let on. Our environment, more than any other factor may be the thing that most breeds evil.

As human beings, I believe we have a responsibility to understand one another. Let us begin by each of us giving our own personal definitions of good and evil.


http://forums.atlantisrising.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=15;t=000243;p=1
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 09:34:22 pm by Dawn Moline » Report Spam   Logged

"The unexamined life is one not worth leading."
-Plato

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2007, 11:12:54 pm »

Stacy Dohm

Member
Member # 2189

Member Rated:
   posted 02-10-2005 08:17 PM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Good is anyone who tries to help others.
Evil is anyone who tries to harm others.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 341 | From: Wisconsin | Registered: Nov 2004   
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2007, 11:13:22 pm »

Trent

Member
Member # 2174

Member Rated:
   posted 02-10-2005 08:40 PM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
You know it when you see it: the Holocaust, the Inquisition, beheadings, 9/11, cannibalism, human sacrifice...evil!
Charity, love, self-sacrifice, the Chicago Cubs finally winning the World Series...good!



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 387 | From: DeKalb, IL | Registered: Oct 2004
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2007, 11:13:45 pm »

Calvin Noble

Member
Member # 2238

Rate Member   posted 02-10-2005 08:42 PM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I begin to see your true methodology at work here, Dawn, and I feel like a fool for not seeing it earlier. I note that you make special mention of those who can recite passages from the Bible as potentially "evil." And then, there is the subject matter of your topics: God, love, now good and evil. By slowly beginning to chip away at longheld beliefs we have about each of them you perhaps think you can chip away at our belief in God Himself. In another thread, Absonite made mention of "false prophets." I would suggest that you are one. Not only that, but perhaps one far more dangerous than all the others.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 344 | Registered: Nov 2004 
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2007, 11:14:14 pm »

Dawn Moline

Member
Member # 2173

Member Rated:
   posted 02-10-2005 09:01 PM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I can assure you that's not the case, Calvin. I am simply trying to initiate a dialogue amongst us all of the things that are the most important to us. How else can we come to understand one another? Only by listening to the viewpoints of others can actual knowledge begin. We must come to one another with an open mind, an open heart and the deep awareness that the world we live in is not our own, yet belongs to everyone.
As for the other things you said, I don't much care what anyone wishes to call me. The message is far more important than my personal feelings and so, I shall return neither anyone's insults or anger in kind.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 446 | From: citizen of the world | Registered: Oct 2004   
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2007, 11:14:44 pm »

iwannano
Member
Member # 2255

Rate Member   posted 02-10-2005 09:14 PM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dawn, I believe Stacy's answer is why there is a gray area(Stacy I am not picking on you. You were the first reply I read). I don't think you can broadly say what is and isn't evil.
It is possible to selflessly do good for others and cause harm to others at the same time. Without getting into politics, our soldiers in Iraq and Afhganistan are doing just that.
You could say that allowing harm to come to others is just as evil as harming others. It is then possible to be "evil" by trying to stop the "evil" from happening or it is possible to see "evil" and turn away thus helping "evil".

You would also think that good is easier to identify but what may seem like goodness can be interpreted as evil. We just recently had missionaries passing out food with bible passages to Tsunami victims. They weren't preaching mind you just passing out passages with each meal. Some were told to leave and some were told to cease passing out the passages or they would have to leave. Someone thought these starving people would be converted to christianity and they couldn't have that. Were the missionaries evil or good?

The only way to know the nature of good or evil is to know the nature of everyman's heart(if I remember I think "the Shadow knows). We'll find Atlantis first.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 178 | From: River Ridge, La. USA | Registered: Dec 2004   
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2007, 11:15:18 pm »

Dawn Moline

Member
Member # 2173

Member Rated:
   posted 02-10-2005 09:32 PM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Well put, Iwannano. In the case of the missionaries, they would probably see it a a failure on their part had they not tried to pass on the word of God, for in their eyes, that would be helping. And yet, to the natives there, that would probably be seen as an affront to their own beliefs. There is a fine line between good and evil, and even with that, often many shades of gray.
Yet, reaching a conclusion towards how we define good and evil need not be the goal here. How we each define it for ourselves is a more reachable destination and should tell us volumes how each of us perceives the world that we are a part of.

For instance, what is your own personal definition of good and evil?


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 446 | From: citizen of the world | Registered: Oct 2004
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2007, 11:16:02 pm »

Calvin Noble

Member
Member # 2238

Rate Member   posted 02-10-2005 09:34 PM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Very well, I will accept your answer on it's face value, Dawn, and will answer your question.
Evil is anything that goes against the Ten Commandments. I take it some of you think that some of the Commandments are more important than others. They are all important, and each one must be granted the same weight as the other.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 344 | Registered: Nov 2004
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2007, 11:16:30 pm »

 
Veronica Poe

Member
Member # 2172

  posted 02-10-2005 10:12 PM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Evil would be whatever person or idea seeks to suppress or punish another (people like Calvin, for instance).
Good would be whatever allows freedom and individuality to flourish.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 332 | Registered: Oct 2004 
 
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2007, 11:17:39 pm »

 
bluducky

Member
Member # 1880

Member Rated:
   posted 02-10-2005 11:54 PM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hmm, well, to comment on this might be self-centred of me. (Who am i to preach morals?)
Who really cares what I think is good, and what evil? My views aren't going to inspire everybody's hearts to conform.

And, as Iwannano noted, who can define 'evil' and 'good'?

Adolf Hitler was a saint to some, and a monster to others. All he tried to do was make a better world. That was his intention; to create a BETTER world. Irregardless of methodology.

----

I do so enjoy SELFLESSNESS. When I see it, I know it is good.


I am evil. That is all I know... I will tell you why:

The ACTIONS of a person make them either good or bad.

Intentions always have a subconcious selfishness to them. Everybody wants something, it's just a matter of who else wants that too that determines if it is good or not. What people do, they do only for themselves.

Some want to be a hero, some want fame, some want to be rich, some want to be loved.. there are millions of possibilities..


PS: Dawn, thank you for the high regard, though I am sure it is undeserved. A biblical quote will go well here, "no one is good, no, not one..."


Are my thoughts better than your thoughts? My desires better than yours?


Excuse me, I must go...


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 1626 | From: Queensland, Australia | Registered: Mar 2004
 
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2007, 11:18:20 pm »

Andrew Waters

Member
Member # 914

  posted 02-11-2005 12:32 AM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm glad you are relaxing a bit Calvin.

Your initial reply and unfounded indignance was part of what the topic here alludes to.  Wink

 
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2007, 11:18:52 pm »

iwannano
Member
Member # 2255

Rate Member   posted 02-11-2005 06:15 AM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Good and evil are judged in the eyes of the beholder. Does mere numbers make something evil, i.e. if enough people think its evil then is it? The same for good. Is there one absolute "good" (god?) amd one absolute "evil" (satan?)? The old testament god was a vengeful god who caused harm if you crossed him. The new testament god is nicer. ""Vengance is mine" sayeth the lord"" some will say. Some will think vengance of anykind by anybeing is evil.
I consider myself a good person, considerate of others, charitable, caring, friendly but from that same mind comes thoughts of smacking the living heck out of those who need it. Do my good deeds make up for my evil thoughts? I think they cancel each other and I am left with being normal. If you never have evil thoughts you are not normal, you are exceptional.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 178 | From: River Ridge, La. USA | Registered: Dec 2004   
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2007, 11:19:27 pm »

Andrew Waters

Member
Member # 914

  posted 02-11-2005 09:32 AM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You above comment says a lot iwannano.

Without splitting hairs as to why society determines what constitutes an aggression, suffice it to say that your characterization of human behavior (good and evil) as normal can be summed up as just that.

The problem arises I think when Christianity muddles a discussion on human behavior and reduces it to its lowest form, i.e., Adam and Eve, without intellectual discourse as to why there is this appalling nature in humans to begin with.

To be sure (some) Christian intellectuals have grappled with this problem over the centuries but can't seem to reconcile this innate nature with a loving God and, as a result, continually refer this nature back to satan.

Somehow satan, in their minds,
absolves God of this terrible condition that man finds himself strapped with.

The problem with this satan scenario is loaded with alternative explanations itself and doesn't do any justice whatsoever to arriving at some meaningful attempt to put things in perspective.

I've often wondered if this Christian concept of ''The fall'' as an explanation as to why humans do what they do can be maneuvered into a discussion to see exactly what it is they mean when it is said satan wants to deceive humanity. Now, if this deceiving aspect is allowed to be true, how is it that satan can assume to know any number of people will follow him if these same people are, in this day and age, fully aware of his deceptiveness?. That very same awareness alone speaks volumes about the human perception of shades of good and evil.

I accept this human condition without all the ''save your soul'' explanations. I accept this human enigma because it is who we are. We are part and parcel of this ''mysterious'' thing called good and evil.

There is simply no need to be an apologist for God. He/she is the creator.

Right?


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 2639 | From: Akron, Ohio, USA | Registered: May 2002
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2007, 11:20:03 pm »

cydonia

Member
Member # 282

Member Rated:
   posted 02-11-2005 10:03 AM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The inability of many people in our society to recognize evil for what it is, and to call it by it's name, is probably the greatest intellectual and moral failing of our times. Too many people dismiss evil out of hand, or water it down by offering excuses that minimize. The well-meaning but misguided person who looks at a murderer and, instead of condemning him as evil, seeks instead to find the "root causes" behind his behaviour (as in the excuse that an abusive childhood is somehow responsible for his actions) is engaging in this kind of behaviour. It may be well intentioned, but it offers nothing constructive. Rather, it causes societal harm by 'dumbing' us all down.
Last week I read a story of two foster parents, a man and a woman, who tortured and abused their charges for years. The two teenage girls in their "care" weighed something like 36 and 40 pounds. When the children misbehaved (or perhaps simply when these two evil people caught the urge) their toenails and fingernails were torn out with pliers. Being locked in the closet or the basement for days on end with no food was common. Beatings, brutal beatings, were routine. And two other children, whom were described as the "favorites" were spared much of the physical anguish, and left simply to "observe" these horrific acts perpetrated upon their foster siblings.

Are these two people evil? You bet your *ss they are. It matters not one whit that some people might sympathize with, or even approve of, their behaviour. It doesnt make them less evil because some people somehwere act in the same manner, or feel what they did was right. Just as it doesnt diminish Hitler's evil by saying "Well, a LOT of Nazi's thought he was a good leader, and they agreed with his methods, so who's to say whether he was evil or not". That kind of thinking isn't nuanced, or intelligent, or philosophical. It's childish, and does nothing but weaken. When we lose our ability to see things for what they are, and call them by their name, we are less than we were.

To touch upon something someone else mentioned, does it make the children in the example above, the ones who were spared the physical abuse, does it make them evil because they didn't intervene and stop the torture being inflicted on their foster siblings? No, of course it doesnt. They are victims as well of those evil people. I remember a few years ago there was a show on Nickelodeon that my child and I watched together called "Arrrgggh! Real monsters". It was a cartoon about monsters that lived in the sewer and interacted with humans. My son asked me one day if there were really monsters in the world like those on the show. I told him there were, but they all looked human. They all wear a human face on the outside, but on the inside they are twisted and ugly and misshapen, and the true monsters live inside a human frame. I still believe this to be true.

Evil exists. It is everywhere. Good exists. It, too, is everywhere. Calling something evil when it isn't helps no one, it only hinders and weakens. Like when a person says they are the victims of racism when they are not. It only makes it more difficult for the person who actually IS a victim of racism.

[This message has been edited by cydonia (edited 02-11-2005).]


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 3836 | From: colorado, usa | Registered: Dec 2000
Report Spam   Logged
Felecia
Administrator
Superhero Member
*****
Posts: 1014



« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2007, 11:20:43 pm »

iwannano
Member
Member # 2255

Rate Member   posted 02-11-2005 05:05 PM                       
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cydonia, You bring up a good point regarding the children who witnessed the torture of their housemates. They are not evil.
I am not blessed with children(yes even an agnostic considers children a blessing)but I have many nieces and nephews with whom I have spent considerable time. I have had the discussion with them about turning a blind eye to evil and they have all in some fashion refered to a situation like the one you have described. They have seen evil and thought they were unable to do anything about it. I told them that doing nothing enabled evil. I don't want to see my loved ones hurt by trying to help someone but I am not going let them rationalize their way to becoming cowards. We don't have to confront evil by ourselves. Sometimes it may take many to overcome evil and sometimes it just takes the one. Being a victim doesn't make you any different, in fact it is your duty to us all to stand up to the evil so someone else doesn't become a victim. Doing that may be as "good" as one can be.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 178 | From: River Ridge, La. USA | Registered: Dec 2004
Report Spam   Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 35   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy