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So, I had an interesting question, and I wanted to see what people's answers would be.

Is there such a thing as good and evil.

And, if there is, why?

And, if there isn't, why do we get so mad at people doing certain things, and so happy when they do other things?

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So I spent around ten minutes typing out an answer before I decided that it didn't express my thoughts clearly enough. But in short, my answer was basically:

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I am no philosopher... but I do have an opinion (by which I mean a religion).

Yes, there's good and evil. Why? I don't know. I'm religious. So God? But that is not satisfactory, and so it is why I think it's just that perfect love for God and for others is what makes good good, and that which is against that is evil. But the act itself isn't necessarily good or evil, due to the accountability of the user. If a man does not truly understand that something like, say, lying is wrong (due to not 100% loving/respecting others enough to be honest), than he is not evil.
Now, when he starts to understand why it is wrong, then the moment of truth comes. If he chooses to continue down that path, then he is more evil for doing so. If he, however, changes and stops lying, well, now that's good.

Basically, what is good and what is evil are really just other words for pure love and not pure love. Whether a person is good or evil depends on how much he actually understands, and what he does with the understanding he has.

Edited by Knight of Iron
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9 hours ago, Knight of Iron said:

Whether a person is good or evil depends on how much he actually understands, and what he does with the understanding he has.

So, I'm thinking that how much an individual understands depends on his maturity?

For example, a five year old wouldn't be called evil because he stole a cookie, he just doesn't understand yet, but if, when that same five-year-old is twenty and he steals a car, that would be evil because he definitely understands the difference between right and wrong.

Right and wrong, is all about the intention. At the beginning of our lives, when we are young, we don't understand the difference between right and wrong, but once we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose wrong, then we are wrong.

Is it something like that, or am I way off?

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Here’s a semi-brief thought on the matter, fueled mainly by religion (which means don’t take this too personally, these are just my beliefs according to my religion):

It is my belief that there most definitely good and evil. God has created the world, but He included both good and evil for a reason (evil originating from Satan, not God, just so we’re clear). The reason that there is a clear good and evil is so that I get to have a choice between good and evil, and get to have the agency to choose. Through my decisions, I learn, and I grow. When I choose evil, eventually, perhaps after the initial temporal happiness, I feel pain and sorrow. When I choose good, though I may not be immediately blessed, I do feel happiness.

How I come to understand good and evil is through what I believe to be the light of Christ and natural man, both found within everybody. Similar to how in Mistborn all the inhabitants have a small piece of Preservation and a small piece of Ruin inside of them, I too have conflicting forces of good and evil within me. Whenever I do something good, such as service for somebody, I can feel a clear and definitive joy, clean and pure, and that typically lasts the rest of the day. That is the light of Christ found within me. Now say that I indulge myself, say maybe choose to rob a bank because I feel like getting some money to buy a fancy car. Though at first I’m sure to feel some initial happiness, I will eventually feel wrong, and sorrow for the actions that I have done. The happiness won’t last, and I’ll know that I have just gratified the natural man. How I become either righteous or wicked depends on which feelings that I act on. Even if you don’t believe in that, it still goes to say that most people have the same sense of morality; like most people aren’t going to murder someone because they feel that it is evil, and most people are probably going to help an old lady up because they know it’s the right thing to do.

Now, there is some interesting gray area. Like you said FT, if a five-year-old stole a cookie, it wasn’t his intention to do any evil. He still retains his innocence, and can literally do no true evil because he doesn’t have a full understanding of his actions and its consequences. But say when he’s twenty and steals a car, it is my understanding that like you said, he is choosing evil. He has, in exchange for growing up, lost his innocence, and now knows exactly what he is doing.

That’s my two cents on the matter anyways.

Edited by Ookla the Imperial
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1 hour ago, FatherTiempo said:

Is it something like that, or am I way off?

Very much so. And I do agree with @Ookla the Imperial. But yeah, there is some innate sense of very, very basic right and wrong that we acquire at a certain point in our childhood, maybe around eight years old, where we definitely by that point know that murder is wrong. Everyone has some degree of this accountability for very evil things, and, as aforementioned, we do call it the Light of Christ. Others would call it natural law.

And so in a funny kind of way, I believe that not knowing the difference between good and evil is actually a protection. Then you can't be held as good or evil, seeing as you don't either. This is why animals, for example, are innocent, despite having the ability to "bad things". They're innocent, because they don't know any better. Just the same with a five-year-old and that cookie. He doesn't know any better. A whole new meaning to ignorance is bliss.

Side note: This argument could be used against my religion by saying that by not believing in my religion, they are safer from doing evil things. True. They will still be accountable for other things, as they progress through their life, and the Judgment Day at the end of the world--we are judged according to what we did with what knowledge we had.
Also it is a part of my religion anyways that eventually everyone is going to reach a pretty high understanding of right and wrong, whether in this life or the next. So there's no use avoiding it.

Edited by Knight of Iron
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I am religious, but perhaps, I can add a different perspective, more from a philosophical point of view. But first, I do want to state that it is my belief that there is an absolute evil and unchanging  and an absolute and unchanging good, The only problem is that I haven't determined what that difference is. Most of the middle area is still very blurry for me, so I dont have the best information on that area.

Now from a more philosophical point of view, Good and evil would for the most part be based one one's own morality, as well as maturity and understanding. For example, a religious zealot may state another religious zealot is evil, and vice versa, all the while holding to very similar belief regarding the origins of the universe and how to reach "salvation" 

Removing religion entirely, I believe there are still some things that can be considered universally evil, like cold blooded murder for example. But even among the realm of death and killing, we cannot say that killing is universally evil. Crusaders and many political scientists are aware of a concept of a "just war." This is the idea that some wars are just, and therefore not evil, despite the often genocidal events that result from many wars. 

This is similar to the arguments of doing the wrong things for the right reason, or the right things for the wrong reason. Are any of these thought processes really evil? From my perspective, I would say that doing the right thing for the wrong reason is more evil. But it brings up the discussion: Are evil acts defined as evil based on the act alone, or the intentions behind the action?

 

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1 hour ago, CadCom said:

Are evil acts defined as evil based on the act alone, or the intentions behind the action?

 

C.S. Lewis brought up the point that if someone accidentally trips you, you will be angry for a moment, but not seriously angry with them. If someone tries to trip you, and fails, you would still be angry at them.

In the first case you are hurt, yet you are not angry. On the second case you aren't actually hurt, but you feel as if there had been some wrong done to you.

 

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I'm going to do my best to completely and utterly keep my religious reasonings out of this.

There is no point in talking about a world in which good and evil do not exist because of the repercussions that could cause. The same must be said about free will. Without either of them, why do we have society? Why do we care?

Think about it--there is an innate wanting in humans to be accepted by the community. When people are accepted they feel good. Couldn't that be considered good? Is lack of it bad? 

Does it even matter?

What matters is this, whether they are a thing or not is irrelevant. Our society could not function without established rules of what is okay and what is not. Without morality or a belief in human accountability there is literally no reason for anything we do. Therefore, we must act as though they are a thing, whether or not that is actually the case, unless a better method can be thought of.

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