A Discussion of EVIL

It’s been said that evil is a subjective term open to interpretation. I’ve been giving this statement some thought and decided I’d like to hear from my blog visitors on how they would “interpret” … EVIL.

I think for many a logical response would be that Evil is the absence or complete opposite of that which is ascribed as being “good” (substitute: “God”).

But that doesn’t really tell us anything.

So let’s take a closer look at (ominous music) … evil“EVIL”

Do you believe Evil is subjective — taking place within the mind and modified by individual bias;  or objective  — undistorted by emotion or personal bias, based on observable phenomena?

In your opinion, which of the following best describes Evil?

  1. Morally reprehensible, sinful, wicked
  2. That which causes harm, destruction or misfortune
  3. The quality of being morally wrong in principle or practice

Is there more than one kind of evil? The New World Encyclopedia says there are three kinds of Evil:

  • Moral – Evil that human beings volitionally and intentionally originate (i.e., cruel, vicious, and unjust thoughts and actions, such as murder, rape, abuse, terrorism, genocide)
  • Natural – Evil that occurs independently of human thoughts and actions, but which still causes pain and suffering (e.g., earthquakes, volcanos, storms, droughts, disease)
  • Metaphysical – (Too confusing to be discussed here!)

Does Evil exist as a force, power, or person, i.e., evil incarnate? (If your answer is “yes,” why do you believe this?)

Are there degrees of Evil?

Is there a relationship between Evil Action and Evil Character?

Do humans commit Evil acts voluntarily … or is it due to a neurological glitch or malformation in the wiring of the physical brain?

WHO, in the end, decides what is Evil?


NOTE: An interesting read on this topic can be found here.

“I’ve Had A Wonderful Life”

On another blog, someone commented with a quote from Ludwig Wittgenstein (1989-1951), an Austrian-British 20th Century philosopher:

To believe in God means to see that life has a meaning

As I read this, I asked myself, “Self, does this mean life has no meaning without a belief in God?”


Ludwig Wittgenstein (by Ben Richards)

In a cursory reading about Ludwig on Wikipedia, I found it rather interesting that he made the following comment as he lay on his death bed, just before losing consciousness for the last time, “Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life.”

In the last years of his life, Wittgenstein was said to be agnostic — in a qualified sense. Qualified in that he did not accept any religious faith. In fact, he was impatient with “proofs” of the existence of God and any attempts to give religion a rational foundation.

So it would seem his original thinking, as stated in the above quote, had changed by the end of his life. He had found meaning in life despite his agnosticism … to the extent he was able to say on his death bed, “I’ve had a wonderful life.”

In his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus  (1922), he wrote:

Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits.

I like this: eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.

There is no other time but now. There is no other life but this one. Enjoy the life you have at this moment. Even if you are living with pain and suffering, always remember, you still have LIFE! You are still able to enjoy the magnificence of the universe, the love of friends and family, the joy of simply “being.”

And when the time comes for it all to end, may each of us join Ludwig and say, “I’ve had a wonderful life.”

Heaven Is For Real?

As many of you probably know, the author of the book, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, has recanted his story and admitted it was all fictional.

Now the young man who wrote Heaven Is For Real is speaking up, but in contrast he is standing by his story. As he puts it on his blog: “I still remember my experience in Heaven.”

My question from the beginning has been — how do you come back from a place that doesn’t exist?

I admit I haven’t read either book, but it’s not too hard to figure out the content. I’ve read enough reports by those who have shared their “visions” after experiencing a NDE (Near Death Experience) to have a pretty good idea of what they think they saw.

What I find interesting is how “Christian” these stories are. The visions and accounts of what the person saw are right out of the bible. But what’s even more amazing is the number of NON-Christian people who are totally taken in by these stories!

I suppose it has something to do with what we want to believe.

Or more likely, there will never be a lack of gullible people.

Who Decides? You or God?

There has been extensive discussion on some of the blogs I follow about “Free Will.” I even posted something related to the issue; however, it didn’t really address my personal outlook on the topic.

Free Will is defined in various ways. Following are a couple of defs that I came across …

  • WordWeb: (n.) The power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies; (adj.) Done of your own accord.
  • Wikipedia: The ability of agents to make choices unimpeded by certain prevailing factors.
  • Wiktionary: (n.) A person’s natural inclination; unforced choice; (philosophy) The ability to choose one’s actions, or determine what reasons are acceptable motivation for actions, without predestination, fate etc.

The major discussion around the topic is generally divided between those who believe humans possess free will (as defined above), and those who are certain our actions are dictated by a higher power. I lean towards the former.

Here’s how I look at it …

Throughout our lifetime, we make choices. These choices run the full gamut of how we live our lives. Further, I think this ability to choose is part of our organic evolutionary makeup and begins in early childhood — around the time of our “self-awareness.”

I DO NOT think our choices are dictated by anyone or anything. We alone our responsible for the decisions we make and the actions we take. Yes, we often weigh external factors and resulting consequences, but in the end, WE are the ones who make the final decision on how we will proceed. If we make a bad decision, we will suffer the consequences, which could even lead to our death.

Here’s how many others look at it …

Some believe God (generally the Christian God) is the controlling factor in our lives. They free_will_puppetcontend that all human actions are dictated by an omniscient (all-knowing), invisible, super being. Moreover, not only does this super-being know the choices we will make, but it has actually pre-determined these choices. Further, by virtue of its omnipotence (unlimited power), it controls the factors that make up these choices. In other words, our lives are totally controlled by a Power that cannot be physically seen, felt, or heard … yet exists to run our lives.

Based on this “Godly” perspective, not only are we born by God’s choice, but it is God who decides everything for us from that point on. And think on this — if God is the determining factor in a person’s life choices, it could be said it is God who decides whether a baby will be aborted! (Take that right-to-lifers!)

Thus, according to this school of thought, anyone who believes in individual free will is living under an illusion.

As I mentioned elsewhere, this is a topic where neither side can be declared a “winner.” Nonetheless, it makes for fascinating discussions since multiple scenarios can be presented to “prove” one viewpoint over the other. And that prompts me to say … “Have at it!” What’s your take on the subject? Do you agree with me or “the others” … and why?