Do Theists own the term evil?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
03-11-2012, 05:21 PM
RE: Do Theists own the term evil?
In philosophy evil is usually equated to morality, but practically it usually must also be coupled with the action that one's morality allows. For example, Charles Manson is considered evil because he recruited damaged people to kill others in order to start a race war, and he is often considered evil. Now suppose I would rather enjoy doing the same thing, but I don't have the skills, means, courage, etc to follow through with my desires. People might call me deranged, or racist, or nuts, but not evil, though I had no qualms about doing it from a moral perspective.

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
03-11-2012, 06:06 PM
RE: Do Theists own the term evil?
Hmm, I realize I had redefined the word for my own purposes. For me evil has nothing to do with sin. For me evil is defined thus: a human who derives satisfaction or pleasure from the pain or suffering of others.

Huh. Why did I do that? In examining further I can think of examples of people whose acts I would describe as evil while not being necessarily motivated by pleasure or satisfaction.

Wonder how my definition narrowed...

I seem to be learning a lot here. Gonna stick around if that's alright with you folks. Big Grin

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Cardinal Smurf's post
04-11-2012, 08:59 AM
RE: Do Theists own the term evil?
Hey, Bucky.

Interesting videos. Quite profound. Thanks for sharing.

You quoted me but you didn't write anything and the videos were pretty broad. Was there something in particular that I wrote that you were responding to? If so, could you express your response?

I've always hated the punitive system. I see why it's so popular but like so many of civilsiation's institutions, it's an atrocity. I've always preferred the restorative justice system; a system that recognises the complexity of human behaviour, accepts as an inevitability the fact that humans will do things contrary to the common good, but that skips past punishment for the transgression and focuses instead on finding a solution that will allow harmony to be restored within the group. Brilliant that is. And relies not a jot on the notion of good and evil.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Ghost's post
04-11-2012, 04:29 PM
RE: Do Theists own the term evil?
(04-11-2012 08:59 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Bucky.

Interesting videos. Quite profound. Thanks for sharing.

You quoted me but you didn't write anything and the videos were pretty broad. Was there something in particular that I wrote that you were responding to? If so, could you express your response?

I've always hated the punitive system. I see why it's so popular but like so many of civilsiation's institutions, it's an atrocity. I've always preferred the restorative justice system; a system that recognises the complexity of human behaviour, accepts as an inevitability the fact that humans will do things contrary to the common good, but that skips past punishment for the transgression and focuses instead on finding a solution that will allow harmony to be restored within the group. Brilliant that is. And relies not a jot on the notion of good and evil.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
It certainly sounds idyllic. Has any civilization in history ever tried and succeeded at it?

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy! -Brian's mum
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-11-2012, 05:54 PM
RE: Do Theists own the term evil?
Hey, Cardinal.

Restorative justice, typically, was/is employed by bands and tribes.

There have been attempts here and there to incorporate it into larger civilisaitons with varying degrees of success. There have been a number of pilot programs within Corrections Canada, largely due to the disproportionate representation of First Nations peoples in the prison system (something like 2% of the population of Canada but 15% of the prison population). The most famous example in recent memory was Archbishop Desmond Tutu's initiative in South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Restorative justice requires a nuanced approach on a case by case basis. I'd say that it's facilitated by the egalitarian structure of the band/tribe system, but more likely it was born of that organisation if you know what I mean. The problem is that punitive justice is well suited for hierarchical civilisation because centralised leadership is made easy by one size fits all regulations. For civilisation, it is best when we are all numbers rather than individuals. It's not impossible to introduce restorative justice into large hierarchies, it's just that there are selection pressures acting against it within most civilisations; not the least of which is that we've been doing the punitive thing since at least Hammurabi's Code. People are pretty used to it and have an "if not this then what" bias that one has to break through first.

But bringing it all back to the notion of good and evil, the larger problem is that people believe that certain people are good and certain people are evil as a state of being. If I say that Jeffrey Dahmer is evil, almost nobody bats an eye. If I say that Jeffrey Dahmer was a complex human being that (insert nuanced and personalised assessment/approach here) people go ape shit and envision the collapse of civilisation itself in their hysteria. People are evil. End of story. The associated idea is that the evil among us has to be cut out like a tumour. They are not to be listened to, coddled, loved, reasoned with, rehabilitated, understood or anything else that might be productive, they are to be removed and punished for their wickedness. To do anything else is to invite the end of civilisation as we know it. That's the thought whether you're a sinner or a pedophile. As long as the mentality of the good/evil dichotomy is in place, restorative justice (and reason for that matter) find themselves in enemy territory.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: