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Featured Let Us Say Evil is Purely Relative...

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Apr 4, 2020.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    It is in the West quite popular to declare that evil is relative. Yet, often missing from such discussions is any effort to address how problematic such a statement might be.

    For instance, consider this: If evil is purely relative, then it is possible that the Holocaust was not evil for everyone, but was instead good for some people. But if the Holocaust was good for some people, then we must consider the Holocaust in some circumstances morally justified. However, considering the Holocaust morally justified in some circumstances, but not in other circumstances, implies that good and evil can be decided by circumstances. Yet, if good and evil can be decided by circumstances, then can it not be said that good and evil have an "objective" foundation in so far as circumstances are "objectively" real? And if that is the case, then is not the proposition that "good and evil are relative" little more than a very trivial point of almost no ethical significance, while the proposition that "good and evil are securely grounded in circumstances" of much greater moral consequence, for then we could say "In circumstances X, Y is always evil (or not evil)"? But if we can say that, how can evil be relative?​

    I am neither endorsing nor criticizing the above view. I'm just laying it out for discussion in order to show one of the many ways in which the notion that good and evil are relative is problematic.





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  2. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    It is only problematic, because you hold it against a standard that you subjectively feel is better. The problem is that the standard is not true for how reality works in practice.

    Something matters, because it subjectively matters. That is how it works in practice. If you don't like that, then that is you subjectively not liking it. So my advice is to stop that, because you don't need to that. Just aspect the good and evil is subjectively relative and state what you believe.

    Regards
    Mikkel
     
  3. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    @Sunstone - I believe you, yourself touched on the answer to your quandry within your question. Evil is entirely relative until a basis for making judgments about it is established between individual actors. Until you have a definition from which to work from "evil" is entirely relative.

    So, from a human standpoint, where survival at all basically must be considered "good" by at least each individual, then an establishment of "good" as "survival" means that not surviving is then "bad" and you could say that anything that acts against your survival is "evil." Extrapolate that via empathy to other humans, and you can realize something you can jointly label "evil."

    But, as an example, the holocaust itself probably presented a boon of livelihood for the bacteria that enact human decay. From their perspective, the holocaust was probably a pretty good time to be alive. This is not some statement indicating that I believe the holocaust to be trivial - far from it. I am merely adopting the view of the situation from a different perspective. It will always be "evil" from my human perspective.
     
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  4. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Just out of curiosity, did you actually read the OP?
     
  5. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Yes, I read it. It is only subjectively problematic and that is a variant of good and evil as relative. It is not problematic to me, because I subjectively deal with it differently.

    Regards
    Mikkel
     
  6. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Context is fluid and ever-changing and relative to the actions/tasks performed within that context. Within a given context, any action or task performed may be judged to be beneficial or malevolent.

    In regards to the holocaust, I would say that the vast majority of people would overwhelmingly judge it to be evil or malevolent, so much so that we might view anyone who judges otherwise to be mentally unsound.

    All of the factors involved are not absolute--everchanging circumstances/context, the mental soundness of the person(s) involved in deciding the actions, the way the actions play out, and the way that both participants and observers justify or condemn both the actions as well as the outcomes, as well as the mental soundness of those making those judgements.
     
  7. Samantha Rinne

    Samantha Rinne Resident Genderfluid Writer/Artist

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    Evil is not relative. There are certain practices (abortion, burning people alive, punishing non-adherence to dress codes or breaking taboos with things like stoning to death) that even if you can claim some kind of moraliry (" controlling population ", "they were a witch/it is a wife's duty to also die once her husband does", "they were sinning") the fact remains that you have just hurt someone.

    There is however, a sense of relativity for certain events/behaviors. But in this case it's a "two sides to a story" deal. For example, when a cat is dying, some people would maintain that it's unjust to make them continually suffer while others maintain that you shouldn't deliberately end a life of another creature.
     
  8. leov

    leov Well-Known Member

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    Good and evil exist to balance this cosmos. It is somewhat relative : Is being a wolf evil from point of view of a deer? Humans can improve their stands. Animals can not. See good and evil and become good is the highest calling of human consciousness. In the Religion it is only ticker of being Godlike.
     
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  9. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    There is an existential connection between "good and evil", and "objective reality". And that is that it is better to exist, than not to exist. And everything that does exist affirms that presumption, regardless of what any of us think about it. We are inextricably subject to our own subjectivity, but existence is not.
     
  10. night912

    night912 Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking the same thing, because of the talking about subjective.

     
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  11. icehorse

    icehorse Veteran Member
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    To me this is a question of philosophy. Moral relativism (MR) is a philosophy held by some people. I have never heard an argument that can refute moral relativism. OTOH, I find MR entirely unsatisfying, and generally I won't spend time debating MR, it's unfalsifiable.

    To me it gets back to core values, and from a strictly logical perspective, core values cannot be proven, they must be taken as axiomatic.

    Personally, I find utilitarianism (or some flavor of it), to align with my core values. Put simply, I value the well being of conscious creatures. From that stance, I can assess that some behaviors are "evil" in that they are performed consciously with the intent to defeat the well being of conscious creatures (WBCC). But if a relativist were to challenge me, I'd have to admit that my core values are not ultimately defensible.
     
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  12. EtuMalku

    EtuMalku MERCURÆN LUCIFERIAN

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    GOOD/EVIL are both subjective. One man's GOOD will be another man's EVIL. In the objective/physical universe, we are endlessly subjected to the illusions of duality. There is no duality in the sense of polar opposites, everything is unique unto itself, there is no 'parallel universe' effect so to speak.

    Hot is not the opposite of cold, there are simply gradations of both experiences. What is decided by a community/society to be 'Evil' is so for the benefit of the community as a whole. Whether you see it this way or agree/disagree, a a perpetrator who commits an act against the community's laws can in many instances consider their actions to be beneficial to them, and thus the community laws to be an impediment and act of Evil towards their pursuit of happiness (e.g.)
     
  13. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    To exist, is good, because it allows for the possibility of 'goodness' to occur. To not exist is not good because it allows for no possibilities, at all. In this way, "goodness" exists prior to (and apart from) our subjective definitions and assessments of it. And therefor, so does the antithesis of "goodness" ("evil").

    For we humans, "good" and "evil" are being subjectively defined and assessed. But the possibility of it exists prior to and apart from our doing so. That possibility is the objective aspect of both "good" and "evil" that many here are trying to deny.
     
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  14. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Out of pure curiosity, did you read the OP?
     
  15. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I'm genuinely curious. Did you read the OP?
     
  16. icehorse

    icehorse Veteran Member
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    I did, and I genuinely tried to respond to it!
     
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  17. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    Often, yes. But not never.

    Before I could accept a loving God in the face of what looks to be the horror of utter evil, I had to find a way of reconciling this apparent contradiction that I could accept.

    I'm not sure I can frame an answer without writing a book because there are so many different thoughts that crowd into my brain.

    But here's some thoughts which don't really cover the answer but are parts of it.

    Evil and good are part of illusion. We are all One but don't experience it so are stuck in apparent good and evil, in the play of maya. in this apparent reality, reincarnation and karma ensure that we make progress toward realizing who we really are.

    From a different frame, history is neither linear as the West sees it nor cyclical as seen in the East. The reconciling of these two views is the helix which is both linear and cyclical. So the cyclical part of the helix concerns the ages from golden to dark, from good predominating to evil predominating. We are now, from this perspective, in the last stages of the dark age, Kali yuga, where we learn the lessons that only experiencing "winter" can teach us.

    From an Eastern perspective, some say that the lifespan of Brahma is trillions of years comprised of many different universes. Some say that we are now just entering the first few "milliseconds" of the 51st year of Brahma's life where creation reaches a great turning point with universal changes in apparent duality - that which Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and some Muslims have expected and longed for.

    In this great turning point, all that is dark must come to the surface and be faced and dealt with.

    The holocaust is therefore all of these at the same time: the surfacing of evil so it will be understood and removed, the outcome of the karma of people being balanced in a horrible but fast way, the play of illusion/maya and part of the birth pain of a new world being born. And it's all part of the will of God who suffers as we suffer and thus helps to free us from our bindings.
     
  18. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Thank you. You post was quite interesting (as your posts almost always are), but I could not tell if you had actually read the OP. Thanks for the clarification.
     
  19. icehorse

    icehorse Veteran Member
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    Thanks for the props. Did you feel that my answer didn't address the OP?
     
  20. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Evil is not purely relative, it is only relative relative.
    While we don't have 100% evil, there are 99.99% evils and 99.99% would agree that those things are evil.
     
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