Saturday, October 20, 2007

Good and Evil

The topic of good and evil is really a remarkable subject. People have been trying to define the two since the beginning of time, and they become words that we can only define individually. Concepts of "beauty" and "fun", for example, can not have single, specific definitions. what one person considers ugly, another considers beautiful; what one person thinks is fun might be boring, sad, sometimes even dangerous, to another individual. I've made up my mind that the same thing goes with good and evil. Over time more questions stemmed from our efforts. "Why do good things happen to evil people?"; "why do bad things happen to good people?"; "What if bad things need to happen for the good of the whole? Does that make it ok?"

For me, religion has helped gain a grasp on my own definitions of good and evil. The lessons taught from the Bible, from sermons in church, and from Sunday school complimented the main lessons which were those from my parents. I know that other religions have very similar lessons, and some have other valuable ones that Christianity doesn't focus on, and vice versa. Then I think about the Crusades, when rogue and radical self-proclaimed "Christians" killed thousands? What about similar "Christians" who lynched African Americans while hiding their own faces? What about "Christians" who stand outside of University campuses and call every other passing college girl a slut because they aren't wearing jeans? These people can't possibly have been raised with the same Christian values as I did, because I would never dream of doing any of those things. Isn't Christianity one religion, doesn't it teach the same thing to everybody? Good and evil cannot even be defined in a single religion.

And what about Islam? "The religion of peace" has lived up to it's name on countless occasions, but recently all we can seem to hear about are the ones that are blowing themselves up in the name of Allah. These radicals truly have blinds over their eyes, because all they see is an America with only Christians, and the only Christians they see are the ones who killed their ancestors during the Crusades. There is no doubt that what they are doing, they believe is either "good" or "good for the whole". I doubt it, but it's possible that some of these terrorists know that what they are doing is evil, but believe it will provide a brighter future. Again, sences of good and evil are skewed. I hate to give up, but will the human race ever come to terms so that everyone can agree on what is right and wrong? It almost seems a hopeless case because it seems as though as long as people think for themselves and act as individuals, there will always be difference. We can only hope that someday a golden age will come where individuals can think for themselves and still think as one as far as good and evil.

Why do bad things happen to good people? One would like to believe that most people in the world are good people, but it's all chance. For all we know from the lies and secret identities of so many people, the truly good ones could be a precious few, so why do bad things happen to them? Instead, ask yourself, "should bad people get a second chance?" Everyone in this world has done a bad deed, whether it was something as tiny as a little white lie, or whether it was premeditated murder. This is a known fact. But it is also a known fact that people change. Sometimes after the evil has come and gone, there is a special person who can do well in and for the world, and all they need is that second chance. This topic has caused arguments such as life imprisonment and the death penalty, and not everyone in this world deserves that chance. My point is, good things can happen to people who have been bad their whole lives. So how does God even the scale? By making bad things happen to good people. I believe that life is full of tests, and it is how God can determine who the truly good people are in the world. Some of us become bad after one or many of these "tests". As I said, people change, and it's not always for the better. On the other hand, sometimes it is hard to believe that some of the bad things are done to test us or are done for a reason. Everyone has had a moment when they thought to themselves, "that person (or I) did not deserve what happened". And in some cases, they are right. One explanation is that of God's tests, one may be karma, and one may be that there is no God, and the only explanation is that shit happens.

I don't believe that the world will come up with universal definitions for good and evil in my lifetime; therefore I will act as I see fit, and do what I believe is right in a given situation. I will believe that bad things happen because that is life, and in order to properly appreciate whatever paradise comes after death, I must have my share of sufferings. All I can do is make the best of what I have, and make the best of whatever happens. To conclude I'd like to provide a quote that is one of my favorites. I don't know who the original creator is, but I read it strangely enough in a "Opus" Sunday comic strip.

"Life is what happens when you are making other plans."

1 comment:

Paul Devitto said...

In one part of your blog you mention that it's possible that some terrorists believe what they are doing is evil, but do it for a better future. Unfortunately, many fundamentalist Muslims, of the terrorist kind, believe that what they are doing is justified not only in Allah's name, but in the name of those in their country who have suffered and are suffering due to foreign incursion. It's possible to say then that for them the events of 9/11 were not just terrorist attacks, but also retaliation. But then you might ask if retaliation of that sort is evil or not. The question then is if what they are retaliating against evil from their perspective? They might ask if it is evil to defend oneself? Now, of course, I think that cutting abducted people's heads off on television is not only evil, it's despicably horrendous. But can I say that 'they' think it's evil given that they may think that that is the only way to defend themselves? I'm not sure. I do think that they know it will bring them results, and for them, that's what matters. I guess that's why we call them terrorists and they may call themselves 'liberators'.

As to the evil question, I think you're right. People may never agree on a definition of good and evil. I also do not think there is any easy solution at the very least to the problem. That doesn't mean, of course, that we can't try, however.

By the way: great quote!