In a moral/ethical context, what do "good" and "evil" mean to you?

Discussion in 'Free Speech Alley' started by Rex, May 23, 2003.

  1. Rex

    Rex Founding Member

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    Some say the only measure of "good" is what God wants, reducing the discussion to what actions comport to goodness, rather than what attributes actually constitute it.

    Some say that "goodness" equates to how the individual would himself like to be treated by others, while others say "good" is a mere synonym for "true", i.e. that all false things are bad.

    What does "good" mean to you, and why have you embraced that particular mindset?
     
  2. SabanFan

    SabanFan The voice of reason

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    Follow the "Golden Rule"...unless you are a suicide bomber.
     
  3. InVinoVeritas

    InVinoVeritas Founding Member

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    When you say there are no absolutes in good/evil, the terms lose all meaning.
     
  4. Rex

    Rex Founding Member

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    To the guy with that long thing sticking out his face...

    Does the word "sweet" lose all meaning if there is no absolute "sweet?" And, if not, how is that situation any different from the case with "good?"
     
  5. InVinoVeritas

    InVinoVeritas Founding Member

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    What if up were down?

    nm
     
  6. SabanFan

    SabanFan The voice of reason

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    What the hell are y'all talking about?
     
  7. JD

    JD Founding Member

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    Give us an example of an action that is always evil? Killing, stealing? I doubt it. What?

    The things I can think of are so minor as far as hurting your fellow man that to call them "evil" would be an exaggeration (e.g. there is never a justification for taking the Lord's name in vain).

    Everyone has a sliding scale. The U.S. just killed lots of Iraqui's and stole goods from Hussein. Evil?

    Hussein gave lots of money and goods that legally belonged to him to Iraquis, so they wouldn't absolutely starve. Good?

    I would argue that the terms good and evil become meaningless if you don't judge actions in the circumstances.
     
  8. InVinoVeritas

    InVinoVeritas Founding Member

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    I think it is a metter of intent and direction.....

    Someone like Rex wants you to prove an act is evil whereas if you murder someone, I want you to prove it was justified.

    As for taking the Lord's name in vain, that has been discussed as meaning different things. I believe David Koresh, Jim Jones, and others have taken the Lord's name in vain. Are their acts not evil?
     
  9. JD

    JD Founding Member

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    Re: I think it is a metter of intent and direction.....

    I imagine some saints did it a time or two as well.
    I agree with your first sentence - presumption starts with evil, prove it is justified.
     
  10. Bestbank Tiger

    Bestbank Tiger Founding Member

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    The best starting point is the two greatest commandments:

    You shall love the Lord with all your heart...love they neighbor as thyself.

    As far as specific examples that were mentioned above, I'm sure a lot of saints took the Lord's name in vain at some point in their lives. Of all the saints, only the Virgin Mary was without sin. Some of the saints had notorious moral flaws--Paul persecuted and killed Christians before his conversion, Augustine couldn't keep his pants up, Peter denied Jesus when the heat was on. An obscure saint whose name escapes me at the moment was a rich man's mistress for eight years. Saints are examples just as much for their flaws as for their virtues--this reminds us that nobody is perfect and repentance and conversion are always an option.

    At the other end of the spectrum, Saddam was mentioned--he did some good things. Just as nobody is pure good, neither is anyone pure evil. Whether someone is a good person who did some bad things, or a bad person who did some good things, is not for us to judge.

    As far as the morality of actions, they depend first on the action itself, then on the intent of the action, and finally on the consequences. Drunk driving is bad, but it's much worse if you kill someone doing it. Killing is bad, but the evil may be mitigated or eliminated by circumstances such as just war or self-defense.
     

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