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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 06:57AM

Is evil only a religious concept or does it exist apart from religion?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2017 06:59AM by anybody.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 09:10AM

It's a subjective human concept, not a "thing."

And it's whatever a particular group of people decide it is. What they decide varies from time to time, and place to place.

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Posted by: Henry Bemis ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 11:44AM

"It's a subjective human concept, not a "thing."

COMMENT: I agree, generally. However, it is amazing how much is packed into this statement. Notwithstanding the fact that "evil" is a human concept, born of human subjective feelings about moral right and wrong, it can arguably be "objectified," at least in principle, by appealing to the universality of such feelings. When this is possible relativism is avoided, and moral judgments can be made based upon such objectification. (Even though the metaphysics of good and evil remains elusive.)

For example, there is arguably a universal moral prescription against the rape and/or torture of children. More generally it is universally accepted (I think) that it is immoral to inflict moral punishment on the innocent. Of course, the more complex the moral dilemma, the more difficult the objectification. In fact, the very existence of moral disagreement betrays the fact that at least with respect to the particular dispute objectification has failed and relativism rules.

The fact that "evil" is not a thing does not, of course, undermine its legitimacy as a social concept with "objective" content, in the sense noted above. After all, mathematics is not a "thing" either. And we can note that mathematics is also a useful concept that is metaphysically elusive; as evidenced by the continual debate regarding mathematical realism.
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"And it's whatever a particular group of people decide it is. What they decide varies from time to time, and place to place."

COMMENT: Obviously, you are right, and that is precisely the dilemma of moral relativism. You might be able to "objectify" morality within the group, but this is hardly satisfying to those outside the group. Moreover, in extreme cases, such as your tobacco example, the difficulties of "objectification" of morality just seems to be insurmountable. Even if you had pointed out that tobacco has medicinal qualities and functions, I doubt that it would have penetrated the Mormon objectification of tobacco as an evil of itself.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 12:58PM

Thanks, Henry.

The only gripe I have with the above...

Clearly since some humans (far too many for me!) engage in rape/torture of children, feelings about that being immoral aren't "universal." Majority, sure. Universal...nope.

Our human history is replete with examples of majority feelings about something being moral/immoral, then those feelings change later (slavery, polygamy, capital punishment for 'minor' things, etc.). Which pretty much dispels any objectivity being involved in "universality" :)

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Posted by: Babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 06:35PM

Mathematics is the love child of Mother Earth and Father Sky.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 09:18AM

What amazes me about 'evil' is that it can be monetized!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2017 11:07AM by elderolddog.

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Posted by: jacob ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 09:25AM

I would hesitate to label something evil unless there is malintent.

Things that happen to you or others that have less than desirable consequences aren't by nature evil, they are most likely just things that happen.

The various principals of the tobacco conspiracy deliberately acted against the best interest of those who used their products. I consider their actions evil.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 09:34AM

Funny you should mention tobacco...

I had an enthusiastic bishop tell me once, "Tobacco is pure evil."

"It's a plant," I said. "It has no will or intent. Some people might use it in an 'evil' way, but the plant isn't evil."

"It's Satan's plant, put here to tempt us to do evil, so it's evil," he replied.

Sigh.

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Posted by: jacob ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 09:49AM

A couple of times yes.


To me the logic of inherent evil doesn't hold in a universe that was originated from a being that is omnibenevolent. If an omnibenevolent creator is the source of all things then how can anything start out as evil?

To your bishop acquaintance. Satan cannot be the source of anything, not even something as simple as a tobacco plant.

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Posted by: Finally Free! ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 04:47PM

You could have pointed out that he hadn't read his scriptures well, because God told JS, right in the WOW that tobacco was good as"... an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill." D&C 89:8

So, not quite the "Satan's plant" that the Bishop think's it is.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 09:27AM

One person's malevolent tyrant is another person's hero. Therefore, Evil, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Which makes the word useful for any occasion. Like Funeral Potatoes, you can always put your own twist on the recipe. In fact, I seem to be one of Mormons ideas of a malevolent tyrant. :)

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Posted by: Jersey Girl ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 10:34AM

Evil exists in the hearts of humans. It is not caring about, demonizing, or deliberately harming other people. Doing this for personal profit is double evil.

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Posted by: Babyloncansuckit ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 11:06AM

Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did a lot of things that in our day would be considered evil. Between the MMM and giving sacks of flour laden with ground up glass to the Native Utahns, I think BY gave evil a run for its money. But in his mind, he was doing the right thing. True evil doesn't know it's evil. That's why it's evil. It thinks it's good. Church leaders have always been actors in a mass delusion, subverting their own morality to that of an ideology. Then they "make it right" with twisted doctrine. The blind are truly leading the blind.

If there's a line between truth and falsehood, there's a line between good and evil. Lies lead to more lies lead to self deception so deep there's no way out. The chains of hell don't need a devil if you are the devil.

TSCC has always been a church of excuses, but the excuses are wearing thin. That pernicious evil can't fade away soon enough.

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Posted by: Tom Padley ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 11:31AM

Very subjective term, but to me EVIL = PSYCHOPATH.

According to the dictionary a psychopath (sociopath) is a person who has an antisocial personality disorder. A person with pervasive disregard for and violation of the rights, feelings, and safety of others. It usually starts in childhood or the early teenage years and continues into adulthood.

A very good book about this is Robert D Hare's "Without Conscience."

The classic example is Hitler, but it can also be a person who otherwise seems normal. These persons can disguise their psychopathology well enough to advance into high levels of leadership.

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Posted by: jacob ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 11:46AM

Not that I disagree, but.

Can someone with such a severe personality disorder be held in contempt of our societal norms? To me, again it boils down to the intent of the action, and if the action is informed by an illness are we really in a position to rule that there was malintent?

I'm not saying this is my position, I'm saying that this is a question I have.

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Posted by: Tom Padley ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 11:54AM

To me the severe personality disordered individuals are the type that end up in prison. You are right about the intent. If the intent goes against societal norms then that is what defines evil.

An additional note: Evil is equated with Satan by religion, but evil is acted out by humans. Note the lyrics of "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones: "...when after all, it was you and me."

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Posted by: gatorman ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 12:18PM

Evil is all Noles except Nole Girl since she is now a purified and refined exmo

Gatorman

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Posted by: commongentile ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 12:35PM

In regards to the mentioning of Satan in this thread as a source of evil, I'm reminded of Bart Ehrman's discussion of Jewish Apocalypticism. Ehrman and a number of other scholars believe that Jesus was a representative of Jewish Apocalypticism.

Ehrman writes:

"Jewish apocalypticists were dualists. That is to say, they maintained that there were two fundamental components to all of reality: the forces of good and the forces of evil. The forces of good were headed by God himself, the forces of evil by his superhuman enemy, sometimes called Satan, or Beelzebub, or the Devil. On the side of God were the good angels; on the side of the Devil were the demons. On the side of God were righteousness and life; on the side of the Devil were sin and death. These were actual forces, cosmic powers to which human beings could be subject and with which they had to be aligned. No one was in neutral territory. People stood either with God or with Satan, they were in the light or in darkness, they were in the truth or in error." (Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, page 121.)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2017 12:36PM by commongentile.

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Posted by: messygoop ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 04:01PM

Wasn't he the guy that jumped Snake River on a motorcycle?

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 04:49PM

Yeah... Evil LeBaron?

Maybe I'm confused...?

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Posted by: Chicken N. Backpacks ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 04:36PM

Only the Shadow knows...

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 04:39PM

Evil. Is anything that harms another, person or animal.

Easy-Sqeezy!

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Posted by: desertman ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 04:45PM

Evil is when you disagree with me in public. So raise your arm to the square bow your head and say "right on massa!"



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2017 11:10PM by desertman.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 04:51PM

Yeah, because if a prophet tells you do something you shouldn't, you need to obey, and any needed penalties will be assigned to that false prophet, and the Nuremberg Trials will accept your defense that you were just following orders.

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Posted by: ziller ( )
Date: October 12, 2017 07:53PM

in b 4 ~


"evil" = "live" spelled backwards ~



jus sayin ~

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Posted by: catnip ( )
Date: October 13, 2017 12:53AM

merely the absence of light, I think that evil is, likewise, the absence of good.

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