• 8livesleft
    Thank you for pointing out my habit of placing judgment. To be honest, I find it difficult with my catholic background and my now non-theistic perspective.

    That's why I'm interested in finding out the origin of this story to see the significance of the symbols they use. Because most of these things today might not mean the same thing as it did when this was first written.
  • Bitter Crank
    The human species began as neither good nor evil. Good and evil were nothing until we thought of them. Because we have set out "good" and "evil" as terms that can apply to us, the terms do apply, and we are sorted good or evil, depending on who is speaking.

    We are what we are: a primate species endowed with intelligence (but not too much), driven by a strong will (as often heedless as not) and possessed of wisdom (but a day late and a dollar short).
  • Possibility
    From what I’ve read, it seems that your conclusion is that humans are not inherently good. I don’t necessarily disagree with that conclusion, however I believe that there is a counterexample to the first premise that you laid out in your argument above. Could it not be the case that evil could still exist even if humans were inherently good? This is a bit of a dark example, but consider a grizzly bear eating an innocent child while that child is playing outside. I would consider that to be evidence of evil that is not from humans and I think evil still exists in this world outside of just plain human control. There are also natural evils like hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires that would not be accounted for by this argument either. Basically, my point is that even if humans were inherently good, evil would still exist (which negates the consequent of premise 1). Therefore, I believe premise 1 of the argument is false. I think you could still say that humans definitely increase evil in the world because they aren’t inherently good, but I don’t think you can say that they are the only root of evil.
    Also, regarding your Adam and Eve reference, I think it is important to remember that Eve was tempted by Satan and coerced into eating the apple. Not to say that she didn’t do anything wrong, but I think it is important to note that Eve’s free will was already being tampered with because Satan was coercing her into believing and doing something. Also, because Satan existed, evil was already present prior to Eve’s sin anyway which goes back to what I said previously about evil being present regardless of whether humans are inherently good or not. This doesn’t necessarily take away from the truth of anything, but I think it is an important detail that people often disregard.

    If you consider what it is that classifies all of these examples as ‘evil’, you would find that it’s their relation to the human perspective. Without such perspective, they would all simply be nature doing what it does. I think that points to the entire dichotomy of ‘good’ vs ‘evil’ as a human construction, one which does not exist outside of human perspective.

    The serpent (not Satan) did not coerce Eve into eating the fruit - you’re reading all of that evaluation into the text. The serpent simply stated its limited perspective. Eve decided to reject information given by Adam from God, in favour of information given by nature, doing what it does. This was not an exclusive choice. Satan did not (and arguably does not) exist in this story.

    FWIW, my view is that the inherent value of humanity is infinite: neither good nor evil, or both, as it were. It is our own ignorance, isolation and exclusion that manifests the appearance of ‘evil’, whether in humanity or in nature. Regardless of whether humans are inherently good or not, the existence of ‘evil’ is contingent upon the perspective of humanity, and has nothing to do with God.
  • freewhirl
    To elaborate more on my argument, I would like to show it in the example of Adam and Eve. If Adam and Eve are inherently good, then given that they have free will and God won’t interfere in their free will, Adam and Eve will not choose to eat the apple. However, it is true that Adam and Eve did choose to eat the apple instead of dropping it, so it seems that Adam and Eve are not inherently good.Isabel Hu

    The Adam and Eve narrative is a difficult example of explaining the existence of evil for me. According to the Genesis account of creation (Genesis 1-3) God’s comment on the creation of man is “very good,” a literal translation of the hebrew (וְהִנֵּה-טוֹב ). This right here is problematic to me because this means that the creation of Man is not perfect in any sense of God. Even though it is not perfect, man is still capable to carry out God’s purpose, if they choose to. Through this distinction, I believe that evil and sin are completely man-made; in other words, a voluntary act. When looking at the Genesis account in this point of view, it leads me to believe that humans are not inherently evil. Instead, humans are voluntarily evil, choosing for himself or herself to separate from the will of god to follow their own pleasure (which leads to evil in the Christian perspective). Using a biblical example for the arguing the inherency of good/evil then opens the door for what the bible has to say about the confession of sin. If sin and evil were inherent in the creation of humanity, then why must confession be a voluntary act? In John 1:1-10, John the Baptist states, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth that us not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” It is clear that the cleansing of evil is a voluntary act from humans. If it was not required of us to ask for forgiveness, there would then be no justifiable reason for God to place blame upon us.
  • Athena
    The human species began as neither good nor evil. Good and evil were nothing until we thought of them. Because we have set out "good" and "evil" as terms that can apply to us, the terms do apply, and we are sorted good or evil, depending on who is speaking.

    We are what we are: a primate species endowed with intelligence (but not too much), driven by a strong will (as often heedless as not) and possessed of wisdom (but a day late and a dollar short).
    Bitter Crank

    You said so well and so concisely, I don't think there is anything I can add to it.
  • Athena
    What is the definition of good and evil here?schopenhauer1

    Good question. Kahlil Gibran said we do good when we feel good, and we do bad when we feel bad. Now does it make sense to try to make someone good by punishing this person? We are now exploring the possibility of helping people who are having a problem being a part of main stream society instead of incarcerating them and punishing them. It will be nice to see if this gets better results.
  • deletedmemberdp

    "God did create humans with free will but free will is not inherently good or bad. And since Evil does exist, free will is definitely not inherently good. But no human can be fully good or evil because of free will."

    Free will is free will. The use of the free will results in the categories of good and evil but not in any simplistic way. Is the free will to escape social sin or to resist it? For human life to be meaningful it has to contribute to the eschatological reality that Jesus called "The Kingdom of God" .Evil has no meaningful contribution to the end game and therefore whenever it appears it is a nothingness, merely an absence of good. Once good, free will to do God's will, appears then meaning happens and the world moves forward towards the "Kingdom of God".
  • TheMadFool
    despite God is omnipotent, omniscient and has the desire to eliminate evil, he could not create beings with free will that would never choose evil; in other words, God cannot create square circles or take self-contradictory actions.Isabel Hu

    That, in itself, is a contradiction. If god's omnipotent (he can do anything. Contradictions? Bah!), he can very well create beings who never choose evil and also possess free will.

    human is inherently goodIsabel Hu

    As I said, an omnipotent god can do anything and threin lies the rub. You're trying to prove a point (humans aren't inherently good) and your attempt consists of demonstrating an inconsistency of that proposition (humans are inherently good) with the existence of evil.

    Nothing doing!

    God is omnipotent! Logical contradictions, inconsistencies, are as easy as ABC for god. Your logic, based on an inconsitency (the existence of evil being inconsistent with humans being inherently good), ergo, fails to, well, come up with the goods. If, but for a moment, I assume myself to be god, my reply to you would be this "Your argument is sound and not sound and also neither. You're right and wrong, and again, also neither. There's an inconsitency but also a consistency, and neither."
  • Dymora
    "Good" and "Evil" are terms that explain how you feel about yourself or others. These feelings are based on you own, personal, life experiences formulated into your personality by the myriad of influences and inherent traits. Your idea of Evil is not my idea of Evil, similar maybe depending on social programming and heredity. When it comes down to it, I think Good is the feeling of oneness with yourself AND everything / everybody else, Evil is a oneness with yourself (maybe, but not required. Extreme Oneness is Evil) and knowingly running counter to oneness with other life. I think that "Knowingly" is the key here. Jus' Sayin'
  • EnPassant
    1. If human is inherently good, then evil won’t exist.
    2. Evil does exist.
    3. Therefore, it is not the case that human is inherently good. (1, 2 MT)
    Isabel Hu

    But some humans are good.
    God is creating a situation where 'all will be well and all manner of things will be well'. But in order to do this creation must reject evil of its own free will.
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