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notme

Good is not the opposite of evil?

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I'm starting to think that "good" is a poorly defined word, and is not the opposite of evil. I think the opposite of evil is empathy.

Can a person who has strong empathy be evil? Can a person who lacks empathy ever be truly good? 

Can anyone convince me either way?

And why does it appear that lack of empathy is becoming more prevalent? Is it really, or am I just noticing it more?

Edited by notme
Typo

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23 minutes ago, Hassan- said:

First you need to define evil.

I don't know. I've always defined evil as the absence of good, but what is good?

An evil person or thing or idea can include/produce some good, so clearly my definition was wrong.

Edited by notme

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52 minutes ago, Hussaini624 said:

Or virtuous?

Virtuous is easier to define I think. I would define virtuous as having or striving toward godliness, or in other words, striving to find and enact in yourself the behavioral attributes of Allah. 

Edited by notme

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13 minutes ago, notme said:

I don't know. I've always defined evil as the absence of good, but what is good?

An evil person or thing or idea can include/produce some good, so clearly my definition was wrong.

It's quite simple Notme, good is an act that God likes, and evil is an act that God dislikes.

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Just now, Hassan- said:

It's quite simple Notme, good is an act that God likes, and evil is an act that God dislikes.

That's undoubtedly true, but plenty of evil has been done in the world, while the perpetrators claim their actions are "for God". Because of this, while true, it's not a useful definition. 

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Good can exist without evil. However, evil cannot exist without good, because it needs a comparison and point of reference. 

So the definition of "good" is that which is default, self-referential, and not dependent on any converse to exist. 

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On 5/11/2017 at 10:59 PM, Hassan- said:

First you need to define evil.

 

On 5/11/2017 at 11:22 PM, notme said:

I don't know. I've always defined evil as the absence of good, but what is good?

An evil person or thing or idea can include/produce some good, so clearly my definition was wrong.

l like to use Genesis Chapter Two in this kind of question. The setting is the Old Testament's Garden of Eden. ln it the God-of-Noah-Allah-s.w.t. planted the "knowledge of Good and Evil" tree.

So the question used is: "What is the Knowledge of Good and Evil ?"

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On 5/11/2017 at 11:22 PM, notme said:

I don't know. I've always defined evil as the absence of good, but what is good?

In my opinion, descriptions of 'good' and 'bad' are entirely subjective and have no real existence that isn't contextual. 

What we can say is that human beings 'primary instinct' is toward the end of survival and reproduction.Sometimes the things they do will be considered good by some people, sometimes bad, but overall people exist in the world and need to survive.

I believe that human beings are genetically primed to be 'self interested', not good or bad. 'Self interested' is an objective description of human behaviour.

Moral codes have been written down since the invention of writing on cave walls.
(Examples: The Sumerian Code of Ur-Nammu 2100 BC - The Babylonian Code of Hammurabi 1760 BC - The Justinian Code 429 CE - The Tang Code 624 CE)

But historically, both believers and non-believers committed atrocities.

Here's a nice story:   Two Wolves

An old Cherokee chief is teaching his grandson about life:

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

"One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, 
serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

"This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old chief simply replied, "The one you feed." 

:)

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5 hours ago, E.L King said:

I don't agree because sometimes compassion can be an evil thing to do. Like imagine having compassion for Yazid and saying don't curse him? 

There has to be justice. I would not consider it compassionate to be unjust. 

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31 minutes ago, notme said:

There has to be justice. I would not consider it compassionate to be unjust. 

The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse - lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of Allah, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment. [SAHIH]

(As for) the fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them, (giving) a hundred stripes, and let not pity for them detain you in the matter of obedience to Allah, if you believe in Allah and the last day, and let a party of believers witness their chastisement. [SHAKIR]

The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment. [YUSUF ALI]

[24:2]

Edited by E.L King

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@E.L King but it doesn't say don't have empathy. It says don't let pity for one or two people prevent the judge from seeing the big picture and carrying out justice. Actions like these lead to the destruction of society. To disregard the law would require a lack of consideration for society as a whole and future generations. 

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1 hour ago, notme said:

@E.L King but it doesn't say don't have empathy. It says don't let pity for one or two people prevent the judge from seeing the big picture and carrying out justice. Actions like these lead to the destruction of society. To disregard the law would require a lack of consideration for society as a whole and future generations. 

So you see how compassion can't be the opposite of evil. Because if it were, there cannot be reprecussions for it. It will always be a positive thing just as evil is always a negative thing.

Edited by E.L King

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13 minutes ago, E.L King said:

So you see how compassion can't be the opposite of evil. Because if it were, there cannot be reprecussions for it. It will always be a positive thing just as evil is always a negative thing.

True, my theory is falling apart. That's good. 

But sometimes and evil thing can have good consequences. Why not a good thing, when misapplied, also have evil consequences? 

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13 minutes ago, notme said:

True, my theory is falling apart. That's good. 

But sometimes and evil thing can have good consequences. Why not a good thing, when misapplied, also have evil consequences? 

Do you have examples for both?

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Just now, E.L King said:

Do you have examples for both?

Sure, hypothetical examples.

Infidelity in marriage is an evil act, but might result in a child who does great good in the world.

Excessive empathy for an individual or group without looking at the big picture might result in injustice. 

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I define evil as those who seek to take away for peace.  And good as those who seek peace /harmony.

It stands to reason these cannot be achieved by being self centered.

Which can be argued as one having an empathetic element.... however I think possessing knowledge or intelligence is also as a possible  factor.

Ignorance is a dangerous quality and can lead to assumptions that tip dominoes over and create a dangerous gain reactive/explosive scene. 

Ignorance can lead to a negative or peace deterioration, not necessarily making a person evil. 

Should humans be constantly make an effort to be less ignorant and less presumptive on their ideas being correct in how the world shall be ? 

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