Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How's this for a definition of evil?

While studying the morality of Bart Simpson I think I figured out a good definition of evil. Here it is:

Someone who does not want to do good.

Easy, right? So obvious. Maybe a little bit too obvious. Enough that you might miss what I really mean, so let me explain.

The standard measure of evil is Hitler. But maybe Hitler isn't the best example to use in these cases since there is so much emotional attachment to his figure. (see my comment) So rather than use that tired example I'll use a more fun one: James Bond villains. They generally want to take over the world. But to what end? Power? Greed? No. Not all of them. What do they want? Utopia. They want to create peace. Their methods might be a bit unorthodox, but their end goal is the same: goodness. They believe that they are doing good. In fact, EVERYONE believes that they are doing good.

This is why I don't believe in evil. Everyone thinks they are doing good. And I think it's pretty darned good evidence for the existence of God. The general "tide" or "current" in humanity is towards goodness. Over time we should gradually get to be better and better people because we all struggle towards goodness.

Unfortunately, although evil seems fairly easy to define, it seems that good is far more difficult. The struggles we have (indeed many wars were fought over this) are reconciling each others' definitions of "goodness." There are few universally accepted definitions of "good," so one of the main goals of philosophy I think is to study mankind in such a way as to discover that universal definition of "goodness" so we'll have a tried and true yardstick by which we can live and know that we are doing right.

This is why I especially like my definition of morality: free will. I think it covers all bases. Read the article for more information.

1 comment:

Alex said...

See... Hitler really thought that he was doing good. He was so twisted in his mentality that he didn't understand the concept of goodness. Yet his intentions were towards good. He might have been completely insane, but evil? No. Not really. His actions were certainly evil. But in his heart he tried to do what he thought was right.