What is Good and Evil (Bad)?
For what it is worth, take heed of distinguishing adjectives and adverbs in this rather epigrammatic essay! Some say—oh how assertive some are! —we are born with the mental capacity to discern right from wrong. Others say—especially the religious flock—we are born with the mental capacity to discern good from evil—or, preferably, good from bad. But evil—what is it, this wholly subjective word of biblical darkness and obscurity? It has taken on a meaning and a magna vox entirely of its own—i.e. a religious one, no doubt. We know what good means. We know what bad means. But evil, the reigning King of Logos, has indubitably sat on its high throne, with a menacing staff in one hand and a goblet of poison in the other, for centuries, for too long; but, contrary to popular opinion, not since the dawn of human existence. Regardless, evil has a history, you see: a rather pellucid history, nonetheless. In cultures influenced by Manichaean and Abrahamic religiosity, evil has been the antagonistic (dualistic) opposite of good: good will prevail over evil (a major theme in the Bible). God, who is inherently good, will prevail over the Devil, who is inherently evil. Further, in cultures with Buddhist spiritual influence, good and evil are antagonistic (dualistic) opposites; and this dualism must be overcome through Sunyata, emptiness, which is achieved when good and evil—two opposing principles that do not exist in reality—are merged, then emptied, leaving oneness—i.e. internal harmony.
What Determines an Action or Person as Good or Evil (Bad)?
Do good and evil truly exist? Yes and no. Evil does not exist; ergo, no one is internally evil. But good exists—you see it in people’s actions, you see it in nature—i.e. when a baby is born, and smiles, the smile itself—so innocent and pure—casts a ray of light piercing the darkest recesses of life (life – we adults are so inured to it). When a flower blooms, when it rains so much a garden produces enough vegetables to feed several families, when you help a person recover from addiction, when the sun rises in the east marking a new day, when you provide hope for the down and dejected, when you help those in need, when you adopt a child, when you help the elderly find peace, etc.—you see good all around you, when you look. In fact, you are good. Good is inherent. Bad—the logical opposite of good—exists. Bad is learned. In fact, you are not inherently bad. No one is. Murder is bad. Molestation is bad. War is bad. Infidelity is bad. Oppression is bad. Telling someone they are going to hell for being gay/bisexual, for being an atheist/agnostic/secular/freethinker, for ascribing to a different philosophy of thought, for being different, etc., is bad. What disturbs life is bad. But nothing is evil—not even inherently so.
Who Gets to Decide Who or What is Good or Evil (Bad)?
We do. We know what is good; we know what is bad. Observation, education, and life itself have taught us. Pathetic religion—get out of our way! Religion, with its moral turpitude, has robbed millions of decent people of their basic integrity and of their basic humanity. I have grown tired of religion’s influence on the world.
Spirituality is far superior to religion. Spirituality does not seek to convert or subvert. Spirituality is what spirituality is, spirituality does what spirituality does: it heals and rejuvenates a person’s mind, body, and soul. Spirituality connects you with what created you -- the multiverse. Religion, however, seeks to convert and subvert. Religion is not a helping hand. Religion—so desperate, so hopelessly doomed! —tries to convince us evil exists, but we know better. Religion also tries to convince us we are nothing without a celestial dictator (Hitchens). Evil does not exist; ergo, do not let religion convince you that you are a worthless, hapless sinner, who is in need of deliverance. But I digress… Good and evil—these are not logical opposites. Good and bad—these are logical opposites. Your conscience is the measure of your morality. Listen to it carefully.
Photo Credits: Scot A Harvest