Thursday, November 19, 2009

Evil is Relative

There have been noticeable lapses of blogging lately, obviously! My excuse is that I am saving all of my writing juices for my philosophy class. The last paper I posted here I only got a high B, I was so ticked at first. Then I grew up a little and reviewed my paper, and realized I was free writing as though it was my blog instead of following simple college paper structure. I hope to have rectified that mistake in the following paper! I still need a title, suggestions?

In Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, he begins each philosophical discussion by stating the most common objections people have given to the evidence he will present as the body of his work. In his discussion on “Whether God exists?” Aquinas lists the first objection to God’s existence as the existence of evil in the world. If God is infinite and good then evil would not exist. Evil does exist, and so God must not exist. Aquinas objects to this in the conclusion of this article with a reply that God’s goodness is so infinite, “that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.” I agree with Aquinas that the existence of evil does not disprove the existence of God, but for different reasons. Those who say evil is rampant in our world are usually defining evil by their own perspectives rather than as the natural occurrences they are. When events are inescapably defined as evil they occur by the hands of Man, and not God. Man is arrogant, and his chosen descent from common sense to religious dogma has led him further from God allowing the world to seemingly appear as evil. Evil does not exist, but God most definitely does.
It is natural for each of us to define the world through a filter made of our own experiences. When something horrible or seemingly cataclysmic occurs we are quick to characterize the event as evil. What seems evil to one may be justice to another. Evil is relative to the person defining it. A woman who is raped would label her attacker as evil, but in reality he is mentally ill because no mentally healthy person would rape another human. A storm which devastates a community may again be labeled as evil when it is truly a simple random act of nature. Any individual act of evil can be delineated as nature, whether physically or psychologically. God set nature on its course. Nature allows pieces to fall as they may, and it is incorrect to ascribe the events that cause us grief as evil rather than natural.
There are no definite statements in this world, there are always variables. When an entire group of people commit horrible offenses it is difficult to say that it was simply a natural occurrence. If a group of men rape a vulnerable woman it is very improbable that all of them were mentally ill. Most people would define babies being tortured and murdered during ethnic cleansings as evil. They ask themselves why God would allow these atrocities to occur, and conclude that God must not exist. When people choose to turn away from God there is an absence of Her, and events we describe as evil may occur without a natural explanation. The greatest gift God gave us is free will, and we return the favor by blaming Her for our own actions. These are not actually evil acts, but unnatural acts. God does not allow evil, people do.
It is Man’s arrogance that has assumed to conceive of God’s intent, and written a script to meet his own needs. Nobody knows God’s purpose, and to assume so is ignorant. All we can do is have faith in God, and not the politics of religion. The further away from God we walk and the closer to flawed dogma we follow the more heinous and animalistic our actions become. It is reason that separates us from animals, and that was God’s gift to us when he gave us free will. When we dismiss reason, and are ruled by greed, the result is a bleak outlook which most of us presume to define as evil. It is the exercise free will, not evil, which has led us to the present state of the world.
Evil does not actually exist. Bad things happen due to nature, man, and free will. When those things occur man tends to classify that which does not suit him as evil. There is no such thing as cold; cold is simply the absence of heat. Likewise, there is no such thing as evil; evil is simply the absence of goodness. Evil is a degradation of goodness, therefore it could not exist without the ultimate good to call its opposite. That ultimate good is God. Likewise, man is separated from God by degrees, and the further away from Her a person may be the more readily their actions will be definable as evil. So evil actions may occur when there is an absence of God, but evil itself does not exist as an entity to oppose God. If something does not actually exist, than it cannot prove that something else does not exist. Evil does not exist, and so God does.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails