Does Evil Exist ? (To you)

The failure to believe in the existence of evil does not protect you from it.

Do you believe in the existence of evil?

Whether or not you believe in the existence of God in whatever form of reflection He might, or might not, take in your life.   Do you believe in evil?  Is there a Ying -to universal- Yang?   Is there an inherent opposite of intrinsic Good?   Do you believe in a universal struggle between light and dark?

Do you believe in “freewill” from either an evolutionary or theological standpoint?

Why, in the broader sense, is the following statement true:

If you were to write a goal on the top of a piece of paper, then divide the page into two columns, on one side list “reasons I will succeed”, the other side list “reasons I could fail”, why is it easier to fill out the list on the “fail” side of the page?

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36 Responses to Does Evil Exist ? (To you)

  1. I must disqualify myself from answering that question; I have an unfair advantage. :evil:
    HINT: the answer will become very clear within your next four orbits around the Sun.

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  2. maryfrommarin says:

    Of course Evil exists. There is most definitely a “universal struggle between light and dark”, although I wouldn’t use such impersonal terms. I think the net can be drawn much tighter to catch the truth.

    As a very new poster here, I will defer any further comments for the time being.

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  3. ZurichMike says:

    Interesting question posed at the end. For the same reason, why, in a broader sense, are we more fascinated with Dante’s “Inferno” than with “Paradiso”? Perhaps because we know that an entire circle of hell is dedicated to F.D.R. is there? Care to comment, F.D.R.inHell, or are you too busy playing dominoes with Stalin? :-)

    Seriously, I often wonder why we (generally speaking) are fascinated by death and destruction, and not life and creation. People slow down on highways to catch glimpses of horrible accidents; watch endless replays of natural disasters wiping out cities. Even the German compound word “Schadenfreude” hints at this: the (perverse) delight one takes in the misfortunes of others.

    On a personal level, I see this in my seemingly unending job search. I have to constantly remind myself of the good things, the positive things lest I lapse into the woe-is-me-the-failure mentality.

    But I think some of this (again, generally speaking) is a result of the I-am-not-worthy mentality, which is (was) part of Catholicism, and reinforced by Protestant sects which frowned on enjoying anything in this world? Certainly the reduction of one’s faith by others as a fad, a mental disorder, a medieval obsession, a fantasy, a “just like any other faith” moral equivalence has a lot to do with why people of faith struggle.

    Sorry for the morning rambling . . . coffee has not set in yet.
    ————————-
    ZurichMike, you were caught in spam. I have no idea why…sorry. Admin

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    • ZurichMike says:

      “I am not a spam. I am a human being” — from ZurichMike’s stunning adaptation of “The Elephant Man” :-)
      ——————–
      …..and again! Admin
      Add: You were still being caught–I think I found the problem. You should be ok now.

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  4. justfactsplz says:

    Yes, I definitely believe in good and evil. I believe in heaven and hell. I believe God and his angels live in heaven and that Satan and his demons prowl around seeking who they may devour.

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  5. Dawn Doe says:

    Yes, I believe in good and evil and that there is a continual battle between the two. I believe in free will from a theological standpoint.

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    • So only man (or woman), posess the capacity for cognitive “choice” from a selfless regard?

      Does any other animal posess the capacity for delayed, deferred, or ignored gratification?

      *note* just honest questions – there is no right or wrong explanation/answer I’m just seeking an understanding, of “theological freewill”. This is totally without judgement implied or inferred.

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  6. akathesob says:

    Yes but of course…

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  7. kathyca says:

    I believe in evil, but I don’t believe it’s equivalent (a la yin/yang) but, rather, fluid. I believe there is an inherent opposite of intrinsic good and I believe in a universal struggle between light and dark, except that I don’t think it’s a struggle at a conscious or deliberate level.

    Totally believe in free will from any perspective.

    Lastly, for me at least, it’s not easier to fill in why I will fail. I can probably come up with the same number of excuses as anyone else, but only reasons go on the “why I will fail side,” not excuses. There are way more excuses than reasons.

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    • Does more than “man” posess free will?

      At what level does the “struggle” take place?

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      • kathyca says:

        I have a LOT of thoughts on this but it’s too late on a Saturday night for me to get that deep without serious pause and reflection. My short answers are (1) no, for the most part; and (2) at an individual level first and foremost, albeit with wide-ranging implications at all levels.

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      • Dutch says:

        Every animal possesses free will: a chicken will peck at one particular seed grain and not another; a squirrel will stop at a particular acorn on the branch and not another; chimpanzees seem to make “political” pacts within their groups.

        However, “free will” is not the same as “moral virtue”, which I think is nearer to the subject of the query: Does any species other than man recognize there will be an accounting for each and every free will choice they make?

        Only man appears to be capable of contemplating his own ultimate demise and to conceptualize that another life exists in which the scales of Cosmic Justice shall be balanced.

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    • Nice, but a question. I understand the concept of free will to be: Not being barred from anything you desire to pursue. In my perspective that would only include person with no conscience. As any moral person would not have the ‘free will’ to kill another person if that is what he wanted to do.
      The question is Kathyca, is my perspective argued fallaciously in your opinion or does it fall within your belief in free will? I am not trying to corner you or anything like that, I respect your opinion and enjoy your candor, that’s why the question.

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      • kathyca says:

        My conception of free will includes the free will to act morally or immorally in any given situation. So, in your example, the person who doesn’t murder someone else has excercised his free will to act morally. However, his motivation not to kill can be an act of free will and still also be amoral or even immoral — again, in my conception of it.

        Thank you for the compliment and no worries :)

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  8. Sharon says:

    I think there is an inherent opposite of intrinsic good…but evil is not His equal opposite.

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  9. jordan2222 says:

    From the Lord’s Prayer: “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”

    What does “deliver” mean in this context? Are we born with evil?

    Then there is this: “There is none good, not one.”

    Lord of the Flies also comes to mind.

    Can all forms of abuse be “cured?”

    Just more food for thought.

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    • jordan2222 says:

      Eastern philosophy says both good and evil are inherent in humans. Free will means we have a choice. We can choose either one but it is a life long struggle that requires practice and should become easier along the way.

      “Deliver us from evil” in the Lord’s Prayer means deliver us from CHOOSING evil and its temptations. We begin this struggle early in life. Some very young children, for example, are noticeably selfish and greedy and do not want to share. Others are prone to violent behavior as evidenced by slapping, hitting. pinching, biting scratching or spitting on a playmate.

      I think one would have to first define the difference between bad and evil, IF there is a difference and that would depend on one’s personal belief system. The age of accountability differs from one society to another.

      I suppose that one could make an argument that all sins are evil but then we would have to agree on what is a sin.

      I am only thinking out loud but the original question is: Does evil exist? I do not know how anyone could make a reasonable argument that it does not exist.

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      • Sha says:

        I think the Eastern Philosophy pretty much sum’s it up for me. (good and evil are inherent in humans) Free will means we have a choice. I do believe there is evil out there in the strongiest forms and with out the good of many people and the grace of God we wouldn’t be able to defeat it. I was raised in a home where my brother doesn’t believe he can be saved because he has done so much wrong, a (Step dad) the dad that raised me who was the sweetiest person you could ever meet and a mother who know’s the bible better than me and is as mean and bitter as any human being I have ever meet. I believe in people and that most are kind and good . I believe I have to answer for me and the thing’s I have done in this life. I also believe it is my job to teach my children that there is a price to pay for the wrong’s you do weather it is today or later in life they will come back to you. I wasn’t rasied up in church but I have a very strong faith in God. I am not perfect never have been , most likely never will be . I own my mistake’s I don’t make excuses and I don’t blame other’s , they are mine and what ever price I have to pay for them I will pay. I believe everyone has a choice in how they live there lives and how it effect’s the people around you.

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  10. elvischupacabra says:

    The world is the imperfect domain of the devil. We are free moral agents, with two clear choices. While Satan is free to tempt us here, we have the perfect refuge in the truth of Christ Jesus. WE are the battleground for our souls. Because in the end, whether one or many of the remnant are saved, each knee shall bend, and each head will bow and all will acknowledge Him as Lord while we are judged. And Satan will be cast into the bottomless pit.

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    • ZurichMike says:

      I think that sums it up nicely. Thanks!

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    • GracieD says:

      Well said, El! That is pretty much how I look at it. Yes, there is evil in the world. Yes, God gave all of us free will to accept Him or not. To do good, or evil. I believe that we will be judged in the end, based on the choices that we have made. Not being perfect, I have a whole lot to answer for. That is why I do the best I can to do what is right. Anyone in line behind me on Judgement Day should bring a chair, because it is gonna be a while. ;) I have seen good in my life, and I have seen evil, so I am certain that both exist. I know it is a little off topic, but I also feel that God is not neutral when it comes to Man’s Freedom. That does not mean that we, as a Nation will not have to answer for what has been done in our name, but that is another discussion for another day. Hoo boy, SD, you definitely know how to get my gray matter workin’! :D

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  11. Angel says:

    I believe evil is a very real force to be reckoned with but I hold to my belief that we have free will in how we respond to it. We don’t have control over circumstances much of the time in our lives but we certainly have choice regarding the attitude we will have in facing the circumstances which can go a long way in seeing evil on its way. I think the key is to, yes, acknowledge evil, but resolve not be defeated by it which leads to empowering it more. Or in the words of Victor Frankl:

    “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
    ― Viktor E. Frankl,

    Viktor Frankl’s book “Man Search for Meaning” is one of the best examples of being confronted with evil but holding on to free will in choosing how to respond to it and in attitude if no place else, we are free.

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  12. Dutch says:

    As to the question about why a success/failure list will almost always have a longer “could fail” column, the answer is two-fold–the nature of: experiment and experience.

    Almost every scientific “truth” has come at the cost of untold numbers of failed experiments. That is the inherent nature of discovery. Humans hard-wire this truth early in life: from a baby learning to focus his eyes; to a child learning to walk; to learning to run, hunt, shoot, sew, throw, etc. The list of “could fail” is uncountable, in the life of every person.

    This leads to experience. We know–from observation of ourselves and others–that babies fall often; that we erase (or , for you younger folks! ) frequently; that we don’t always get what we want. (That is the humor behind Maxwell Smart’s comment, “Missed it by *THAT* much.”)

    But what matters more than the list of “could fail” (ultimately a thought experiment) is the individual’s willingness to keep trying one more thing regardless of how long the “could fail” list gets (ultimately an accumulation of experience).

    Sometimes it is just doing the same thing one more time, over and over (i. e. a runner heading for the finish line). Other times it is continually adjusting first one, then another of the variables in the experiment (invention of a viable light bulb). Regardless of the circumstance, it is not the list of “could fail” that matters, it is the willingness to continue to challenge failure that matters.

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  13. gretchenone says:

    Yes, I believe in free will, as understood in the Church. Why is it easier to have a ‘fail’ column rather than a ‘success’ column? Good question. Between our own fallen nature (sloth, gluttony, envy and so on) and the machinations of the devil, failure seems to be the easier option to attain. Success requires overcoming much of what seems natural to us.

    Regarding free will in animals, I believe C. S. Lewis’ take on that. :-)

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  14. cajunkelly says:

    To be snarky, yes not disrepectful of the gravity of this thread;

    Of course I believe evil exists, and it’s currenly squating in our Oval Office.

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  15. cajunkelly says:

    *yet not

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  16. ctdar says:

    Of course evil exists, the ability for the good to recognize it and avoid it before it is upon you is what separates one from another..

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  17. Mikado Cat says:

    Plenty of evil exists within the heart and mind of mankind, so much so that many feel the need to blame something else, but there is no something else it all comes from within.

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  18. Sam says:

    Yes, there is good and there is evil. As a Christian, I believe that God is good. The angel now called Satan, having been given free will, decided long ago to be “like God” and so fell due to the sin of pride. Satan usurped the rule of the world from Adam when Adam ate the forbidden fruit and now Satan and his demons (one third of the angels created) rule the earth and prowl it searching for souls to ruin. That’s men and women’s souls they want to ruin and take with them for their kingdom. Every human has free will; God wants willing servants, not robots. We have the choice to do good or evil. Evil is often rewarded on earth, while good sometimes seems futile. But God is, of course, stronger than evil and will prove it in due course when He resumes kingship of the earth.

    I see America in a very dangerous place, because too many young people are taught moral relativism in schools and homes. The people’s inability to recognize and distinguish good and evil is a serious obstacle to a republic. Worse, it’s a serious obstacle to a civil society and to one’s eternal fate.

    I saw a related question above regarding animals’ having or not having free will. At bottom this question to me means do animals have a soul? Yes, they do have free will and souls. But not in quite the same way humans do. The whole earth became cursed when Adam fell, since he was its rightful king it fell with him. Animals do not bear the same responsibility that humans do though and they act according to their nature (and training if they are our pets.) Some day God will lift the curse on nature and it will return to its original state. Isaiah describes it as “the lion shall lie down with the lamb” which of course would not happen today.

    This may be more than you wanted to know or more biblical than you wanted. But evil had a beginning and we ignore it at our peril.

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  19. ftsk420 says:

    I believe there is good and evil but I don’t believe in God or the Devil. I don’t believe in heaven or hell.

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  20. Mikado Cat says:

    The lion does lie down with the lamb, the lamb is just inside the lion. If the lamb was on the outside the lion would starve.

    Jimmy Carter is a decent, kind human being, who tried to do the right thing in removing the Shah of Iran and millions have suffered as a consequence.

    Muslim martyr’s who blow themselves and a bus load of children up believe they are doing gods will defending Islam and the holy Koran.

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  21. QuantumVerp says:

    Once one distills a condensate of words from the undergirding total reality x infinity into a primary synonym ‘Evil’ is easy to understand. IGNORANCE

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