Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Discuss the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes.

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Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

beckybelvin wrote: February 4th, 2023, 8:41 am First of all, let me say that I enjoyed the book. Some things I agreed with, but others I didn't. I don't agree with the statement that there is no evil. I don't see how anyone could believe that there is no evil if they live on the same planet that I do. There is evil rampant today. It is true that we create it ourselves, but it's there, no matter where it came from.
Hi, beckybelvin,

Thank you for your reply. :)

I love learning about different perspectives. I have a few questions for which I would be very interested to read your answers:

1. How do you define 'evil'?

2. Are the things you think are evil things that are in your control or things that are not in your control?

3. Are the things you think are evil things that you can change or things you cannot change?


In any case, I invite you to also reply in my topic, There is no "Is-Ought Problem" because there is no 'ought'. To me, it's the same concept, just in slightly different words.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Meghan Sica wrote: February 5th, 2023, 10:56 pm I, one hundred percent, do not agree that there is no evil. My personal beliefs are not set in stone, or led by one religion or another. It is mainly just a feeling, intuition, that the world is in a constant state of balance. To balance good, there must be an equal counterpart, evil. I have read and researched many horrible events that have transpired and I have to honestly say, the only way these events could have happened is if the person who committed the crimes were truly evil.
Hi, Meghan Sica,

Thank you for your reply. :)

I love learning about different perspectives. I have a few questions for you, and I would love to receive and get to read your answers:

1. How do you define 'evil'?

2. Are the things you think are evil things that are in your control or things that are not in your control?

3. Are the things you think are evil things that you can change or things you cannot change?


In any case, I invite you to also reply in my topic, There is no "Is-Ought Problem" because there is no 'ought'. To me, it's the same concept, just in slightly different words.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
User avatar
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Meghan Soderholm wrote: February 6th, 2023, 12:19 pm As a Christian, I do agree that there is evil, and it does exist thanks to Satan. However, evil can be conquered and in certain areas of life not so strong and abundant. Evil does exist, there is no problem, and most importantly it does not have to be powerful.
Hi, Meghan Soderholm,

Thank you for your reply. :)

I love learning about different perspectives. I have a few questions for you, and I would love to receive and get to read your answers:

1. How do you define 'evil'?

2. Are the things you think are evil things that are in your control or things that are not in your control?

3. Are the things you think are evil things that you can change or things you cannot change?


In any case, I invite you to also reply in my topic, There is no "Is-Ought Problem" because there is no 'ought'. To me, it's the same concept, just in slightly different words.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
User avatar
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Salah bourouba wrote: February 6th, 2023, 4:22 pm I don't really. Evil came down to earth with Satan when he tricked Adam and eve to eat from the apple tree when god told him not to. So it exists from the beginning of man. However it does depend on people's nature to follow and do evil or not
Hi, Salah bourouba,

Thank you for your reply! :)

So you take the story of genesis in the Jewish and/or Christian bibles to be literally true; is that correct? So, for example, you think that there literally was an actual talking snake roughly 6,000 or so years ago; is that correct?

These are not rhetorical questions. I'm genuinely asking. :)


Thank you,
Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

abstactlemon wrote: February 13th, 2023, 7:02 am I believe the concept of good and evil is flawed. As humans we like to paint things in black and white, but there is just morality, and the line is different for every individual. That being said I think a good rule of thumb is to keep yourself within the lines most people agree on.

[Emphasis added.]
Thank you for your reply. Can you explain to me a bit more what you mean by the statement, "there is just morality"?

In any case, I also invite you to reply in my topic, There is no "Is-Ought Problem" because there is no 'ought'.

I believe in fully and unconditionally accepting that which I cannot control (i.e. that which I cannot change). So I never look at something I can neither control nor change and think "it shouldn't be the way it unchangeably is", or "it ought not be the way it is even though there is nothing I can do about it". Thus, in that way, I don't believe in morality or evil, meaning I don't believe they exist. To me, as I use the terms, the belief in the existence of morality or evil is incompatible with full total unconditional acceptance of what I cannot control (i.e. what I cannot change). If I control it, then it is the way I want it to be, meaning the way I choose for it to be. If I cannot control it, then it is what it is.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

A picture can be worth a thousand words, even sometimes a silly little meme.

For those who believe evil exists for religious reasons, I am curious about your perspective and thoughts on this meme:


universe-experiencing-itself.jpg
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
OTrain M
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by OTrain M »

That is one chapter I read over and over again, and I loved how you first opened the chapter by explaining what you mean by this. But, I think there is problem of evil. I don't believe in God, so I believe that people are capable of infecting evil, which, according to my understanding, evil is all that goes against humanity. When we see the war happening in Ukraine right now, that is as evil as it can get. So I disagree with your notion and I disagree when you said that not believing in evil is liberating.
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

OTrain M wrote: February 17th, 2023, 11:52 am That is one chapter I read over and over again, and I loved how you first opened the chapter by explaining what you mean by this. But, I think there is problem of evil. I don't believe in God, so I believe that people are capable of infecting evil, which, according to my understanding, evil is all that goes against humanity. When we see the war happening in Ukraine right now, that is as evil as it can get. So I disagree with your notion and I disagree when you said that not believing in evil is liberating.
Hi, OTrain M,

Thank you for your reply! :)

I love learning about different perspectives. Since you believe evil exists, I have a few questions for you, and I would love to receive and get to read your answers:

1. How do you define the word 'evil'?

2. Are the things you think are "evil" things that are in your control or things that are not in your control?

3. Are the things you think are "evil" things that you can change or things you cannot change?


In any case, I invite you to also reply in my topic, There is no "Is-Ought Problem" because there is no 'ought'. To me, it's the same concept, just in slightly different words.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
mrlefty0706
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by mrlefty0706 »

I believe that evil has existed on Earth since the snake convinced Eve to defy God's order to not eat from a specific tree. She did and Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden. They had three sons, Cain, Able and Seth. Cain became extremely jealous of the relationship Able developed with God so he killed him and denyed the murder when questioned by God. Cain's murderous act was evil and he has been seen as the epitomy of evil since that fateful day. Since humans have free will they can choose to be good or be evil. Some people seem to have both traits but they are probably acting good when they are really evil. I do believe an evil person can ask God for forgiveness and change their ways. There are many Saints in the Catholic Religion that reformed their lives after asking God for forgiveness and they went on to good, kind and humble men and women. Could an evil person like Hitler, Mussolini, Sadan Hussain, Kim Jong Un and Putin change their ways. I highly doubt it because either they do not believe they are or were evil or they know/knew and would never change. On judgement day we will see millions of evil people sent to Hell while the people they killed and other good people will spend eternity in Heaven. I realize there are many members of our book club that may want to debate my views and that is ok since we all have free wills.
Donna Walker 1
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by Donna Walker 1 »

I really enjoyed this book, but I do not 100% agree that there is no problem of evil. Unfortunately, we see evil around us every day. Are child paedophiles not evil? I most certainly think that they are. People do atrocious acts to others with the intent of causing harm and irreparable damage, and these people enjoy it! They are, by definition, evil. How can you not view an innocent child being sexually abused in such a way as not being a problem? The argument in the book logically makes sense, but I just can't get my head around it. Even if evil is required to balance good, it is a problem. 
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Donna Walker 1 wrote: February 20th, 2023, 10:21 am Unfortunately, we see evil around us every day.
We don't. You may, and that's fine, but we don't. I am part of the we, and I don't see it.

As someone with extreme consistent inner peace who enjoys the wonderful consistent contentment and spiritual freedom of fully and unconditionally accepting that which I cannot change (i.e. that which I cannot control), I do not see evil anywhere, in the real world at least. I do not see anything that 'should' not be or 'ought' not be. I do not see any events happen that 'should' not have happened or 'ought' not have happened.

Whether it's a hungry lion brutally tearing its teeth into an antelope, or a an antelope selfishly running away to save itself even though that means the hungry lion will starve, I see infinite beauty everywhere, and no evil.

But, needless to say, We see what we want to see, meaning what we choose to see.

Donna Walker 1 wrote: February 20th, 2023, 10:21 am Are child paedophiles not evil?
Let me answer your question with some questions of my own:

Is a lion that brutally kills and eats an antelope evil?

What about a house cat that kills a mouse for fun, but does not even eat the mouse?

What about cancer?

What about deadly hurricanes?

What about the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs?

If those things are evil, then surely human adults who sexually abuse children are too.

But I don't see evil anywhere at all in the slightest in anything ever. Maybe I use the word 'evil' differently than you. Or maybe I see things differently than you. But I don't see what I would call evil anywhere.

Since I don't see any evil ever, to me, it isn't a compliment to a thing to call it not evil. If you see some things as evil, and have not yet transcended that particular judgemental duality, then you would see yourself as somehow bestowing a compliment or honor of some sore on the would-be evil by saying it is better than the evil things by way of not being evil. I don't see anything evil, so if I was to say something specific is not evil, it is not me saying that it is better than something else. By accepting what I cannot change, the basis of the judgement is gone for me. It's not even that my answer to the question, "Is X evil", would always be "no" regardless of what X is, but more like the question itself has been rendered inherently nonsensical to me.

Donna Walker 1 wrote: February 20th, 2023, 10:21 am People do atrocious acts to others with the intent of causing harm and irreparable damage, and these people enjoy it!
Indeed, that is true.

Anecdotally speaking, I've personally seen house cats behave like that as well.

Donna Walker 1 wrote: February 20th, 2023, 10:21 amHow can you not view an innocent child being sexually abused in such a way as not being a problem?
I wouldn't say it isn't a problem, per se.

There is a clarity that comes with inner peace, and with letting go of any and all resentment and hate. There is a clarity that comes with unconditionally accepting that which I cannot change. There is a clarity comes with letting go of the wasteful inner-peace-stealing judgementalism towards things I cannot change. That clarity makes it easier for me both to (1) see the problems I can solve as solvable problems, and (2) solve them.

In the book, I have while chapter titled "A World of Problems", which starts with the following 4 paragraphs:
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (In It Together, page 7) wrote:In a sense, we live in a world of problems.

In all directions, we see terrible problems, problems that cause
suffering and seem to call for desperation and miserable sadness, even
anger or full-blown, blood-boiling rage.

We see seemingly preventable problems that we as a species
fail to prevent. We see problems to which we both as individuals
and as nations contribute. We see problems for which we are the
primary cause.

In this world of problems, over ten thousand children starve
to death every single day.
In the book, I focus most on the example of starving children, but the example of children being sexually molested applies too. And of course those are just two examples of these seemingly preventable problems.

It is worth noting, though, that the word 'seemingly' is a key word, and appearances can be deceiving.


Donna Walker 1 wrote: February 20th, 2023, 10:21 am The argument in the book logically makes sense, but I just can't get my head around it.
Interesting. :)

Is there something you are worried would happen if you just let go and accepted the conclusions of the argument, since you do think it is logical?

For example, sometimes when people hold onto resentment (i.e. unforgivingness) towards a person, I find that it's because they have this feeling or sense that by letting go of the resentment (i.e. by forgiving the person) would be some kind of gift or kindness to the forgiven rather than a forgiver. And this is true even when the forgived person is already dead. For example, there are surely many people on this planet holding onto an incredible about of inner-peace-stealing resentment towards their already dead parents over things the parents did to them while alive. It's like holding onto a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. The only one getting burned is the resenter.

Why hold onto resentment about things you cannot change for being the way they unchangeably are? Why not just say, "it is what it is"? Why not just say, "forgive them, for they know not what they do"? Why not just, "if they knew better, they would do better"? Why not just accept the serenity of fully and unconditionally accepting the things you cannot change?

Why not just say, "if I was them and completely in their shoes--with their body with their brain, their memories, their trauma, etc.--I would do the exact same thing"? Because you would.

I could sacrifice my inner peace by resenting cats for enjoying killing mice, wag my shaming finger at them with a frown and call them immoral or evil; or, I could just accept that it is what it is, and that I would enjoy torturing and killing mice if I was the cat.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

mrlefty0706 wrote: February 18th, 2023, 10:44 pm I believe that evil has existed on Earth since the snake convinced Eve to defy God's order to not eat from a specific tree.
Interesting.

Do you believe God is omnipotent (i.e. all-powerful)?

Do you believe God is omniscient (i.e. all-knowing)?

Did God know Eve would eat the apple when he created Eve, when he created the snake, and when he created the apple?


What's your take on this image:

universe-experiencing-itself.jpg


?
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
Blessing Chi Peculiar
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by Blessing Chi Peculiar »

I do agree that there is no issue with evil, to answer your question. Because of the decisions we make as humans, evil is created. I think that the existence of evil is due to its effects. Our greatest flaw as humans is that we have freewill and the ability to make decisions. We all have the freedom to make decisions, which means we have the potential to make mistakes. When this happens, the unintended consequences of our choices cause evil to turn against us.
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by NaghmaQ »

beckybelvin wrote: February 4th, 2023, 8:41 am First of all, let me say that I enjoyed the book. Some things I agreed with, but others I didn't. I don't agree with the statement that there is no evil. I don't see how anyone could believe that there is no evil if they live on the same planet that I do. There is evil rampant today. It is true that we create it ourselves, but it's there, no matter where it came from.
I agree with you. Evil is there. Created by man or God or both, that's another story.
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Re: Do you agree that there is no problem of evil?

Post by Kirsten Schuder »

Well, in the book, when we follow your logic, I usually wind up agreeing. When it's taken out of context, it makes me want to disagree.

I don't think there is "evil." I think there are people who do the opposite of good or love because they have an orientation of pain rather than pleasure.

My husband was a correction officer who also served as the overnight counselor. He had long conversations with convicted serial rapists and murderers.

He said the one thing that stood out was the horrific childhoods they experienced in their homes growing up. This is what encouraged them to commit heinous acts against fellow human beings.

We call their behaviors "evil", but rather, it is really an absence of love and care that has been replaced by anger and abuse.
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