May 10, 2006

This I believe - part I

There is no such thing as a Sin. That means there is no redemption or absolution, either. Live with the consequences of what you did, and try better next time.

There is no such thing as Evil. People aren't compelled by external forces to do what they do, whatever horrible things they end up doing. This isn't to say that they are necessarily responsible for everything they do. Human minds are fragile, and very susceptible to outside factors when we grow up. Nothing mystical about it, just biology.

God is not Good. While I am agnostic with respect to the existence of a deity, I feel that there is nothing less real, less human about sadness and pain, than about happiness and extacy. It's all part of life. If there is a divine plan, it's got both good and bad parts in it. Kali and Parvati as equally divine. Hinduism not your cup of tea? Think of the Nordic Gods and the Giants they continuously fight as equally essential to understanding and appreciating reality. Really want it to be in Christian terms? Think of the devil and god as two actors in the world. You may like one better than the other, but both are a part of this world. Wouldn't it make more sense if christian soldiers invoked the assistance of the devil when heading into a fight? Isn't he the one that's supposed to be in charge of that part of reality?

There are limited areas of knowledge where we can define correct answers. Scientific research is one, if we define correctness as leading to verifiable predictions, and rank correctness based on the accuracy of the agreement between theory and reality. The most impressive theory we have is QED. Nothing else comes even close. Determining the correctness of theories becomes murkier as one moves away from the hard sciences.

3 Comments:

Blogger methatiam said...

Well, I can’t say that I agree, but it’s nothing I didn’t used to say myself many tender years ago.

Thanks for visiting my site, by the way.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Haider Droubi said...

We all know that evil exist even within our selves...but it can be controlled. people shall understand that…and differentiate between courage and violence….competition and greed… after all the greatest evil ever (war) should be deleted from our dictionary…,most of the wars costing the lives of millions of people ended up as books and history that we read about before we go to sleep…I think souls should be a red border that no human has the right to take.
Anger is the reason of devil…that’s why we should get rid of anger in this world …

4:45 PM  
Blogger Endorendil said...

First of all, thanks for your comments, Haider and Methatiam.

I think it boils down to what we mean by "evil". I do believe that we are at times appaled at our own base instincts, which can compel us to wish for things we know to be wrong. I don't think that's evil - it is simply part of being human. I don't see any reason to assume that there is an external force that corrupts humans, urging them to do what is wrong. I believe that we're all limited beings, prone to making mistakes. Some of those mistakes are phenomenally big. But they are completely human. I think it more useful to see these horrible things as part of who we are as humans, than as some aweful thing that is perpetrated upon us.

As to differentiating between competition and greed, standing up for what you believe in and gratuitous violence, and generally drawing the line between "good" and "evil": I sometimes despair at finding any dividing line. To take your extreme, I don't believe that war is always wrong. There have been too many wrongs (i.e. more than zero) that were righted by wars, that were unlikely to be righted by non-violent means alone. So if sometimes war is the only possible answer, it cannot be evil, or at least not if you understand evil to be an avoidable choice. As a more day-to-day issue, enforcement of rules - violent if need be - cannot be "evil", since there are pathological cases where violence is clearly needed. If it is wrong for me to kill someone that threatens my family with a gun, then god help me, 'cos I will try. Violence may never be the solution we want. But it may be the only solution we have.

In the same vein, I appreciate your sentiment against anger, and I strive to banish it from my own life, perhaps to a fault. But I cannot escape the feeling that if we were to eliminate righteous anger (and I realise that that is a very loaded term, easily abused), we would be worse off. What if there had not been anger at racial segregation in the US in the sixties? What if Martin Luther King had decided not to be angry about his position in American society? Isn't it as wrong to be complacent in the face of injustice as it is to commit injustice?

10:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home