How do you visualize ‘good’ and ‘evil’? What determines them? Are they absolute or relative? How important is the concern of ‘good’ and ‘evil’?
Good and evil are common topics of debate in our society. In general, what we do for the betterment of people is good and what we do for harming people is evil. Though there is no universal definition of good and evil. The standards of good or evil are usually socially constructed. Good and evil are used as social tools by which we can judge and criticize people’s acts. Good has many dictionary definitions which mainly indicate good as having positive qualities. Evil is the opposite of good. That means it represents something unfair or bad.
Evolution of morality and immorality
The evolution of morality and immorality refers to the change in human behavior over time. It is connected with human behavior, thoughts, and actions. According to Charles Darwin, morality is a product of human evolution. When human was evolving, naturally they were selected as a higher social being. Darwin wrote in his book The Descent of Man-
“The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind”.
Human morality is unique. Right and wrong thoughts also have a vast effect on human behavior. Morality and immorality were evolving at the same time. The myths of pure evil and demons were human’s first approach toward immorality. As humans are given free will, they can act according to their will. Though we have evolved into moral beings anyone can engage in evil works at any time as they are independent.
Good – Evil and the existence of God
Some philosophers connect good and evil with good. To be good means to obey the instructions of God. God gives us the standard of morality. In Plato’s book Euthyphro we can see while conversing with Euthyphro, Socratic asked Euthyphro “Whether the Gods live that is good because it actually is good, or whether things are called good simply because God loves them”. So the point is, either morality is something that exists independently or that is created by God. But both can’t be true at the same time. If god created morality then why god will allow people to murder someone? If morality does exist somewhere outside, that means one also God have to obey those rules. And if god has to obey those rules, that indicates God’s power would be lessened.
On the other hand, according to St. Augustine, there is nothing like evil exists. There are 2 sides to the word. On one side god exists on the other side god doesn’t exists. Where god doesn’t exist is considered evil. According to hi, evil is actually the lack of existence of god. According to him, evil doesn’t exist at all. But if that is true, one question always remains, “If there is nothing like evil then why do people stop doing good?”