Can one do evil without being evil?

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Menotu
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Can one do evil without being evil?

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Post by Menotu »

Reading a bit about Hannah Arendt's article/report on Adolph Eichmann makes me wonder, not only can one do evil without being evil, but does the opposite hold true: can one do good without being good?

Additionally to that, are people inherently good, evil or neutral?
Does this change over time?
If so, is it only when view through the lens of history or through societal changes?

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ttruscott
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Re: Can one do evil without being evil?

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Post by ttruscott »

Menotu wrote: Reading a bit about Hannah Arendt's article/report on Adolph Eichmann makes me wonder, not only can one do evil without being evil, but does the opposite hold true: can one do good without being good?
From my Christian pov I would contend that to do one evil act against GOD and HIS law (righteous character) is to become 'evil' in the way you are using it. So no, one cannot do evil and remain good or righteous but becomes instantly evil and addicted to evil. As evil they are enslaved to evil and slowly their entire being is engulfed by the evil desires until they are fully evil as the bible aphorism says: A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

I suggest that Satan was not evil nor righteous when he chose to rebel against YHWH - he was innocent. He was not evil but he chose to do evil. The elect who chose to put their faith in GOD and became 'good' (and are thereafter called righteous) as in the case of the good seed but then sinned, would seem to have chosen evil from a position of righteousness but I'm not so sure.

But we also know that evil people (both the temporarily evil and the eternally evil) do acts of kindness, love others and can be generous. This suggests one can do good without being good...at least until they are fully overcome by the addiction of evil. The good they do is adjudicated by people who see and appreciate they are sincere in their effort to help but as sinners these acts do nothing to repair the relationship they could have had with YHWH so they remain evil though for the time being they can still act in a 'good' (but not righteous) way. Righteous is in accord with GOD's morality; good is in accord with man's morality.
Additionally to that, are people inherently good, evil or neutral?
Does this change over time?
If so, is it only when view through the lens of history or through societal changes?
If inherently evil means evil by their created nature, then NO!, no one is inherently evil as all were created innocent with the ability to choose to become either righteous or evil. But if inherently evil means to be born as sinful because you have chosen to be sinful by your free will before your conception then, yes, all humans are inherently sinful by reason of their own free will decisions before being sown, planted, into the world of mankind, Matt 13:36-39.

The nature of being evil does change over time as some are righteous, then sinful then redeemed and made righteous again or, in the case of those eternally rebellious, they were innocent then evil and slowly become fully enslaved to evil so that by no measure can they be considered to be good.
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Re: Can one do evil without being evil?

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Post by Menotu »

[Replying to post 2 by ttruscott]
one evil act against GOD and HIS law (righteous character) is to become 'evil' in the way you are using it.
Is there another way to in which you would use it?
remain good or righteous
Can one be good but not righteous? Are these terms synonymous or no?
Satan was not evil nor righteous when he chose to rebel against YHWH - he was innocent.
Didn't mention Satan at all but OK - I would agree in a sense.
one can do good without being good...one cannot do evil and remain good or righteous but becomes instantly evil
Why the difference? Are not good and evil exact opposites or is one 'greater' than the other?

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Re: Can one do evil without being evil?

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Post by ttruscott »

Menotu wrote: [Replying to post 2 by ttruscott]
one evil act against GOD and HIS law (righteous character) is to become 'evil' in the way you are using it.
Is there another way to in which you would use it?
Not me...others seem to do so though.

Menotu wrote:
remain good or righteous
Can one be good but not righteous? Are these terms synonymous or no?
Maybe... A righteous person will not do an evil act but a good person might. Peter spoke of Lot as a righteous man, 2 Peter 2:7 ...and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man... referring to GOD saving him from the rain of fire when it seems like Lot in that story was quite guilty of sin against his daughters. Either he was righteous at that time and we are missing his defense or sinners can be called righteous. The good seed on the parable of the weeds in Matt 13 are called the good seed but we know they are sinful because they are liable to being pulled up if the judgement was called and only the guilty are in such danger.

IF sinners can be called both good and righteous, it would seem to me that these words are not always definitions of their moral character but are perhaps status words denoting their status as the elect of GOD without moral implication.
Menotu wrote:
one can do good without being good...one cannot do evil and remain good or righteous but becomes instantly evil
Why the difference? Are not good and evil exact opposites or is one 'greater' than the other?
Sinners can love and treat others right - at least until their addiction to evil grows to the point where they can't anymore. Their good deeds do not cure their evil but for a non-evil person to choose to sin makes them evil both legally in HIS sight (under possible judgement) and in their character as now addicted to sin.

Morally good deeds do NOT cure evil but one evil deed destroys a person's moral and legal 'goodness'. This is why it is an absolute necessity that those who are eternally evil be banished from this reality.
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Re: Can one do evil without being evil?

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Post by Menotu »

ttruscott wrote:
Menotu wrote: [Replying to post 2 by ttruscott]
one evil act against GOD and HIS law (righteous character) is to become 'evil' in the way you are using it.
Is there another way to in which you would use it?
Not me...others seem to do so though.

Menotu wrote:
remain good or righteous
Can one be good but not righteous? Are these terms synonymous or no?
Maybe... A righteous person will not do an evil act but a good person might. Peter spoke of Lot as a righteous man, 2 Peter 2:7 ...and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man... referring to GOD saving him from the rain of fire when it seems like Lot in that story was quite guilty of sin against his daughters. Either he was righteous at that time and we are missing his defense or sinners can be called righteous. The good seed on the parable of the weeds in Matt 13 are called the good seed but we know they are sinful because they are liable to being pulled up if the judgement was called and only the guilty are in such danger.

IF sinners can be called both good and righteous, it would seem to me that these words are not always definitions of their moral character but are perhaps status words denoting their status as the elect of GOD without moral implication.
Menotu wrote:
one can do good without being good...one cannot do evil and remain good or righteous but becomes instantly evil
Why the difference? Are not good and evil exact opposites or is one 'greater' than the other?
Sinners can love and treat others right - at least until their addiction to evil grows to the point where they can't anymore. Their good deeds do not cure their evil but for a non-evil person to choose to sin makes them evil both legally in HIS sight (under possible judgement) and in their character as now addicted to sin.

Morally good deeds do NOT cure evil but one evil deed destroys a person's moral and legal 'goodness'. This is why it is an absolute necessity that those who are eternally evil be banished from this reality.
Thanks for the clarification
:D

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Re: Can one do evil without being evil?

Post #6

Post by 2Dbunk »

Menotu wrote: Reading a bit about Hannah Arendt's article/report on Adolph Eichmann makes me wonder, not only can one do evil without being evil, but does the opposite hold true: can one do good without being good?

Additionally to that, are people inherently good, evil or neutral?
Does this change over time?
If so, is it only when view through the lens of history or through societal changes?
Yes, a good person can do passive evil by refusing to recognize an evil being committed in his or her presence . . . kind of like nearly the entire body of senate Republicans refusing to see the nefarious ways of Donald Trump (I know they claim his 'phone call' was a minor 'bad' deed not rising to an impeachable offense), but HE'S ABOVE THE LAW and immune to being indicted for ten transgressions outlined in the multi-million dollar Mueller probe WHERE ANY OTHER AMERICAN CITIZEN would have been INDICTED. These senators gave him a pass even though their constituents believe them to be honorable and good legislators.

Second: The Steven Weinberg assertion outlines that even good religious people can unthinkingly do evil under the banner of religion.

We are all born neutral and are taught our individual prejudicial tendencies (politics, religion and racial demeanor, among other things)
What good is truth if its value is not more than unproven, handed-down faith?

One believes things because one is conditioned to believe them. -Aldous Huxley

Fear within the Religious will always be with them ... as long as they are fearful of death.

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Re: Can one do evil without being evil?

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Post by Purple Knight »

Menotu wrote: Reading a bit about Hannah Arendt's article/report on Adolph Eichmann makes me wonder, not only can one do evil without being evil, but does the opposite hold true: can one do good without being good?
Absolutely true to both, at least from what I've heard.

Think about a Nazi rushing into a burning building to save a baby... because the baby is white. Not only is the person not good, even if he does things like this on a regular basis, but the act itself does not count - any good inherent in the act is erased - and yes, because of the person doing it. You can even make the case that the act itself has changed to evil, and that the mother should destroy the baby (this is what we affirm when we refuse to use the research of evil people, even if it could save lives).

Now think about a very good person doing some [otherwise] horrible act, but the reason is good. I imagine the evil inherent of the act is erased - doesn't even count - in exactly the same fashion.

This is based on conversations I've had with moral people about morality.

They say things like, "You're not doing it for the right reason. Your thought process is this; you should have a thought process that is this other way. Then it would count as good."

It's probably why most sociopaths don't try to be good: They can't succeed.

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Re: Can one do evil without being evil?

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Post by Menotu »

[Replying to post 6 by 2Dbunk]
We are all born neutral and are taught our individual prejudicial tendencies (politics, religion and racial demeanor, among other things)
Agree 100%
It's sad that people can't be taught to just be a good person without thinking negatively about others.

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Re: Can one do evil without being evil?

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Post by Menotu »

Purple Knight wrote:
Menotu wrote: Reading a bit about Hannah Arendt's article/report on Adolph Eichmann makes me wonder, not only can one do evil without being evil, but does the opposite hold true: can one do good without being good?
Absolutely true to both, at least from what I've heard.

Think about a Nazi rushing into a burning building to save a baby... because the baby is white. Not only is the person not good, even if he does things like this on a regular basis, but the act itself does not count - any good inherent in the act is erased - and yes, because of the person doing it. You can even make the case that the act itself has changed to evil, and that the mother should destroy the baby (this is what we affirm when we refuse to use the research of evil people, even if it could save lives).

Now think about a very good person doing some [otherwise] horrible act, but the reason is good. I imagine the evil inherent of the act is erased - doesn't even count - in exactly the same fashion.

This is based on conversations I've had with moral people about morality.

They say things like, "You're not doing it for the right reason. Your thought process is this; you should have a thought process that is this other way. Then it would count as good."

It's probably why most sociopaths don't try to be good: They can't succeed.
Is morality the same as good?
Or are they different?

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Re: Can one do evil without being evil?

Post #10

Post by Purple Knight »

Menotu wrote:Is morality the same as good?
Or are they different?
I would say those who are moral are good, and those who are good are moral. So I think they're the same.

There's a slight difference in that moral more often describes actions, and good describes a person's (for lack of a better word) alignment.

But I'm pretty convinced that a good person's actions are moral specifically because a good person is doing them, just as an evil person's actions are immoral because an evil person is doing them.

The idea of alignment comes from Dungeons and Dragons. If your character is good, but you choose for your character to go around raping and murdering people (immoral actions) you will shift to evil.

This fails to describe the real world because the character's alignment and the player's alignment may be different. The player is capable of immoral acts perhaps because he himself is not pure good. So if he plays out his own desires and motivations, his character's alignment will become like his own.

In the real world, however, each person is singular and it's not possible for him to have motivations that are completely external to him. It could seem that way, if someone else has control over him somehow, but it will never be that way.

Thus, if a pure good person rapes and murders, there will be some purely good motivation for that (religious doctrine for example), and the action won't be immoral. The action will change in the hands of the pure to a righteous one.

This is exactly what gives people trouble who are trying to be good, because they assume that they can become good by imitating moral actions. They may see a person punching a Nazi or shouting down a heretic (moral actions if done by a good person) and imitate, only to discover that the action, in evil hands, becomes sullied and evil. So the person never becomes good, despite often trying harder than those who are naturally good, and they become frustrated.

This is why the world has two schools of thought about bullying evil. The PC school of thought says that evil people are evil and must be punched. The conservative school of thought generally holds that people should be allowed to be evil.

Both schools of thought are wrong. But it is necessary to have both so that the evil person can be judged by whichever school of thought has his action as immoral. Basically, the duplicity maintains a lie that holds society together: Do right, and you will be righteous. Without this lie, evil people would stop trying and the world would be a much worse place.

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