f12hte wrote: ↑Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:22 pm
If who we are is shaped by our experience, and since each of us has a different set of experiences, we all have different ideas about what is evil and what is good.
It's true we all are, in some ways, different: that makes us individuals. However, we can easily overemphasize the idea of "difference," to the point where there is no longer any recognition of commonness, community or communication. We are different, but different within a range, and similar in some things.
Now, notice how you had to word that: "we all have different ideas about
..." Not "we all have different evils." Some people have somewhat different ideas about what objective good and evil might be. But the fact that they are discussing it shows that it is a more objective concept of evil that they are after: subjective, opinion-type views will not be good enough for them. They want to arrive at some common understanding.
In point of fact,It is simply not true that every person is SO different from every other that no common definitions are even possible. If "difference" were the totality of the story, then this conversation we're having would be impossible. So would any discussion of evil.
Given the strife there has always been in the world, it seems obvious to me that morality is relative.
This does not follow. "There is strife" does not lead to the conclusion "morality is relative." It only conduces to some deduction like: "people strive about what morality might be," perhaps. But it does not logically lead to subjectivism or relativism.
People disagree or "strive" about all kinds of things, in which some are right, some are wrong, and some are closer to right than others. There's not even anything remarkable about that; it's routine.
There is no absolute right or wrong.
That's a self-contradiction. You made an absolute claim. That is, unless you're saying I would not be absolutely wrong
to say there was such thing as absolute right and wrong.
But it seems to me that that is what you are trying to say: for if it's not absolutely wrong to say there's such a thing as absolute right and wrong, then you'd be admitting that somewhere there IS a right and wrong that is "absolute": meaning unconditional for everyone, and hence universal and absolute. Then your claim would be wrong.
In other words, it will be wrong, no matter what you do with such a claim. There's no way to save relativism.
There are only the rules which cultures establish for themselves,
If this is true, then there is no evil. Anything a culture allows -- murder, rape, paedophelia, whatever -- is not "evil" outside that culture. Moreover, even in that same culture, the people in it can revise at any minute, and say, "Before we said rape was wrong; but now we say it's morally virtuous," and there would be no possibility of saying whether such a change was "good" or "evil."
Moreover, your original post would make no sense at all.
People learn to do evil by experience.
Hold that thought.
What do you mean? From what do they "learn," and what "experience"? How can a creature that is morally neutral or good suddenly turn "evil" because of some "learning" or "experiences," when within them is no instinct to respond to such things?
They experience the knock-on effects of other peoples' 'goods' and 'evils', as determined by their own experience sets, and the actions which result from that morality contribute to the morality of all subsequent generations.
But if we "learn" evil from other people, from where did they "learn" it? And from where did those people "learn" it? And who started the chain, and when, and where, and why? How could a chain like that ever get started, if all
people are morally neutral or good by birth?
Today's humanity has inherited the follow-on actions of its predecessor's moral decisions.
Who is this uniquely evil "predecessor" who first started evil? If he was an ordinary human, it would be impossible for him to start it, if humans are naturally good. That is, unless he already had within him the potential and instinct to do evil. But then he's not different from you and me, and it's not true to say he's the true source of evil. We all are.
What do you believe to be the nature and origin of evil?
This is a good question, but only under a few basic understandings. (I'll underline for clarity, not emphasis, if I may.)
Firstly, by "evil" you must mean something objective
: if not, you are not really asking a question at all.
Secondly, your answer that it comes down from ancestors is obviously incomplete
: it had to start somewhere, and your chain not only lacks that explanation, but relies on us overlooking that the chain must needs have had a start. But "ancestors" does not allow that start to be in human causes.
Thirdly, the culturally relative explanation is obviously a non-answer
: it allows absolutely anything to be good or evil, without any solid distinction, so there is no such thing as "evil," then, because everything is potentially both good and evil, at the same time, and even the names "good" and "evil" refer to nothing in particular. Again, your question then becomes impossible to understand.
And fourthly, relativism is wrong
. It's an absolute
claim that things are relative.
..and thus it self-defeats at the very first step. Moreover, the disagreements among people about good and evil are no evidence at all that there is no good or evil -- it only shows that people are confused. And of that, we can be quite certain.