|Can there be good, if evil didn't exist?
||[Nov. 13th, 2012|10:18 pm]
I don't think so because I think those things are relative to each other.
If evil as we know it didn't exist then what we think of as bad or neutral or whatever would then shift to take the place of evil because it would be the worst thing on the scale of bad to good. So good would still exist, but evil would too. They have to exist together. I don't know if that makes sense at all.
Edited at 2012-11-13 10:30 pm (UTC)
That's a good point. I pretty much agree with this comment. I also don't think it's possible for anybody to be completely good or completely evil, so they both must exist.
This dilemma is often used as a proposed solution to the classic "problem of evil." (If God is all-good and all-powerful, then how can He permit evil to exist?) The theory suggests that evil has to exist for good to exist. The trouble with this is that it means that every time I pat a dog on the head, someone else somewhere is kicking a dog.
I think it depends on what your standard of "good" is. Good is that which promotes value. A "value" is that which one seeks to gain or keep. If life itself is taken as the primary value (since without life no other value is possible) then that which promotes life is good while that which negates it is evil.
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I also think most things aren't "entirely good" or "entirely evil." Some things are, yeah, but I think most walk a tightrope, so to speak, between good and evil-- most will also lean to one side, but there's always the potential for both.
Four could not be five if five did not exist.
Humans seem to have a capacity for thinking in dichotomies, whether from an innate ability or from early experiences with language, etc. So even if we were innately unable to behave any other way but compassionately ("good"), I think humans would be able to imagine cruelty, etc. ("evil").
We've done it with any other number of things, like mortality: everything dies, yet humans readily imagine all kinds of immortal beings.
No. How can you define good without knowing what evil is?
It's difficult for me to think of something existing without it being in relation to something else. and when making value judgments such as good and evil, there has to be a differentiation between them in order to make the distinction. And saying that there must be a differentiation does not mean that there are equal amounts of good and evil.
Simply thinking of good as being the absence of evil doesn't work. Likewise, peace is not simply the absence of war or conflict - it's more active than that.
Can there be evil without good?
Is it worthwhile to discuss since the world will always have both?