Evil, in a general sense, is the opposite or absence of good. It can be an broad concept, though in everyday usage is used more narrowly to denote profound wickedness, it is seen as taking multiple possible forms, such as the form of personal moral evil associated with the word, or impersonal natural evil, in religious thought, the form of the demonic or supernatural/eternal. Evil can denote profound immorality, but not without some basis in the understanding of the human condition, where strife and suffering are the true roots of evil. In certain religious contexts, evil has been described as a supernatural force. Definitions of evil vary. Elements that are associated with personal forms of evil involve unbalanced behavior involving anger, fear, psychological trauma, selfishness, destruction or neglect. Evil is sometimes perceived as the dualistic antagonistic binary opposite to good, in which good should prevail and evil should be defeated. In cultures with Buddhist spiritual influence, both good and evil are perceived as part of an antagonistic duality that itself must be overcome through achieving Nirvana.
The philosophical questions regarding good and evil are subsumed into three major areas of study: Meta-ethics concerning the nature of good and evil, Normative ethics concerning how we ought to behave, Applied ethics concerning particular moral issues. While the term is applied to events and conditions without agency, the forms of evil addressed in this article presume an evildoer or doers; some religions and philosophies deny evil's usefulness in describing people. The modern English word evil and its cognates such as the German Übel and Dutch euvel are considered to come from a Proto-Germanic reconstructed form of *ubilaz, comparable to the Hittite huwapp- from the Proto-Indo-European form *wap- and suffixed zero-grade form *up-elo-. Other Germanic forms include Middle English evel, ufel, Old Frisian evel, Old Saxon ubil, Old High German ubil, Gothic ubils; the root meaning of the word is of obscure origin though shown to be akin to modern German Das Übel with the basic idea of transgressing.
Main: Confucian Ethics and Taoist EthicsAs with Buddhism, in Confucianism or Taoism there is no direct analogue to the way good and evil are opposed although reference to demonic influence is common in Chinese folk religion. Confucianism's primary concern is with correct social relationships and the behavior appropriate to the learned or superior man, thus evil would correspond to wrong behavior. Still less does it map into Taoism, in spite of the centrality of dualism in that system, but the opposite of the cardinal virtues of Taoism, compassion and humility can be inferred to be the analogue of evil in it. Benedict de Spinoza states 1. By good, I understand that which we know is useful to us. 2. By evil, on the contrary, I understand that which we know hinders us from possessing anything, good. Spinoza assumes a quasi-mathematical style and states these further propositions which he purports to prove or demonstrate from the above definitions in part IV of his Ethics: Proposition 8 "Knowledge of good or evil is nothing but affect of joy or sorrow in so far as we are conscious of it."
Proposition 30 "Nothing can be evil through that which it possesses in common with our nature, but in so far as a thing is evil to us it is contrary to us." Proposition 64 "The knowledge of evil is inadequate knowledge." Corollary "Hence it follows that if the human mind had none but adequate ideas, it would form no notion of evil." Proposition 65 "According to the guidance of reason, of two things which are good, we shall follow the greater good, of two evils, follow the less." Proposition 68 "If men were born free, they would form no conception of good and evil so long as they were free." Friedrich Nietzsche, in a rejection of Judeo-Christian morality, addresses this in two works Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morals where he says that the natural, functional non-good has been transformed into the religious concept of evil by the slave mentality of the weak and oppressed masses who resent their masters. Carl Jung, in his book Answer to Job and elsewhere, depicted evil as the dark side of God.
People tend to believe evil is something external to them, because they project their shadow onto others. Jung interpreted the story of Jesus as an account of God facing his own shadow. Though the book may have had a sudden birth, its gestation period in Jung's unconscious was long; the subject of God, what Jung saw as the dark side of God, was a lifelong preoccupation. An emotional and theoretical struggle with the core nature of deity is evident in Jung's earliest fantasies and dreams, as well as in his complex relationships with his father, his mother, the Christian church itself. Jung's account of his childhood in his quasi-autobiography, Dreams, provides deep, personal background about his early religious roots and conflicts. In 2007, Philip Zimbardo suggested that people may act in evil ways as a result of a collective identity; this hypothesis, based on his previous experience from the Stanford prison experiment, was published in the book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.
Most monotheistic religions posit that the singular God is all-powerful, all-knowing, good. The problem of ev
Problem of evil
The problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil with an omnipotent and omniscient God. An argument from evil claims that because evil exists, either God does not exist or does not have all three of those properties. Attempts to show the contrary have traditionally been discussed under the heading of theodicy. Besides philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is important to the field of theology and ethics; the problem of evil is formulated in two forms: the logical problem of evil and the evidential problem of evil. The logical form of the argument tries to show a logical impossibility in the coexistence of God and evil, while the evidential form tries to show that given the evil in the world, it is improbable that there is an omnipotent and wholly good God; the problem of evil has been extended to non-human life forms, to include animal suffering from natural evils and human cruelty against them. Responses to various versions of the problem of evil, come in three forms: refutations and theodicies.
A wide range of responses have been made against these arguments. There are many discussions of evil and associated problems in other philosophical fields, such as secular ethics, evolutionary ethics, but as understood, the "problem of evil" is posed in a theological context. The problem of evil acutely applies to monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Judaism that believe in a monotheistic God, omnipotent and omnibenevolent; the problem of evil refers to the challenge of reconciling belief in an omniscient and omnibenevolent God, with the existence of evil and suffering in the world. The problem may be described either experientially or theoretically; the experiential problem is the difficulty in believing in a concept of a loving God when confronted by suffering or evil in the real world, such as from epidemics, or wars, or murder, or rape or terror attacks wherein innocent children, men or a loved one becomes a victim. The problem of evil is a theoretical one described and studied by religion scholars in two varieties: the logical problem and the evidential problem.
Originating with Greek philosopher Epicurus, the logical argument from evil is as follows: If an omnipotent and omniscient god exists evil does not. There is evil in the world. Therefore, an omnipotent and omniscient god does not exist; this argument is of the form modus tollens, is logically valid: If its premises are true, the conclusion follows of necessity. To show that the first premise is plausible, subsequent versions tend to expand on it, such as this modern example: God exists. God is omnipotent and omniscient. An omnipotent being has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence. An omnibenevolent being would want to prevent all evils. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence, knows every way in which those evils could be prevented. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil. If there exists an omnipotent and omniscient God no evil exists.
Evil exists. Both of these arguments are understood to be presenting two forms of the'logical' problem of evil, they attempt to show that the assumed propositions lead to a logical contradiction and therefore cannot all be correct. Most philosophical debate has focused on the propositions stating that God cannot exist with, or would want to prevent, all evils, with defenders of theism arguing that God could well exist with and allow evil in order to achieve a greater good. If God lacks any one of these qualities—omniscience, omnipotence, or omnibenevolence—then the logical problem of evil can be resolved. Process theology and open theism are other positions that limit God's omnipotence and/or omniscience. Dystheism is the belief; the evidential problem of evil seeks to show that the existence of evil, although logically consistent with the existence of God, counts against or lowers the probability of the truth of theism. As an example, a critic of Plantinga's idea of "a mighty nonhuman spirit" causing natural evils may concede that the existence of such a being is not logically impossible but argue that due to lacking scientific evidence for its existence this is unlikely and thus it is an unconvincing explanation for the presence of natural evils.
Both absolute versions and relative versions of the evidential problems of evil are presented below. A version by William L. Rowe: There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil bad or worse. An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil bad or worse. There does not exist an omnipotent, wholly good being. Another by Paul Draper: Gratuitous evils exist; the hypothesis of indifference, i.e. that if there are supernatural beings they are indifferent to gratuitous evils, is a better explanation for than theism. Therefore, evidence prefers that no god, as understood by theists, exists; the problem of e