Does Evil Really Exist? I say...nope.

This is obviously a very complex issue, but I’m going to make it incredibly simple:

There are several components to this question and the answer. If you are an absolute atheist, with no belief whatsoever in any kind of existance different from this plane of existence, then the answer has to be “yes” (although…I may make the case that even under this circumstance, it’s possible that the answer is no, for pretty much the same reason I am about to lay out)

If you are a Christian or some other rigid faith, your answer will be consistent with that faith, again, a yes.

But think about this possibility:

We do have an existence outside this one. When we are “dead”, we exist in a state of perfection. Perfect balance of light and dark.

You want God? Okay. God exists, let’s say, but she has no investment in how we behave. She created “life” to amuse herself. She is a * true * God, one that has no ego investment in having us worship her or conform to some complex set of rules to prove that we love her, she is not angry, or anything else manifestly human, weak and decidedly un-godlike. She just likes to watch. We are like her giant ant farm.

Or there is no God.

It makes no difference.

Because here’s what I propose is true: in either scenario, with or without God, but with an existance beyond this one, evil is a construct that exists for the same reason it exists in movies, books, and plays: to make the story more interesting. If everything was groovy all the time for everyone, life would be thunderingly dull. We wouldn’t even know how groovy it was… we require opposites for the purposes of comparing and contrasting.

But wait! Children boiled in oil! Grandmas kicked downstairs! Hitler! Dahmer! Pol Pot!

yeah? So?

All “evils” depend on the body for expression. If I am not in a body, you cannot harm me or do evil to me. So if I am a child you boil in oil, the evil you do only exists here on earth, it is meaningless outside of it. And therefore has no power beyond this place.

Well, I gotta go, gang, I’m headed up to Santa Barbara for the day.

Have fun!


No matter how abstract you try to make evil sound, when someone boils your child in evil, it is real.
I think the 20th century provided more than enough examples of evil to make this a meaningless debate.

This seems like a completely unsupportable point. You can’t eat, drink, and be merry and enjoy it? Because… why?


You seem to assume there is some kind of perfect existence after this life. You certainly have no proof of this, so it is your faith. Your faith tells you that Evil does not exist, but again, that is not proof.

Now, are you asking about Evil as an actual force/aspect of reality or just evil acts. Because as you noted, there are certainly evil acts (if you define ‘evil’ as Merriam-Webster does).

As for anything supernatural &/or outside this universe, I’ll leave that to faith &/or speculation.

So now you’re going to give George Bush and his puppet-masters a free ride? :frowning: Or will your spirit be serene while your body continues to raise hell?


This seems like a lot new age hogwash to me. What’s to think about? If anything this is just a great excuse for me to accept all that is “bad” in the world. What’s your evidence that anything exist outside of this mortal coil?


I take it that it is your belief that there is also no good. After all good is just a construct that exist for the same reason it does in movies, books, and plays. To make the story more interesting. According to your idea humans are little more then puppets for some mythical being that lives in another plane of existence. And again what is your evidence that your proposal holds any weight?


If you’re not in a body there’s not much I can do to you because you’re dead. But I’m here on earth right now. I can taste, smell, touch, and feel things right here and right now. I am not concerned with some mythical plane of existence when I’ve got this plane of existence to worry about. This is where I exist so it does matters and it is meaningful.

Why bother? You trip only matters in this plane of existence.


It depends upon how you define “does.”

Seriously, tho, if you believe in a God in the traditional sense: omnipotent, omniscient, and all-good God who created the universe, evil cannot exist. If God is all good, from whence can any evil derive?

Theologians and philosphers have debated that question for a millenium. Their conclusion is that there may be an absence of good occurring occasionally or even frequently. Somehow, the good there is in the universe is temporarily absent from some areas at some times. We mortals see that as evil.

The opinion expressed above is not necessrily that of the sponsor.

Not to hijack, but traditional sense? Um, I believe this conception was only formulated last century.

For example, the old “heavy rock” problem composed by George Carlin. I’d hardly call him a traditionalist.

Maybe you could dig up a cite on such a belief going back to Calvin. But even that is only a few hundred years.

I do think that our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its clear dichotomy of good and evil, tends to lead us to impose that dichotomy on situations where it doesn’t really fit.

Western movies tend to have “good guys” and “bad guys.”

We also tend to divide historical figures into “heroes” and “villains” without acknowledging the many shades of gray in between. Even the worst villains in history undoubtedly have some redeeming qualities. Hell, I understand Hitler was great with children.

This is one reason I enjoyed the anime movie Princess Mononoke. The characters in that movie could not easily be divided into “good” and “evil”. They were just people, sometimes behaving well and honorably, sometimes not. A much more apt depiction of human behavior than we sometimes get in Western films and literature.

Stoid, you bitch! :smiley: I’ve been thinking about your OP for an hour now.

I believe Evil does exist, whether God exists or not. Whether God has the “all-knowing, all-benevolent, all-loving” aspects often attribted to him/her/it.

I don’t think this is so. I think that people choose to do evil things, and evil exists in actions. Evil isn’t a cosmic absence or presence, or a force of nature, or personified in a Satanic being. It’s based on people’s choices and sometimes a failure to see the consequences of choices.

Stoid, do you honestly believe that the suffering of the victims of Pol Pot or Hitler or Stalin is without meaning? And that the things that were done to them were not Evil? They don’t matter, because everything will be evened out in the afterlife of Zoroastrian nothingness?

Well, then you’ve lucked out in this life, haven’t you? Not to be one of the victims of horrors and evil acts.

One of my ongoing problems with the faith I was raised in (Roman Catholicism) is the idea of denying earthly pleasures, bearing earthly suffering, renouncing worldly existence in hopes that everything is evened out after death. I am happy for the people who have faith that this is so, but to me it seems like a hell of a thing to ask, and sort of the flip side of what you propose. Socrates wrestled with this question - he believed in an afterlife because his death sentence was so unjust that it required resolution, a cosmic ordering of justice. But what if it doesn’t? What if this moral coil is all you get?

I know I’m rambling here…apologies…just honestly attempting to think about the question.

Put me on the side of Evil does exist - people choose to commit evil acts upon one another. Religion and afterlife are side issues, unimportant in arguing whether evil exists - if we focus the argument on theology we’ll only get to the limitations of a particular creed.

I don’t see how this shows evil does not exist. It sounds to me like you are saying not only that it does exist, but that it is neccessary for evil to exist.

I was trying to puzzle out the OP, and it occured to me that the same arguments could be used to prove gumballs don’t really exist.

All gumballs also depend on the body to be expressed (chewed,) and a good set of teeth, too.

If I am not in a body, you cannot make me chew gumballs, or blow buubles either.

Yeah, if you chew gum all the time, that gets boring too.

Allright. Imagine a God who doesn’t care about gumballs. Now imagine God doesn’t exist. God or no God, it doesn’t matter. There both the same. Gumballs are neutral.

Not only that, you can’t take your gumballs with you either.

::homer voice::
mmmmmm gumballs…

I don’t recall Catholicism teaching any of these things – especially not “renouncing worldly existence” (what does that mean, anyway? suicide??).

mmmmmmmm existentialism :slight_smile:

I’ve been following this thread with interest, and I agree with Magdalene:

. . . I would qualify that I don’t think a failure to foresee the consequences of choices is usually truly evil, as opposed to grossly/criminally/inescusably negligent. I think that it is the person who clearly sees the consequences of his or her catastrophically hurtful action and who chooses to do it anyway who is has done a truly evil act.

I would also say, parenthetically, that I personally don’t believe we have to look to God for the introduction of evil when we have done such a good job of inventing it ourselves.

I don’t believe in evil in the sense that it is caused by Satan.

I do however believe in evil caused by mental illness, genetics, environment, and people who are bad for reasons not determined. How would you categorize these people if not evil?

I’d say the OP’s original message fails to take something important into account – perception. If you perceive something to be evil, it’s evil. It doesn’t matter what happens after you’re dead, whether God exists, whether you can philosophise it away. If you kill my baby, you committed an irrehensibly evil act. You ARE evil for committing such an act.

As for needing evil to have good, well, you can’t compare cold if you don’t have hot, so I’d have to agree with that. If there was no evil, if nobody felt like committing an evil act for no reason whatsoever, the term good would be moot. But that’s not the case. Evil exists.

Evil is a construct of man, period. Some of us decide that while we’re here, let’s satiate our whims, no matter the consequences to others. I used to think evil was learned, but I really believe it can be a birth defect, too. Either way, an evil act is an evil act.

You can’t do it all the time and expect it to continue to be as satisfying, for the same reason that using all the cheats in Diablo ruins the game.


The student asked the Master: “Master, what did you do before you became enlightened?” And the Master replied: " I chopped wood, and went to the well to draw water." The student then asked: “And Master, what do you do now that you are enlightened?” And the master replied. “I chop wood, and I go to the well to draw water.”
Serenity doesn’t preclude participation. Carry water, chop wood, raise hell.



Or… good and bad are both ideas we came up with. They are the same thing to God.

We have to stop trying to apply our earthly, mortal rules to everything else, eh?