Good and Evil

Are there any cultures which do not have a concept of good and evil? (Note: this is within the culture’s confines, so if they say “killing old people is good” then they’d have some concept of good)

I’ve had reason* to dig in to (aside of Greek and ancient Egyptian… well, the whole Golden Bough issue) Norse and Native American pre-Christian faith, and my findings was that for instance Wakinyan (omg!) or Odin or et al could not be described as good nor evil; and this is a general impression I got from my studies, that while sickness and famine etc is obviously bad, the real bad asses who rule the world is neither good nor bad.

Also, reading the Old Testament, are you calling God a good and nice fellow…? - I think not.

[Gollum] Murderer [/Gollum]

The good/evil thing as we take for granted to day is in my impression a realitively new invention in the thinking of man.


Yes. Most. (Aside of the murder, stealing etc thing.)

  • or whatever

Hmm…evil was probably the wrong choice of word, since it has connotations with religion. I’m looking for a culture which does not make moral judgments (or at least does not label people/other groups as evil)

:confused: Huh? Isn’t “the murder, stealing etc thing” evidence of a concept of good and evil?

I don’t know. You tell me. It might be about practicality. As a matter of fact, I once f+cked a girl who had a man. That became much unpractical. Was it evil, am I running with the devil, or did I only happen to fall into some arms here, which I shouldn’t?

And what about God - I mean Odin, All Father, would he care? Have you read what he did?

Whaddayamean evil?

If my children’s crying, may I snatch me a chicken bone if no one watches?

There’s thunder and lightning, good years and bad years, rain and drought, sickness and health. Some things are good, some things are bad, but the Man above is neither, or both - at least that’s my reading of it. Christians of today, and muslims, try to impose their moral on our behaviour - but that’s fairly modern, or at least have been fairly unusual, because if you do not have both the priests and the military men on your side, you’ll probably get kicked right out of society with your “good and evil” mumbo jumbo nobody cares for.

Wakinyan, I think what the OP is trying to ask is whether there are (or have been) any cultures that don’t teach their members, as a part of the common knowledge of that culture, “You shouldn’t do X because it’s wrong,” or “You should do Y because it’s the right thing to do,” or “That Z is evil, I tell you. Eeeeeevil!”


Wakinyan, we are looking for *factual * answers to the question posed in the OP, that is, whether there are any cultures that lack a concept of good and evil. Unless you can provide some cites or anthropological evidence on this question, please refrain from speculation. If you wish to discuss the question in more general terms, please start a thread in GD.

General Questions Moderator