Are we good?

Author: RoderickSpode ,

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  • RoderickSpode
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    is there some standard we can designate as to who is a good person vs. bad?

    You may have heard the argument about Hitler being good, like to family members, pets, etc. But of course whatever goodness he possessed was outshadowed by his horrific inhumane actions.

    You may have seen the movie "Silence Of The Lambs". If I have my movies straight, there was a scene where one of the mass murderers, I think it was Buffalo Bill had kidnapped a woman, held her hostage in a basement with a hole in the ceiling looking up into the living quarters. Obviously she was being prepared to be killed. The interesting part was when BB's little dog came up to the hole in the floor to look down on the lady. For a brief moment, this woman almost became the villain in a way because she attempted to lure the dog into jumping in so she could threaten harm to it because she knew BB had an obvious affection for it. But, she was obviously justified.

    So we could say BB had some goodness about him because of his compassion towards an animal. But his tendency towards murdering humans made him a bad person.

    Ghandi was, and still is considered a highly moral person. However, once certain alleged practices of his has come to light, this view has changed  by a number of people. To some, his goodness has been rendered void due to his alleged practices.

    Is "good" subjective, or is there a definite line that divides good from evil on a balancing scale? if so, where is that line drawn?







  • janesix
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    I don't believe there is any dividing line.all people are both good and bad
  • ludofl3x
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    Good and evil are subjective. 
  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    Is "good" subjective, or is there a definite line that divides good from evil on a balancing scale? if so, where is that line drawn?
    Problem solved. [LINK]
  • disgusted
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    If you stayed away from books of fiction like the Bible and Silence of The Lambs you may find you have a more substantial grasp of reality.
  • Outplayz
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    I agree with Jane. Everyone is a degree of good and evil. I think acting out as either good or evil is very situational. Many things can contribute to someone acting on their evil side. I'll use myself as an example bc i feel like i'm a good 50/50 split... maybe a little more good. But take away my family, take away my friends, take away my lifestyle... i'm not the type to just go homeless and take it. I'm not the type to take anything on my knees... if i had nothing, i'm 90% sure i would be more evil in how i lived this life. The only way society can control evil is to understand the degrees and what situations would push a person to be evil... but, society doesn't care. They're too blind and would rather blame other things. I really don't see much good in people to be honest, and evil existing makes absolute sense bc those that think they are good are blind to how they're creating it. Think of it like a video game. If you don't balance the game and allow for something in the game to exist... it will exist.  
  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @ludofl3x
    So then it would be unfair to proclaim Adolph Hitler a bad person?
  • keithprosser
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    --> @disgusted @janesix @ludofl3x @RoderickSpode
    A point to remember is that one bad person can have a big impact on one's perception.   If you go to a new town and get mugged on the first day you won't think of the million residents who didn't mug you!

    If you think about your friends, classmates or workmates, how many of them are total bastards and how many of them are 'nice people'?  I certainly don't claim that people are saints, but if you faint in the street people are more likely to assist you than empty your pockets - at least that is my experience!

    Generally we have evolved to be good neighbours.  We aren't immune to a bit of opportunism, but most of us can resist temptation, or at least feel guilty if we don't.


  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @3RU7AL
    Actually, that was rather interesting. He made a profound comment about how are actions produce results we are not aware of.

    The Bible equates hate with murder. We as a society separate the two meaning hate doesn't necessarily suggest murder unless it's put into action,

    However, who's to say that words we've said out of hate hasn't caused someone down the line, years later, to commit suicide?

  • ludofl3x
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    If you add "objectively" I'm afraid it seems yes, unless you can provide the objective definition. If you just say he's a bad person and list the amount of harm he caused, I doubt you'd get an argument on your subjective analysis. All moral assessments are situational and relative, as uncomfortable as that may be. 
  • janesix
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    --> @keithprosser
    "Evolved into good neighbors"? Maybe on the surface. When things are going good. I think we are always just one disaster away from barbarism. 
  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    However, who's to say that words we've said out of hate hasn't caused someone down the line, years later, to commit suicide?
    There is an old Taoist parable that might better illustrate the flexibility of determining whether any given event in your life is "good" or "bad".



    There was a farmer who one day left his stable door ajar and his horse wandered away.

    His neighbor notes, "it is a terrible thing that you forgot to secure your stable, for now you have lost your only horse."

    The farmer doesn't reply.

    A few days later his horse returned with a wild horse.

    His neighbor is surprised and exclaims, "it is a wonderful thing that you forgot to secure your stable! Because now you have two horses!"

    The farmer doesn't reply.

    A week later the farmer's son is training the new horse and is thrown onto a rock and breaks his leg.

    The neighbor sympathetically comments, "it is a terrible thing that you forgot to secure your stable, because now your son is lame."

    The farmer doesn't reply.

    The next year their king declares war and forcibly recruits all of the able bodied young men to fight.

    The neighbor chuckles, "it is a wonderful thing that you forgot to secure your stable, because your son, being lame, will not have to face the horrors of battle."

    The farmer doesn't reply.
  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @3RU7AL
    We had a mass shooting over the weekend at a local festival.

    An unlikely, but possible scenario.

    A male police officer gets acquainted with a female festival coordinator. They end up getting married. Their son (or daughter) grows up to be the most successful president of the U.S., ending the immigration proplem. No wall, no deportations.

    Did the mass shooter do a good thing?

  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @keithprosser
    What society, in what time period, ever proclaimed "We are not a civil moral people"?

    For instance, did the Aztecs ever say in recorded history "We are evil because we practice human sacrifice rituals"?


  • ludofl3x
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    Two people who work their entire lives serving their fellow man, tirelessly doing things like working soup kitchens, building homeless shelters, etc., meet, fall madly in love, get married, live consistently prosperous lives doing the same sorts of things for their fellow man even after they have children. One of their children grows up to be the Gilroy shooter. 

    Are those people culpable in the death of that little boy? 


  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @ludofl3x
    As you've described, unless you're leaving details out, no. A friend of mine fits that description for the most part, who's son is having legal issues due to drugs. A common problem of course. But unfortunately the son is subject to his environment. He also witnessed the death of his sister which more than likely contributes to the problem. My friend had nothing to do with these problems that are identifiable. He hates drugs.

    My recent point is that good things do at times come out of bad situations. We can see this in Biblical scripture, as well I'm sure with other religious and philosophical writings. That's fortunate, but it doesn't mean that someone violating another human(s) is justifiable.

  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @ludofl3x
    If you add "objectively" I'm afraid it seems yes, unless you can provide the objective definition. If you just say he's a bad person and list the amount of harm he caused, I doubt you'd get an argument on your subjective analysis. All moral assessments are situational and relative, as uncomfortable as that may be. 
    And subject to change.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    For instance, did the Aztecs ever say in recorded history "We are evil because we practice human sacrifice rituals"?
    That just goes to show how dumb it is to equate what your god supposedly requires with what is moral.   The priests and witchfinders who burned
    little old ladies as witches thought they were being very moral, doing 'God's work'.


  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    That's fortunate, but it doesn't mean that someone violating another human(s) is justifiable. 
    That's why you need to figure out if you believe in (EITHER) deontological ethics (OR) consequentialism. [LINK]
  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @keithprosser
    That just goes to show how dumb it is to equate what your god supposedly requires
    with what is moral.   The priests and witchfinders who burned
    little old ladies as witches thought they were being very moral, doing 'God's work'.
    God never required human sacrifice. Including Abraham/Isaac, and Jeptha/his daughter.

  • keithprosser
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    A male police officer gets acquainted with a female festival coordinator. They end up getting married. Their son (or daughter) grows up to be the most successful president of the U.S., ending the immigration proplem. No wall, no deportations.

    Did the mass shooter do a good thing?
    Yes - but the shooter gets no credit for it.

    While his act had a positive outcome, moral judgements are properly based on the intended outcome of an act rather than its actual outcome.   A common example is a doctor making an incorrect diagnosis and the patient dies.  That is morally different from a doctor deliberately killing a patient, although the actual outcome is the same.

    If you bravely tackle a fire with the wrong extinguisher you can make things worse, but you are not evil for trying - the arsonist who deliberately started the blaze is evil, even if 'some good comes out of it'.
     
  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @3RU7AL
    Another entertaining video. My first thought was, what does dental work have to do with the subject?

    In Hitler's world, deception was a virtue. He must have felt it produced a positive outcome. I don't know if he thought as far as the moderator or Kant as to what his world would be like if everyone practiced deception, including against him.

  • RoderickSpode
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    --> @keithprosser
    I agree. In fact, the law of God is love. So basically even if someone makes a mistake while doing the best they can extending their love to another, they are not in violation.

  • keithprosser
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    God never required human sacrifice. Including Abraham/Isaac, and Jeptha/his daughter.
    I didn't suggest he did!  I'm saying the witchburners were just like the aztecs - they believed what they were doing was good because they believed it was divinely mandated.

    In any case, witchburning was not human sacrifice.  It was done to accord with the divine command 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live' - it was execution, not sacrifice.   
  • ludofl3x
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    --> @RoderickSpode
    I don't remember, are you a divine command guy, Rod? Is something good if god commands it, because his law is love and he can't violate his own law? 

    Jeptha/his daughter.
    Why then did Jephtha have to kill his daughter?