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What is Evil?

  • Apr 1, 2014 · 7:00 PM
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  • Todd

    Quite Good. It's sad that some people register and are unable to make it. Two people on the waiting list could have ultimately been included when 5 people did not show up.

    April 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    It appears that the Café folks have broken away from the combined Café-Inquiry discussion and started their own thread. Some of them are some of us, however and so the following addresses the idea of theology being used to address the problem of evil. On a personal level, Im all for theological, experiential investigation and analyses . I feel like it contributes positively to society and Ive personally benefitted immensely from being exposed to the work of Ibn Arabi, Nagarjuna, Eckardt, the writers of the Upanishads, Boehme and all the luminaries of the various wisdom traditions . In fact, I dont think Ive more than scratched the surface of the stuff.

    March 28, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Theology would really only be able to deal with theological sourced evil... as far as I can see, they don't have anywhere near a monopoly on evil, though I can't fault some of them from trying ...

      April 1, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      BTW, S. Zizek has a lecture (or maybe several) on Pere Joseph and a set of related topics. It's relevant to this topic.

      April 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Unfortunately, won't be able to make the meeting. But all I can say is that it's great we live in a place like Ottawa where we can enjoy these great meetings! Have a wonderful meeting, folks!

    April 1, 2014

  • alice g.

    Apologies for this last-minute cancellation (it is 11:30 Monday evening). Work demands intervene and cannot be postponed. I hope someone on the waiting list is able to join the group. Sorry to have to miss this fascinating topic.

    March 31, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Some have suggested possession narratives (usually involving demonic forces) in countries with strong secular/scientific traditions have been replaced by the UFO kidnapping narrative. Apparently, there is a scholarly community involved in the analyses of these narratives. In most popular conceptions that I'm familiar with (I think Strieber's 'Communion' might fall under this) the aliens are hostile forces. However, there are a number of neo-religions (for example Raelians) where the Aliens are benevolent forces which will re-establish contact with humanity at an appropriate time in the future.

    March 31, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Can another table or a few more tables be reserved at Pub Italia to accommodate the people on the wait list?

    March 28, 2014

    • Mila

      I've reserved an additional table for people on the waiting list. I'll send out invitations shortly.

      1 · March 29, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thanks Mila

      March 30, 2014

  • Todd

    Playing off Karen's idea of oneness ..
    Do we or does society use evil to demonize those who we/society wish to treat harshly? Are the actions of criminals considered “evil” so the public will be willing and accepting of harsh punishments? If we believe our enemies commit evil acts does it make it more acceptable for us or our soldiers to commit violence upon them? Is being able to label that which harms our society as evil, a beneficial characteristic of successful societies? Does being able to label something as evil help humanity to evolve?

    March 17, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      'If we believe our enemies commit evil acts does it make it more acceptable for us or our soldiers to commit violence upon them?' When you demonize your enemy, including calling them 'evil' you can get away with all kinds of stuff. http://www.youtube.co...­

      March 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Two final observations from my side. Firstly, I find it troubling (maybe even suggestive of 'evil') that there are two discussion pages - one for Ottawa Socrates Café and one for Westboro - that are simultaneously discussing the same topic. Many of the contributors are also the same with similar postings. It leads one to ask oneself how different is Westboro really from Ottawa? And second, 'evil' seems to be more potent if one pronounces the first syllable as a short 'e' - think Vincent Price or Christopher Lee in any of
    dozens of b-movies.

    March 13, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Is that pronounced Cole Bert or Cole bear? O'Reilly doen't like the Fench...

      March 22, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      A quick question. I've been trying to remember whether there are any characterizations of evil in religion, mythology, literature etc. which are lazy. It seems that the only ones I can think of, all seem to be 'well' motivated and might even view themselves as 'hard-working'­. Comments are welcome.

      March 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    An extension to the definition: On further reflection would argue that any religion or ideology that encourages the intention of its practitioners to harm others is evil. The Taliban's actions to young girls in denying them developing to their full potential is evil. Other examples of evil ideology would be anti-semiticsm, unregulated free-market fundamentalism , and so on sadly. There are certain elements in western culture that are clearly evil like the objectification of women as sex objects or the over-consumption which harms the planet and the sustainability of the environment. Certainly some of the excessive force and damage done by the US and the UK against the Taliban is evil and not justifiable even by Just War theory.

    March 13, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Oh, that one, oh well...

      March 21, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      BTW, CBC (radio) ran a series on secularism a couple of years back. I think you can hear the episodes on line. Food for thought.

      March 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Like cold is the absence of heat, evil is the absence of good.

    March 24, 2014

  • Todd

    Does it matter what Evil is or how it is defined?
    (P.S. I am really having to restrain myself from expanding on this question. Previously I have been doing a stream of conscientiousness type of post with a list of questions but I'll restrain and post a single question and see how that works.
    P.S.S. This means I have a list of other/follow-up questions for later.)

    March 20, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Could bring my Ouija board and try to channel Satan for fun..

    March 11, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Of course philosophy of watching videos or videos featuring philosophy may be relevant , and I appreciate being educated on this ... ,but the mere regurgitation on what is on a video or anything else would suggest is not.

      March 18, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      well, there are a lot of trash novels out there, trash sports like Cricket, trash sciences like neuro-bollocks, etc. or are you saying we have or take too much leisure time? Are you a Calvinist in your work ethic? But I do see an argument that society has gone too far non-Calvinist in its work ethic, at least in the posh western civilization part...

      1 · March 18, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Teeanagers. For a variety of reasons.

    March 11, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Yeah. Well, I never cheered for the Leafs because I was a hockey fan, so point well taken. As far as Ballard is concerned, you may or may not have come across a recent book by D. Bidini which touched on the stormy relationship between Dave Keon and Ballard. There may have been a similar thing with Sittler, but I'm not sure. I've never actually read anything positive about him, but that may be because he didn't get along well with the press. Ballard or no, I don't think the Leafs are likely to win another cup for a generation or two.

      March 16, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      As far as 'evil' and the Leafs go, I think the last year they had a decent shot at the cup was when Gilmour stepped on the ice and broke his leg. I'm not even sure that's physically possible unless some 'evil' forces were at work.

      March 16, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    To follow Karen's lead why do some people intentionally harm others ? Are there moral systems which help reduce the incidence of evil acts ? I do agree that a lack of empathy is one aspect ( How I interpret the Oneness comment ) but also think the development of virtues like courage , honesty, rational discernment , modesty , etc can help fortify a person to reduce committing harm to others .

    March 16, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I heard boredom and/or the need for a adrenalin high as some reasons...

      March 16, 2014

  • Todd

    What is the opposite of evil? Good?
    If you do evil are you doing the Devils deeds?
    If you do good are you doing Gods deeds?
    Is “Do evil” the root of the concept of the “Devil”?
    Is good the root of the concept of God?

    March 13, 2014

    • Todd

      I am simply considering the linguistic nature of the words God and good. If one does bad things do you consider them Godly? If one does good things do you consider them evil? No if one does something good it is considered to be adhering to what is thought of as God's will. If one does evil things you are not adhering to the will of God. Thus it seems that good is very closely associated with God.

      March 14, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I am sure I am not the only one here to not associate good anywhere near a god. But that's another subject.

      March 15, 2014

  • Todd

    Does every person have some evil in them?
    Can a person be born evil, or do we learn to be evil?
    Can a baby/child/person be called evil only once their is a history of evil action?
    At what point could a baby be called evil?
    At what point can what a baby does be called evil?

    March 14, 2014

  • Todd

    Can there be good without evil?
    Can there be evil without good?
    Is evil more like rust on metal where if there is no metal there is no rust?

    March 14, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    A working definition of evil act could be an act by a moral agent who intends and commits harm. Both intent and act are necessary for this definition as well as moral agency. In this view natural disasters are not evil, mere bad intentions are not evil, good intentions with harmful acts are not evil or bad intentions with harmless acts. An interesting category not covered by evil in this view are those who blindly follow a fundamental ideology and commit atrocities. In terms of what can be a moral agent I would argue sane human adults, possibly some animals like Dolphins ( evil Dolphins, now that is scary) and Gorillas. There maybe other moral agent beings like Angels and Demons, but personally have had no contact with either so I can't say anything. An evil being would be defined as a being who persists with evil acts.

    March 13, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      If a word has limited definition Rafi maybe that is a good thing. Maybe we need other words..

      March 13, 2014

    • Todd

      James I agree with the concept of your working definition. To add a little to that:
      In it's most basic form could Evil be defined as the corruption of something good.
      This would allow for rusting of metal, rotting of vegetation, erosion of soil, poisoning of water, the disease and deterioration of living organisms from vegetation to animals.
      Normally we don't think of rutting vegetation as evil so I believe this definition is a little too broad.
      If the definition also includes the concept that it is an act where one knowingly and willfully does something that is against societal/moral values?
      The performance of actions and thoughts that go against our moral compass? This would be considered the corruption of a person. Thus evil would require a sentient being who willfully and knowingly does something that is unacceptable.

      March 13, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Curious isn't it that Evil spelled backwards is Live...

    1 · March 10, 2014

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