1. SubscriberFMF
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    07 Oct '14 03:27
    Though I am not one to use the word much, I would offer a definition of "evil" as being egregiously immoral and sociopathic action that is gravely detrimental and/or damaging to others, and which stems from an abject lack or even absence of empathy and compassion. And the word "pure" is simply an intensifier in this context.

    The purported provocateur role of the much discussed "Satan" figure aside, is there a definition of "evil" and "pure evil" that religionists and non-religionists alike can apply with some consensus to the human condition and which can be used as a mark or marks along our common measuring stick for morality?
  2. Donationbbarr
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    07 Oct '14 04:071 edit
    Originally posted by FMF
    Though I am not one to use the word much, I would offer a definition of "evil" as being egregiously immoral and sociopathic action that is gravely detrimental and/or damaging to others, and which stems from an abject lack or even absence of empathy and compassion. And the word "pure" is simply an intensifier in this context.

    The purported provocateur role of ...[text shortened]... ondition and which can be used as a mark or marks along our common measuring stick for morality?
    A few quick points:

    Since the real work in this definition is going to be done by the notion of 'immoral', you probably should try to unpack that a bit. If not, then folks aren't likely to find the definition adequate. Of course, if you want a notion of 'evil' than anybody can use, despite idiosyncratic notions of immorality, then this is actually a benefit of the definition.

    You probably don't want bad consequences to be built right into the definition of 'evil' as necessary conditions. It seems consistent with the way we use the term 'evil' that somebody could act evilly but have his acts foiled by the heroism of others. Tying a child to the train tracks is evil, even if the Lone Ranger comes to the rescue. Maybe you could say that evil actions are those informed by intentions to cause grave harm, or that are statistically likely to cause grave harm.
  3. SubscriberFMF
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    07 Oct '14 04:121 edit
    Originally posted by bbarr
    Since the real work in this definition is going to be done by the notion of 'immoral', you probably should try to unpack that a bit. If not, then folks aren't likely to find the definition adequate.
    I was hoping to elicit personal definitions from people. I can see that may not have been clear.

    Morality: I'd proffer - doing no harm ~ not deceiving ~ not coercing ~ just as a basis: life of course throws up a few puzzles and compromises in the face of this. I expanded on it a bit recently - those three basics in harness with compassion, empathy, generosity and other capacities, are I think helpful and relevant in striving for "good" and to be "good" in the pursuit of a morally sound life.
  4. SubscriberFMF
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    07 Oct '14 04:241 edit
    Originally posted by bbarr
    Maybe you could say that evil actions are those informed by intentions to cause grave harm, or that are statistically likely to cause grave harm.
    Yes, this is clearly a necessary modification.

    What about thoughts of causing great harm with no actual intention to cause them or even to attempt to cause them?
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    07 Oct '14 05:08
    Originally posted by FMF
    Yes, this is clearly a necessary modification.

    What about thoughts of causing great harm with no actual intention to cause them or even to attempt to cause them?
    To do an evil act, it seems to me, is to do an act because one is in the service of doing evil. It is to ask, as one's only question, "What is the most evil act I can do here?" and then to do it with that intention.
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    07 Oct '14 06:22
    Funny thing is this religionists or non religionists people seem to have a unified agreement that somethings are (pure)evil or evil and this is one of C.S. Lewis's arguments in Mere Christianity .....we universally appeal to some understood standard of right or wrong in every aspect of our lives and it can be proved out in our everyday life

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    07 Oct '14 16:11
    Originally posted by JS357
    To do an evil act, it seems to me, is to do an act because one is in the service of doing evil. It is to ask, as one's only question, "What is the most evil act I can do here?" and then to do it with that intention.
    Is it always so cut and dried? I think there far less evildoers who act with the thought of actually doing EVIL and far more who have skewed values that they believe are justified in some warped way.
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    07 Oct '14 16:59
    Originally posted by FMF
    Yes, this is clearly a necessary modification.

    What about thoughts of causing great harm with no actual intention to cause them or even to attempt to cause them?
    id say morality is a quasi subjective set of rules of behaviour based on the net positive effect of any action, with the negative/positive values reflecting the median of the society of the individual.
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    07 Oct '14 18:06
    Originally posted by stellspalfie
    id say morality is a quasi subjective set of rules of behaviour based on the net positive effect of any action, with the negative/positive values reflecting the median of the society of the individual.
    I like this thought of yours;methinks that indeed, from the superposition, thanks to our discrimination alone we build up the base dream staff (a quasi subjective set of rules of behaviour) that allows our subjective set of rules of morality to arise;

    Mind you, if a different thing were in fact different from a different thing, without a different thing a different thing could exist; however in this world we are aware of, a "different thing" always depends on something outside itself for its "difference", therefore the delusion of a fully independent "differen thing" dissolves into a mental construction of ours that does not hold wateršŸ˜µ
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    07 Oct '14 18:08
    Originally posted by bbarr
    A few quick points:

    Since the real work in this definition is going to be done by the notion of 'immoral', you probably should try to unpack that a bit. If not, then folks aren't likely to find the definition adequate. Of course, if you want a notion of 'evil' than anybody can use, despite idiosyncratic notions of immorality, then this is actually a benef ...[text shortened]... nformed by intentions to cause grave harm, or that are statistically likely to cause grave harm.
    Welcome backšŸ˜µ
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    07 Oct '14 22:341 edit
    I get the impression that some theists think of evil as a force, like we think of gravity, that is constantly operating, pulling us, excepting that there are spiritual powers of resistance that can help us in our struggles to resist. Of course some people are too weak part or all of the time, or consciously opt to embrace evil as a way of life.

    It seems like another way evil is thought about is as a spiritual "subtance" which can invade and fill up a person's spiritual being, rather like possession by a demon -- or in fact, if the substance is that of a demon, it is possession by a demon. Terms like "evil incarnate" fit here.

    So if we follow along on FMF's objective to see if we can all have the same basic definition of evil, I think it would be useful to look at the ways people "reify" evil (make it more concrete).
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    09 Oct '14 11:57
    Originally posted by FMF
    Though I am not one to use the word much, I would offer a definition of "evil" as being egregiously immoral and sociopathic action that is gravely detrimental and/or damaging to others, and which stems from an abject lack or even absence of empathy and compassion. And the word "pure" is simply an intensifier in this context.

    The purported provocateur role of ...[text shortened]... ondition and which can be used as a mark or marks along our common measuring stick for morality?
    Contrast evil with holy. They are absolute opposites, but not by any measure associated with the idea of equality.

    Evil can not be more evil than to be absolutely opposed to what is holy.

    One would have to be fully cognizant of what holy means to understand fully evil. Anything evil should be avoided at all costs.
  13. SubscriberFMF
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    09 Oct '14 12:11
    Originally posted by josephw
    Contrast evil with holy. They are absolute opposites, but not by any measure associated with the idea of equality.

    Evil can not be more evil than to be absolutely opposed to what is holy.

    One would have to be fully cognizant of what holy means to understand fully evil. Anything evil should be avoided at all costs.
    Does this mean you feel you can't offer a definition of "evil" and "pure evil" that religionists and non-religionists alike can reach a consensus on ~ as asked for by the OP? The word "holy" might not convince non-religionists unless you can define it in a way that will.
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    10 Oct '14 10:02
    Originally posted by FMF
    Though I am not one to use the word much, I would offer a definition of "evil" as being egregiously immoral and sociopathic action that is gravely detrimental and/or damaging to others, and which stems from an abject lack or even absence of empathy and compassion. And the word "pure" is simply an intensifier in this context.

    The purported provocateur role of ...[text shortened]... ondition and which can be used as a mark or marks along our common measuring stick for morality?
    According to Galveston75 I am "pure evil" and an "Antichrist" because I don't think JW parents should be allowed to let their children die by denying them medical care.

    It is this kind of stuff that keeps me coming back here - awesome.
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    10 Oct '14 11:08
    Originally posted by FMF
    Does this mean you feel you can't offer a definition of "evil" and "pure evil" that religionists and non-religionists alike can reach a consensus on ~ as asked for by the OP? The word "holy" might not convince non-religionists unless you can define it in a way that will.
    "Does this mean you feel..."

    No. What I feel has nothing to do with the definition of evil.

    In your OP you defined the symptoms and effects of evil, i.e. "...egregiously immoral and sociopathic action..." Those are not a definition of evil.

    If I were to give a definition of evil I would most likely say that evil is all that opposes itself against all that is good.

    I don't think it needs to be any more complicated than that.
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