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who defines "evil"?

Discussion in 'Religious Issues' started by BEER, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. You are thinking too linearly. Because a word is used one way in one place does not mean it is used the same way everywhere else.

    Perhaps this why it doesn't make sense to you.

    Look at the context of the story. When Adam and Eve were created the whole creation of God was pronounced "very good".

    After the encounter with the wrong tree and the serpent they were blaming each other and blaming God. So much for paradise.

    It is not necessary to destroy creation by making it completely evil, just a bit of evil will do.

    We all live with a mixture of good and evil in our lives, our comfort zone. I look forward to the time when all traces of evil are removed from me.

    Have you ever looked into the face of absolute innocence?
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  2. hooligan74


    Aug 15, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    Boy, those biblical translators seem to have done a pretty crappy job, then.

    Why don't they just change the words used, if they don't actually mean "evil"? They print new copies of the Bible every day....

  3. G26S239

    G26S239 NRA Patron

    Mar 17, 2008
    I agree with hooligan about the writers and/or translators of the bible doing a bad job of conveying their thoughts Vic. I am going to bow out of this thread as we will not likely find common ground.

    If you, FC and other believers wanted to explain and discuss what you consider to be common misapprehensions in biblical term use and translations in another thread I will make the effort to not be argumentative for the heck of it. Of course I cannot say what others may do.

    I know enough from discussing the bible with others from different back grounds and beliefs to know that some simply rely on the bible of their choice, others use Strong's etc so I am not sure how doable that might be. You and FC are cool though. Have a good day. :wavey:
  4. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Not Enough Gun

    Mar 22, 2004
    I think what you mean to say is that, realizing your claims are utterly spurious, you don't want to dig yourself in any further. Apparently, honest discussion isn't something that's important to you.:dunno:
    That seems unlikely, Einstein depended on investigation and evidence. You depend on avoidance and diversion.
  5. English is no different. We use words that mean different things according to usage. Add to that a different language that does not translate exactly to English and it takes a bit more to understand the meaning.

    The Bible writers did well to paraphrase and contrast as a way to convey the meaning.

    We say awesome to describe something amazing or wonderful. The Bible writers did the same. Dreadful here means the same as awesome in our vernacular.

    Daniel 9:4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  6. hooligan74


    Aug 15, 2012
    Charlotte, NC

    My point, exactly. It already *is* a translation. If a better word than "evil" exists in the English language, why not use it? If it translates to mean "war", why not use "war"?
  7. Most good translations are done with as much as possible literal words. There are paraphrases that are done by interpretation. One that is in between is the NIV which is purported to be a "dynamic translation". This is claimed to be translated according to the understanding of the meaning rather than a more literal translation. In some places it may be more accurate and in some places it may be less accurate because of misunderstanding or bias of the translator.

    Everything that is important in the Bible is repeated many times so that by comparing parallel texts it is possible to understand accurately the important Truths.

    Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
    Isaiah 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  8. Well now wait. Jesus had a tantrum and tore up the Temple. Is tearing up God's house a sin? Does one get to do that because one does not like what's happening in god's house?
  9. Christians always do that. Evil doesn't mean evil in this particular instance. Evil means whatever I want it to mean. In other places it may or may not mean evil. How can you expect anyone to take that kind of reaching non-reason seriously?
  10. I have often asked in this forum why God chooses to speak in riddles rather than write a coherent manuscript. The answers I get are always incoherent.
  11. Cavalry Doc

    Cavalry Doc MAJ (USA Ret.)

    Feb 22, 2005
    Republic of Texas
    Just curious, but about how much time are atheists spending studying and researching the bible? I haven't read a word out of one in well over 25 years.

    It just seems a bit odd that some of the more comitted atheists reference it so often.
  12. Seems off topic and probably worthy of a new thread, but...

    A number of the atheists here were raised in very observant or fundamental homes or had formal training and have retained much of their bible knowledge.

    I haven't really done more than look up an occasional passage in 12-15 years. I have read some commentaries that have been pointed out here, and I've read several books on Christian apologetics, and others on authorship of the bible.

    Much of this reading was done in that time 12-15 years ago when I was working to strengthen (or abandon) my belief.

  13. hooligan74


    Aug 15, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    Interesting that Christians seem to use this "no, no, this is what that passage REALLY means" when it suits their purpose. Just like the passages that supposedly reference homosexuality. It's much nicer when you can simply interpret your book to say what you want it to say, isn't it?

  14. hooligan74


    Aug 15, 2012
    Charlotte, NC

    Nothing says you can't be educated about a religion/mythology without investing any belief in it. Right?

    I don't know about you, but I thoroughly enjoyed all of my classes that touched on Greek/Roman mythology and was happy to study those stories. It did not require me to believe in Zeus or Apollo, however.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  15. Cavalry Doc

    Cavalry Doc MAJ (USA Ret.)

    Feb 22, 2005
    Republic of Texas
    Understanding the basics is one thing, but being able to quote verse by line and paragraph from memory on just about any subject is a bit obsessive. Unless the motive is to battle the Christians. I did a bit of studying of the Koran when in conflict with Muslims. I didn't take the time to memorize it though.
  16. hooligan74


    Aug 15, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    In your opinion. Are you a psychologist or psychiatrist?

    And your way is the only way to do things?

    I can't quote chapter and verse, myself, but I won't pass judgement on anyone who can for whatever reason.

    I'm certain there have been and will continue to be atheist theology or world religions majors graduating from Universities all over the planet every year...
  17. You have a sharp mind. I don't think that you really believe that cleaning the temple of the irreverent money changers was tearing up God's house. Rather, you are using it as a pretext to belittle and disparage God and His followers.

    The reason why the money changers were thrown out of the outer court of the temple was so that the Gentiles could have a place of prayer with some peace and reverence. If course you have to read and understand the story to get there.

    Matthew 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
    Matthew 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
  18. Arc Angel

    Arc Angel Deus Vult!

    Sep 20, 2003
    Penn's Woods
    :) Well, ……… if you’re asking this question about the Judeo-Christian God, as well as asking it of, either, practicing Christians or Jews then there can be only one authoritative source from which to obtain the correct answer. (If you want to know, ‘What’ sin is then the last individual you should ever ask would be a flagrant God-hating sinner. Right! ;) ) That source is, of course, the canonized Holy Bible. (Both the Old and the New Testaments of God)

    Broadly speaking, ‘Evil’ is anything that is antithetical to the expressed Will of God - Anything! Consequently, your question becomes, ‘What’ is the expressed Will of God? Hey, we’ve been given a large entire book on the subject! It’s, also, been my experience that men have an intuitive sense of, ‘right’ and, ‘wrong’; and that’s not all. Men have access to (What is actually.) an acquired personal conscience. The problem with individual conscience, though, is that it needs to be subjectively and deliberately educated before it might be of any, ‘good use’.

    In order to be understood, ‘evil’ must first be conceptualized. According to the very limited thought-processes of the human mind, ‘evil’ may be described as, ‘the opposite of good’. What is not, ‘good’ is, then, ‘evil’. Therefore, it is not rationally possible to define, ‘evil’ without also defining, ‘good’.

    Frankly I think you’re getting, ‘hung up’ on too many individual examples of the higher, all-encompassing definition that you’re looking for. A long time ago I learned that no matter where you live in the world, all men, everywhere, intuitively recognize an: honest man, a brave man, a compassionate man; or, alternatively: a dishonest man, a cowardly man, or a selfish man.

    All you've got to do is interact with someone for awhile; and, if you're really smart, apply the famous, 'boondoggle test'. Do this, and you will find out, very quickly, what you want to know about the other guy(s). So, who is the most difficult person to identify? Surprisingly it's not someone who, 'masks' well; instead, it would be someone who is inconsistent and vacillates between the various extremes. (Hence, even, ‘the best of men’ commit sin. It's only a question of degree. *1. )

    In Moses’ so-called, ‘universal creation myth’ there are two trees in the garden: One is the, ‘tree of life’; and the other is the, ‘tree of the knowledge of good, and evil’. Simplistically speaking, our progenitors, ‘ate’ of the, ‘tree of the knowledge of good, and evil’. Once, ‘Adam and Eve’ indulged themselves they discovered - to their eternal chagrin - that they had irrevocably changed themselves - NOT for the better, but for the worse!

    I’ll try to conceptualize your question for you: The Christ said that, ‘Only God is good’. *2. King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes that the real, the necessary, thing that everyman MUST do is to obey The Lord - Period! *3.

    So, where do you (or anyone else) begin? There are 613 mitzvot (commandments) in the Old Testament. (The foundation upon which the New Testament is founded.) Of these 613 mitzvot, there are ten principal commandments, one outstanding secondary commandment, and two primary ancillary commandments. ALL are related to doing, ‘good’ before God. In my opinion, if all a man were to know about doing good, and evil were these 13 primary commandments then that man would have a very strong foundation in, ‘knowing’ the differences between good, and evil.

    Specifically what did The Messiah say to that inquiring (and subtle) religious scholar? Christ said, ‘Thou shalt love The Lord, Thy God, with: all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.’ ‘THIS is the first, and great commandment.’ Then Christ went on to say, ‘The second commandment is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ ‘Upon these two commandments rests all The Law, and all the teachings of all the prophets.’ *4. This in reply to the man’s devious request for Christ to identify for him, ‘the principal commandment’ in The Law!

    What, then, is evil? Evil is, both, sin AND the personal willingness to commit sin. ‘Sin’, in turn, is anything that violates the expressed Will of God; the consequence of which is evil. ‘Sin’ and, ‘evil’ are, therefore, closely interrelated terms. There are three immediate and glaring discrepancies in your reasoning: (1) God did NOT throw Satan out of Heaven merely for questioning Him. (Where did you get that nonsense from?) :freak: (2) Neither does God not punish ANYONE who fails to obey His expressed will. That most learned of Torah scholars, the Apostle Paul, emphatically states, ‘The wages sin pays is death.’ *5. (Just how plain does it have to be for you? :dunno: ) (3) You say that, ‘evil is arbitrary’; but Christ has said, ‘By their deeds ye shall know that which they truly are!’

    Because I’ve, now, had a considerable amount of experience in dealing with evil men I’m going to expand upon Christ’s last remark for you. (Ready?) ‘By both their deeds, and associations you will know the true character of those with whom you are dealing.’ ;) *6. I hear ya; but, frankly, I don’t think you get, ‘the whole free will thing’ at all. Neither do you seem to understand the meaning and nuances of the term, ‘false prophet’. In closing let me add one more spiritual concept which I do not think you understand: ……… Karma.

    I’m going to caution you against making the serious mistake of fooling yourself into believing that God does not see; that He does not hear; or that He does not judge, AND both reward and punish. The last thing I’m going to point out to you is Christ’s stern admonition that each and everyone of us IS GOING to answer for his every single: thought, word, and deed - Every single one! *7.

    So, if you’re worried that God is allowing certain people to get away with anything, stop! As a practicing Christian, let me assure you that nobody ever gets away with anything - Not from the smallest of words to the largest of deeds. I would suggest that you should be VERY glad that it is not going to be you who has to pay for another man’s most despicable sins.


    *1. Refer: Isaiah 64:6, ‘But we are all as an unclean thing; and all our righteousness is as filthy rags. We, all, do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.’

    *2. Refer: Matthew 19:17, ‘And He said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? There is none good, but One, that is God; but if thou wilt enter into life, then, thou must keep the Commandments of God.’

    *3. Refer: Ecclesiastes 12:13, ‘Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of a man.’

    *4. Refer: Matthew 22:37-41.

    *5. Refer: Romans 6:23.

    *6. Refer: Matthew 7:15-20: ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.’

    *7. Refer: (1.) Ecclesiastes 12:14, And (2.) Matthew 12:36: (1) ‘For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.’ (2) ‘But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.’
  19. Cavalry Doc

    Cavalry Doc MAJ (USA Ret.)

    Feb 22, 2005
    Republic of Texas
    Awful touchy today aren't you? Relax. I'm just saying it's odd. I wasn't making a diagnosis, just an observation.

    I just think it's a little weird to be that familiar with a book you don't agree with. Seems kind of an "active" thing to do.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  20. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot CLM

    Nov 1, 2002
    Why do you always resort to the dishonest tactic of mischaracterizing the argument of others as somehow containing emotion that just isn't there? You realize that it's not actually fooling anyone, right?

    As for your second point, it would be pretty illogical to disagree with a book that you weren't familiar with, wouldn't it? How else could one form an opinion on it? Some of us here are actually in possession of inquisitive minds that lead us to investigate topics that are unknown to us.

    Not all of us are content to wallow in the pit of our own ignorance. Some of us are on a search for answers.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013