Mistakes & Evil

This may be just me and my personal viewpoint – what’s the problem with evil again? Because evil sucks and it hurts – or because God allows it? What does evil have to do with God? Like what does someone else’s choices have to do with mine?

This whole thing on evil is quite perplexing to me – not that it exists – sh*t I know that all too well – but as to why it cannot be simply reasoned to the hands of each human responsible is quite beyond me?

I asked a question to someone a while back concerning ‘free will’ – ‘does God allow us to make mistakes since in them we also learn’? No answer ever came back.

***Comment taken from Yael’s blog “Learning About Evil

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16 thoughts on “Mistakes & Evil

  1. I always hesitate to “reduce” God to simply a parental role, but it’s often the best analogy I can come up with for such a complex and powerful entity.

    I do think that free will is in part intended to be a learning process for us. Much like I at times get mad at Little Girl Blue for disobeying the rules or doing something “foolish” and at other times I let her find out the natural consequences of a mistake and use that as a time for teaching.

    But in the end, free will exists, I think, because we can’t willingly and freely choose God’s way if we don’t have a choice about it. And it doesn’t seem that God wants slaves but children instead…”children” who will, I suspect, continue to grow even after this earthly life is done with. I doubt we will ever stagnate or want for opportunities to learn and develop both here and in the hereafter.

  2. “I always hesitate to “reduce” God to simply a parental role…” (Deacon)

    God is Dad and Dad backwards is Dad still – all good (lol)

    “And it doesn’t seem that God wants slaves but children instead…” (Deacon)

    Uh…yeah…, Exodus would tell us that (lol on the sarcasm!)

    All kidding aside, I tend to think free will is an absolute truth (if I can make such a statement). Everyone is about choice and their role on this planet…so for me…this explains human reality (or it’s the beginning to build from). Now God may very well ‘intervene’ from time to time (so be it) – but the natural order is for us to make choices and live by the actions we have just done (good and bad).

    For me, evil is from the heart of humanity – that’s where it begins, ruminates, and truly ends. Sure some people hear voices in their heads (possibly mind disorders and what have u) – but regardless of voices (good or bad) – choices still reside with us on to do or not to do.

  3. Ok, if I get raped and mutilated at 2yrs old, where is my free will? That action has nothing to do with my action. The “Fact” is we do not have complete free will other than by how we respond. In other words at 2yrs old(if I was speaking), I only have free will to whether I scream or not. Dont kid yourself, there is nothing about free will in this existence, what we have is limited choice and thats it.

  4. “I tend to think free will is an absolute truth” SVS

    i think i tend to agree… however, our choices are restricted, both consciously (i.e., by not doing things that are societally unacceptable but psychologically we could) and subconsciously, through psychological conditioning and upbringing, as well as cultural pressure, instinctive pressure, etc.

    All that said, determinism’s thesis isn’t empirically demonstrable (or at least, it’s extremely difficult to demonstrate it), so I personally prefer to think of our ability to make decisions as heavily constrained, but still nominally free (i.e., not determined in a deterministic way, meaning, one could make a choice other than the one they made in a particular set of circumstances). to make things perfectly clear, humans are rather unpredictable in any given circumstance 😉

    “evil is from the heart of humanity” SVS

    and the question then becomes how did it get there? i can’t believe in orignal sin… my take is more Eastern Orthodox that we are born into a world where sin is already present.. plus our evolutionary nature has a build in self-preservation response. i’ll have to post this on my blog as it’s something i’ve been working on in the past few weeks in my doctrine class… pluses and minuses of the doctrine of original sin, who was right Augustine or Palagian? such like things… these are the things one does while waiting on a child to be born 😉

    RAWK dude… straight RAWK!

  5. “The “Fact” is we do not have complete free will other than by how we respond. In other words at 2yrs old(if I was speaking)…” (John)

    Then it is easy – your free will is limited by the will of others. In this case, a 2 year old is at the whims of his parents and their taking care of that child. Now if it is not the parents but some gang or God forbid – the gov’t – your will is subjected by that of another. It happens – but common denominator time…parents, gangs, and gov’t have what in common in each scenario?

    As for a 2 yeard old – you likely won’t remember the actions committed against you (thank God) and if you can barely walk – you can barely think – so your will is required to be cared for by another (ie: parents). But at some point – including in elementary school – we begin a process of thinking for ourselves that develops who we are.

    Free will can be subjugated…I think the fear of (real or fake) power does this. But again, a person’s will is not removed – it is subjugated and limited by either (a) limit of knowledge or (b) limit of choices (usually due to fear). Because if someone is not fearful of the choices they make – live or die – then some things change regarding the ‘freedom’ of someone’s will – which we will all label courage (ie: standing up to the schoolyard bully who takes your lunch money each day).

    And in the cases of the ‘oppressor’ in each of the scenario’s – well they have choices to make also (a free will they are using to subjugate another’s will)…can we blame God for the other person’s use of their will? We’ll try…and maybe we should – but feeling powerless will do that – and we’ll blame where-ever we can – but I like to point the finger at the actual culprits and call light to shade (lies).

    Our wills are not totally free – but free enough that I would say we are responsible for our actions.

  6. “i can’t believe in orignal sin… my take is more Eastern Orthodox that we are born into a world where sin is already present.. plus our evolutionary nature has a build in self-preservation response” (Luke)

    It could be even easier than that – knowledge. What we learn and what we know allows us the ability to shape that knowledge how we so choose.

    For example, I learned how locks on doors work – the whole key thing and what not. But what if with that knowledge – I learned about my house and many others like it? Doesn’t this now give me the ability to break into my neighbors house because I can easily ‘pick a lock’?

    Knowledge, and whomever holds it, has at it’s discretion good and evil.

    So whether we are born into sin or born into a world of sin – the question seems moot to me – we are born to learn (and with that learning comes our ability to choose what we do with it). There is no good or evil – until we begin manipulating knowledge to our ‘ends’ – choice (which is our natural birthright) – is what makes knowledge good or evil. **I swear I heard a story on this once upon a time in some garden**

    As for evolution, as for the self – what is true is we are ‘self-preservers’ first and foremost and it takes everything in us to fight this urge back some. This is why ‘love’ is the greatest gift of all (not faith and hope) – because love can conquer that ‘self-preservation’ perspective we so narrowly hold (by no fault of our own – we are born into this being only able to see through our own eyes).

    Children are a great example of this ‘self-preservation’ perspective being relaxed – lots of parents will give their life for their children – some mothers even die as they give birth – to save that child. Love did that to us.

  7. Our wills are not totally free(Jason)

    Then it aint free. Its limited choice. Choices that do bear responsibility. Free Will in my mind is a complete misnomer. The truth is, we live in a world of parameters that limit what are choices are. I can work around some of them, but most I am at the mercy of. When I reach a certain age I may have more choices, but truth be told if I am beaten down early in my life and my will has been ripped from my spirit, its freaking damn near impossible to rebound from that. That is why there are so many psychological conditions that have their origin before we gained the maturity of most of our “free will” choices. Free will………. Bah Humbug 😉

  8. “Then it aint free. Its limited choice” (John)

    Then it is limited – agreed – but then does this mean we are ‘in need of those limits’? Whether that is parents or gov’t laws? Are those imposed limits on the will ‘good’ and ‘helpful’ – maybe – freeing us even more?

    “That is why there are so many psychological conditions that have their origin before we gained the maturity of most of our “free will” choices.” (John)

    In a story, a child plays a game only to lose. After years of the losing – he becomes used to it. Then one day, years down the road, while playing the game – he wins. Since he has never won before he decides he has lost and leaves. Why? Because, even though things can change, he did what he was used to.

    You mean to tell me, because of childhood trauma, no kid has a chance? Or because their ‘free will’ was subjugated for so long – they no longer know how to make ‘choices’? Then I guess they will continue that game on – not knowing when they have ‘won’.

  9. You mean to tell me, because of childhood trauma, no kid has a chance(jason)

    Nope I wont make that absolute. But I will say again there is limited choice. Because if my abuser steals my cognitive abilities by bashing my skull in, then guess what. No more “Free willie” for me. I just dont believe its as cut and dried as to what I or you have decided to do(free will). There are so many more variables that play into our choices in life, and many dont even include us. Hurricanes, Tornadoes, atomic blasts, child abuse.. and the list goes on.

  10. “Because if my abuser steals my cognitive abilities by bashing my skull in, then guess what. No more “Free willie” for me” (John)

    Define ‘free will’? It seems like to me you say ‘choice’ is free will – and that some do not have this ability…is this true?

    “There are so many more variables that play into our choices in life, and many dont even include us. Hurricanes, Tornadoes, atomic blasts, child abuse.. and the list goes on.” (John)

    Natural disasters – well some of them may be heightened by human carelessness to the environment. But it is true – something like an earthquake or a volcanoe is really out of our control. So the question is – do we blame God if a family member dies in a flood? Natural disaster – is it even defined by morality (good/bad)? Isn’t it us humans that decide when and what natural occurences are ‘disasters’? They simply occur when and where the weather is right for the occurence or by the shifting of techtonic plates in the earth (totally natural for the earth – happens cyclically).

    As for atmoic blasts (a human mind construct – from playing with atoms) and child abuse (human subjugation of another) – these involve free will whether we like to admit that or not. The oppressors free will does count for something in that ‘equation’ (we’ll call this human destruction mathematics).

    I am not sure choice is not involved in every single thing we do? From where we choose to live to what we choose to do to one another. To disregard the use of another’s free will in a scenario (even when we are the oppressed) is to disregard the chance for change in a scenario (ie: like Sudan or Iraq). Humans can be rationalized with or despots removed from power (by use of force – subjugation of their will) – but regardless – choice is easy to find in the daily news.

    Now I cannot speak for weather and natural occurences – but the fact tornado alley and hurricane season happen yearly and never miss a beat – tells me we know they are coming and we refuse to leave – no matter the danger to our lives. Blame weather I guess for being so unpredictable?

  11. “Define ‘free will’? It seems like to me you say ‘choice’ is free will – and that some do not have this ability…is this true?” (Me quoting me – cocky – I know)

    Reason I ask this John is because my wife works with cognitively challenged people – yes and has worked with kids with disabilities – and you’d be amazed at their ability to make ‘choices’ (as minut as we might make their choices out to be). I don’t want to avoid the question – many blogs do and I don’t want to – I think on the question of mental disabilities – choice can still exist for the person with the handicap.

    I have had to wrestle with this question for yeas – after having a brother at 22 (young and vibrant) end up paralyzed from the waist down from a needless car accident. I really shifted the blame all around in that scenario for some time trying to make sense of it all – from God – to the drivers – to the other car. But the only thing that makes sense is each and every person in both vehicles made choices on that fateful day – and as my brother slept and then this crash happened – choices to make that turn into a highway were still made (not by him – but by those he trusted). Choice is involved – and I don’t like it anymore than you do.

  12. The idea of Free Will connotes the idea of control. Do you believe that if you are able to make all the right choices you can completely control your existence? Or do you think that there are some veriables that are beyond your control? I dont mind the idea of Choice, I just dont like to think that its only my choices that decide what happens in this existence. And if other peoples choices can affect my outcomes, then obviously whatever created me has had an input in that too. So rather than me having my own free will, I like to think its a collect will that determines our outcomes. 😉

  13. “So rather than me having my own free will, I like to think its a collect will that determines our outcomes” (John)

    You just might be onto something I can adopt – the collective will. All things happen due to the collective amount of choices made by each and every person involved in a scenario…this makes the law look even smarter than I first anticipated. Therefore, the need for a collective law for the collective will of the peoples (as to guidance) is a much needed piece of legislation for the peace and health of all involved.

  14. Interesting. Earlier today I was reading one of Rabbi Gillman’s books where he also talks about this topics from a communal POV. I was planning to write some of my thoughts on this after Pesach. Perhaps I still will, but then again, perhaps that will be unnecessary. Cool.

  15. “Free will………. Bah Humbug… So rather than me having my own free will, I like to think its a collect will that determines our outcomes” T4T

    and yet we humans can really chuck off all of these notions and run nakkid into the forest.. something completely unexpected and nonpredetermined. or maybe it was. causality is a messy, messy thing. chicken or the egg? largely we’ll find it’s the common ancestor!

    but i like the idea of a collective will. we have that! sometimes it’s good “all men are created equal… life, liberty, pursuit of happiness” and all that jazz and sometimes it’s bad “jim crow and segregation.” i think if we throw in some divine will and try to follow that (namely we’re all connected and must live in harmony with our differences!) we’ll be in a better state.. yet we are still free within limitations. and sometimes even within the limitations a truly creative person can come up with new ways of continue’n.

    just a thought.. needs work… whaddya think?

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