Tag Archives: Evil

People: Good, Evil or Neutral?

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I’m pretty sure one of my opinions goes against what most people think about a certain issue.

This isn’t usually the case because a) I’m not an opinionated person and b) the opinions I do have don’t tend to make any ripples. I have an agreeable nature and it’s for this reason that I feel like I shouldn’t have the opinion I have or at least shouldn’t share it. I don’t like to cause rifts and I avoid conflict like the plague; they just don’t make me feel good. Plus, I am very aware I might be wrong.

So please don’t hate me for having my opinion. If I could change my opinion so we could agree, I would seriously consider it. But I can’t shake what I really think. Even if I wanted to, I know deep down this is what I believe:

I believe in the fundamental goodness of people. I know not one of us is good all the time—we have all had bad thoughts and habits, we have all said and done bad things—and I know some people seem to spend more time being bad than good, but just as no human (who wasn’t also God) is purely good, I don’t believe any human can be purely evil. Even if a person seems like they have no good in them, I don’t believe anyone is a lost cause. I believe everyone can choose to do good no matter how much bad they’ve done.

The people who don’t know the difference between good and bad, right and wrong, I don’t think this a fault of their own—not entirely anyway. I’d think genetics and things like bad influences and traumatic experiences would play a role.

How do you define “evil” anyway? Is it intentionally doing the wrong thing? Is it doing the wrong thing when you believe you’re doing the right thing? Is it the motivation for doing the wrong thing? For example, is it evil to do the wrong thing for personal gain? And is it evil to do the wrong thing for the good of others? Does context and circumstance always come into it?

I’m not sure how I define “evil” but for some reason this is my opinion: Hitler wasn’t evil. I know lots of people will disagree with me and I fully understand why. Part of me wonders why on earth I would believe he wasn’t evil. But it’s just the way it is. I believe he did a lot of horrible things that were wrong and shouldn’t have been done. I believe he did these things on such a scale that might lead people to conclude that he himself was evil. I totally get that, and like I said, part of me wishes I could agree with you.

I can’t fully explain why I have my opinion, but there it is. Especially considering I’m a naturally pessimistic person, you’d think I’d say he was evil.

So here are some questions to think about: Are people good, bad or neutral? What makes a person good or evil? Does it have to do with actions, motivations and/or the beliefs of a person?