Journal: Absolute Truth Claims

Pages: 4 (1250 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy for $19.77

Evil

For Christian theologians, one of the most troubling questions is the presence of evil in the world. If God is good, and the world is good, how can the world God created contain evil? One possible solution that has been offered is that evil is like the 'hole in the doughnut,' or the absence of good. For example, walking past a child starving in the street without a second glance is evil, because of the lack of compassion shown to the child. To be good would be to feed the child, and to try to eradicate the forces that produced that child's poverty.

The absence of good, however, also means that there must be an absence of God, and if God is everywhere, how can God exist in the presence of evil? The presence of some demon might explain the presence of evil, but if God created the entire world, than He created such demonic beings and actions, even in his infinite wisdom.

For others, such a passive definition of evil provides little comfort. Evil does not 'feel' like an absence: evil often has a highly active presence, as in the case a child being abused, or in the ultimate example of evil in the modern world -- genocide. People have even committed horrible crimes in the name of 'good.' To be evil might be better described as working against the presence of goodness and therefore against God, and acting as a destroyer of His creation, principles, and life itself. The ultimate act of evil is shutting out the goodness of another living being, whether in the form of another human or an entire race of individuals.

My own personal definition of evil is similar to that of the 'hole in the doughnut' of goodness theory, but slightly more subtle. Evil is the inability to see yourself in the eyes of others. Evil is the anti-Semitism of the Nazi, evil is murder and the silencing of life. Evil is allowing poverty and inequality to exist, ignorance, and violence: evil is saying I have more of a right to live in the goodness of creation than yourself.

Definition: Religion

For many individuals from Western culture, what constitutes religion seems obvious: it is Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or perhaps a smaller, break-off sect of one of these major faiths. But viewing religion as an enclosed category of society is a relatively Westernized concept. In many so-called primitive cultures, religion is a part of everyday life. Rituals are both sacred and civic -- paying homage to the nation's gods is political and spiritual. Religion is a communal system of rituals and ethics, not just a personal belief in the divine. This was the case in ancient Rome, where there was no clear distinction between worshipping the gods of the city, and a citizen's civic obligations.

Religion seems to convey within its structure an enclosed network of beliefs and assumptions about the world. Yet several of the world's so-called major religions, including Buddhism, Daoism, and Shinto, focus more on a philosophy, rather than attempt to prescribe a specific way of life for the adherent. For example, in Japan, many individuals practice both Buddhist and Shinto rituals depending on which set of ideals suits their life at the time, even if the beliefs of these two religions may clash.

In the East and West, people may identify as being of a particular religion without necessarily believing in a numinous, omniscient, divine and powerful being. Some Buddhists observe the principle of non-attachment as part of their religion, rather than manifest a belief in God -- although other Buddhists do believe in gods, as the religion is not doctrinaire in this respect. Many Jewish people believe they participate in a sense of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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