Evil Is Real

If goodness is real, so is evil. If evil is real, so is goodness. Most of the students whom I have encountered in a long teaching career have been cultural relativists. That is, they believe that goodness and evil are culturally defined. Their belief in that regard is certainly true; but then they infer that there is nothing objectively true concerning goodness and evil. That is where my students and I part company. I believe it is true that some things are intrinsically good and that other things are objectively evil. A typical example of an objective evil is torturing babies for fun. (Dostoevski has an example of such is one of his novels.) Many theists subscribe to a “divine command” view, which says that something is evil only if God says so. Socrates held rather that the gods approve or disapprove of anything because it is good or evil.

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