Are people born evil or do they willingly commit evil acts?
This question was posed to me yesterday. It has made me think a long time about it.
Now, I’m putting this question to you.
My immediate answer would have been that certain people are born with evil within them, but that was too simple. As I thought about it more, it became clear to me that there was more to this question that met the eye.
Evil acts can be deemed evil in one-time frame and not in others. Why is it considered evil to kill a person in a place of peace and okay to kill them in the space of war? That simple question sent me in the direction of; society determines what is good or evil. Humans then get to decide whether they are going to break with the norms of society and commit “evil” acts.
What I found even more interesting is that society changes its values and therefore changes what it deems as evil. History depicts that witches were sought out and killed in Salem Massachusetts and today the thought of witches living in Salem is the norm. In fact, it’s honored. Witches have gone from evil to good.
Then there is the thought of differences in evil. Some believe that evil is not a person in their entirety, rather it is the actions they take that are evil. Others believe that a person is evil and can only perform evil acts. Like the devil. Which is it? Is it both or neither?
How does good or evil get determined and why? These are all questions that arose from this one conversation sitting around a kitchen table. I would like to hear your thoughts on this question.