What is good and what is evil? There is no uniform definition. Moral values, which are shaped by upbringing and experience and influenced by the respective environment and society, as well as norms and customs of the different cultures and religions, delimit good from evil. For this reason, different views are possible.

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Good and Evil

However, there are a few things that are considered evil more or less all over the world. For example, in most religions, killing a human being is considered evil. But sometimes this view changes. Killing to seemingly do good is not considered evil. For example, killing an assassin before he can kill others. But the one who has killed ends up alone with his deed, even if he had a good goal in doing so.

In contrast to animals, humans can weigh up different possible actions against each other. Whether something is good or evil thus always implies a value judgement about actions or things. One’s own actions are thus always subject to one’s own moral principles. The so-called conscience determines or influences value judgements. But why then is the repertoire of violence so brutal and almost inexhaustible as history has shown? Are there perhaps other influences?

There are claims that criminals are evil from birth. In contrast, there is the theory that all people are born good and only become evil through upbringing, environment and personal experiences. Perhaps both approaches are already wrong because they classify a person as evil and not the actions of the respective person. For as already mentioned above, people have the possibility to weigh up their options for action. They therefore have the possibility to do both good and evil. Can someone who does evil and good be a good person? I say no. Others say good is he who does good to others. (Jean de La Bruyère) or He who does no evil has done no good. (K.H. Waggerle) But it is possible to be a good person without always having done everything right. But anyone who has acted evil can never be called a good person again. In reality, however, things often look different. Forgetting and repression sometimes make people who have done bad things appear to be good people.

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Good and Evil

As you can see, the question of what is good and what is evil is not so easy to answer. Sometimes even a good person is forced by the situation to do evil. As they say in life-threatening situations: It’s you or me! According to the Ten Commandments, however, the reasons for a deed are secondary. What counts is the deed or action alone.

It would be just if the good person were rewarded for his good deeds and the bad person punished for his actions. This does not always happen on earth, but many religions promise the faithful that if they do good, they will be rewarded by God.

The bottom line is that good and evil are judgements that can vary depending on one’s point of view, religion or form of society. Evil is defined as all those actions that are bad, immoral or even harmful.

Whether manifested evil exists remains an open question. Although I am convinced of it. For if there is good, there must also be evil. But what does evil look like, can it be recognised or does it only become visible through its actions?

People often speak of personified evil in connection with Hitler. The upside-down cross or the skull are considered symbols of evil. The pentagram is considered a symbol of evil, but it is also used as a symbol of protection. Conversely, there are numerous protective symbols that are supposed to protect against evil. Among them are the flower of life, the sun cross or hamsa and triqueta as well as crossed spears.

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God is considered to be the good one, so someone else must be found to be responsible for evil. Most people therefore hope for God’s help (regardless of religion) and to be spared from evil and from the one who does evil.

Attentiveness is advisable, because evil hides behind facades that are not always apparent or appear as evil.

People’s selfishness could be called the seed of evil.

Being merciful and helping others is still a goal for many people worldwide, despite widespread selfishness. That makes one sleep more soundly in this rugged world.