What is evil?

The Happy Humanist wrote: Perhaps what is needed is a new term to replace “omni” with one that implies ultimate power, without the self-contradictory baggage. Perhaps “ultipotent”?

I agree that the term carries baggage. How about “superpotent”?

If happiness is good, then your omnibenevolent God must answer as to why he does not provide it on a continual basis.

I throw the question back at you, why must God provide happiness on a continual basis?

I know that my kids sometimes wish that of me. But, sometimes I don’t let them play video games all the time. But, does that show I do not care about them? No, actually, quite the opposite. Just because I force them to eat and sleep instead of playing videos games does show that I care for them.

otseng wrote:BTW, has anybody yet offered a working definition of “evil” for the purposes of this debate? I think we’ll need to agree on some definitions here before we can further tackle the PoE.

I’d like to get back to defining “evil”.

Scorpia suggested – “Good is not the absence of evil but the defeat of it.”
tselem suggested – “Evil is the absence of good.”

The problem with these definitions is that it can get circular. Good is not evil. Evil is not good. We need something that’s a bit more concrete.

I’d like a definition where we can objectively determine if something is evil or not. So, I offer this definition – “Evil is an intent or action of a free agent that violates the wishes of another free agent.”

When someone takes money from me without my consent, then it is called robbery and is construed as evil. If a man has sex with a woman against her wishes, then it is rape and is evil.

Things that are not free agents cannot commit evil. If a dog bites my leg, though it would hurt, it would not be considered an evil act. If my baby bites my leg, it does not have the capacity to choose what to do, so it would not be evil either.

The intent of a free agent can also be classified as evil. If I plan to kill the president, but don’t actually kill him, then I could possibly go to jail.

If someone else has other definitions that can be objectively measured, or want to amend mine, feel free to post it.