I think this needs to be set straight. One the one hand, I consistently hear from atheists that there is no such thing as good and evil. On the other hand, I consistently hear that everything God or his followers have done is evil.
There is a huge disconnect between these two arguments and I am confused. Can anyone clear up this apparant contradiction?
I believe that acts and people in general can be described as being "more good" or "more evil" than others. Good and evil are adjectives like any other.
If an act does more help than harm, has positive intentions and at least a reasonably positive end result, it's on the good side of the scale.
If an act does more harm than help, has selfish and negative intentions, and the end result hurts people and only helps the person acting, it's on the evil side of the scale.
I don't think "good" and "evil" are black and white, cut and dry situations.
If you steal bread to feed your family who is fleeing a war zone, it's not the same as stealing an expensive purse for fun.
If you kill an intruder that is threatening your family, it's not the same as killing someone for no reason.
Our laws all reflect these obvious realities, as "self defense" is a defense for an act that is punishable by law.
If you purposely insult someone, without any intent of helping them, without any constructive criticism, and your goal is to make them feel worse about themselves... that's different than making a negative, but constructive comment about someone's project with the intent to help them improve.
If you have the power to help someone in immediate dire need, and you fail to act, that's potentially evil, and at the very least, "not good".
Morality doesn't necessarily have one right answer or one wrong answer... it has many peaks and valleys. There are options that do more benefit to more people, and options that do more harm to more people.
This is obvious, and, it doesn't have to be 100% black and white.
Just as there isn't one correct "room temperature" for all people... there isn't one correct answer for morality. There are many viable answers and many horrible answers.
We recognize people's freedom to best choose among the viable answers.
If you, as a Jehovah's Witness, get on a bus to help rebuild homes for people struck by a natural disaster, and put no obligation on those people to change their faith because you helped, that's a good action. If an evangelical, or atheist, or catholic does the same thing, it's still a good action.
I'm perfectly fine with using words like "truth", "good" and "evil" as descriptive measurements to show "how true" or "how good" or "how evil" something is.
A kid pulling the wings off a butterfly might be doing an act that's "kinda evil".
A genocidal rapist dictator who terrifies his people might be "really evil".
Does that make sense to you?