Objectivity of good and evil: Go yang yourself

There’s a follower of Lao Tse who is a poet , who might also be lazy, but there’s no way to tell, for, although one is spellbound by one’s name, one shouldn’t find more in a name than meets the eye; well in modern times, that is. His name is One Laozi Poet. He came across my Yin Yang dualism, CS Lewis and Christianity where he suggested:

 “You might try to consider yin/yang as active/passive. It doesn’t seem appropriate to apply a good or bad label to either part of yin/yang. Good things have yin/yang elements, and bad things have yin/yang elements, as I understand things. Perhaps good/evil are opposite sides of a coin, one man’s good is another man’s evil. I don’t know, I only have one perspective, my own, from which to view things, but I’ve never met a sane person who believed themselves to be evil. I do tend to believe my enemies are evil, and those who kill my enemies are good. (This, despite every teaching that has taught me that killing is wrong).”

 Yin-Yang philosophy has a different perspective from the Bible, which teaches that both good and evil are active inclinations in the descendants of fallen Adam.

 As for “I’ve never met a sane person who believed themselves to be evil. I do tend to believe my enemies are evil, and those who kill my enemies are good,” the Bible says that all of the human faculties – mind, will, emotions – are radically corrupt, that is, shot through with evil.

 Our Laozi poet says that perhaps good/evil are opposite sides of a coin, one man’s good is another man’s evil. In other words one man’s meat is another man’s poisson (fish). Here are some thoughts from Greg Koukl on the relativity of good and evil (Greg Koukl, ““Tactics: A game plan for defending your Christian faith”).

Is Gandhi in Heaven?

When I was in India, Christian apologist Prakesh Yesudian

told me of a conversation he had with a Hindu about Gandhi,

who is much revered there….

Is Gandhi in Heaven?” the Hindu asked. “Heaven would

be a very poor place without Gandhi in it.”

Well, sir,” Prakesh answered, “you must at least believe

in Heaven then. And apparently you have done some

thinking about what would qualify someone for Heaven. Tell

me, what kind of people go to Heaven?”

Good people go to Heaven,” he responded.

But this idea of what is a good person is very unclear to

me.

What is good?”

In typical Hindu fashion he replied, “Good and bad are

relative.

There is no clear definition.”

If that is true, sir, that goodness is relative and can’t be

defined, how is it you assume Gandhi is good and should be

in Heaven?”

Either Gandhi fulfills some external standard of goodness,

thus qualifying for Heaven, or goodness is relative and

therefore a meaningless term when applied to anyone,

including Gandhi. Both cannot be true at the same time.

Kavita

 During that same trip, I had a discussion with a Hindu

college student named Kavita. As I talked about Christianity,

she raised the standard objection. “If God is as you say, how

could he allow such suffering, especially for the children?”

She gestured with a sweep of her hand as if to take in the

collective anguish of Madras, which was great.

The first thing I pointed out was that God hadn’t done this

to India. Hinduism had. Ideas have consequences, and the

suffering in Madras was a direct result of things Hindus

believe.

I then explained that it wouldn’t always be this way. A day

would come when all evil would be destroyed, and Jesus

himself would wipe away every bitter tear.

How could that be?” she objected. “Evil and good exist as

dual poles. If you have no evil, it is impossible to have good.

Each must balance the other out.”

I noticed immediately that Kavita’s response was at odds

with her first question. “Let me repeat this reasoning back to

you,” I said, “and you tell me what you think of it.” She

nodded.

You ask ‘Why are innocent children starving in the

streets?’ I answer, ‘Good and evil exist as dual poles.

Children starve in Madras so kids in other parts of the World

may be happy and Well. The one balances the other out.’

What do you think?”

When the point sunk in, she was forced to smile.

Touchél” she replied.

Before Koukl’s next example, as a prelim let me quote what a “Messianic Jew” said: “[Much] damage [was] done to the interpretation of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and New Covenant writings by non-Jewish Christian theologians from the late first century, on. The road to Auschwitz was paved from such anti-Jewish polemics and their corresponding supersessionistic theological principles.” Here is another view by a Jew of the cause of the Jewish Holocaust, which Koukl relates:

After an airing of The Quarrel, a film that explored the problem of

God and the Holocaust. Director David Brandes had asked

me to help moderate a discussion with an audience about the

moral issues raised by the film.

 From one side of the auditorium a Jewish woman offered

that maybe God allowed the Holocaust as a punishment for

Israel’s wayward drift into secularism. Some Jewish thinkers

have raised this possibility in light of the promised curses of

Deuteronomy 28. The reflection prompted a sarcastic, “Well,

that’s a real loving God,” from the other side of the theater.

I called attention to the conflict suggested by the second

comment. Those who are quick to object that God isn’t doing

enough about evil in the world (“A good God wouldn’t let

that happen”) are often equally quick to complain when God

puts his foot down (“A loving God would never send anyone

to Hell”).

If God appears indifferent to wickedness, his goodness is

challenged. Yet if he acts to punish sin, his love is in

question. These objections compete with each other in most

cases. They are siblings in rivalry. One or the other needs to

be surrendered. Both can’t be held simultaneously!

 One man’s hot is another man’s cold, true; one mans clever is another man’s stupid, true. But when it comes to morality, objective standards do exist. If you contradict me, I respectfully suggest: Go yang yourself.

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