In a world without god or satan where does evil come from? What exactly is evil? Does evil even exist?
Of course. Its simply a word we use to describe events, actions or people we color to be that bad, that wrong, that malevolent. Just a word... nothing more. Or another way to look at it might be: "Chubby doesn't really exist, either you're fat or you're not" - you're not going to find 'Chubby' in an absolute objective form because its an adjective/adverb intended to express degrees. 'Evil' - the word - is nothing more.
Evil to me is a cheap description we use conveniently to fill the gap of what is unknowable to us when others outside our perceived notions of normalcy become violent and destructive towards others of our own species where we lack the understanding of why such people act in such a manner that they do.
Not really. Although I think you're onto a good notion here (attributing what we don't understand to malicious intent), that's just one context. "Wow, that slope was evil! I nearly wiped out twice!" (no people and no voilence involved) -or- "Did she say that?! Oh my... that's just evil" (someone's evaluation of another's intent - no destruction). Evil is a word to describe a perception, nothing more.
I sense you're speaking more of what might be termed "Objective Evil", is this the case? Are you attempting to juxtapose this concept against what you believe it really is?
There is nothing monsterous or inhuman about such people as they are all too human.
So... this suggests that if you're human, you therefore cannot be described - ever - as being monstrous or acting in an in-human manner?
There is no genetical defect or flawed psychological condition in such people as it is all too human.
So violent, destructive, monstrous or in-human behavior isn't ever attributable to psychological conditions or genetic defects or flaws?
Is evil even useful in describing events?
Absolutely! I like having this word in my vocabulary. Look at it this way, words describing the perceived intensity of a condition are like crayons. When I express myself, I want to communicate the 'shades' - not just the absolutes (such a beautiful black and white sunset!). Evil is a word we use to describe, nothing more. Once again, if you're referring to the Biblical Absolute God-Declared 'Evil' - that's another animal.
When Johnny picks up a gun and kills his entire family on a Sunday afternoon why do we say evil compelled him to do these acts where we embodie him as being transformed through evil?
Who 'we'? Who said this? Folks express their perception of 'whys' as best their mental and emotional dispositions befit. In your example, I think you're likely to hear just as many folks chalk it to reasons such as:
- 'He was abused, poor kid'
- 'I knew that spaghetti monster would convince him sooner or later'
- 'This was a condition of prefrontal lobe malformation - he's innocent'
- 'Damned video games, he thought he was still playing 'Call of Duty''
- 'They deserved it! I heard they didn't pay their tithing last Sunday'
- 'Its the gun-lobbyists fault - their kind encourage this power mongering'
etc., etc., etc.
So basically, although I agree some small percentage of people automatically knee-jerk back into Moses-mode and declare "evil! evil!", but that's just some folk. I believe it very important to understand the complexity - besides, this is a word, nothing more.
Then you have those who speak about total or pure evil. Is there even such a thing?
I suppose this is a coherent popular-usage of the word although in a literal sense it doesn't describe something - not that I believe anyway - that exists in any objective state. I think I share your dislike of this kind of categoric labeling (if that's the case)
In the end I think most people use the word evil because it symbolizes the enemy from within which is a great threat to many people but even more interesting it is a clever cheap description of calling others monsters or inhuman in that those speaking of so called evil in the back of their minds know that they themselves along with everybody else is fully capable of acting out on the same emotions that they condemn if they were put into a place of extreme desperation and hostility in contrast which rather ironically through dualisms in speaking about evil they hide in their metaphors to make themselves appear impervious towards others in such events.
I think you're probably right - for some folks. But this is reading a lot into their motives for such labeling.
My point in this reply is not to refute your obvious strong distaste for such labeling (agree on that point, I hate it too), but to emphasize that this is but a word that can hold many varied meanings (and expressions of degrees) for many. My feeling is that it's *extremely* important to make such differenciations, lest we all run around judging others on their words when we don't take into account the complexity of meanings.