View of Good and Evil
Religion world is diverse according to the territory, nation, and even individual tendencies. However, the main categories of the world are the same for all religion representatives. The differences in every religion include various treatments of good and evil terms. Therefore, this paper shortly explains what is good and evil in main world religions.
In Hinduism, there is no strict division between good and evil, these terms are relative. These notions cannot exist without each other, thus, both can create karma. According to Abhedananda (n.d.), “Good and evil of this world of duality are unreal, are spoken of by words, and exist only in the mind”. Jainism supports this attitude emphasizing that a person can make kind or wicked deeds, and this influences his or her karma and following the process of reincarnation. Buddhism as another Eastern religion has a similar approach from the perspective of right and wrong interdependence. In this religion, good is associated with enlightenment based on profound self-knowledge. It gives you true happiness and freedom. On the contrary, they identify evil with the darkness that prevents understanding, brings sufferings to individual and his or her environment. Mysterious Daoism puts good and bad in metaphorical level as it refers to original human nature that came from Tao or unknown force. If man goes against Tao, then appears evil as “by nature, man’s original nature must be good” (Chan, 1996). Daoism makes people remember it. However, it does not reveal to the outer world. Confucianism refers more to the practical aspects and community than to metaphysics. Being a human and getting intellectual growth is a sense of living for Confucianism. Shinto is a Japanese religion that divides the world into kami or some spirits that are awe-inspiring. The separation between good and evil does not exist. Nevertheless, they believe the latter is when something disturbs kami, the harmony of the world or social order, or other types of disruption. Evil comes from the spirits of the outer world while good is peace and spiritual purity. In Shinto, since human nature has to be clear, pure, and positive, there are no moral codes or rules. However, this religion assumes imperfection of their gods like other Eastern religions claims coexistence and relativity of these categories.
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Judaism differs from the above examples. It already has a clear split of good and evil, where bad deeds are described in Commandments. Good is sincere belief in God who is its embodiment. There is a clear distinction between Heaven and Hell, God and Devil. Therefore, a man has a right to choose which of categories he or she would prefer to belong. Judaism assures punishments for evil and rewards for good deeds. In Christianity, all good comes from the inherent character of God while evil arises due to neglecting, not obeying God’s will, or because a creature does not love or follows the God. One of the hugest and oldest world religions — Islam — has the same tendency to worship God. There, evil is a human’s choice. However, God can forgive every evil as he is merciful. According to Dougan (2005), “whatever brings a person closer to God and will benefit him in the Next World is good, and whatever takes a person away from God, and thus incurs His anger is evil”. Sikhism unites belief in karma and reincarnation with free will and human choice whether to follow God or not. Good in it is also from God. However, sufferings can also be of God’s origin as a test of faith and brevity. Finally, New Age movement puts evil and good as a product of human’s mind focusing on the statement that “ evil is an illusion of unthinking minds” (Zeller, n.d.).
In my social environment, there is a belief that right and wrong is a personal choice. Certainly, we have set up definitions and rules for differentiation. Evil takes innocent human life or hurts someone. Good helps people and makes society develop. In no way, murder can be accepted as good even if it has some noble purposes. However, my environment does not love God as a key point of good. It is just follows a general conception of Christianity.
To summarize, Eastern religions have a more vague distinction between good and evil, while Judaism, Islam, and Christianity strictly define them and put on the contrast. However, nowadays, it is very personal and free choice what to believe, just to create internal harmony and a better world around.