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The Problem of Evil

The Problem of Evil

The problem of defining evil has gained a great popularity in modern society. People all over the world find it difficult enough to explain what evil actually is. A great majority of them believe that evil is a severe objection to the existence of God. Very often, they raise such a question, “If God is so good, why is His world so bad? If an all-good, all-wise, all-loving, all-just, and all-powerful God is running the show, why does He seem to be doing such a miserable job of it? Why do bad things happen to good people?” (Kreeft, 1988). One can see that the problem of evil is not as simple as it seems, and that is why people over the centuries tried to explain and give their own assumption concerning this phenomenon. Many philosophers investigate the mentioned problem, and Socrates is not an exception. He is one of the philosophers who investigated the problem of evil in every aspect.

In faсt, many people think that the world consists of opposites; that is why God is the highest level of goodness and excellence, while evil is an opposite phenomenon that provokes pain, suffering, and hatred. Nevertheless, if to carefully think that question over and explain it through Christian morality, one could see that the context of this question contains a slight reflection of evil because a person who really believes in God and lives according to God’s law will never doubt existence of God and His boundless power. Only those who feel resentment toward God and rebel against Him can ask such a question because they do not have evidence of the existence of God, so, as a result, they become unbelievers.

Socrates is considered to be one of the most remarkable philosophers in the world. His ideas of good and evil provide the significant food for the human philosophy. Socrates once said that “here is only one good, knowledge, and only one evil, ignorance” (Maxwell, n.d.). In order to realize the problem, one should take into account not only the philosopher’s point of view, but also his or her own perspective of the evil. Socrates states that evil emerges from the individual’s behavior, that is to say the person’s actions. Socrates also proves that every point of view is unique and worth paying attention to. Personally I believe that for one person, the committed action can be a good one, while for other wrong. Nevertheless, the action that totally rejects all ethical norms is considered to be the evil one. A person can choose how to act in accordance with his/her perspective. Moreover, Socrates admits that nobody could willingly do wrong. Even if one compares it with moral weakness, the shortage of strength to benefit oneself without doing wrong is a case of ignorance. Initially, ignorance is considered to be the conscious avoidance of the reality, which sometimes is not good at all. Socrates considers ignorance to be the basis of evil.

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Socrates claims that goodness and evil coexist with each other. If the world consisted only of goodness it would be difficult for anyone to recognize it (Maxwell, n.d.). It means that without evil, one could not compare goodness to anything, because in this case, evil is good’s double; therefore, one would not have a possibility to recognize it. This is how he explains the attitude of individuals towards evil and goodness. They determine for themselves what way they wish to take – good or evil. However, it is not easy to identify whether you act in a good or bad way. If someone does an evil act in order to survive, will this act be really evil? Sometimes, it is not evil for one to have more of something (for example money) than somebody else,, if one can evenly share their facilities. All this leads to more complicated issues of morality, and the task for humanity is to draw the exact line between goodness and evil. As one can see, good and evil cannot be without each other; they must coexist. However, another problem emerges: if good and evil must coexist how can peaceful society exist itself? In fact, it all depends on individuals: they should decide for themselves what way to choose, and here one can speak about moral values of the individual.

Taking into consideration ideas of Socrates, I may admit that evil is a kind of being. Everyone knows that God is a Creator of the universe and different beings as well, but according to the Genesis, all that God creates are good things. Sometimes, people tend to depict evil as a thing, for example, a black cloud or dangerous hurricane, but actually, these things misguide people. If God is a Creator of all things and beings, it is obvious that He is a creator of evil as well. However, this is not so easy to determine using analogy since evil is not a thing; it is a choice or a kind of damage caused by this choice. Those who believe in this theory point that evil is not a thing but an illusion.

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To sum up, Socrates’ theory of evil helps to realize the faсt that evil is a сhoiсe of every individual. It is related to goodness and totally interconnects with it. Every individual is a performer of his/her life, so they decide whether to act сorreсtly or wrongly. Socrates proves that the worst evil is ignorance. It is absolutely true that the ignorance of reality is the worst evil ever. When the individuals ignored the world together with its plusses and minuses, they could not realize the difference between evil and goodness. Thus, the individuals could not totally reject evil.

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