Good, Bad, and the Lines in Between

“Why does evil exist?” Most religious people have a tremendous issue answering this particular question. It presents an interesting issue where we end with the old “If god is all powerful he cannot be all good” argument” and it’s easy to get lost when delving through this issue.

Growing up in a  religious household, the idea of evil existing in a world that god made wasn’t easy to swallow. At a certain point, it seemed impossible to keep faith with this seemingly undeniable truth hanging over  our heads. Of coarse as one matures we learn that the existence of evil doesn’t contradict with religious faith. We realize that evil is the very thing that gives life meaning.

Imagine everyone in the world was nice. Imagine if we all equally respected people of the world. Imagine a world without greed, inequality, and hate. Imagine if the human race worked together to help each other. Imagine there was no fighting and we were able to conquer all our problems, live in a perfect world free of strife, and sing kumbaya until the sun sets on a world at peace. Now imagine living there. It sounds nice… for a week. After that it sounds mind numbingly boring.

No one in that world would be nice, the people wouldn’t be considered good. They would be considered an average person doing what’s expected.

As I mature, I now see things that are evil or wrong to be necessary. The very existence of evil is the clearest example of free will. In essence it gives us the opportunity to not be bad and instead rise above and dogood. In a way, not doing evil despite having the urges to is what defines a good person. You’re not a good person just because you don’t do bad things. That’s bullshit. You’re a good person because you rise above your desire to do wrong and do what’s right instead. The weight of your urges simply determine the strength of he who resists.

Sure going out to a party and getting drunk feels good on the surface, but you know what feels great? Saying no to that hook up because you refuse to tarnish your relationship with a significant other. Succeeding in something that isn’t easy is what life’s all about. All of the best things in life involve a challenge. A challenge to do the wrong thing and the struggle to do what’s right. There would be no satisfaction in being good without the knowledge that some people fail and do wrong.

Strife and hardship give life meaning. What would be the point of living in a perfect world where there’s no hate or evil? That world would be boring and there’d be nothing to do, no point of living, and nothing to work towards. A “perfect world” would suck the meaning out of life. That’s fucking depressing.

In any book, movie, or TV show, the plot is driven by problems. Something goes wrong and it’s up to the protagonist to fix it. There is no TV show where everything goes right and everybody is happy because that’s boring. We love watching shit hit the fan because not only is it relatable but also because we get a certain amount of satisfaction from watching a hero overcome the odds. Why? Because we all yearn to overcome obstacles, that’s where real happiness comes from. That’s why there is evil in the world, to give us something to fight against. The fact that life will never be perfect and we will always be fighting evil gives life meaning and hope for the future. It allows good people to either succumb to their desires or rise above and do better. It’s the very essence of free will.


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