The commenter who goes by “jerry” writes:
‘What does the term evil mean?’ If we are going to use it, then we should define it . . . I have asked this question several times over the years on this site and so far no one has been able to answer it . . . no one will offer up a definition.
OK, why don’t you offer up a definition? Your choices now are: 1. Dodge the question (which is what I predict you will do); 2. Offer up a definition; 3. Say the word has no meaning.
Graham2 jumped in uninvited and responded:
I would pick 3.
Let’s test this. Consider the following truth claim: Torturing an infant for pleasure is evil.
Given Graham2’s statement, he must respond that the truth claim is false. He says the word “evil” has no meaning. He says that the statement is akin to saying “torturing infants for pleasure is mudnelsday, where “mudnelsday” is a made up word without any meaning.
BTW, for those who are curious, jerry fulfilled my prediction by offering a “definition” of evil that is absurd on its face. Under jerry’s definition, torturing infants for pleasure would not be considered evil. Thus, he essentially dodged the question.
I am thankful for both Graham2’s and jerry’s willingness to express their nihilism so candidly on these pages so that we can examine it. (Truly, I sometimes wonder if they are not fundamentalist Christians shilling for rhetorical effect.) We are back where we started. A self-evident proposition is one that can be denied only on pain of descent into absurdity. Both Graham2 and jerry appear more than willing to descend into such absurdity. They do not need an argument. Again, one cannot argue for self-evident propositions. Graham2 and jerry need simple correction, and I will correct them once again.
Graham2: The term “evil” does have meaning, which I am sure you would be the first to admit if you were kidnapped, robbed, raped, shot and left for dead. You would not say of your assailant that in your fallible subjective estimation you believe he might possibly have done evil if only that word had meaning. You would say he did evil, and the word you used to describe your assailant’s actions would have meaning, and the meaning would apply to the evil done to you, and you would be absolutely certain of your conclusion (and correct BTW).
Jerry, torturing infants for pleasure is evil. You are a fool (and a liar) if you say otherwise.
Of people like jerry and Graham2, I believe KF has had the best word.
Those who choose to cling to absurdity after correction, we can only expose, ring-fence and seek to protect ourselves from. And, we can look at the systems that lead people into such confusion and ring fence them too as utterly destructive.