Repost – Can Evil Ever be Justified?

In video games and movies recently there have been situations that are morally tough or at least very grey in many shades? Does these hard to judge circumstances mean that there is no objective truth – of course not!

Here is a silly video that lists some examples of when some people think that the antagonists may have a point. My thoughts after the video:

The game video is pure entertainment and silliness. However, for tough situations like those fictional ones and the real ones many people face what do we do to judge if the actions are moral or not? In this case we will use the evil test.

The evil test is basically a test that can say if we can call an action evil or just that we do not like it (like a flavor of ice-cream).

What if there are no standards? Then we could not call anything evil or wrong. Clearly stabbing someone over and over to kill them as seen in the video clip is evil. If there is anyone who would disagree, I would ask them to seek help as this being evil is self-evident.

Do we use internal/personal standards? If we do then there would be nothing to call the actions of other people evil – and even in the video there are acts that are such (most antagonists in games do evil acts)

Do we use cultural standards? In that case we cannot call acts of evil outside of our own culture evil. In the video we in our American culture judge the fictional cultures or different places and time so that can’t be correct even for made-up cultures.

The standard therefore must exist and be outside of ourselves or our cultures.

I would say that those who believe in relativism exist is worlds more fake than the video games worlds in the above video.

Here is a great response from Stand to Reason on this:







  1. I grew up playing games where morality depended upon the faction you were a member of – how it was a good thing to join the rebels when the empire was corrupt, how doing the wrong thing for the right reasons was better than doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, how actions have consequences that cannot be undone. I highly recommend them and in playing in each faction to understand what they believe and why they’re doing what they’re doing.
    The Stand to Reason video seems to misunderstand something – it doesn’t always follow that relativists are also into empiricism; if everything is subjective, then so too is empiricism: what’s true for you in what you can see, taste, smell, isn’t true for me. Because you like white chocolate it doesn’t mean that I’ll like it as my taste buds are different – that sort of thing. Many nations signed a charter outlawing slavery not because the Bible says it’s wrong (it doesn’t really say that it is); but because after studying human history, they could see a proven track record of evil in every form slavery has taken – they all looked at the evidence and agreed on what it meant. Not every country has signed this charter, there are many that still allow slavery – it doesn’t mean that they’re right (even if the Bible doesn’t disagree with them.)

    1. Agreed, for many games (Tie-Fighter from the 90’s comes to mind) you can see the perspective of differing sides. Some are faction that you can play and others are just tied into the narrative that shows the world is not always black and white. However, it does not follow that everything is gray. I have been disgusted at the violent nature and actions that are revealed at the end of Bioshock Infinite by Booker De Wit even though he fought against a racist society/leader. Even the Fallout universe has different ways to play with factions the bid for power just like the Knights of the Old Republic game by Bioware made you rethink your actions due to plot discoveries.

      It is always good to see, understand, and experience all the sides of an issue as that leads to empathy or at least avoids a straw man approach.

      However, the people who are not relativists are the only ones who can declare something beyond how it makes them feel – they can call something evil. Just like William Wilberforce went against the popular view in his time and fought his whole life to eventually end the slave trade in England in 1833. This happened way before the U.S. declared the same thing during the end of the Civil war and before the international community did that in 1926.

      A relativist cannot, for example, make the claim that slavery is evil like Wilberforce did because it is evil. If popular opinion or personal opinion can change what is considered right or wrong then it could follow that slavery someday could be a good thing. An important distinction to make is (also from Stand to Reason) is seen in this:

      When choosing ice cream, you can choose what you like..
      When choosing medicine, you must choose what heals.
      When choosing ice cream you can choose what’s true for you.
      When choosing medicine you must choose what’s true.

      There is a difference between subjective and objective truth claims.

      1. Both abolitionists and anti-abolitionists used the Scriptures to back up their side of their beliefs about slavery – so even something seemingly objective can be interpreted subjectively.

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