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Contemporary Catholic Virtue Ethics Approaches - Part 1

The world we live in today demands for each one of us to understand the concepts of good and evil much better. In a world that is constantly trying to blur the lines between moral and immoral, it has become increasingly important to go back to understanding the fundamentals of creation and the purpose of this life. The concept of evil has been debated for just as long as human existence. The origins of it often take the direction of a wide set of hypotheticals that divert one further from God’s plan for his creation. The pursuit of the understanding of evil, its origins and its depths, are just as important as understanding one’s own strengths, weaknesses and faith. Evil being so closely on the same page of beyond human understanding as good, it automatically becomes a concept to allot to someone, usually God, in order to explain its existence. The catholic theology adheres to the understanding of the perfection of God and his creation and so evil plays a conflicting role in the life of a catholic when they cannot understand the origins of it. While it is established that the extent of God’s plan cannot be understood by man in the current form, evil is still an increasingly urgent concept to understand, specially to negate any effects it may have on one’s faith in God. But understanding evil does not play a major role for those who do not believe in God as it becomes easier to accept the existence of it as just another thing that exists and needs to be dealt with accordingly. Gilhooly et. al, (2017), suggests that changes to the treatment of the problem in atheology help to see the problem of evil is not itself clearly expressing the complaint it hopes to raise.

Contemporary Catholic Virtue Ethics Approaches - Part 2

On further reflecting on the topic I have come to realize the significance of reflection and introspection to come to proper realizations about the concept of good and evil. It is extremely necessary to asses one’s strength and weaknesses as there are going to be many situations in our daily lives that put us to test. Under the catholic theology the concept of morality is often attributed to the reward and punishment theories associated with god. But if an individual needs the anchor of religion to distinguish between what’s good and what’s evil there stand to be a greater room for error. It is up to the individual to assess their own strength and weaknesses. In the simplest sense of the word, catholic theology talks about the concept of intrinsic evil- one that propels human beings to commit acts that can never be morally justified or permitted in the eyes of god. Acts like theft, treachery, suicide, euthanasia cannot be justified or explained in any manner no matter what rationalisation one provides.

This bring sus to the point where we must deeply analyse what constitutes as morally evil and what constitutes as deeply evil. The catholic theology attributes these concepts to situations where no amount of good intention form the individual can justify why did they commit acts that cause harm to another individual or themselves. but as an individual, when it comes to understanding these concepts I want to look further and understand what causes certain individuals to commit such intrinsically evil acts? What are their motivations and thought process that determines the extent of evil in these actions? This is why studying the systems that propel individual to stray from the god’s path becomes extremely crucial in the reflection process.

Apart from religion too, there are certain moral duties of individuals- to heir society, to their family to themselves that should help them act in way where even if they cannot create extremely great opportunities for someone else, they must at least be self-aware enough to not cause any harm (Chryssides, G. D. 1987).

My idea about the concept of evil surrounds around the very system that influences human beings to act in accordance with their self-interests. It is essential to understand their situation and create opportunities where they can act in a way that helps act in manner that helps not just them but also their fellow human beings. Physical evil like in the form of poverty must be alleviated, moral evil in the form of ignorance must be prevented. This requires a through analysis of the frameworks that exist in our society that reward or punish human beings on the basis of their actions. In the view of the strictest catholic doctrine all actions must have a semblance of welfare for other individuals (Polgar, N., 2018).

Whether this awakening arises as a result of religious transformation or an intellectual transformation, it totally depends on the individual. The presence of human consciousness enables us to truly reflect and decide on the best version of selves. This version is alive with a conscience and truly associates with the metaphysical aspects of the divine and the nature. The most important objective of our lives should be to strive for the ideal lives that are devoid of any physical or moral evils. But because life and situation do not work as per ideal, the most we can strive for is relative perfectionism where we at least try to be a good version of ourselves and help our fellow beings whenever we can. In fact, the apparent disorder that happens in the universe is chance for human beings to actually transform themselves. This is to apply their sense of morality and act in a way that helps them fulfil their potential. This apparent disorder, as per religion is actually designed as test to se how human beings will act. Therefore the effect of evil then is only determined by the human being acting in situation chooses to respond to a situation. It is their though process and their sense of morality, their sense perception about the situation that will help them respond to a situation. It is this consciousness and awareness that can help them act as per their highest self and their level of spiritual and religious and awareness can determine their degree of morality. And though the universe and the societal powers at large will always be in motion , it is up to the individual themselves to at least strive for a sense of morality that helps them distinguish between what good and what’s evil.

Bibliography for The Mystery of Evil

GILHOOLY, J. R. (2017). CHAPTER SEVEN MYSTERY AND EVIL JOHN R. GILHOOLY. Evil and a Selection of its Theological Problems, 96. GILHOOLY, J. R. (2017). CHAPTER SEVEN MYSTERY AND EVIL JOHN R. GILHOOLY. Evil and a Selection of its Theological Problems, 96.

Polgar, N., 2018. On the Relevance of the Concept of Intrinsic Evil: Francisco Suárez and Contemporary Catholic Virtue Ethics Approaches. De Ethica5(1), pp.21-36.v

Chryssides, G. D. (1987). Evil and the Problem of God. Religious studies, 23(4), 467-475.

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