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What makes a person evil? I have no idea. IME, I've learned that most people have the capacity of thinking evil which expresses into evil action. I learned that in schools, in suburbs, on the playgrounds, on sports teams, in DeMolay, in every church, in contemporary government and in my first marriage that evil thought and deed is everywhere. I have seen flowers growing out of cow pies, so I know goodness can be found, but it's rare. I've once or twice met persons of the purest faith that I felt too unworthy to be in the same room with them.

I was at a church retreat near San Bernardino once when a speaker from Eastern U. near Philly, a brilliant speaker whom I greatly admired, said to a small group of us after his presentation, something to the effect that we are afforded the ability to put on the "whole armor of God." The whole of God's armor is perfect in defending against evil save in one critical respect. The fatal flaw is the son of a b**** inside it. He said it to strike deep the point. After fifty years, I still remember it.

I don't know what makes for evil in this life, but I think evil is unavoidable. All I can do is try to fight it in thought and deed. I can't wait to go Home to rest. I guess that will depend on whether God is a Calvinist or Arminianist. :biggrin2: (kind of an inside joke in academic Evangelical circles)
 

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The sin nature (Rom 6-7) will be with us until He returns. It can be revived in the saint if he takes his eyes off his Savior and relies upon his own abilities (Rom 7) or turns elsewhere. The true solution is to endeavor to persevere in faith and walk in the Spirit you have received (Rom 8). Now, to stay out of this thread before I get in trouble with the moderators.
 

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I have met and known people with varying reasons and varying amounts of evilness. I have only known two people who were born evil. One was my nephew.

My sister had three children raised and loved the same. Two are normal. One is a college professor. I met the evil son when he was six months old. I looked at his eyes and it scared me. He did exactly what he wanted to do from being a small baby on through life. Nothing short of death would change what he wanted to do.

When he was around twelve, his father bought him an expensive fishing rod and reel and other fishing gear for his birthday. A few days later, he was caught shoplifting a cheep reel and fishing items. He didn't need or want them. He did it just because.

When he was around fifteen, he broke in the next door neighbor's home. He robbed, beat, and rapped an eighty-seven year old woman. He didn't try to hide his identity and she told the cops who did it.

He spent time in Juvenal Detention and was worse when he came out. He was into gangs, taking drugs and alcohol, and selling drugs. He fathered children with different young women. He was in and out of jail.

He moved in with a guy and the guy's mother who were the local drug suppliers. One night after lots of drugs and alcohol, he took the drug dealer's gun and shot the guy and his mother in the head. He took all of their drugs and went back to the area he grew up in. He was partying with high school friends when the cops caught him. He is doing life without parole since his twenties. He is now in his fifties with no visitors.
 

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I believe the average person has the ability to rise to the best of all that humanity has to offer but also has the ability to sink to the lowest of what humanity wishes doesn't exist.
 

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Psychopaths are born.
Sociopaths are made.

Reinforcement theory:
The person is reinforced (tangible or intangible) either positively or negatively for inappropriate/ criminal/ unethical behavior.
 

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Then there are also average and good people that can reach a situation in their lives where they will do a evil thing.
Want to make a historically "good person" capable of "evil" things? (Revenge) Do something (or try to) bad to someone they love.
Or like in the case of John Wick, his dog.
 
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Evil is not just from people who deem themselves victims.
Evil also come from those who deem themselves superior to all those around them therefore everyone else is inconsequential.
Evil I also believe is a mental illness. The brain does not process empathy.
Evil is also spiritual to some extent if you believe in God and Satan.
Agree. Those who do evil things may use a victim status as justification for their actions, but I don't feel that is the cause of evil. I believe evil emanates from those people referred to as Psychopaths or Sociopaths. A Sociopath has a conscience, but not a very strong one. He can still wrong other people to benefit himself and feel a little guilt, but it is worth the benefit to himself. A Psychopath may know that something is "wrong" (according to others) and will lie to cover his tracks - but will have no remorse. As long as he benefits, he does't care the repercussions to others and feels no guilt. The commonality is they both lack empathy. Combine one of those personalities (especially the latter) with someone that has a fetish/obsession with harming others and you end up with people like John Wayne Gacy, BTK, Dahmer, etc.

I guess the real question is why do people exist with such personalities. Goes back to the age old question of whether it is genetic or environment.
 

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Mr. Prager left out a critical component from his discussion: the working definition of "evil" in his writing.

The word "evil" has been misused a lot lately. There are people who think others are evil for merely having differences of opinion (masks? stay at home?). There are people who think others are evil based off political party affiliation.

Evil may not be a binary yes/no type of thing. Certainly there are atrocities that are clearly evil, but what about borderline things? At what point does an antisocial behavior cross the line from being rude or impolite to being evil? Defining that threshold may help in better describing why people do evil things.
 

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My mother in law was a sociopath and was the most evil person I had ever meet. The only thing she cared about was herself and it didn't matter what she had to do or say to put herself first, no empathy or live for any one or thing.
She followed the same mold of working in health care as a private CNA, no supprised there was a long list of her clients dying, she also had 2 husband's and one daughter who died under very strange sucumstanses and investigated for said deaths.
Not suprisingly slot of very successful people are sosiopaths, Easter to get to your goal if you dont mind lying cheating, stealing and even murder in some cases.
Anyway that's the one person who was truly evil that I had encountered and the sosiopath disorder played a huge part in it.

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Having heard that, I am so happy that your wife has found a caring decent man like you to care for her and that you both found each other. May God Bless you both.

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Jean and I have just been discussing this issue. Her insights seem to me to be valuable.

Jean believes that evil results, much the way that genius does, from a gestalt of several traits acting together. I believe that she is right.

Among those traits are indeed the lack of empathy, but also a lack of a "moral compass," and the effects of parental influence (or the lack thereof). Then, there's also the DNA angle: While much of the affect is a matter of nurture, some of it is the result of "the set-up" of nature, without which the "nurture" angle wouldn't've been able to take such a hold.
And then there's also a possible chemical imbalance.
We could go on and on.

The concept of victimhood, we think, is really just a convenient excuse for the exercise of an already-existing evil with a different agenda. Post-WW1 Germans felt victimized, for instance, but it required a group of truly evil people, the Nazis, to turn that perceived victimhood from a mere potential into a murderously active reality.
To prove the point, note that the post-WW1 Germans were victimized by (primarily) the French, and also by the British and the Italians, but the German Nazis subsequently attacked their own Jewish citizens, and then the Poles and the Russians, none of whom had had anything to do with the demand for reparations which bankrupted the German economy.
German victimhood was merely an excuse, permitting the Nazis to work their magic on a vastly different agenda.
 

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...I guess that will depend on whether God is a Calvinist or Arminianist. :biggrin2: (kind of an inside joke in academic Evangelical circles)
According to an old Catholic friend (now deceased, I believe), God is a Jesuit.
He had definite, jesuitical proof.
 

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Besides the OP, evil comes from a persons mind that through experience or genetic predisposition or both lead to depravity.
 

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According to an old Catholic friend (now deceased, I believe), God is a Jesuit.
He had definite, jesuitical proof.
Ha! I have no doubt.
 

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Having heard that, I am so happy that your wife has found a caring decent man like you to care for her and that you both found each other. May God Bless you both.

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We moved out when I was 17 and she was 16. I'm 49 and she is 48 right now.
The mother in law is dead now ( I am glad )
She help her on death along thinking it would hurt her children but most are glad she is gone and can't hurt anyone else.

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We moved out when I was 17 and she was 16. I'm 49 and she is 48 right now.
The mother in law is dead now ( I am glad )
She help her on death along thinking it would hurt her children but most are glad she is gone and can't hurt anyone else.

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Not to hijack the thread, but I hope your better half is doing well. The recent months must have added a bit of stress.
 

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A side note. Interesting read titled As A Man Thinketh by James Allen. Written in the 19th century but quite relevant.
 
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