air_n_darkness: (maleficent- witch please)
[personal profile] air_n_darkness
eĀ·vil [ee-vuhl]
adjective
1.
morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life.
2.
harmful; injurious: evil laws.
3.
characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous: to be fallen on evil days.
4.
due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character: an evil reputation.
5.
marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.: He is known for his evil disposition.


A friend jokingly commented on her wall that she'd been called evil, with the addition of like if you agree comment if you don't. People being how they are were both liking and commenting, but that is neither here nor there. It was all very tongue-in-cheek, very much a tee-hee sort of situation. One commenter, however, made the assertion that said friend could not be evil, because said friend is pagan, and pagans aren't evil people. Perhaps there is a subtle sarcasm in the person's wording that I am missing, but that doesn't change my immediate reaction.

That reaction? You have answered most incorrectly. You do not get to pass Go, nor collect $200.

(No I didn't post that. I'm not going to stir stuff up on a friend's page)

That was my visceral reaction though, very much a feeling of if this is what that person believes, than they are Doing It Wrong. That's like saying that Christians aren't evil, or Jews, or Buddhists, or any other sect, as if taking up the label means one is somehow immune to the temptations and tempers that can make one evil in another's eyes. That's the kicker. The concepts of "evil" and "good" are very relative concepts determined by the morality of an area's majority than by the one's personal ethics and morality.

When one examines themselves against the moral majority, even a "bad" person in society's view might not consider themselves such. For example, the husband who works long hours at a well-paying job to give his family a good living, who is always the first person to volunteer for community activities, sings in the church choir, etc considers himself a good person. If he wants recreation time with his wife, he is owed it regardless of her desires at the moment and is not above using a little force as encouragement. She is his wife and therefore his. Does he not take care excellent care of her and the kids? Never mind that what he does amounts to marital rape, he does not see it as such, and quite possibly, neither does she, depending on how she was raised.

Is that hypothetical man evil? By dictionary definition he is. He is doing something harmful to his wife, in a manner marked by anger and irritability. But at the same time he is not evil, again by the very first definition. By the standards of his raising and morality, he is neither wicked nor immoral, and he does not lead an evil life.

So how is it that by declaring oneself pagan one is suddenly exempt from the possibility of being evil? The answer is one is not. Ask some Christians and they will say that the very choosing of that label marks one as evil, regardless of how "good" a person is otherwise. There are countless examples of pagans who revealed their religion to friends and family who were instantly shunned. Not because the pagan changed his or her behavior, but because she or he changed her label. Suddenly, this person became damned and unfit to socialize with because they chose a religion that disagrees with the majority.

Evil is a relative concept. In our own local pagan community, there are so many petty, base, and deliberately harmful individuals that would test "evil" according to the definitions and it has nothing to do with those individuals' personal paths. I know some kind people who follow a truly dark path and some cruel ones who claim to follow a light one. Do not claim that because one follows a path of nature and magic that one cannot be evil. In Nature and Magic we often find the most glaring examples of True Good and True Evil extent.
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