St Paul in the New Testament argues that we must never do evil so that good may come from it. This is odd considering Jesus himself attacked people with violent abuse in public. And he caused grave trouble in the Temple in those tense times.  The gospel of John says he went as far as to attack people in the Temple twice. 

The good versus evil and evil versus good way of thinking makes us see our lives which always mix both into grey as a battleground.  We look at the grey with black and white glasses.  That way we can create a placebo where we feel we are on the side of good when in fact it was not that good.

There are those who don't admit that morality is grey anyway or not black or white.  There are also those who will assess any situation and say the answer is both right and wrong.  So morality can be foggy in principle.  Or even if it is not, you may not know what to do with it in any particular situation and make the best guess you can think of.  This guarantees that you will, over time, fall away from the principle.  Gradually.  If you are exposed all the time to a morality that is too hard to apply what would you expect?  You end up giving the principle lip-service.

For some reason, people are comforted by the idea of moral being good or bad in principle even though they cannot give us any clear black or white examples.  This is a lie they tell themselves, it is a placebo.  They feel protected if morality is some kind of helpful clear law.  As religion erects itself on morality it follows that religion is just another expression of that placebo.

Christianity not only secretly thinks that as long as the goal is good you can do what you want to bring it about even if that means doing harm and evil but it outsources this "end justifies the means" to God.  If a person say at a point in time did not have the guts to be that viciously pragmatic, they comfort themselves by thinking God is doing it for them.

Christian teaching is that you can never do an objective evil to bring about some greater good even if you know your scheme will work.  So the evil then remains evil and wrong and intolerable no matter what happens after it.  This contradicts how they answer this question.  "It can be hard to tell if something is objectively evil so how do I know?"  Ans: "The consequences will be bad and they are bad for the act was evil in the first place."  So are we to commit the act and wait and see?  Or do we have to get others to do the evil for us so we can learn to avoid it? This is just another form of "the end justifies the means."  And an evil repented of the second after it is done will still have bad results.  So God is not doing a good job of fixing and healing and forgiving.

The believer knows that each action is not a stand-alone but is linked to other actions.  You cannot just phase out the other actions and pick some pieces out and treat that as if that is all you have to test with your conscience.

Okay I have to steal drugs to save my son's life and there is no other way.  That looks like one subject.  It is not.


For that reason there is objective evil in all that we do.

Where is the objective evil here?  It may not be what and where you think it is.


People in general, not just the Church, hide an orientation to care only about the goal regardless of the methods to obtain it.   Your neighbour will fear you if you make it clear they may be seen as collateral damage for your goal. If you are not being mercenary you cannot expect people who know why you will hide it to be very convinced. 

Setting a goal does not make it the best goal or the achievable goal or the only goal.  Every goal is a collective, a set of goals.   So people who admit instead of hiding it, know they will be seen as people who are just bad and are claiming to have a goal when it is only an excuse.

The argument is that you must never INTENTIONALLY do evil for the sake of good. The fact is, if the good is seen as so much bigger than the evil, people will not find this argument very relevant. They will say that even if you are being immoral then you are not very immoral. Your culpability is mitigated by the circumstances and the results.

Plus even religion says God forgives forgotten sins even if you don't say sorry.  So in time you see the terrible thing you did as something more excusable and better.  The forgetting process is the real "forgiver" of sin not God in most cases.

An intention-like morality is grey.  In other words, reducing morality too much to noble intention is too shadowy.  

You cannot look at the bad side of doing what you intend and pretend it has nothing to do with you.  You are directly intending to reach for a good goal but you know there is a cost to yourself and people, a cost of real harm.  You know it is part of the deal.  So you do not directly intend it but you indirectly intend it.  When you want your train set posted to your house you indirectly ask for the packaging.  And direct and indirect can be of equal importance and the indirect can matter more than the direct.  There is the pot of gold you reach for by both hands.  There is the pot of gold you have to make fall into your hands indirectly.  The direct and indirect does not matter one bit here. There is no room for feeling less responsible for something just because it is not as direct as the alternative. And indirect is only a lesser or more awkward direct.  If a person feels okay about shooting you from miles away instead of face to face then a delusion and a placebo is at work. This trait is there even if we do not show it.  That alone shows what is behind how we feel about our best intentions.  It makes us suspect.

We know that we are not keen on admitting even to ourselves that something horrible we did was really inexcusable.  Because only I ultimately can judge my motives and intentions with high enough accuracy, I can easily convince myself that a dubious intention was in fact a better one.  It is remarkable and not natural that we let others show us that our motive was dark.  It is in spite of the fact that nobody else can get in to see.

The fact of the matter is there are no real good intentions.  You intend a good goal but that intention to an extent has, "The end justifies the means," in it.

You have a grey intention that hopes for the good side of the outcome.  That's it. 

Intentions themselves are a problem for you feel nice about having nice intentions.  There is a self-reward here.  That gets addictive and leads eventually to people not caring how much harm results from acting with good or nice intentions. 

What if there is a trolley coming that will kill a hundred people in its path unless you pull a lever to redirect it the only other way it can go? This time one person standing in the way will die. You will be told that you are not intentionally doing evil. You are trying to save the one hundred people and it is not your fault the other person is positioned there.  But the point is that you know the person is there not that you put them there.

If you have to grab a fat malevolent man and push him in front of it to derail it and save the hundred you will be accused of intentionally doing evil. That does not convince those who say your intention is not to kill him either but to keep an evil situation from being a worse one. And they say it is odd that it would be considered okay if you threw yourself on the track so this is not about respect for life at all but about moralistic nonsense.

Jesus said there is no merit in serving those who love you.  So what would he say then if you had to hypothetically drive over some stranger to get your dying child to hospital for every second counts?

Some say that if you look the other way when children are kidnapped and then later on the children are discovered by the police and rescued just because the kidnapper was spotted driving dangerously then you must think about if

-your intervention would have been better than this,

-as good as it,

-or even worse.  Perhaps if you tried and failed the kidnappers would have fled by a better route and the child would never be found again.

You will never know.  If you believe in a God who uses coincidences like that to do the best then it follows that it did not matter if you intervened or not. Your standing back was part of the reason God was able to set the coincidence up.   God belief wrecks concern for others. 

What if soldiers are about to shoot dead a group of one hundred children unless you shoot John yourself as part of the bargain? This is a clear example of how moral rules always meet a scenario where they are impotent.  Christianity says you must not shoot John for the soldiers are the ones who are about to shoot the group not you.  It is up to them not to do it.

The problem with that is it presumes libertarian free will.  We feel that if we could go back in time we could choose differently but that is only a feeling and we cannot test it. And nobody believes they have the free will to blow the world up even if the button was put in their hands.  We think our choices are programmed.  I deny that is real free will but they want to think it is free will enough.  It also presumes that God as master of death has not given them the authority to do what they are doing.  If he can take life he can delegate that right.  If you really believe in God you have to take what comes with it whether it scares you or not.

The Christian teaching is hopelessly unhelpful here.  Think of the argument again and this time have self-programming robots, so no human manufacturer is to blame, instead of the soldiers!

The answer that this never happens is not the point.  If a morality works, it will work if this happens.  The answer is in fact dismissive and evil and all about pretending one knows what is right and wrong.  Morality is not then really about opposing evil and trying to defeat it but about trying to incorporate it in a limited way.  It thinks evil is going to happen anyway so as long as you can make something look more harmless than harmful that is fine.

To give useless reasons for not harming makes you as much to blame as if you ordered it.  You may as well order it.

Christianity bases its moral rules on the notion that God has made us free agents who can do good or evil. 

The doctrine of God giving us free will is confused with his non-interference.  I mean they say when we do evil and God is standing by he is upholding our free will.  But non-interference is just standing by.  If you don't interfere when you can stop a murder this is just being a bystander.  It is not the same as "respecting" their free will.  It is not the same as giving them the faculty with which they can exercise freedom.  If people are looking at evil and suffering and deciding it shows God is not interfering it only means that he is keeping out of it.  There is not enough there to read a pile of metaphysical free will theories into it.