Lack of good doesn't lead to evil

Good is an entity emerging from the self/soul which leads to a self-enjoyable state of mind that could act as a potential to perform an action with self-enjoyable outcome. Lack of good leads to lack of good state of mind and it doesn’t lead to evil state of mind but neutral. This means that evil is an entity similar to good but with self-suffering state of mind and outcome.

Each day we perform many good and evil actions not noticing the difference.

No man lighteth a candle, and putteth it in a hidden place, nor under a bushel; but upon a candlestick, that they that come in, may see the light. The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body will be lightsome: but if it be evil, thy body also will be darksome. Take heed therefore, that the light which is in thee, be not darkness.

If then thy whole body be lightsome, having no part of darkness; the whole shall be lightsome; and as a bright lamp, shall enlighten thee.

Please do not generalize by falsely imposing what may be true in your life as true in ours. What you say may be true for you, for us who desire to love God, and love others as ourselves, your proposition is completely false… It may be your experience to be unable to differentiate the effects of good and not-good choices. This is your subjective opinion.
Your definition of good is your subjective definition of good, dependent upon the effects upon yourself. You may not see the difference between what you call good and evil actions, but that is your subjective perception.

We Christians do not see good as self-satisfaction and self centric.
We are very aware of the difference between good and bad choices and actions.
Our concern is not just what we feel or think either, but the welfare of others also.
We are quite aware if our actions are kind or cruel, thoughtful of others or lacking in thoughtfulness of them. We know that we have done wrong if we have impacted harmfully upon others’ welfare and rights. We do feel regret if we have harmed others, or acted against what is right for them or ourselves. We wish to repair and heal those failings. We are not left indifferent and seeing these things as neutral.

For us, lack of good can lead to evil which in its extreme is absence of good which is evil, that is, lack of goodness and love. As Christians we know that God will judge us by our acts of practical goodness and kindness to others (Matthew 25 verses 31-46) And we deeply desire to live in kindness and goodness not because of fear but because of love. If we speak unkindly or act unkindly, we don’t feel happy or neutral, we want to make up for that, and we also wish to use the gifts of nature and grace from God to the best of our ability.

And what is definition of good?

So it’s all based on us? Good is whatever makes us happy and evil is whatever makes us sad?

It is of course based on us and situation.

There is a difference between sad and suffering but generally you are correct. Once the state of mind is good (situation) and outcome is good then we did a good thing. Can you give me one example of good action?

The problem is that many things can make us happy, even if only temporarily, and if we define those things as good then one person may define incest or even child sacrifice as good while another doesn’t.

Goodness is based on love/charity

1822 Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.

1823 Jesus makes charity the new commandment.96 By loving his own "to the end,"97 he makes manifest the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” And again: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."98

1824 Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps the commandments of God and his Christ: "Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love."99

1825 Christ died out of love for us, while we were still "enemies."100 The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.101

The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: "charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."102 

1826 “If I . . . have not charity,” says the Apostle, “I am nothing.” Whatever my privilege, service, or even virtue, "if I . . . have not charity, I gain nothing."103 Charity is superior to all the virtues. It is the first of the theological virtues: "So faith, hope, charity abide, these three. But the greatest of these is charity."104

1827 The practice of all the virtues is animated and inspired by charity, which “binds everything together in perfect harmony”;105 it is the form of the virtues; it articulates and orders them among themselves; it is the source and the goal of their Christian practice. Charity upholds and purifies our human ability to love, and raises it to the supernatural perfection of divine love.

1828 The practice of the moral life animated by charity gives to the Christian the spiritual freedom of the children of God. He no longer stands before God as a slave, in servile fear, or as a mercenary looking for wages, but as a son responding to the love of him who “first loved us”:106

If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the position of slaves. If we pursue the enticement of wages, . . . we resemble mercenaries. Finally if we obey for the sake of the good itself and out of love for him who commands . . . we are in the position of children.107 

1829 The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest.108

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a7.htm

The above is good. Evil is the lack of charity, the lack of love that results at the least in failure to help others in their needs but only caring about oneself,
and at worst it results in cruelty, war, abuse, murder, etc.

Lets consider the worst example which is child sacrifice and assume that state of mind the person who perform sacrifice is happy, state of death of child is suffering then we have good state of mind and suffering outcome so based on the definition provided this action is neither good nor evil. There is another combination which state of mind is evil and outcome is good like when we are under stress and lie to release ourselves. So in fact we have four different type of actions/behaviour, good, evil, good prime and evil prime. By the way you didn’t give me an example of good action.

Bravo.

You illustrate well why man cannot be the one to dictate good and evil.
This determination is for God and God alone.

And what is love? Please don’t tell me that love is not something self centre.

This tell us that we have to overcome our ignorance. People use to do sacrifice for Gods differently.

As your illustration points out, this evil act was considered good.

God wants better for us.

In my mind an objectively good action is to feed the hungry. And yet African tribes have been known to interfere with relief agencies doing just that because, in their minds, feeding rival tribes was evil; their enemy’s survival/success could mean suffering/loss for them.

As Jesus said, “Love others as yourself” of course it implies that one must properly love oneself.
That proper love of self requires that one cares for one’s health and well-being, and sometimes love does bring joy to the mind.
However, love is often not self-centered.

When parents put their children’s needs before their own, to protect and help their children,
when the husband works to support his family, even when he is tired, and just wants to take the week off and go fishing, his love is unselfish
when any of us do something for others even if it takes much effort and we don’t feel like it, but we know they need help, that is unselfish love
there are many instances where love in kind acts is not self-centered, but other-centered.
If we just feel like doing our own things, but someone needs our help, that requires unselfish effort, it requires an unselfish act of love.

You unselfishly love someone in life, in marriage, if you still care about them even when the excitement fades, and they become old or are no longer physically attractive. And if you are willing to still warmly appreciate them as persons, and to work at a happy mutual relationship even then, when initial attraction fades then your love is not-self centered, Love is a choice in that every day you need to face whatever comes in faithfulness and kindness.

In my mind an objectively good action is to feed the hungry. And yet African tribes have been known to interfere with relief agencies doing just that because, in their minds, feeding rival tribes was evil; their enemy’s survival/success could mean suffering/loss for them.

Any ignorant action is wrong. Evil is not good or bad, evil is just evil. For example consider our situation and assume that I am challenging your opinion. My act is evil if I am angry (in state of suffering) and knowing that outcome of this challenge make you angry. Is challenging your opinion in evil way is wrong, no because that is true challenging that we could overcome our ignorance. The act of challenging per se is not good, evil, good prime or evil prime and it depends on two person who get involved in the challenge.

Catechism, paragraph 1766, citing St. Augustine: “To love is to will the good of another.”. Would you count that as “self centre”…?

By the way, given how much of the Catechism has been cited here, maybe you would like to read it yourself…? :wink:

My English teacher never let me get away with using a word to define that word.

I should expect you should know better then that as well.

In my mind an objectively good action is to feed the hungry. And yet African tribes have been known to interfere with relief agencies doing just that because, in their minds, feeding rival tribes was evil.

That could be simple terminology or could be because of lack of food. But your action of feeding hungry is not good since your state of being is suffering and the outcome is good. So your act is evil prime not good.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.