I was asked this question this morning and have been thinking about an answer. It similar to the Good vs Bad post and is very much related.
Good and bad and morality is sadly in the eyes of the beholder. What else could explain things people do to others who do not share their beliefs?
Yes it is in the eye of the beholder, to a degree. Please don’t think I’m attacking you because I’m not, just trying to make my point salient. Lets say for whatever reason you loose your temper with a person. Let say you lash out and actually attack this person, in a moment of bad judgment and reaction. Let’s say this is totally uncharacteristic of you. Are you now a bad person? Of course not, but if a person passing by saw this and it’s their only impression of you chances are you will be labeled as a ‘Bad person’. You could even, possibly, be lumped in as part of the evils of humanity in their mind.
People that seem to have different ideas of good and bad only seem, from the outside, to be evil or good when viewed with limited information. Good and Bad only seem relative when viewed narrowly; however, if we could actual piece the entirety of the persons being together we would see that their process of formulating ideas isn’t any different than ours. If we would ask them, they have their story as to how and why they do what they do. **Please note that I’m not saying there aren’t bad people with bad intentions but things aren’t always as straightforward as we sometime categorize them in our minds.**
I understand that their ideas could be totally inverted of what is general thought of as Good or Bad compared to our view; but, we need to also know this is only one person, or one culture, or one religion. To get a grasp on what good or bad is to us as humans it’s about many examples, coupled with time, that we see Good and Bad emerge amongst various cultures and various religions that has a general direction; it points to what is Good and points to what is Bad. A lot of times its hard to see one for one equivalents of Good and Bad amongst individuals and cultures. Its upon stepping back we see patterns across cultures, history, we know that there is something akin to Good and Bad but it’s not as clear as we’d like it to be.
About not sharing beliefs it’s hard to share a set of beliefs without accepting some brute suppositions but these suppositions are usually an amalgamation of all prior knowledge, individually and culturally. However, there are easier and hard things to simply accept as good or bad. The harder it is to accept the more likely life, genetics, societies, social pressures will influence what we are willing to accept as good or bad. Again, this at face value seems relative until we step back. As we step back the clarity of relativity becomes blurry because we see similar patters of behavior that transcend culture.
What else can explain why we attack or hurt other with different belief systems? Keep the above and the other blog in mind and let’s back step to the example of you losing your temper and attacking someone. Unless this person thinks holistically and knows and understands human nature you will be forever a bad person in their mind. It is far easier to say, do, attack physically or verbally someone that we deem as a bad person. If we are trapped in our own world view, individually and culturally, and trapped by viewing things too narrowly it becomes easier to attack someone. We loose our humanity because we can’t see them as people. We can’t see them as people like us and instead of seeing the world in ‘squares’ as I do, or as we do, that person, or those people, see the world as circles. Viewed to narrowly we literally see ourselves as totally different people with totally different ideas and this from our minds perspective justifies an attack.