The category of good and evil is incorporated in people’s existence and is manifested in all spheres of human life. Clearly, religion is often seen as certain code of conduct where principles of living are provided and people tend to compare the category to the essence of religion. However, the category of good and evil is beyond religion. The latter is “the expression of man’s belief in… a superhuman power” (Ramakrishnan, 2010, p. 1). The former is the way people live though it may also be affected by the religion practiced. Therefore, it is more important to start with a focus on universal categories which are applicable in day-to-day life rather than trying to concentrate on abstract concepts.
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At that, it is necessary to note that some religions do not even have particular notion of good and evil. For instance, those practicing Shinto do not have the category of good/evil but there is a concept of purity and misfortune (Williams, 2005). Jainism is also more concerned with the concept of non-violence rather than good or evil. Daoism also neglects the category. Those practicing this religion believe in a sage and seek for detachment as the way to achieve the major goal of life (Van Voorst, 2012). Hinduism does not have the category of good/evil as people practicing it believe in Karma which in nor good or evil. Buddhism is also a religion that does not have a focus on good/evil. Buddhists try to follow the Nobel Eightfold Path which is supposed to lead them to liberation and purifying of the mind.
There is certain focus on the category of good and evil in Judaism. Judaists believe they can achieve light through gathering the so-called ‘sparks of holiness’. They also believe that people are responsible for the evil that persists in the world (Van Voorst, 2012). It is necessary to note that religions of indigenous people had the category of good and evil but westernization of these people has led to psychological disorientation and social instability.
As has been mentioned above, the category of good/evil is more tangible in each individual’s social environment. I have to apply the category in my day-to-day life all the time. For instance, when it comes to my academic life, I have to make decision applying the category. I choose not to cheat during tests and exams as well as in my entire academic life since I know cheating is evil for me as a future professional. My friends often come to ask a piece of advice and I use the concept of good/evil when helping them. I would not say I employ religious concepts or codes of conduct. I am concerned with the morality and outcomes of my (or other people’s) actions. I know that doing right will help me live easier and develop proper relationships with people around me.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that the category of good and evil is more apparent in people’s lives than in religions. People try to choose the good or evil basing on their religious beliefs, moral values and so on. I focus on my actions’ outcomes and I try to develop appropriate relationships with others. I can add that my approach based on doing right things has already proved to be successful as I have many friends and people I may rely on.
Ramakrishnan. R. (2010). Many paths, one destination: Love, peace, compassion, tolerance, and understanding through world religions. Tucson, Arizona: Wheatmark, Inc.
Van Voorst, R. (2012). RELG: Wolrd. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Williams, G. (2005). Religions of the world: Shinto. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House Publishing.