You always hear it said that good and evil and what it is depends on your point of view. Your morals, beliefs, and views all combined determine your own views of what good and evil is. In determining the two from each other I believe there are two factors.
The first factor is your own freedom of choice. What is freedom of choice? It is your individual ability to make choices that effect yourself. I will use the United States as an example since it is where I live but I’m sure you could find examples in other countries that fit in with this also. Now some people would say many laws of your own country take away this freedom of choice. In some circumstances I would totally agree as there are many laws in the US I don’t agree with. I will use the seatbelt law as an example. I’m not sure if it’s mandatory to wear in all states but I know it is in a majority of them. Some would say there shouldn’t be a seatbelt law because it is taking away your freedom of choice. It is your decision and your own life you risk by wearing or not wearing a seatbelt. It actually has the potential to take someone else’s life away that I’m sure if they had the choice would prefer to remain living. When driving down the road and you are not wearing a seatbelt lets say you hit some ice in the winter and begin to spin. You end up on the passenger side of the car due to not wearing a seatbelt. Because you have flown to that side of the car you can no longer recover the spin and end up hitting another car and killing the driver. If you had your seatbelt on you would have remained in the drivers seat and most likely you would have been able to recover the spin thus not killing the driver or even hitting the other car. Because there is the potential of your choice to not wear a seatbelt could against their will, effect another persons life makes it a decent law.
Now some states have laws against doing certain things in your own home and as long as it is not someone else who doesn’t have a choice like a baby and smoking. I don’t think someone should smoke in their home if there is a baby in the house because that baby does not have a choice to breathe in the smoke or not. Now if there are no kids and just a bunch of adults if they all consent to the smoking then have fun. Now I was trying to avoid it in my example but it’s just a perfect example so I guess I will use it..lol. Certain states I know have outlawed certain things being done in the bedroom. That I do not agree with because as long as both parties consent there is no harm.
So that should give a good idea of what I mean by freedom and choice. Now what do I mean as free will. Well it’s pretty simple for me as in free will is the ability to think for yourself. If someone begins to control and dictate how you should think then there is a problem. So those two factors are what contribute to there being a difference between good and evil.
I have seen some mention that it depends on intentions but there has been many times when the best of intentions have had the worst outcomes. Also intentions are subject to point of view. You could commit mass murder and you had the best of intentions even though in actuality you are committing a major evil. So those are my thoughts on the subject which has been of major discussion in the yahoo groups and spurred me to write this.