Are These People Evil?...

The front page of my local newspaper displayed a photo of Iraqis celebrating beneath the hanging corpse of a US soldier. I found a small version of the picture on-line, here:

The faces aren't twisted, grimacing in hate or defiance. They are jubilant...celebratory...happy.
(Almost like people at a pop concert).

My question is, especially to the Christians here:

Are the Iraqi people in that photo evil?
Are they doing evil?
Are they being evil at that moment?

Or, what?

What's the verdict?



yep. they are consumed with barbaric hatred for Jews and America. The actions illustrate the intents of the heart.

Evil Chemistry!!

Peoples nature is that of an evil sinful nature. I think that all men are capable of evil, and they all can be ruled by thier more base desires.....I think this is an example of that. Does that mean that when they go home they don't love thier kids, or treat thier neighbors with respect? Who knows....they are probably good people

Does it mean they rob and steal? Certainly not, but it does mean they are sinful.

What they did is evil.They are rejoicing in their sinful ways-sinning is fun (I know).Don't think that Evil is going to be shown on people w/ horns and a tail.It's enticing and will become more so.Prof,if they were devout born again Christians and had just done the same thing,I would say the exact same thing.Murder is murder and it's evil.Rejoicing in it instead of recognizing what you did for what it actually was is actually worse IMO.

Minotaurolover,I believe that the Scripture you posted was intended by Paul for the Jews who would not intermingle and saw themselves superior to the Gentiles for the simple fact that they were of the chosen (Jews).This does not mean that those who have not heard the Word go out and kill and it's okay or that they are like animals.They are still men and women and some things are inherently known.They still have a conscience and are just like those who have heard the Word.They will be judged on other ground's and there were many who did not ever have an oppurtunity to hear the Word.Still some today,but not many.

Well, Yah, she is evil, and so is I need to say it again



is that more clear?

God forgive them; they know not what they do...

*crying, really*

Sin sucks!

-Tom Bombadil


not me.

so true.....its amazing how fast sin can take a hold of us without even knowing it....

JoshuaB is correct.

The real question is:

is prof evil? I say yes

the rev

ps I am just kidding prof, I know you are humour impaired, so just laugh and say, man that rev, he is such a kidder

Thanks for the answers so far folks.

The reason that photograph sparked the question about evil is this:

I've seen the claim from Christians over and over that their religion gives an "objective" set of morals. More to the point, it is often said that the Bible provides the Christian with an "objective" reference for identifying and condoning evil (whereas Atheists are often accused by Christians as having no such foundation for adjudging evil - e.g. "in a materialist, non-Christian world there is no 'evil'").

So...I felt something like this event, the Iraqis celebrating the desecrated corpse of an American, would be an opportunity for Theists to show their stuff. I wished to see if the Theist can indeed identify, with confidence, evil when they see it and provide the reasoning. (I'd also note that another claim I often hear from Christians is that all men recognize evil because of God's law being "written in their heart," which I'd also like to see in action).

I was hoping for some more feedback from believers but...let's see what we've got.

It is not for me to say they are evil or not. They certainly did the WRONG thing - but that does not always equate to EVIL....Only God and THOSE people pictured know - in their hearts - whether they went to far in what they did."

So, Mino, shall I assume you are Christian, but still do not find your religion provides a clear, objective idea of what _you_ should consider evil?

JoshuaB, that seems pretty wishy-washy...fence sitting if you ask me. I'd put the same question I asked Minolover to you. (Unless you want to make a less equivocal statement about exactly what, if anything, is evil about the scene of that Iraqi mob).

-- Rooster: "yep. they are consumed with barbaric hatred for Jews and America. The actions illustrate the intents of the heart."

Do those smiles look like hatred? Looks like happiness...relief even. But I assume by "yep" that you feel you can identify them, or their action, as "evil."

Okay. If Saddam Hussein had been killed early on in the war, or if Osama Bin Laden had been killed , and either of their bodies shown in the US newspapers as proof, I think we can both agree that many Americans would celebrate. Even many "good" Christians I'm sure would think "Yes! We got the Evil bugger!"

Now, would the celebration and happiness many Americans would display regarding the death of either of their enemies (Hussein, Bin Laden) be "evil?"

If not, why not?

(I hope you won't deny the celebration that would go on if those guys had been killed, especially during the height of 9/11-inspired American vengeance).

Fadiga, so rejoicing in the victory of war is always evil? (given that one is rejoicing one's foes being vanquished).

The ticker tape parades awarded the soldiers of WW1 and WW2, for their victory, were evil? After all, the soldiers killed enough enemy human beings to win the wars, and as a direct result Americans celebrated.

Where exactly do you draw the line in identifying evil?



fudo and 3rd leg, at the very least, your dillusional pride is classified as 'sin'. If you say you do not sin, you are a liar...

Prof, your whole premise is faulty in that you are trying to make a non contextual relativistic arguement. The very thing that atheist have to do. Make all actions equal.

Was the nazi's actions equivalent to the liberation of the Jews in concentration camps? Both took lives. Is the actions of the Israeli military equal to the palestinian terrorist who targets innocent children and women in public restaurants?

You are completely lacking context.

I've seen the claim from Christians over and over that their religion gives an "objective" set of morals.

I'm curious as to where you've seen that. Most Christians would agree that the bible, esp O.T. laws, were given to display God's standard of righteousness which could rightly be defined as "morals" in the strictest sense of the word.  And yes they are objective in that they are specifically worded and exist in reality. But any attempt to disconnect the "act" or law from the giver renders it useless or at best relative.

"You shall have no other gods before me" is a law that only has meaning when one believes in the one to which it is attributed. "Thou shalt not murder" however can be taken in principle without believing in God but it becomes relative to cultural bias and interpretation.

So it would appear, if I understand your statement correctly, that the morals spoken of are objective only when applied by a believer, and are relative for others. Let's for a moment take the position that God is real. Then the laws would be universally true for both the believer and non-believer and relativity would not be an issue as all would be judged based on "the" law or moral.

I often hear from Christians is that all men recognize evil because of God's law being "written in their heart," which I'd also like to see in action).

The statement "law written on their hearts" was an O.T. messianic prophesy which Christians argue is fulfilled in Christ by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit also called "the spirit of truth".  God Himself is the standard by which to measure righteousness. The O.T. commandments objectified "righteousness", but could not make a man righteous. In the N.T. Christ was God's standard wrapped up in one man. By identifying with His death, burial, and ressurection a person is "clothed" with His righteousness and meets God's standard. Then by recieving the "spirit of truth" a person has the spirit of God in him thus the law is "written on his heart". So, not "all men" have the law of God written on their heart.

Rooster wrote: "Prof, your whole premise is faulty in that you are trying to make a non contextual relativistic argument."

No, I've simply asked for your argument, as opposed to the above dodge :-)

I'm asking your view: on what grounds do you call the Iraqi mob evil? Your own subjective reaction? An explicit Biblical law? On what? Can you point to the specific, objective touchstone used to condone things as "evil" that many Christians claim they have?

I've heard so many Christian debaters say to the Atheist "On what grounds do you condemn Hitler and the holocaust? Your materialistic, relativistic universe provides none, whereas Christianity does provide me with an objective recognition of evil."

I am simply looking to see this fabled objectivity in action, thank you.


Prof, not dodging, my friend. You are. I said it's contextually driven. If someone breaks into my home and tries to rape me 3 year old daughter and I defend her and in the midst of defending her, I meet him with appropriate force...and he dies. I did not "murder" him.

If I am driving on the street and that same guy flips me off and I follow him and kill him, I've "murdered" him.

In the sunni triangle, these fellows are very similar to the few remaining nazi's in Dresden towards the end of wwII. They are loyal to Saddam who mudered, raped and pillaged-literally. He gassed thousands of Kurds, I know an Iraqui who said he personally took another man's wife, had sex with her and then killed her for be a "whore" (either Saddam or one of his dead sons).

You cannot distinguish between a Hitler, a Stalin, a Pol Pot and George Washington?

"If you say you do not sin, you are a liar... "

No it simply means I don´t share your beliefsystem of people as sinners. I don´t buy that manipulation-stuff, sorry.

Prof, you are wasting your time with this I think. The emotional power of Patriotism is such an effective blinder that it leaves people without the ability for impartial judging. The "enemy" will always be considered evil, even if he makes the exact same action as someone from your own "tribe".

Truly patriotism is one of the biggest obstacles to fulfill Jesus teachings.


Yes Prof, I believe these people have done evil. I believe that no matter how justified they think they are, they have given over to their fallen nature and done evil.

the rev

"Do you think it would be reasonable for someone to take issue with you proclaiming them to be a bad person?"

Perhaps it would be, but I dont care, thats what I believe to be the truth, and if someone has an issue with the truth, then there is nothing Ic an do about it. I am not saying they are bad, I am proclaiming they are an evil sinner, in need of reconciliation with God. Bad is relative to how we as humans view the situation, I am speaking from Gods point of view, or at least what I believe to be his point of view.


My religion does give me a clear image of what evil is, its anything against the will of God, its evil....So what is evil? Anything that goes against the written word of God as laid out in the scripture, IMHO, of course. Now that is left up to me to interpert, of course, and there is freedom in christianity that is not laid out in the OT, as mkirk stated.

"Karma is merely the producing of action and reaction, something all living beings do and cannot avoid no matter how good. Sinning is much the same"

I don´t agree that karma and the concept of sin is the same or even close to similar. the former concept can allow that you are perfect as you are in the moment, but the latter says that you aren´t. So feel bad you evil sinner!!