It's taken me ages to narrow this down, but it works for virtually all tested scenarios. Rather than go with a list of complex, confusing as hell laws, half of which are based on personal/societal belief, or abstract concepts like the ten commandments and other such concepts, or even so much as good and evil, I've basically broken everything down to their root causes, and simplified into a single rule.
Do not force yeur opinions upon others.
Painfully simple isn't it? In fact, it sounds TOO simple, but when yeu think about it, it actually works.
I'll give a few examples and some reasoning here so hopefully yeu can see why.
- Murder; forcing the opinion that someone else should be dead upon them. If they don't think they should be dead, then yeu just committed a crime.
- Doctor assisted suicide; as it was the patient's belief that they should be allowed to make the decision, no crime can be commited by following their request; yeu are not forcing the opinion upon them that they should be dead, and yeu may very well be of opposite opinion. So long as it's their desire, yeu can't harm them in doing so ***With the assumption that they are of sound mind and know whot it is they're asking. If they aren't of sound mind, that can no longer occur.
- Theft; the belief that yeu need something more than the person who holds it. This is enforced by the thief as the holder of the item has no capability to prevent a loss.
- Abortion; as long as the child-to-be is part of the mother, it is therefore her own opinion as an extension of how to deal with her own body. Anyone who states otherwise, would be forcing their opinion on the mother(or un-mother?).
Why does any of this matter?
Well, the biggest thing is that we LOVE to demonize each other's positions, and to throw terms like "good" and "evil" around haphazardly, which are little more than opinions.
Let's look at some fairly obvious cases:
Hitlar. EVERYONE loves touting how EVIL hitlar was. The nazi's were PURE EVIL! ...well... why? Whot made them evil? Was it the construction of new highways? The encouragement of physical activity? Pulling a dying country out of a deep recession where 'greater' countries were floundering? Hrm these don't sound evil. How about their killing thousands of people, conquoring several countries, and being heavily racist? Ah yeah, that sounds better! Well... wait... these're things the USA, England, France, Russia, quite a few major powers in the world have done in even their recent histories... whot makes this so different?
Well to be blunt, it's a point of view. "Evil" is ill-defined, and means very little else other than "anything I don't agree with personally", and has nothing to do with set structured rules. Even people who claim "these obviously universal rules" are flat out LYING. Every major rule like "don't kill" has been fully encouraged by at least one culture at one point in time. Even the weirder ones like cannibalism. So if these aren't standardized whot is?
There's a few things here... conquoring another country? The opinion that yeu deserve their land, resources, and citizens more than that one does and enforcing it goes against my rule. It's a simple, strict rule, and fits nicely. How about the racism? On it's own? Doesn't matter, yeu can hate another race all yeu want, yeu just can't ACT on it. Go ahead, hate black people all yeu want, but don't kill them, don't restrict them from jobs, don't instill fear in them to prevent them from doing so, this comes into forcing yeur opinion on them. If yeu get verbally abusive, it can also be treated as such; freedom of speech is only valid until yeu are actively attempting to cause harm to someone... if yeu have an opinion, yeu're fine to state such factually, and provide reasoning, and they are fine to counter yeur argument, but yeu can't pull a gun on them and tell them to believe yeu or else. This's why the nazi's were evil, not because they conquored anyone, or killed anyone, they were "good" in their own eyes, and saw themselves as the saviours of the world... the only people who truly feel themselves to be 'evil' are the totally insane and even half of those don't believe so.
In any case, nazi's were 'evil', but not because of their ideals, but because they enforced those ideals and beliefs on people who didn't share them at gunpoint.
How about self defense as another example? Well, defense of ones own self is upholding yeur own beliefs (of self security and so on) from attack. Yeu are allowed to have yeur own beliefs, no matter how odd, exotic, or offensive they may be. Yeu just aren't allowed to force them on another; if someone attempts to attack yeur beliefs, such as arguing their point against them, yeu can defend them just fine. If someone threatens yeur life, yeu have every right to prevent them from doing so; if yeu have to damage them in the same way (ie kill them to save yeur own life) then yeu are not at fault, as they already stated by their actions that they do not believe that people have the right to be alive if someone else thinks otherwise; as such, yeur killing them in defense of yeur own life is merely expressing their own belief back to them. It can't be a crime if they just told yeu that they didn't care if yeu killed them, in as many words.
Laws equally are important here... how do yeu enforce laws? Aren't they essentially against this? Not really, in so far as yeu break the rule, yeu are also stating subsequently that by enforcing yeur belief on another, yeu are also accepting the responsibility and reprocussions related to such. If yeu want to kill someone, then yeu're allowed to want to do so, yeu just aren't allowed to actually carry it out. At such time as yeu attempt to actually kill them though, without their consent, then yeu are stating that yeu accept the laws in place, and subsequently also state that yeu are declaring yeurself no longer protected by the same rule. Yeu can't argue that they are forcing their opinions upon yeu, that yeu should be punished for such, as yeu have already stated with yeur actions that yeu do not believe in the rule yeurself, and as such, they are not infringing upon beliefs yeu just stated yeu do not have.
To murder someone assumes they had a belief they wanted to live, and yeu infringed upon it; if they didn't have the belief they wanted to live, then yeu didn't have anything to infringe upon.
The biggest problem here, would be setting logical laws which make sense when enforced; killing someone for theft doesn't work so well, punishment unfitting the crime committed. That would have to be considered completely seperately from the rest of this post as it is, in itself, a huge topic, even if it's related.
In any case, this also goes into religion... yeu can state yeu believe in god, or are an athiest, or agnostic, or are a hinduist, or whotever. It doesn't matter, yeur belief is yeur own. Yeu can't, however, enforce that belief upon anyone else and make them convert because yeu told them to. Yeu can present yeur arguments, and show an explaination behind why yeu think their opinion is wrong, and if they AGREE, they can change their mind, however if they decline, yeu have no right to grow abusive either; personal attacks, verbally, or physically, are forceful. Arguing the opinion itself is fine, even if it gets a bit heated due to opposing beliefs clashing, if this didn't occur we'd never get anywhere. Yeu are free to CHALLANGE an opinion or belief, yeu just can't forcibly act upon the holder of the belief/opinion, or attempt to forcibly change it.
If everyone on the forum were to follow this one simple rule, the moderators would probably get bored ^.^
If everyone on the planet were to follow this rule... wars wouldn't exist...
We wouldn't have hate crimes; we'd still hate each other, and want each other dead, but we'd at least realize that we don't have the right to try to enforce that belief.
We wouldn't have religious fanatics, suicide bombers, or other forms of terror.
We WOULD however... have people attempting to 'convince' others of their opinions... financially at times. Whot better way to 'convince' someone that they should do things yeur way, than by offering large sums of money as a reward? They STILL have to make the decision themselves, so it's not forcing the matter... they may be in a position where they're required to accept such for the sake of survival, but as long as yeu had nothing to do with them being in that position, yeu aren't at fault. Of course, were this implimented universally, we wouldn't have third world countries in the same way at all anymore either so this kind of situation wouldn't even need to occur any longer.
But... such is a pipe dream sadly. People just are insistant that their belief is the 'one true way', which's fine. It's just they seem insistant as well that because of their belief, they are somehow entitled to force it on others. This's cyclical reasoning; the BELIEF that yeu are right, can NOT provide yeu the ability to enforce that belief. Otherwise yeu're just saying "I'm always right. And because I'm always right, it's a true statement. And therefore, I am right to kill yeu now." I think most of us can see the flaw in the logic there... sad that so many can't ;_;