My DM contacted WOTC and here is their answer:
Thank you for contacting us.
I hope this information is useful.
As much as I'd like to agree with you Saern, I think you are incorrect on this point. Some spells (...specifically the one I want to use) are exactly channeling negative energy. Refer to the PHB's description of 'Inflict Light Wounds':
"When laying your hand upon a creature, you channel negative energy that deals 1d8 points of damage +1 point per caster level"
Regardless, I still believe the rules intend that negative energy be considered neutral ... so 'channeling' it should be alignment neutral. How you use it is the key to whether it's use is good or bad (...as outlined in the example of healing a blackguard).
Wizard's text The Manual of the Planes says this regarding Inner plane (including the Negative Energy plane) traits:
"The Inner Planes (Chapter 6): This chapter explores the raw elements and energies that make up your cosmology. They are the most hostile of the planes, and powerful elementals call them home. They are raw power without direction."
"...the Inner Planes share the following traits:
6. Mildly Neutral-Aligned: Within the D&D cosmology, the Inner Planes have no affinity to particular alignments, though specific locations may have them. But regardless of alignment, the natives of the plane tend to be hostile to uninvited visitors."
No where in this text is the Negative Energy plane characterized as being evil. All of the inner planes (Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Positive, Negative), rather, are characterized as being made of 'raw nature'. Quote: "Given the raw nature of the Inner Planes,..."
The positive and negative planes are considered opposing 'energies', whereas other inner planes, such as the plane of fire and the plane of water are opposing 'elements'.
In The Book of Exalted Deeds, the following is written regarding Good spells:
Not many spells in the Player’s Handbook have the good descriptor, but this book includes many more. Spells have the good descriptor because they do one or more of the following things:
• Good spells call upon good deities or energies.
Is casting a healing spell a good act? Often, it is: it relieves the suffering of another creature, promoting the life and well being of that creature. Healing spells do not carry the good descriptor, however, because their moral weight depends heavily on circumstances. Healing a blackguard so he can continue to fight a good party is not a good act at all. Like most spells, healing spells can be used for good or evil purposes, so they are not inherently good. As a variant rule, consider the following spells from the Player’s Handbook to have the good descriptor: good hope and shield other."
In The Book of Vile Darkness, the following is written regarding Evil Spells:
Only a few spells in the Player ’s Handbook have the evil descriptor, but almost all the spells in this book have the evil descriptor. Spells have the evil descriptor because they do one or more of the following things.
• They cause undue suffering or negative emotions.
Some would point out that a fireball spell is likely to cause undue suffering, and it could be used to kill a group of orphans. Does that make fireball an evil spell? Fireball, by itself, simply creates a blast of fire. Fire can be used for evil purposes, but it is not inherently evil. Contrasted with a spell such as shriveling, whose only purpose and only possible use is to wither the flesh of another living creature in a painful and debilitating fashion, it becomes easier to see why shriveling is an evil spell. The judgment cannot be based solely on effect. Your campaign could, for example, have a spell called vitality leech that calls upon a demon that drains Strength points from a target for a short time. The spell’s effect is only slightly different from ray of enfeeblement [a Necromancy spell], but the approach and execution are very different. Vitality leech is an evil spell, while ray of enfeeblement is not. Although the ultimate game effect is the same, the character in the game world faced with the two spells undoubtedly regards them differently. Tapping into evil power is an evil act in and of itself, no matter what the effects or the reason for using the power might be. By this definition, as a variant rule, the following spells from the Player’s Handbook should be considered evil and have the evil descriptor: contagion, deathwatch, desecrate, doom, and trap the soul."
Where the 3.5 edition of the rules are concerned, there is still more to be discussed related to this topic. Specifically (modified version of earlier question):
We know that good (and a few neutral) clerics do not spontaneously cast INFLICT spells, but rather CURE spells. But what about their access to inflict spells? Is a good (Chaotic Good, for example) barred from casting INFLICT spells?
My DM says 'yes, they are barred' due to the fact that it is channelling negative energy. But if you check the spell discriptors in the PHB, 'Evil' is not designated under the Inflict spells' descriptions (as it is with a spell such as 'Death Knell').
My question: Can a good cleric prep and cast Inflict Light Wounds for example?
I really need rules references if I'm going to convince my DM.