Belief that there is evil in human nature is a barrier to understanding the "evil" person and thus throwing them to the wolves and turning them into worse wolves than they are now!  Evil is that which needs total opposition for it is inexcusable and intense dislike of it is the only valid emotional response.  Religion says that we have free will to cause evil for God is only good and has nothing to do with it.


When people gleefully cause grave suffering, we refer to it as an act of pure evil. Pure evil. We want to believe this deed is purely evil and nothing else. More importantly we need to believe it. You cannot define exactly what you mean by pure evil or what it is. So it is expressing a feeling. You think you sense that the deed is wholly evil.

The victims try to keep thinking about the terrible thing done to them in order to look for reasons or answers as to why somebody would hurt them. Thus the pain directly caused has indirect consequences too. It is like the person thinks that the more he or she relives the pain and the event the bigger the chance of a breakthrough where the light of understanding and the help it brings comes in.

The deed causes suffering to those not directly affected by the atrocity. It is not just victims who are the victims.

The more you try to understand all the evil the more angry and frustrated you become because there is no way to understand it and evil is not about being understood. It must be noted that this is because evil is destruction - even if it is not really pure evil it is pure evil to us.

Is this to say that it does not matter in terms of trying to understand if the evil is pure evil or just a lack of good that we need to see as pure evil?

What matters is that if you say it is really pure evil and it is, then it is a power you cannot understand for you cannot interview and talk to evil. But this is rendered into unimportance by the fact that you need to see the act as pure evil even if it is not really. Understanding is about looking at the reasons why the person did the things they did but the fact remains that these were not reasons but excuses. What place is there for real understanding? None.

If evil is pure evil then it is stupid to ask why it happened for by definition it would be happening ultimately for no reason. Thinking about the evil to try and understand it is futile. Calling something evil is not about explaining why it happened but that it happened.

Does it make sense to say that a person who commits an atrocity is insane and thus not pure evil but his action is truly pure evil? No. It would be as natural as an earthquake then and nobody resents an earthquake as pure evil. To call the act pure evil is to blame the doer of the act.

Strictly speaking to try to understand an evil act is just a way of saying you are trying to understand the evil person. There is no such thing as merely understanding an action. It is people you have to understand.

To call something evil is to say it is the complete opposite of what you would do. So it's too polarised for any real understanding. It is to say that the evil person is the opposite of the kind of person you are. Thus you divide yourself from the evil or supposedly evil person. If it is true that the “evil” person needs understanding and the causes of evil deeds are more complex than we will ever know then we are going to their level by excluding them and by implication treating them as less than human.

Religion's efforts to understand evil only feed evil and it cannot complain if members get angry enough to resort to war against the perceived wicked.

So if you cannot try to understand evil then what do you do? You cannot just put the evil out of your mind after it happens for you need to relive it and "repeat" it long enough to grasp how evil it was. You need to understand the evil done by a person before you can understand anything about the person. It would be monstrous to start living as if nothing happened seconds after somebody fires a gun at you or rapes you. Nevertheless in time you must try to be not a victim but a survivor or even a coping person. The worry with that suggestion is it says, "Okay you have hurt yourself by reliving what happened so you are as bad as the person who hurt you. You cannot judge." It blames the victim. We may have to live with that for moving on is essential.

This idea is resigning yourself to the fact that evil happens and there is nothing you can do to stop people being evil but all you can do is stop it winning.

If evil is a power then is there any point in trying to understand why a person did something evil?

No. Trying to understand them is like trying to understand why somebody has skin. Evil wants you to blame the person's psychology.

Religion wants to preserve the need for understanding for that is a prelude to and part of forgiving. Without understanding there is no forgiving.


Religion says and God belief is clear that it is good that evil is a mere falling short and not real. It is the greatest good of all. On the positive side good is good and on the negative side evil pays homage to good for it can do nothing unless it latches on to it. So both ways equally affirm good.
Some try to make real evil. We all do on some level when we act badly.

The attempt to make evil real is the worst sin. It is trying to destroy fundamental good.

It is great evil to teach that evil is real like the Manicheans. Bad teaching influences people more than bad example does.

Religion tries to make you make your evil real by telling you it will bring you to everlasting Hell and breed evil that will bring much pain on earth. It makes evil that is “really” bad really bad. Such doctrines turn morality into a necessary evil to be cursed not a celebratory thing! Those who adore God as a sign or "embodiment" of morality are doing wrong.

If evil is a power then seeing it or even thinking we see it surely lets it put seeds in us? Ugly raw evil has never repelled all who see it. Seeing is sowing. If evil is a lack it is so good at this that it would be better at it if it were a power. Evil as a power can still be a lack but not only that. So we see that evil will try to act like a virus. You don't see it but you go near and you get it.


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