Evil

The BBC had an article in which “evil” was in quotations. I went back to reread it and now it says “evil killers” in the title.

Conservative grad student has an October 2, 2004 post on a conversation where he said “That is evil” and a fellow grad student disagreed with him. No, the other said. It’s different. It’s different and you don’t like it. But it’s not evil. It was though. Read the article to find out the topic.

I am now considering a short internet research paper, three sources, one page, as an extra credit assignment. What is the meaning of evil in the media?

I googled “evil” and the first site is a quiz that tells you how evil you are. It doesn’t ask any questions about dictionary definition evil. Instead it asks you what cliques you belong to, whose name you recognize, what music you listen to, and what you’d rather be when you grow up. Clearly needs a clue. BTW it said I was neutral. I didn’t answer over half the questions.

Next of interest on the google is Peter’s Evil Overlord List which for a long time was one of my teenage son’s favorite websites. It’s 100 things you ought to keep in mind, but goes on beyond 100. He found that exceptionally funny. The site is amusing. But it doesn’t really answer the question of evil. Or even begin to address it.

George W. Bush Scorecard of Evil came up 11th. It’s an interesting and somewhat rational perspective of Bush’s evil. Of course, many of the things the author says are bad, like abortion bans, aren’t. And I think some of the things he doesn’t like are good, fine, or ridiculous. Perhaps because I am a right wing ostrich. There are several issues I would have deducted points for on a Bush score card, but those are not on his list. So… Not evil.

Okay, I am not sure why this came up, but I agree with it. I changed the google to “What is evil?” and got Cheat House, a clearing house for getting other people’s work which you can then claim as your own. No one would order these papers for research purposes. The internet is too easy to use and the library is free. As a teacher, I don’t like this “Cheathouse” idea. It is evil. It promotes unethical and illegal things, especially theft of intellectual property and lying. Interesting hit, though.

PBS has its own frontline of evil page about the Rwanda genocides. But it doesn’t diss them. It disses the west for not doing anything about it. This is PBS. They don’t like the American military. Exactly what were they, as part of the west, doing? Talking. That’s abandoning Rwanda, too. But Rwanda did this to itself. Yes, we didn’t go to war. Lots of wars, not a lot of support or troops. But we didn’t cause the Rwanda genocide. Rwanda did. Where’s PBS’s anger at them? Not there. The genocide was evil. But the West not stepping in to attack? If we had, no one would have liked it, including PBS. “All it takes for evil to win is for good men to look the other way.” Does that make them evil? That’s not a question that is asked on the site, though.

Evil is apparently a Boston based bicycle company. There you go. Dilution of the word to meaning bicycles. Well, of course the Beslan terrorist attacks weren’t bicycles.

This article attempts to define evil. First, it rejects the dictionary definition, without much explanation-no, without any. Then it goes into a historical discussion that is inaccurate. Yes, Augustine discussed evil. No, the Christian concept of evil did not develop in the third and fourth centuries AD. In the beginning, God gave one command. Adam and Eve broke it. That was evil. Cain was jealous of Abel and killed him. That was evil. And the list goes on. The Old Testament, which was written beginning somewhere in the second millenium BC and codified before the third century BC, begins the historical biblical discussion on evil. The New Testament, which was concluded before 150 AD, gives the new Christians a more in-depth description. “You have heard it said that you shouldn’t murder. Anyone who calls his brother an idiot is in danger… You have heard it said that you shouldn’t commit adultery; anyone who lusts commits adultery.” This is paraphrased, but it’s what Jesus said in Matthew. Long before Augustine was alive to have a discussion.

This forum has a discussion in which evil is discussed and defined by various persons. One of them claims that the car bombings in Iraq are not evil, even though they are killing hundreds of Iraqi civilians, but that the US army being there is evil. While I can see their argument for the US army, I cannot see or concede their argument that car bombs are okay.

“The Study on Evil and Depravity” says, “I think an evil act reflects intent, actions, and attitudes about what one has done.” But it doesn’t actually say what intent, actions, and attitudes are evil. Supposedly his 26 point scale of depravity will tell us what is evil. But he’s not done with it yet, so we’ll have to wait. Or we can just look around and see it ourselves.

I went to Fox News and put in evil. The first article is one about Cheney pushing to lift the UN bans on Iraq. I assume this is when he was with Halliburton. Yep. The next is the vice presidential debate. That’s a bit scary. Why would these come up? Evil isn’t in the title.

Web results from Fox News came up with “Why Evil and Suffering?” and “Rent Evil Netflix.” Funny one.

Putting evil in at ABC news got me an article on “The Study of Evil and Depravity” (see above). Then “Gore: Combat ‘Other’ Axis of Evil” and “Crime Blotter: My Evil Twin Did It.” The third is another example of blaming someone else, anyone else, even our imaginary twin, rather than taking responsibility for our own actions.

CNN got “Key Points of 2nd Debate” and “Candidates Tackle Iraq” before moving to “Myst sets pace for virtual realism.” The fourth one is about evil. A kidnapping defendant, who kidnapped a kindergartener, jumped up and slashed his lawyer- while in court. Yes, kidnapping a child is evil. Knifing people is evil. Then we get back to the VP debate and the report on Iraq’s WMDs.

After thinking for a while, I put in “the purpose of evil.” The first hit I got had that title. It seems to be a theological discussion over the fact that Christian orthodoxy does not explain evil well. His/her argument is that God made all things. Therefore, God made evil. Since God is good, evil must be for some good reason. Eventually evil will lead to good. Absolute evil cannot exist, because if it does, then absolute good cannot exist, and it does- God. Then he says this proves that hell can’t exist as we suppose, torture for eternity. Articulate. I do not agree with many of his talking points, but he has them and they are well-developed.

The next is a PDF file which is on the same topic. It says that God has a purpose for everything. Then it says that some evil has a purpose. But when I read that section, the author noted no evil, but only discussed physical pain. That’s not evil. That’s pain. Then it says that some evil is a byproduct of good. The early bird gets the worm, but the worm gets eaten. Since God set that system up, too, I would have to say it must not be evil. This article is reprinted from Baker’s Encyclopaedia of Christian Apologetics.

The third item says that the purpose of evil is to point us to God. Okay… Adam and Eve were with God. Hung out with him personally. They were friends. Then they broke his command and “sin entered the world.” Then they lost that daily communion of friendship with God. Don’t think that points us to God. Now, evil can make us wonder about God, but it doesn’t make us look for/to him.

Then there’s a thread which says that “Lucifer” is a mistranslation of an Isaiah passage about Babylon and that, therefore, there is no Satan. While I can easily believe a mistranslation/misunderstanding (It is not a mistranslation. The word is correct. However, what it was referring to may have been misunderstood.), Satan himself came and tempted Jesus. So while I may not know his given name, he’s still out there.

When I change my google to “the nature of evil” I get a story first. Then a website entitled Searching for Evil. In this, there is a definition of evil. It is the overidentification with a cause to serve selfish purposes. Then it goes on to explain that the prosecuting attorneys are evil, the government actors are evil. While the laws might not be evil, they do evil. I think that he doesn’t understand what evil is. Too bad. I thought we might have something here.

The Dark Force in Nature explains how Satanism is really good. It is only perceived as bad because people like to think in dualities such as good/evil and right/wrong and Satanism involves all the issues without focusing on the two extremes. Now there is an article on evil that will straighten you out and bend you into a twisted pretzel.

Here’s kudos for the English majors. This site examines Macbeth and the nature of evil. It actually says that evil is the opposite of humanity. It is a deviation from what is natural. (I can see problems with that definition.) But then the author goes on to say that evil originates in the human heart. It’s a start. Finally.

One thought on “Evil

  1. Hello Suzi,

    Thanks for the nice comment on my photoblog. I really enjoyed this article you posted, made me think. Those that don’t know Christ don’t really recognise evil. Because, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17

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