When one has once accepted and absorbed Evil, it no longer demands the unfitness of the means. The ulterior motives with which youabsorb and assimilate Evil are not your own but those of Evil.... Evil is whatever distracts. Evil knows of the Good, but Good does not know of Evil. Knowledge of oneself is something only Evil has. One means that Evil has is the dialogue.... One cannot pay Evil in installments--and one always keeps on trying to.
In the story of the Creation we read: ". . . And behold, it was very good." But, in the passage where Moses reproves Israel, the verse says: "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil." Where did the evil come from? Evil too is good. It is the lowest rung of perfect goodness. If you do good deeds, even evil will become good; but if you sin, evil will really become evil.
No matter how hard Evil tries, it can never quite match up to the power of Good, because Evil is ultimately self-destructive. Evil may set out to corrupt others, but in the process corrupts itself. That's just the way Evil is. All things considered, it's better to be on the side of Good, even if Evil occasionally has nicer uniforms.
Whether it's the Axis of Evil, or the evils of eating meat, it is a concept that has all but lost the impact it once had, because everyone thinks different things in this world are evil. PETA thinks what we do to animals is evil, but I think their overzealous approach is evil. Evil, in more ways than one, is comparable to the truth: definitions vary from one individual to the next.
Evil denotes the lack of good. Not every absence of good is an evil, for absence may be taken either in a purely negative or in aprivative sense. Mere negation does not display the character of evil, otherwise nonexistents would be evil and moreover, a thing would be evil for not possessing the goodness of something else, which would mean that man is bad for not having the strength of a lion or the speed of a wild goat. But what is evil is privation; in this sense blindness means the privation of sight.
Whoever has the power to label others as evil is automatically, or reflexively, the good person. Good people label bad people as evil. And once you do that, then it demonizes them. You don't negotiate with evil. You don't sit down at the table with the devil and say, "Okay, let's work this out." What you want to do is destroy evil. Every Catholic kid every night says, or should say, "Lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil." And so you've got to go to God to help you deal with evil rather than your State Department or your negotiators.
If there is anything worse than evil, it is nothingness. At least evil has a form, and a voice, and a purpose, however depraved. Perhaps some good can even come out of evil: a terrible deed of violence against someone weaker may lead others to act in order to ensure that such a deed is not perpetrated again, whereas before they might have been unaware of the reasons why an individual might behave in such a way, or they might simply have chosen to ignore them. And evil, as we saw with the Blacksmith, always contains within itself the possibility of its own redemption. It is not evil that is the enemy of hope: it is nothingness.
This is a world of good and evil. Wherever there is good, evil follows, but beyond and behind all these manifestations, all these contradictions, the Vedanta finds out that Unity. It says, "Give up what is evil and give up what is good." What remains then? Behind good and evil stands something which is yours, the real you, beyond every evil, and beyond every good too, and it is that which is manifesting itself as good and bad. Know that first, and then and then alone you will be a true optimist, and not before; for then you will be able to control everything.
Evil is thus a kind of parasite on goodness. If there were no good by which to measure things, evil could not exist. Men sometimes forget this, and say, there is so much evil in the world that there cannot be a God. They are forgetting that, if there were no God, they would have no way of distinguishing evil from goodness. The very concept of evil admits and recognizes a Standard, a Whole, a Rule, an Order. Nobody would say that his automobile was out of order if he did not have a conception of how an automobile ought to run.
Fulton J. Sheen
Since the primary motive of the evil is disguise, one of the places evil people are most likely to be found is within the church. What better way to conceal one's evil from oneself, as well as from others, than to be a deacon or some other highly visible form of Christian within our culture? ... I do not mean to imply that the evil are anything other than a small minority among the religious or that the religious motives of most people are in any way spurious. I mean only that evil people tend to gravitate toward piety for the disguise and concealment it can offer them.
There's a Good Book about goodness and how to be good and so forth, but there's no Evil Book about how to be evil and how to be bad. The Devil had no prophets to write his Ten Commandments, and no team of authors to write his biography. His case has gone completely by default. We know nothing about him but a lot of fairy stories from our parents and schoolmasters. He has no book from which we can learn the nature of evil in all its forms, with parables about evil people, proverbs about evil people, folklore about evil people. All we have is the living example of people who are least good, or our own intuition.
It is, indeed, a fact that, in the midst of society and sociability every evil inclination has to place itself under such great restraint, don so many masks, lay itself so often on the procrustean bed of virtue, that one could well speak of a martyrdom of the evil man. In solitude all this falls away. He who is evil is at his most evil in solitude: which is where he is at his best - and thus to the eye of him who sees everywhere only a spectacle also at his most beautiful.
It was not evil that gave her the idea of pleasure, that seemed to her attractive; it was pleasure, rather, that seemed evil. And as, every time that she indulged in it, pleasure came to her attended by evil thoughts such as, ordinarily, had no place in her virtuous mind, she came at length to see in pleasure itself something diabolical, to identify it with Evil.
In the twentieth century, men -- all of us -- find themselves compelled to commit or condone evil for the sake of preventing an evil believed to be greater. And the tragedy is that we do not know whether the evil we condone will not in the end be greater than the evil we seek to avert-- or be identified with.
My study of Gandhi convinced me that true pacifism is not nonresistance to evil, but nonviolent resistance to evil. Between the two positions, there is a world of difference. Gandhi resisted evil with as much vigor and power as the violent resister, but True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love. . . .
Martin Luther King
In my humble opinion, non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good. But in the past, non-cooperation has been deliberately expressed in violence to the evildoer. I am endeavoring to show my countrymen that violent non-cooperation only multiplies evil and that evil can only be sustained by violence. Withdrawal of support of evil requires complete abstention from violence. Non-violence implies voluntary submission to the penalty for non-cooperation with evil.
While God is not the author of evil and He never prompts or condones sin, nothing occurs without His sovereign oversight. Others may choose to do evil deeds and God's people may suffer in the short term, but He will transform the evil intentions of evil people into opportunities for the enrichment of those in His care.
Charles R. Swindoll
Merely to resist evil with evil by hating those who hate us and seeking to destroy them, is actually no resistance at all. It is active and purposeful collaboration in evil that brings the Christian into direct and intimate contact with the same source of evil and hatred which inspires the acts of his enemy. It leads in practice to a denial of Christ and to the service of hatred rather than love.
Goodness was more difficult than evil. Evil men knew that more than good men. That's why they became evil. That's why it stuck with them. Evil was for those who could never reach the truth. It was a mask for stupidity and lack of love. Even if people laughed at the notion of goodness, if they found it sentimental, or nostalgic, it didn't matter -- it was none of those things, he said, and it had to be fought for.
Nowadays, no one believes in evil. It is considered, at most, a mere negation of good. Evil, people say, is done by those who know no better - who are undeveloped - who are to be pitied rather than blamed. But, M. Poirot, evil is real! It is a fact! I believe in Evil as I believe in Good. It exists! It is powerful! It walks the earth!' He stopped. His breath was coming fast. He wiped his forehead with his handkerchief and looked suddenly apologetic. 'I'm sorry. I got carried away.
There are people in our world today and unfortunately in our political system, they do not believe in evil. They have the modern, western, secular mind set. They don't believe evil exists. They are exactly the ones who are in danger of getting blindsided by evil. Because they're not prepared for it.
Joel C. Rosenberg
We can work, study, laugh and have fun, dance, sing, and enjoy many different experiences. These are a wonderful part of life, but they are not central to why we are here. The opportunity to choose good over evil is precisely why we are here. Not one of us would say, "I want to choose evil." We all want to choose the right. However, the choice of good over evil is not always easy, because evil frequently lurks behind smiling eyes.
Neil L. Andersen
People who have intended and loved what is evil in the world intend and love what is evil in the other life, and then they no longer allow themselves to be led away from it. This is why people who are absorbed in evil are connected to hell and actually are there in spirit; and after death they crave above all to be where their evil is. So after death, it is we, not the Lord, who cast ourselves into hell.
It is on account neither of God's weakness nor ignorance that evil comes into the world, but rather it is due to the order of his wisdom and the greatness of his goodness that diverse grades of goodness occur in things, many of which would be lacking if no evil were permitted. Indeed, the good of patience would not exist without the evil of persecution; nor the good of preservation of life in a lion if not for the evil of the destruction of the animals on which it lives.
Evil is real - and powerful. It has to be fought, not explained away, not fled. And God is against evil all the way. So each of us has to decide where we stand, how we're going to live our lives. We can try to persuade ourselves and wink at evil. We can say that it isn't so bad after all, maybe even try to call it fun by clothing it in silks and velvets. We can compromise with it, keep quiet about it , and say it's none of our business. Or we can work on God's side, listen for His orders on strategy against the evil, no matter how horrible it is, and know that He can transform it.
In the use of force, one simplifies the situation by assuming that the evil to be overcome is clear-cut, definite, and irreversible. Hence there remains but one thing: to eliminate it. Any dialogue with the sinner, any question of the irreversibility of his act, only means faltering and failure. Failure to eliminate evil is itself a defeat. Anything that even remotely risks such defeat is in itself capitulation to evil. The irreversibility of evil then reaches out to contaminate even the tolerant thought of the hesitant crusader who, momentarily, doubts the total evil of the enemy he is about to eliminate. p. 21
Hannah Arendt in her study of totalitarianism borrowed from Immanuel Kant the concept of radical evil, of evil that's so evil that in the end it destroys itself, it's so committed to evil and it's so committed to hatred and cruelty that it becomes suicidal. My definition of it is the surplus value that's generated by totalitarianism. It means you do more violence, more cruelty than you absolutely have to to stay in power.
There is a correlation between evil. There is a primary evil that comes directly from the Devil. Even though all evil stems from the Devil, the Devil sometimes interacts with people in the physical world and the spiritual world and sometimes there's just plain evil that people do to one another. And I've seen plenty of that over the course of 20 years.
There's always the same amount of good luck and bad luck in the world. If one person doesn't get the bad luck, somebody else will have to get it in their place. There's always the same amount of good and evil, too. We can't eradicate evil, we can only evict it, force it to move across town. And when evil moves, some good always goes with it. But we can never alter the ratio of good to evil. All we can do is keep things stirred up so neither good nor evil solidifies. That's when things get scary. Life is like a stew, you have to stir it frequently, or all the scum rises to the top.
The error of the ignorant goes so far as to say that God's power is insufficient, because he has given to this Universe the properties which they imagine cause these great evils, and which do not help all evil-disposed persons to obtain the evil which they seek, and to bring their evil souls to the aim of their desires, though these, as we have shown, are really without limit.
The true secret of natural goodness lies in the recognition of the contending rights of the Pairs of Opposites; there is no such antimony as between Good and Evil, but only balance between two extremes, each of which is evil when carried to excess, both of which give rise to evil if insufficient for equipoise.
Nature is not evil. The world occasionally shrugs its shoulders, and people get knocked off. The earth, for geological reasons that are well known, is a fairly risky place to live. To be evil, you have to have intent. Any remarkable natural happening in which no human will is employed cannot be regarded as evil.
Oh, oh, no greater evil is there in this world, than the evil that lies in the hearts of those who repay good with evil. Oh no greater shame be upon anyone in this world, than the shame that be upon the heads of those who will not save the life that saved them. No greater evil, no greater shame. No greater trespass against God and angel and man; than a human who can say that they are entitled to repay good with evil.
C. JoyBell C.
In sum, doubling is the psychological means by which one invokes the evil potential of the self. That evil is neither inherent in the self nor foreign to it. To live out the doubling and call forth the evil is a moral choice for which one is responsible, whatever the level of consciousness involved.
Robert Jay Lifton
All I ask of Fate is that the people she hurls into my life, whether they are evil or good, or morally bipolar, should be amusing to one degree or another.... The problem is finding smile-inducing evil people, because the evil are the most humorless, though in the movies they frequently get some of the best lines.
There is no absolute hate or evil. On the contrary hate or evil are always intimately blended with love and goodness. What causes more hate and evil is paradoxically what tends to be done in the name of love and goodness. Hence, in order to reduce hate and evil we need to be aware of love and goodness, rather than hate and evil.
I do not believe that a world without evil, preferable in order to ours, is possible; otherwise it would have been preferred. It is necessary to believe that the mixture of evil has produced the greatest possible good: otherwise the evil would not have been permitted. The combination of all the tendencies to the good has produced the best; but as there are goods that are incompatible together, this combination and this result can introduce the destruction of some good, and as a result some evil.
I once had a published written debate with a religious apologist who, after I had argued the standard line that the idea of a loving and merciful deity is inconsistent with the fact of natural evil, said this meant his god was not all-powerful, and therefore was not to blame because it could not stop natural evil from occuring. This is a different tack from the more robust one that says natural evil is a response to humanity's moral evil. What this latter view in effect argues is that because of (say) Hitler's wrongdoings, thousands of babies deserve to be drowned in tsunamis.
These studies are the result of my attempt to extract the essence of literature. Literature is either the essential or nothing. I believe that the Evil-an acute form of Evil-which it expresses, has a sovereign value for us. But this concept does not exclude morality: on the contrary, it demands a 'hypermorality.' Literature is communication. Communication requires loyalty. A rigorous morality results from complicity in the knowledge of Evil, which is the basis of intense communication. -Literature and Evil
When you see evil do not form ideas that are in the likeness of that evil; do not think of the evil as bad, but try to understand the forces that are back of that evil-forces that are good in themselves, though misdirected in their present state. By trying to understand the nature of the power that is back of evil or adversity, you will not form bad ideas, and therefore will feel no bad effects from experiences that may seem undesirable. At the same time, you will think your own thought about the experiences, thereby developing the power of the master mind.
Christian D. Larson
When you see evil do not form ideas that are in the likeness of that evil; do not think of the evil as bad, but try to understand the forces that are back of that evil""forces that are good in themselves, though misdirected in their present state. By trying to understand the nature of the power that is back of evil or adversity, you will not form bad ideas, and therefore will feel no bad effects from experiences that may seem undesirable. At the same time, you will think your own thought about the experiences, thereby developing the power of the master mind.
Christian D. Larson