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.