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What is evil?


Evil, in a general context, is taken as the absence or complete opposite of that which is ascribed as being good. Often, evil is used to denote profound immorality.[1] In certain religious contexts, evil has been described as a supernatural force.[1] Definitions of evil vary, as does the analysis of its root motives and causes.[2] However, elements that are commonly associated with evil involve unbalanced behavior involving expediency, selfishness, ignorance, or neglect.[3

From Wikipedia.

Different cultures and religions have significantly different meaning for evil.

Friedrich Nietzsche, in a rejection of the Judeo-Christian morality, addresses this in two works Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morals where he essentially says that the natural functional non-good has been socially transformed into the religious concept of evil by the slave mentality of the weak and oppressed masses who resent their masters (the strong).


Carl Jung, in his book Answer to Job and elsewhere, depicted evil as the dark side of the Devil. People tend to believe evil is something external to them, because they project their shadow onto others. Jung interpreted the story of Jesus as an account of God facing his own shadow.

There are many more definitions of evil at the Wikimedia link.

In 2007, Philip Zimbardo suggested that people may act in evil ways as a result of a collective identity. This hypothesis, based on his previous experience from the Stanford prison experiment, was published in the book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.[11]

Killing children on purpose just because the child is of another race or gender – this may be one of the universal definitions of evil. Killing human beings simply because they another race, gender or simply because the killer no longer respects the taboo (tabu/kapu) on killing. There are different rules for war – when what would be considered evil is accepted as normal. But even wars have rules – and war crimes.

When genocide happens and keeps happening in this modern era – that means the powerful nations don’t care or somehow approve of the slaughter of innocents. History records many mass slaughters always related to battles for resources and religion. Several million women were slaughtered during the dark ages for no reason other than their gender. The male Pope’s God apparently approved of the burning of the witches. This witch burning still happens in primitive cultures. The staying power of that witch myth label is still strong.

What does evil mean today? Well some right wing nut conservative “Christians” have made it known, using social media, that atheists should be killed so they can go to hell. The dogmatic religious right are not that different from the Islamic ISIS as far as threats go. The ISIS carries through with their threats. In the case of extreme Right wing fundamentalists – these fellas and their female enablers vary in their evilness. Comply or die is an evil choice.

What if Israel gave a choice to the Palestinians – convert or die? But somehow I doubt that real News would or could accept a converted Palestinian/Arab. Israeli Jews of the war party claim Palestinian do not exist – that only Arabs exist. Once that was explained to me some of the confusing claims of Netanyahu and Lieberman began to make sense. Racism makes people stupid.

What does it mean when we say – “that guy is pure evil?” Evil may be an out dated and meaningless word. Or it is just an English word that doesn’t translate well. The devil or Satan are considered evil but not all cultures have similar words or concepts in their world views. Throw in other cultural beliefs and words become confusing.

Here’s another attempt at explaining evil. When a culture’s moral codes are deliberately broken or ignored about morally right and wrong behavior then the violators are judged bad or evil and could face sanctions. If the morally bad person is very powerful then this person most likely will not face sanctions.

Evil is a very complex subject. In the end we may not be able to define evil – but we know evil when we see it in a person’s actions. On the clan, or Nation level – evil is defined by actions or non actions.

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