Digest of terms

evil

this is generally understood to be the opposite of what works for human good. In the case of the ravages of floods, earthquakes, famine and disease, the evil results are not usually the work of human beings, although they can be accentuated or ameliorated by human action. In the case of the death and destruction, which arises from war and exploitation one of another, it is a different matter. Men, women and indeed children are individually capable of evil of varying degrees of seriousness (from malicious gossip to child murdering). It may result from major acts of barbarism, using large-scale explosive power, or from acts and omissions, as simple as carrying out a routine order or looking the other way. Both kinds of evil, whether arising from nature or from human volition, challenge belief in the worth-whileness of life, or in God as loving, just and morally creative. Non-religious and religious world views recognise its reality in both forms. They cannot explain it fully, though they commonly see it as originating in part from human freedom. Evil may find extreme embodiment in particular individuals, who are dehumanised in the process. Some believe that its force is finally spent, overcome by the love that suffers at the heart of all history and evolution, and will be seen to be so. Others think that is naive self-deception and that evil runs amock.

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