What is “evil”? There are dictionary definitions (“morally reprehensible” “a complete absence of – or opposite of – good“). There seems to be a general consensus on what is “good” and what is “evil.” And this consensus crosses religious, ethnic, geographic, political and racial boundaries. And yet there remains evil. We read about it every day.
In looking at our world today, most folks would agree that there are all too many organizations which fall under the definition of “evil.” ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq & Syria); Boko Haram (the radical Muslims – Hausas – in Nigeria); Hamas in Gaza (especially the military wing); Al-Qaeda; Hezbollah; and so many others are veritable killing machines. They are dedicated to (and often glorify) murder, kidnapping and torture. They are dedicated to getting their own way. Anyone who gets in their way is toast. Interestingly most of the terrorist organizations today are Islamic. And curiously many of these terror groups are at odds with each other (witness the vicious conflicts between Fatah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the 72 sects of Islam). We also see the abyss of evil in places like North Korea and in things like crime and exploitation.
It is instructive to note is that most purveyors of evil and their members avow that their task is holy. Their goals are honorable. Their objectives just. Their enemies are evil. And that’s the rub. How does one deal with such logic? How do you rationalize the recent comments of ISIS killers that they feel “closer to God” by brutally torturing enemies? You can’t. We can speak out (I wish moderate voices of Islam would object to the current strife). We can react. Respond. But in the end, I think the answer is that every once in a while, there is a large international commode that is full – and needs flushing.