Denying Evil

In a previous column I argued that genocide was the worst evil, whether that act be committed by a human agency or a deity. A few years ago I had an unusual student in a Philosophy of Religion course. What made this student memorable was that he was both articulate and insistent in his papers that evil does not exist. I found this position quite interesting, despite the fact that I am convinced that the student was wrong. What finally became clear is that the student was denying the existence of evil because of a personal conviction that Lucifer, the traditional devil, does not exist. Furthermore he did not believe in any spiritual beings whatsoever, be they god or devil. On that issue I don’t have a settled public opinion myself, but I am absolutely convinced that evil exists and that mass exterminations of humanity are the worst evil.

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