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Evil in other religions[edit]

I'm heavily disappointed in not seeing Islam and numerous other religions interpretation of evil. Why the ignorance on such a great site? Great example of evil in itself. Marcelino (talk) 23:49, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Irish Evil[edit]

I seem to remember this page having content useful for documenting the phenomenon of Irish Evil. Why has someone removed it? This is practically begging for the entire discussion to be re-ignited. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:22, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Is Evil Good?[edit]

I am sorry for vandalizing this section and also the Amphetimine article. I will not vandalize wikipedia anymore. However I want to talk about the "Is Evil Good?" section on the talk page. I do not think that evil is good. I actually think that evil is terrible. It is terrible. What I think of evil is commiting sins to the extreme. I think of "evil" as things like terrorism, murdering of innocent people ect. I will not vandalize wikipedia anymore but I want you to respect my comments because I am at least putting it on the talk page. (talk) 02:33, 7 February 2008 (UTC)21:36 Febuary 6, 2008

That's nice. Please read WP:FORUM. This page is for discussing how to improve the article, not your personal opinions. -- Kesh (talk) 03:07, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Obvious troll is obvious. (talk) 03:51, 8 February 2008 (UTC):I have read the wikipedia forum and also the page about vandalism on wikipedia and I now know what exactly vandalism is and I won't do it again. So anyways, that thing about "Is Evil Good?" Do you think that evil is good? 22:48, February 7, 2008 (talk)

You are still missing the point. This article is not an editorial. It reports what others have said on the subject. Rick Norwood (talk) 16:19, 8 February 2008 (UTC)
What does that mean? (talk) 21:33, 8 February 2008 (UTC) 16:32, Februay 8, 2008
It means this is not a place for discussing your opinion on the subject. All we're doing is making an encyclopedia article of what people have written about Evil in philosophy, history and religion. This is not a forum for us to talk about whether evil is good or not. -- Kesh (talk) 03:03, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
OK, I see. But should the section be deleted? I am not going to delete it right now but I want to see what people think about it. (talk) 12:22, 9 February 2008 (UTC) 07:21, February 9, 2008

You should not delete something because you disagree with it. You should only delete something because it is inaccurate. In other words, you should not delete a reference to Anton LaVey because you disagree with what he said. You should only delete it if you can demonstrate that he did not in fact say it. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:22, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

OK I'm not going to delete it and I see what you are saying, but maybe the neutrality of the section is disputed. (talk) 17:42, 9 February 2008 (UTC) 12:42, February 9, 2008

The section would fail the neutrality test if Anton LaVey's views were presented in a biased manner. LaVey himself is not supposed to be neutral, only the presentation of his views. In short, the purpose of the section is not to provide information about evil, but information about one particular view of evil. Rick Norwood (talk) 22:54, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

OK, I guess you're right. I understand what you are trying to say. (talk) 23:50, 9 February 2008 (UTC) 19:50, February 9, 2008
Just one thing. Could you give me an example of Anton LaVey's views being presented in a biased way? 21:46, February 9, 2008

Sure. If I said, "Anton LaVey is a great guy and was right in everything he said," that would be biased. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:42, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

OK, Now I see, Thanks. (talk) 14:23, 10 February 2008 (UTC) 9:23, February 10, 2008
I think evil is opposite of good. Per definition. That means the section name "Is evil good?" is rhetorical only, since the real question "is evil good?" is like "is small big?", the formal answer being "no!" by language structure, not by consideration. The topic presented in the section is interesting, but it actually treating topics more like "is there any real/objective evil?", pointing back to the "Is evil universal?" question. The topics might need redistributions between the sections, maybe... (Personally I incline to the sociological kind of answers). ... said: Rursus (mbor) 16:50, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

R-41's political blog[edit]

I decided to move this communist apologetic blog to the talk, because its entirely unsourced, non neutral and pretty is just an opinion of one student. If there is anything at all to salvage with sources, then please feel free to re-add some.

Gennarous (talk) 15:35, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Everybody else: ignore that stmt! That guy is not on WP anymore. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 11:55, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Evil in Politics[edit]

In modern-day liberal democratic societies, many associate evil in politics with authoritarian, imperialist, racist, and totalitarian regimes and with leaders who are demagogues. Adolf Hitler in Germany, is a primary and common example throughout the world of an evil politician, as he permitted the persecution and mass genocide of Jews, opposition figures and other minorities in the Holocaust, allowed the deliberate destruction of civilian areas of cities and had blatant disregard for the life of his own citizens in the final months of World War II. Hitler is so universally infamous in both western and eastern societies that comparisons of individuals to Hitler or to Nazis is a common epithet that equates to declaring that someone is evil. Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union is often considered evil in the west and by reform-minded communists for his purges and his persecution of the Kulaks, and his demand of absolute loyalty from his citizens. In the West, Mao Tse Tung in China is considered evil, for the devastation brought on by the Cultural Revolution. Ferdinand II of Aragon, who led Spain and began the Spanish Inquisition has been considered evil for the inquisition's harsh repression of Muslims, Jews, and other dissenting populations.

We should point to our own atrocities in World and US History. It's far too easy to ignore our own history of evil. It's better to have a neutral view point and make this a good learning point. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:24, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

In general imperialism has been seen as evil since the collapse of colonialism. British, Portugese, and Spanish imperialist repression of aboriginals in the Americas led to the deaths of millions of aboriginals, and the displacement of their population to make way for colonial expansion. British actions in South Africa during the Second Boer War have been considered evil, such as his armed forces' establishment of concentration camps for Boers and his repression of the Boer people.[1] Italy's imperialist agenda in Africa during the 1930s under Fascism led to the repression and segregation of Ethiopians, such as the deliberate destruction of Ethiopian settlements in Addis Ababa in 1937.[1] Some of the final examples of the negative aspects of imperialism which have been deemed evil were demonstrated during Algeria's struggle for independence from France, where the French brutally repressed the Algerian independence movement.

The political writings of Niccolò Machiavelli, in The Prince, explore the relationship between politics and the moral norms of good and evil. Notoriously, Machiavelli makes the case that morality can sometimes be a hindrance in the pursuit of power, because in the political realm "the ends justifies the means". Machiavelli argues that a ruler may have to act immorally to protect both his personal power and the interests of the state.

In common parlance, the term Machiavellian is used to describe politicians or political policy that is amoral. Machiavelli did not make a case for evil, but rather argued pragmatically that a prince could not practically follow the moral codes of the common people. He is explicit in stating that politicians who choose or are forced to commit evil acts must be prepared to face the moral consequences of their actions.

Gilbert and Sullivan satirize this view in The Pirates of Penzance, where the Pirate King sings

For many a king on a first class throne
If he wants to call his crown his own
Must manage somehow to get through
More dirty deeds than ever I do.

In contrast to the views expressed above, authoritarian, totalitarian, and theocratic states often consider western democracies to be evil. Totalitarian states under communism or fascism believe that liberal democracy allows for the exploitation of the people, that democracy is actually a regressive force for society, that individualism is bad because it favours materialism over values common to the people. Theocracies criticize liberal democracy because it allows women to exercise strong influence and express themselves provocatively, allows the consumption of intoxicating substances (such as alcohol and tobacco), and allow materialist individualism to to supplant the enforcement of holy writ.

In the light of controversial conflicts in places Vietnam and Iraq, even supporters of liberal democracy, especially from the left and also the libertarian side of the political spectrum, have claimed that democratically elected leaders of the United States, especially Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and George W. Bush have been evil or have followed evil principles in their support of such wars. These three US Presidents have been accused of lying to their people on important issues, using murder and torture to support US business interests, allowing war crimes such as Mei Li and Abu Ghraib, and continuing unpopular wars against the will of the people.

One wide-spread form of political evil that is universally denounced is corruption, where politicians enrich themselves at the expense of their country and its people.

I just can't resist pointing out what happens when you click on the hyperlink to "Mei Li" above. Presumably, it's not what the author of this polemic intended to link to! (talk) 20:20, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Maybe the author meant the My Lai Massacre? Emma li mk (talk) 12:47, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Moral obligation[edit]

Isn't there a well-defined philosophical essay that discussed evil and the philosophical idea of moral obligation? If so, it should be included. --Firefly322 (talk) 18:58, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

You might want to ask on the Humanities Reference Desk. Probably someone on there could help figure out what essay you're referring to. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 22:58, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

pictures. too boring to read. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:45, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Design and Evil[edit]

"Evil" is also a term used about design. For example, when talking about the programming language C, the POV that "Pointers are Evil" is often promoted. In these cases, "Evil" is synonymous with "Bad Practice" or "Not Really Beneficial While Potentially Harmful". Something for the article? - Soulkeeper (talk) 21:03, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

If you can find a reliable source for it. Really though, people use evil as a euphemism for "things I don't like" all the time. It might be worth having a section on the euphemistic uses of the word in general (again, requiring a source). — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 11:27, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
The Jargon File on Evil: - Soulkeeper (talk) 12:55, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
I see that it's been mentioned before on this talk page. - Soulkeeper (talk) 13:28, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Uh, maybe a relativist view on good/evil actually justifies referring to that usage of "evil", so that "evil" being a kakophemistic usage (not an euphemistic in this case, since the extremenesss is strengthened, not weakened) is as precise and accurate as any other, if just by adjusting the input filtering strength... ... said: Rursus (mbor) 16:56, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Slavery in the United States[edit]

I'm not sure about this sentence in the article: "Less than 150 years ago the United States of America, and many other countries practiced brutal forms of slavery." When one considers the vast history of slavery in the world, its existence in civilizations throughout time and across all continents, as well as its continued existence in various forms (including "brutal" forms) in the world today, I don't know that I agree with this sentence having a place in the article. For one thing, it makes it sound as if slavery - or "brutal forms of slavery" - was somehow unique to the United States (yes, in spite of also saying "many other countries"). It thus makes it sound like its coming from a biased, American perspective. It also makes it sound like slavery and brutal forms of slavery basically have been non-existent for 150 years or so, which is totally untrue. Harry Yelreh (talk) 19:01, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree. The sentence should be deleted. This article discusses the concept of evil; it is not the place to discuss specific instances of evil. Rick Norwood (talk) 19:10, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh, we can use instances of evil, but they must have occurred in a context where a certain philosopher, theologist, or some similar, discusses evil, and uses it as an illustrative example. This is not the article where everyone should list every evil that have occurred, if it was then this article will grow exponentially with time, burning Wikipedia's servers down to oblivion. That would be evil, indeed. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 19:13, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Off topic/OR[edit]

I moved this here:

Some sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists and neuroscientists have attempted to construct scientific explanations for the development of specific characteristics of an "antisocial" personality type, called the sociopath. The sociopath is typified by extreme self-serving behavior and a lack of conscience as well as an inability to empathize with others and to restrain from, or to feel remorse for, harm personally caused to others. However, a diagnosis of antisocial or sociopathic personality disorder (formerly called psychopathic mental disorder), is sometimes criticized as being, at the present time, no more scientific than calling a person "evil". There is much debate over this, however. Some, most prominently Robert Hare, author of "Without Conscience", consider psychopathy to be a widespread disorder quite distinct from antisocial personality disorder.

What critics perceive to be a moral determination is disguised, they argue, with a scientific-sounding name but no complete description of a mechanism by which the abnormality can be identified. In other words, critics argue, "sociopaths" are called such because they are first thought to be "evil" - a determination which itself is not derived by a scientific method.

Research into sociopathology has also been investigated biologically,[9] Are there biological reasons why people are evil rather than moral? Are there physical underpinnings of behaviors that societies reject as sociopathic? Most neurological research into sociopathology has focused on regions of the neocortex involved in impulse control. Some other research seems to indicate that sociopathy may at least partially be related to a lack of ability to realize the true consequences of one's actions.


While i'm sure it was added in good faith, it seems to have only a tenuous link with the topic. I think very (very) few sociologists/psycologist/scientists of any type would call a person "evil" based on a medical diagnosis. An in depth discussion of sociopathy should not be included unless the view that this is equivalent to evil is detailed. I left a brief mention, so links are still in place, and the only (uncited) combination of the 2 (although this is still the title of a pop-science book, so hardly authoritative). The second paragraph at minimum needs some citations - who thinks this? YobMod 14:42, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Amusing fact[edit]

Why does searching for "Scientology" on Wikipedia turns "Evil" as a result? How is that NPOV? I know Scientology doesn't have many friends on the Internet but that seems a bit over the line... RUL3R (talk) 17:31, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

No idea. You should ask at the Village Pump technical section. Law type! snype? 18:20, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Hehe it's quite amusing how people automatically assume scientologists are evil —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:39, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Well I am a scientologist myself but I don't think I am inherently "evil" just because of my religious beliefs (in the same fashion as a Satanist cannot be considered "evil" just labeling himself as such). I also believe this article should include our views on "evil" (not just scientology, but new religious movements in general), since "evil" is a philosophical issue defined by different cultural aspects. But it's just my 2 cents here. RUL3R (talk) 17:46, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

either that, or just make sure searching for scientology does not return evil as a page anymore. that has already been taken care of. ThomasPolder (talk) 10:56, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Of course it doesn’t mean that you are evil just because you are a member of Scientology. Scientology is an evil cult, because its sole purpose is to defraud gullible fools out of there hard earned money. Therefore you are not evil, you are a gullible fool

comment added by Rphb (talkcontribs) 20:26, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Moved section needing cites/research[edit]

I moved this here, as i think it is a very bad idea to add sections with no citations at all, that sound like original research, to articles that are already templated as being OR and needing cites.YobMod 11:47, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Evil in fiction[edit]

The fight against evil is prominent in all forms of fiction, manifesting in virtually any form of literary/narrative conflict, e.g. Man vs. Nature and Man vs. the Supernatural in Star Wars (the dark side of the Force,) Man vs. Self and the supernatural in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth (Morgoth, Sauron, and the One Ring), and Man vs. Machine in The Matrix films (the matrix and it's creators.)

Also, this sentence, as it has been tagged on and off since about forever, and again seems like pure OR. (Who are these amoralists?, who says the live like this? Do they really even exist?:

Amoralists tend[who?] to apply a homo economicus style of making decisions in their lives.

Evil in Western Philosophy[edit]

This part should be rewritten- Jung is portrayed on the same level as Spinoza whilst Spinoza is one of the founders of the enlightenment and one of the great philosophers while Jung's ideas are almost all outdated and based on dogma rather then ratio. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:52, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Short definition of evil[edit]

The short definition given on this page about evil is that it is subjective. Whether or not you think evil is actually absolute or relative, I think the word "evil" refers to a belief in moral absolutes - you would not refer to behavior as evil unless you thought it universally evil, and not just inconvenient to you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:46, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for your comment, but Wikipedia does not work on personal opinion. We use verifiable citations from reliable sources. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 14:15, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
I prefer the definition of the current intro. "Evil is subjective" wouldn't qualify as a definition by my standards. And as said earlier, we need secondary sources for such a "definition", if we really considered using it in the article. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 12:06, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Would it not be nice to have a comprehensive working definition of evil. One could list its characteristics ( like perhaps a lack of compassion, a perceived lack of ability and so on ). Aside from acacdemic discusssions this definition is of prime importance considering the rampage of power and greed now and perhaps ever since the dawn of civilization and it is a DEFINITE gap in knowledge to not have a working definition or guidance to identify the occurence of evil

Nty tyagi (talk) 15:59, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

The problem is, there is no comprehensive definition. It's not a measurable thing. Also, Wikipedia's purpose is not to provide guidance. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 22:08, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

In Our Time[edit]

The BBC programme In Our Time presented by Melvyn Bragg has an episode which may be about this subject (if not moving this note to the appropriate talk page earns cookies). You can add it to "External links" by pasting {{In Our Time|Evil|p00547g3|Evil}}. Rich Farmbrough, 03:13, 16 September 2010 (UTC).


I'm sorry, I'm sure its been discussed, but is that really the best that you can do for a picture? Why Satan? Why that specific piece of art? It looks silly. (talk) 18:35, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

It's an ancient piece of artwork. Primitive, yes, but not silly. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 12:30, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
I have to agree with the anon. The image is silly and out of place. When modern, 21st century people discuss the nature of "evil", they do not think of "Satan" or ridiculous drawings of some bogeyman. The picture needs to go. There is consensus in the year 2010 among thinking people everywhere that whatever can be called or described as "evil" comes not from the actions of a mysterious supernatural agent, but from the very hands of man. It's time to put childish notions of blaming invisible entities aside and deal with the problem. Viriditas (talk) 08:15, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Is evil universal?[edit]

I noticed that the "Is evil universal?" section was written from a non-universalist perspective. I added intercolating information from the universalist perspective to restore neutrality. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Biosoulcial (talkcontribs) 03:08, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

M. Scott Peck and Alain Badiou[edit]

I really think that these two's definitions of evil should be presented in the Western Philosophy section.

Peck's book "People of the Lie"[2] provides a very different perspective than Spinoza and Jung: "It is not their sins per se that characterize evil people, rather it is the subtlety and persistence and consistency of their sins. This is because the central defect of the evil is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it." (p. 6)

Badiou, in "Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil"[3] reads like this: 'The Good is Good only to the extent that it does not aspire to render the world good. Its sole being lies in the situated advent [l'advenue en situation] of a singular truth. So it must be that the power of a truth is also a kind of powerlessness. Every absolutization of the power of a truth organizes an Evil. Not only does this Evil destroy the situation (for the will to eliminate opinion is, fundamentally, the same as the will to eliminate, in the human animal, its very animality, i.e. its being), but it also interrupts the truth-process in whose name it proceeds, since it fails to preserve, within the composition of its subject, the duality of interests (disinterested-interest and interest pure and simple).' (

I'm not sure I'm communicating this properly, but a wikipedia page on evil that does not contain a discussion like this about power and refusal, Peck or Badiou scares me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kire1975 (talkcontribs) 00:07, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Article quality[edit]

The article has degraded to a barely comprehensible level of nonsense. The page history shows far more cogent versions from several years ago. Viriditas (talk) 08:19, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Could you be more specific? It's difficult to ascertain what needs fixed with such a general comment. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 13:56, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

I believe he means that such articles over time become victims to a tug of war between opposing ideological viewpoints, all carefully concealed of course. Thus Spake Good (talk) 16:59, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Except that assumptions do us no good. Without specific examples, I have no idea what he wants done. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 18:46, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
Hes right though, in that the page is fairly dire. Wiki does not do articles like this very well, and your not helping by being so dismissive and sour. Ceoil 17:32, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
(sigh) If you're not going to give specific issues we can fix, I have no problem being dismissive. Simply saying "It stinks" doesn't help us at all. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:45, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Without consequences?[edit]

Is this correct? It seems to imply that something is not evil if the perpetrator had a consequence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rxantos (talkcontribs) 04:01, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Not so good definitions[edit]

The intro provides a dubious definition of evil talking about intention of violating a moral code. Yes, that's one of worlds possible kind of "evils", but natural catastrophes may also be regarded as evil, such as for example 1755 Lisbon earthquake, which had a great effect on society and philosophy, especially regarding theodicy ("how come a good omnipotent God allows horrible earthquakes?"). I also suspect "evil" as opposite of "good" is neither very universal, since a "trichotomy" of {evil, neutral, good} is easily imaginable.

The section Philosophical definitions doesn't provide definitions really, although the example from Gen. 2:18 provides something bordering to one. The only trouble is that Christianity is not automagically classifiable as "Western philosophy". Maybe there's actually a definition in the Spinoza section, but I'm not quite sure. The Carl Jung section contains some rhetorical simile or symbolism of a kind, but it doesn't pass my definition test, which is that it should read like a dry:

  • N, also called the natural numbers, is the set of all integer numbers from 1 and upwards.

Furthermore: using "evil is everything non-good", how is then "good" defined?

Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 18:40, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

In your first example, the disaster itself isn't evil in that it's an inanimate object; in that situation, "God" is blamed and therefore evil in that theological reaction. To borrow a popular idiom, "Bullets don't kill, people do."
Christianity is considered a Western religion by basically all respected scholars in the field. Philosophical definitions often aren't as dry as you seem to prefer.
Your last point is pretty spot-on, though, and that should be updated. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 19:07, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm too not sure about the definition of evil. The first sentence says "Evil is the violation of, or intent to violate, some moral code."

The moral code says people should not run naked in the street. Who does it, is than evil?
To me is evil much more than "bad" as opposed to "good". --Dia^ (talk) 19:37, 10 September 2011 (UTC)


isn't there a page for good, only evil? (talk) 04:30, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Red Indian Genocide?[edit]

I'm not too happy with the reference to genocide in the USA perpetrated by the American Army. My impression from here in England is that there never was any directed policy by either the US Army or Government to kill all native Americans, or even to kill all members of some tribes. No doubt some individuals may have wished to do so, and there certainly were several massacres of indians. But a charge of genocide requires rather more proof than murder, and incitement to murder, by a relatively few individuals. Indeed the creation of reservations and treaties provides ample evidenc that the aim of the US was emphatically NOT genocide. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:25, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

I suggest you read up on history a bit more. Native Americans were systematically killed or driven from their homelands without recourse. Treaties were worthless, as the many "relocations" show, and reservations were not established in a humane manner. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 12:28, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
The genocide of redskin nations was really industrialized by the USA. In order to eliminate them, the american indians first had to be stripped of their entire food source. For that end, white riflemen killed over 80 million bisons all over the CONUS, taking nothing from the 1500lbs corpses but the tongues! As soon as the bisons disappeared, redskins lost their sustainement basis and became weak, ill, easy to subdue and eliminate.
Considering the red indians viewed bisons as beings equally spiritual to people, that event can be considered the largest genocide in history, one that belittles even Stalin's, Mao's and Hitler's actions. As late as the end of 1890's still there were 30-yard high piles of bison skulls nearby US railway stations, as some enterpreneur discovered the skull litter can be collected, carted away and grinded up for use in artifical fertilizer, ie. profit. It was not less industrialized than the infamous nazi effort that turned exterminated jews and gipsy into soap and lamp shades foil. (talk) 01:46, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Religious ideas of evil[edit]

Are you sure that you have translated concepts of good and evil from religions that were founded and grown in non-English-speaking cultures (such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) properly? Some ideas may have been lost in the translation from Arabic, Sanskrit, Greek, Hebrew, etc. — Rickyrab. | Yada yada yada 19:57, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

There's a key element missing here[edit]

As someone pointed out in the discussion above, editing Wikipedia articles must be some form of hell: I do appreciate that everyone is doing their best here.

But there's an important slant that is missing here. We in the Christian west have inherited a distinct idea of evil; we attach a particular idea to the notion. Elaine Pagels, in "The Origin of Satan" explains this change of meaning (of both the idea of evil and of Satan)that took place over several centuries between about 300 BCE to 100 CE. The extremes of meaning are roughly: a kindly view of as simply being unaware (one might see that a child who makes a mistake is 'evil' in the sense that s/he is simply unaware of the right thing to do); at the other end, the notion of an alien malevolent force in the form of a Satan or other diabolical figure. According to Pagels this more or less describes the change in meaning that this word underwent from its initial meaning to Jews to what (admittedly more extreme) Christians came to understand by the word. A child who makes a mistake is not evil in this latter sense!

I can't help feeling that this article starts from a Christian orientation, paying some lip-service to alternative viewpoints, but doesn't do enough to convey that other cultures--and I'm sure that Hindu and Buddhist cultures in particular--see evil in a rather different way from the way that we do.

NB I'm using Pagels here to narrow the focus but this difference in orientation has been expressed in quite a few other references that I have seen.

-- (talk) 02:25, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Dubious Assertion in Jewish theology Section[edit]

Concerning this statement:

Christianity in general does not adhere to this belief, but the prophet Isaiah implied that God is ultimately responsible for everything. (Isa.45:7).

I'm not even sure a statement about Christianity is relevant to this section; if it is, the relevance needs to be explained.

However, the phrase, "Isaiah implied" is inherently POV, and I cannot find even one biblical commentary, whether ancient, medieval, or modern, that supports inferring from this verse that God is responsible for sin or wickedness, but numerous commentaries contradict it. Downstrike (talk) 03:20, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

i like trains do you? this is rudolf and im all your friends :3

Western philosophy[edit]

Right under Western Philosophy it says: "Evil is that which is not amazing good." What the heck? I fixed the grammar mistake, but this sentence does not sum up Western philosophy regarding evil. Robert 03:07, 20 December 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Robert the Devil (talkcontribs)

Adolf Hitler[edit]

Why is Adolf Hitler "evil"? The definition of evilness given in the text is:
"conscious and deliberate wrongdoing, discrimination designed to harm others, humiliation of people designed to diminish their psychological needs and dignity, destructiveness, and acts of unnecessary and/or indiscriminate violence that are not legitimate acts of self-defense but aggressive and designed to cause ill-being to others."
I don't think Hitler was a conscious and deliberate wrongdoer. I am not talking about personal opinions right now (although there still is a significant number of people who follow his ideals), but I think that Hitler really believed in most of his ideas. That doesn't make him a conscious wrongdoer, that just makes him a mass killer (in fact, he most likely didn't kill a single person with his own hand, but that's a different discussion). I think the picture should be removed from this page. He might be widely believed to be an evil person, but if the claims aren't relevant with the definition of evilness, those claims shouldn't be promoted in this page. FeyBart (talk) 16:29, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

He may or may not fit the first phrase in the definition, he certainly fits all the others. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:35, 22 December 2011 (UTC)
But according to the National-Socialist ideology, discrimination is not evil. So why claim Hitler to be evil? FeyBart (talk) 20:40, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

I've changed the caption to just say many people use Hitler as an example of evil. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:54, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

Okay, this should be better. Thanks. FeyBart (talk) 13:28, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
Which version of Hitler are we talking about? The mainstream, Hollywood version of Adolf Hitler is certainly evil. The actual Hitler though was far from it. (talk) 17:41, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Nazist, javisst!--Hesus2 (talk) 07:55, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
The one used in the text. The real one. FeyBart (talk) 12:52, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
Provide a reliable source that he's "evil". (talk) 22:51, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
Sorry for the late respond, but that was the fact which I was questioning. The text has already been adjusted to make it more neutral. I think this should be good, even though I would like to have the whole picture gone to keep the Neo-Nazis and anti-Semitics under us happy too. This should be good enough IMO.
Whoops! Forgot to sign. FeyBart (talk) 15:32, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

The jews suffered too much.. ok, never mind, but the africans suffered much more from evilness, I added an illustration of this, if anyone deletes it, or think about deleting it, he's utterly EVIL! --22:28, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Unsouced and apparently conjectural etymology[edit]

as tends to occur here e.g., in Revolution and Computer Programming. Redacted with the apparent Hochdeutsch cognate, leaving the essential concept but pulling the faux etymologie officiel. (talk) 19:53, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Abrahamic Inversion[edit]

Considered adding removed content as


Anton LaVey, the late founder of the Church of Satan, asserts that evil is actually good (an often-used slogan is, "evil is live spelled backwards").[citation needed] This belief is usually a reaction to evil being described as destructive, where apologists claim that definition is in opposition to the natural pleasures and instincts of men and women.

and stating that some, impressed with the arbitrary nature of Abrahamic morality, as noted by Nietzsche, Rand, and others, have inverted the values but that would be synth/OR. Something like it can probably fly and that's definitely the gist of the whole Satan brand, if you will. (talk) 23:43, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Sophomoric Essay Section[edit]

I've cleaned up, restructured, the big remaining thing is the section that was properly flagged as OR and Synth. Redacting it would be onerous and I'm not sure it's proper in any form. Opening this thread for comment, if there's no objection I'll remove it in its entirety. Think its structure is basically good and it could be redacted but a lot of whack stuff in it like the caption to the baby killer image, white and black are mentioned because the image is? (talk) 22:47, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Upon reconsideration, have same value judgment (sophomoric) but the editorial complaints don't appear justified and there is detailed tagging for cites and synth so retitled and removed the tag from '10. (talk) 22:54, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
Moved this thread slightly out of order so the header in previous doesn't snag the discussion. (talk) 23:59, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Adolf Hitler is evil? Isn't this website supposed to be neutral?[edit]

Calling a democratically elected man like Adolf Hitler a subjective term like evil is maintaining neutrality? Please, elaborate. (talk) 18:21, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

You misunderstand. Wikipedia is not saying that Adolf Hitler was "evil". It is saying that Adolf Hitler is often used as a personification of "evil", which he is. This is a neutral report of fact, classic NPOV. In fact Hitler is probably the premiere historical figure so designated, and second only to "Satan" as such a personification. Of course Hitler was not "evil" in any objective sense and the term is simple minded at best, grossly counterproductive and obscurantist at worst. (talk) 01:20, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Being democratically elected is irrelevant. There are numerous reliable sources which have designated Hitler as an example of evil behavior. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 12:24, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
He liked German Shepards, shall we put him there too? There's no consensus here to keep his ugly face in this article. SlightSmile 00:45, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
That's a laughable argument. Consensus was established a long time ago (see the archives). You would need to show how all the cited sources are invalid if you want support to overturn that. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 19:49, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Hitler evil - I had no idea! And you even have sources you say. Whatever the consensus it's weird to have his portrait in anything not related to him or WWII. I know he's an important part history but why legitimise him more than necessary. I know about not censored and all that but can you see how people might take offense to seeing his face pop up on a page not specifically related to him. SlightSmile 22:15, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
There's nothing "legitimizing" about using his image here. And the page is specifically related to him, as he is a commonly cited example of human evil. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 15:58, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Slightsmile, most people who believe in the concept of evil consider Hitler to be a prime example of it (yes there are many sources that support that), it's really not weird having him in an article on evil for that very reason and it would be a fair argument to suggest his inclusion is therefore neither surprising or offensive to most people, this is nothing to do with legitimacy, it is that the article really should reflect as said that many people consider Hitler to be an example of evil. Further this whole argument is being hijacked by narrow interest groups whose reasons for not having the photo are quite different to yours. However your mock surprise that Hitler may be considered evil is ridiculous, the vast majority of reputable historians consider his policies to be directly responsible for the deaths of 10 million human beings, it's really not surprising Hitler attracts the label of evil...Reverted back to pic/Hitler statement as per talk archives consensus (talk) 21:25, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

I just checked and it turns out there is no discussion in the archives regarding the use of Hitler's picture (so no consensus) and so I have removed the picture (talk) 06:00, 27 February 2012 (UTC)


As a compromise, I've moved the Hitler image to the section that specifically discusses Nazism. On reflection, he is not the best choice for the top-image of the article, but there's no question he's a subject covered by this page.

That said, we might want to choose a new main image for the page. Or, it might be better to just leave it empty, since this is a relatively abstract concept. This would be a good time to discuss that. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 19:30, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

I agree, it's a robust finding that Hitler is considered by many to be the personification of evil, and this should be represented in the article and most appropriately in the Nazism section, and it should be reported (as it currently is) without labeling Hitler as evil to ensure NPOV. Maybe Stalin should be considered as the lead picture in the same manner. Woodywoodpeckerthe3rd (talk) 21:07, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
I think that's a great comprimise. For the lead, how about Image:Hear speak see no evil Toshogu.jpg with the caption "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". The three wise monkeys over the Tōshō-gū shrine in Nikkō, Japan. SlightSmile 21:12, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Ayn Rand § deletion by IP[edit]

I didn't create the Ayn Rand section but to the IPs that keep deleting it, please stop. Rand is not a great philosopher, but she is a philosopher and especially relevant in contemporary America as she has many devotees. OTOH in terms of Western philosophy, she does not rank with Spinoza and Nietzsche. To just delete the section someone put some time into because you don't like her isn't the way it works here. If there's a preponderance of opinion that it should go then by all means let's remove it. Lycurgus (talk) 23:57, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

This 1959 interview with Mike Wallace is relevant to this thread. In the first few minutes Rand declares herself "the creator of a new morality". I see the Rand material has been removed. That was a small-minded mistake IMO. (talk) 02:12, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I agree that Ayn Rand does not belong here. There are thousands of people who think they have discovered a new morality, from Hugh Heffner to George Lincoln Rockwell. For this article to be kept to a reasonable lenght, only serious philosophers can be included. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:15, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Well you know it's the whole notability thing. A lot of people have thought they were god or the child of a god or been claimed to be god incarnate. I personally believe all these claims to be uniformly ludicrous. However in an article on Messiahs, Jesus Christ and Sun Myung Moon are both relevant. The merit or lack thereof of Rand's ethics is irrelevant, it's not to be decided by an encyclopedia, or this one at any rate. I also believe that Rand's statement that she is the creator of a new morality is palpably false, since it was articulated piecemeal and with superior art in the 19th century. That's irrelevant too. Your attempt to decide the merits of her contribution to moral philosophy are inappropriate. (talk) 22:52, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Anyone can claim to create a new morality. You would have to demonstrate that this new morality is notable through reliable, third party sources before adding hers. That aside, this is an article on Evil, not morality in general. Unless there are reputable sources discussing evil in Rand's new morality, it probably would be undue weight to add it here. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 23:00, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────That's a more cogent reason or it would be if Rand and her followers weren't so vociferous about the "evil" of things that stand (in more or less innocent) opposition to their credo, if it hadn't been a major political influence in the US since her death, etc. I think the matter of judgment here is clear given this site's policies and the notablity and sourceability in this case but I'm not going to argue it further. BTW, the specific definition of Evil is given in the video above at 05:35 and upon review see that she says she is the creator of a cult of morality not the morality itself. (talk) 00:38, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Again, the video is a primary source claim, which does not demonstrate this "cult of morality" is notable. Just referring to evil does not make it appropriate to this page. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 12:43, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
You know it's unnecessary to put that "edit conflict" thing, just let the page settle and apply your edit. Sometimes the conflict is from congested request processing. (talk) 14:10, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
The ec template was because you edited your comment after I wrote mine. I didn't think it altered your meaning, but I wasn't sure. Regardless, is there anything left here to discuss? — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite

A Camel[edit]

This sentence in the introduction reads very badly, having been extended by different editors, until it no longer makes sense, and is quite ungrammatical.

Definitions of evil vary, as does the analysis of its root motives and causes; however, evil is commonly associated with conscious and deliberate wrongdoing, discrimination designed to harm others, humiliation of people designed to diminish their psychological well-being and dignity, destructiveness, motives of causing pain or suffering for selfish or malicious intentions, and acts of unnecessary or indiscriminate violence.[1]


  • Get rid of the semi colon and make at least two complete sentences out of it.
  • There is a list here. Think the list out very carefully.
  • See if some of the "evils" that are described are doubled-up. One thing on the list may be inclusive of others.
  • "Motives of causing pain"? Is it the "motives" or the "causing pain". If it is the "motives" then it can't fit in the same sequence as the nouns "discrimination" and "humiliation".
  • However, a sequence which balances "wrongdoing" and "motives" is appropriate. "discrimination" and "humiliation" are subsets of "wrongdoing".
  • A "motive" is something like "hatred", "jealousy", "self-agrandisement". You can't have a "motive of causing pain or suffering. They aren't motives. Causing pain is an action.
  • The recently-added bit ""for selfish or malicious intentions" is ungrammatical. Nothing can be for intentions. It can be for certain reasons, or with certain intentions. The term is usually "with malicious intent.

Can someone who knows about this subject, who is watching this page, or who has a particular interest please rewrite this sentence? It is very important to get this sentence right, as it is the main definition of the subject. If you need help with the grammar, drop a message on my page.

Amandajm (talk) 14:11, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Negroid trade is evil[edit]

For many reasons the Atlantic Trade is considered by scientists and human beings as the peak of mount Evil, i don't understand why there still people reverting the only image talking about the Negroid tragedy. -Dzlinker (talk) 17:24, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

You appear to be alien to English speaking cultures. Your actions and speech create the impression of near vandalism and in any case you're not getting the community/site standards that are being enforced here. No one is denying that the Atlantic slave trade was a paramount "evil", it just doesn't rise to the worst thing ever, even for the affected populations. Look at the fracas that ensued from the Hitler photo. The consensus apparently is that this article is about the concept of evil and avoids designation of concrete instances as inappropriate value judgments, such as your "peak of Mt. Evil" bit. Also, it's blithering ignorant to claim science as an authority on moral judgments or that scientists make proclamations on it in their capacity as scientists in the way you claim. (talk) 12:41, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
As above, there is no image that can be agreed upon as depicting "evil" as a general concept. The consensus has been to leave the lede without an image, and just put images in the article with appropriate topics.
Also, the term "negroid" is highly offensive. I'd suggest not using it again without making it very clear you're referring to a citation, and not your own words. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 12:54, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
God, what a ridiculous thing to say, Negroid is still considered a scientific term by many and for you outright claim that is inherently offensive to all is utterly innaccurate, you speak for yourself and only yourself when claiming that a word is offensive, and for you to try and suggest that someone refrain from using the word simply because you find it offensive is really out of line. This is an encyclopedia, not you blog. (talk) 1:23, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Hitler and his supporters don't consider themselves evil.[edit]

they consider themselves good. they don't view their policies as wrong or harmful but altruistic. what's considered a "reliable source" for determining if something is good or evil? the bible? you mean that book that's filled with slavery and genocide. what gives more reliability and value to one person's opinion about good and evil than another person's? slander, greed, and hypocrisy prevails. (talk) 22:29, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

It's fitting then that the image of Hitler should be placed in the section titled "Is evil universal?". -- Hazhk Talk to me 00:17, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
It's fitting to not answer Mr on this, because this discussion page is about the article, not whether Hitler & co. regarded themselves as "good" and "altruistic", and "who are we to have opinions". WP:NPOV says we shall edit to make the text to be neutral by claiming "X said [opinion]" not ourselves write [opinion], but WP:UNDUE dictates that we shall not give much weight to minority opinions. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 20:45, 23 March 2013 (UTC)


Section Judeo-Christian claims:

Evil according to a Christian worldview is any action, thought or attitude that is contrary to the character of God. This is shown through the law given in both the Old and New Testament. There is no moral action given in the Bible that is contrary to God's character. Therefore evil in a Christian world view is contrasted by God's character. This evil shows itself through the natural desire to make oneself god of one's own life. (Ex. I can do what I want, how I want, when I want.)

No, I believe this to be essentially nonsense. It simply claims that "every act labeled as good and is coming from God by the Bible, is good", which explains almost nothing, doesn't relate to any cosmology that explains the nature of evil, the most of the section elaborately avoids the usual explanations of the evil, which are:

  • according to modern Judaism evil is a shadow effect where God's light doesn't reach, therefore this evil causes bad events to happen – many broad church Christians share this view, f.ex. many priests that I know,
  • according to classical Christianity, evil is the result of the Fall of Sins – a disobedience of God – which can be regarded as a "Cosmic Catastrophe", where the substance destructive process Sin is trapping humans to make them mortal and full of pain, and the Only Path of Salvation is by believing/emulating Jesus Christ who liberated us from, this Cosmic Catastrophe,
  • a low-church common extension to the classical Christian system is Enochism (book of Enoch) where the rebellious Satan and many of his minions rebelled against the will of God and were cast down to earth, most of them later on condemned to the eternal fires of Hell, but a small part of them gaining a respite to terrorize human inhabitants as demons – these demons induce humans to do evil acts, or are causing them grief and pain,
  • Mormonism isn't Judeo-Christian in any sense at all, it is a kind of polytheism using a mixed Judeo-Christian surface, AFAIK they have a model not like anyone of the previously mentioned ones,
  • Christian Science isn't very representative of Christianity, but they should be sorted into the Judaic-broad-church model,

Evil in a generalized Judeo-Christian sense are acts of breaking the laws of God the Almighty Creator of Nature, laws that we should regard as oriented towards what we today would regard as cultural norms, but in that context are like "laws of nature",

  • In Judaic thinking, evil acts drives you farther and farther from God, making the evil-doer more and more lost,
  • but in classical Christian thinking, evil acts are a cause for God's condemnation (and eternal Hell), until you repent.

The net effect is that, in both systems, that when you turn from evil to face God, you are salvated. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 20:21, 23 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't think there should be a section called "Judeo-Christian" as the two religions have vastly different world views, especially on this subject. Judaism and Christianity should have separate sections, or Islam should be included under the heading abrahamic religions. (talk) 22:26, 3 May 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:11, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Why hilter got delete[edit]

doesn't matter you shouldn't, --Hesus2 (talk) 07:53, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

good and evil[edit]

good is only good always good

good is always more than evil — Preceding unsigned comment added by Prq (talkcontribs) 20:28, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Citation 18[edit]

for citation 18 may want to restate as First part of Summa Theologica q 49. the current citation is inaccurate. see — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:06, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Greek philosophy?![edit]

I mean, it's not like Spinoza was the first western philosopher to think about evil.Lbertolotti (talk) 01:19, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Please don't use this article to make a point[edit]

We're not supposed to use edits to do that. You made as WP:BOLD edit and it was reverted - that's fine. You take it to talk at that point. What you don't do is start making other edits to try and prove a point. Simonm223 (talk) 23:56, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Whites are evil?[edit]

I'll assume good faith but a caption that boils down to "whites are evil" isn't going to fly.

User:Dzlinker: 22:24, 11 January 2014: [2].

User:Dzlinker: 23:01, 10 February 2014: [3].

User:Simonm223: 22:53, 21 February 2014: [4].

-- Tobby72 (talk) 00:10, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

All I did was revert the page to the last stable version. Because with this article it's probably always a good idea to build consensus in talk first. However I'll point out that the reference to the Atlantic Slave Trade doesn't mention the skin colour of the people involved (you know, since it involved people of all kinds of skin colours and both Christians and Muslims) and while the British colonists who kicked off the Australian genocide are generally pretty pale it was in that case more a specific nationality attacking another. Whereas you were trying to single out a single religion for their participation in a massive (yes, evil) venture that probably touched on a heckuvalotta people who weren't the same faith as them.
And that's getting into WP:NPOV territory, not to mention WP:DUE so I'd advise against. Now if it turns out that the general consensus disagrees with me I'm not going to go to the walls over it. However I just think it's not the most appropriate edit for this article. Simonm223 (talk) 00:20, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
There is no strong consensus regarding images, see [5]. -- Tobby72 (talk) 00:32, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
The rationale provided by user: seems sound. I'm sometimes a bit of a wiki ogre and I recently came active again - may have missed an intervening debate, and I do agree that this article should not be used for any political axe grinding. Simonm223 (talk) 03:32, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Sikhism Addition[edit]

Hello. I am planning on adding some new information under the "religion" section on Sikhism for an ethics class at my university. I plan on adding it after Hinduism and focusing on knowledge gleaned from the Guru Granth Sahib, a sacred text to the Sikhs - with special attention to the five major evils: lust, rage, greed, emotional attachment, and ego. These are also known as the "five thieves", and have their own Wikipedia entry. With respect to this, I will add links within my proposed texts which will take the reader there for more detailed understanding.

Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wahey24 (talkcontribs) 01:16, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Citations for religions / philosophical views.[edit]

A lot of the religious and philosophical definitions lack citations. They're really needed, since interpreting the nature of evil is a controversial topic; more specifically, since we're paraphrasing them and presenting an interpretation of what they say, we need high-quality secondary sources backing that interpretation (that is, it's not enough to source it solely to to the text itself in this case, because interpretations on what a philosopher or a religion says about evil tend to be complicated, varied, and controversial.) --Aquillion (talk) 04:28, 13 August 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ Sarti, Roland. 1974. The Ax Within: Italian Fascism in Action. New York: New Viewpoints. p191.
  2. ^ Peck, M. Scott. People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil: New York: Touchstone Books, 1983
  3. ^ Badiou, Alain. Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil. Trans. Peter Hallward. New York: Verso, 2001.